Tale of two authors

Tale of two authors

Gari De Ramos (Left) and Gigi Lowe.

Budding novelists with a taste for adventure stories get an early start on their career, writes Barry C Chung

Discovery Bay boasts fabulous beaches, golf carts and a way to escape from the hectic pace of life in the city. It has a population of about 16,000 people - among them two extraordinary young writers.

Gari De Ramos has written three books - and she's not yet a teenager. For her, writing is more than just a hobby - it is a way of life.

'I like to write because it allows me to express my creativity,' the 11-year-old says. 'I write about an hour a week. It's really fun.'

Gigi Lowe is not your typical 12-year-old. Last Friday, she launched the first book in her Four Scrolls series at her school, Discovery College. The series is a five-part saga: part one is the introduction and the others each concern one of the scrolls.

'The book is about four kids that need to find scrolls and use the power in them to defeat evil demons,' she says, with a slight British accent.

The two prodigies are avid readers, with a broad range of favourites.

Any chance they have, they can be found either leafing through the latest Jacqueline Wilson book or with their noses buried in the pages of the latest Derek Landy mystery.

'I had a chance to meet him [Landy] a few months ago,' Gigi says. 'He talked about his life before he was a writer. It was phenomenal.'

Even before the release of the first Four Scrolls book, Gigi knew what she wanted to do with the proceeds from the book - and that didn't include spending them on the latest clothes or gadgets on the market. Instead, the money will be donated to the victims of the Qinghai earthquake.

'I started crying when I found out everything in Qinghai was destroyed,' she says.

'We can't stop natural disasters, but we can help those who are affected.'

Although Gigi is still young, she is mature enough to understand that everyone - young or old - can do something to make a difference in the world.

'Young people think they don't have the power to help people, but they really can. Even just a little bit. You can start in your community.'

Gari completed Jewel Quest - her third book, and first to be published - when she was only 10 years old. It is an adventure story that has siblings Andrew and Alison on a jewel-seeking race against time to save their ill grandfather.

Now she has begun working - although she doesn't consider it work - on a sequel.

'I have written a few pages so far, but I am not rushing because I'm still exploring other ideas,' she says.

The Form One student also enjoys playing the guitar and the computer game The Sims 3. She takes frequent trips back to the Philippines, her place of birth, but prefers Hong Kong because she feels more at home here. But she hopes to live in the United States one day.

'It's a really nice country and there are a lot of nice people there,' she says.

Of the two, Gigi is the sportier one. She enjoys watching and playing basketball when she's not busy writing or doing homework.

Both budding writers hope to become fully fledged novelists in the future, seeing literature as their profession of choice. And if they keep up the good work, there is nothing to stop them achieving their goals.

Aspiring writers should take note: 'If you're going to write, you shouldn't stop,' Gari says. 'You just need to keep writing or else your work will suffer.'

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