Jayra Almanzor, winner of the 2013 English Academic Award from St. Justin Martyr Catholic School in Canada talks about writing and her grade school years at Southville with Jesselle Villegas of the Office of Public Relations.
JV: Why do you love to write?
JA: I love writing because it is like immersing yourself into another world, another dimension. My mother once said: “When you read, it’s like standing on top of a giant; you will see and experience everything you never thought was possible.” After that, I thought to myself. What if I could control everything I see from that giant’s shoulder? What if I could create a world where dragons exist, where unicorns exist, where time travel’s possible? Writing is essentially a collection of one’s ideas strung together. I love writing because it’s a form of art where I can express myself in millions of possibilities.
JV: Can you tell us about your novel, Stygian Rift?
JA: Stygian Rift is a science fiction about teleportation, overpopulation, and genocide. It revolves around a boy named Robert, who wakes up in a dark chamber of death, filth, and hostility. Terror fills the chamber every night as monsters invade it, ravenously looking for blood. One day, Robert decides that enough is enough and he, as well as everyone in the chamber, has to get back “up there.” The problem is, how will he, a person everyone spites for a reason he doesn’t know, persuade the chamber’s most respected group of people to help him find a way out? All that before every monster gets released to kill every human left in the dark underground chamber.
JV: What inspired you to write Stygian Rift?
JA: The factors that most inspired me to write Stygian Rift are my school lessons, specifically the ones circulating around overpopulation—how we already have seven billion people and how we might not have enough resources for everyone in the future.
JV: Where do you get ideas for your stories?
JA: I get most of my ideas on a whim. One day I am walking down the grocery aisle and an idea comes to mind. That’s why I always carry my phone with me to note down ideas for my current or next book.
JV: Aside from writing, what are other things you are passionate about?
JA: Digital painting and video editing.
JV: You studied at Southville International School and Colleges in your grade school years. What are your fondest memories of your grade school days?
JA: Playing with those Korean jackstones and watching my classmates dance during intramurals while I cheer with those pompoms.
JV: What is the most valuable lesson that Southville has taught you?
JA: Today’s readers; tomorrow’s leaders. Southville made me love reading, basically! All those book fairs and textbook reading were really fun.
JV: Was there a particular experience in Southville that inspired you to be a writer? If yes, what was it?
JA: It was those poem/writing assignments we had to do for the school portfolio every year.
JV: How do you see yourself ten years from now?
JA: I want to get into a law school either here in Canada or in the United States. It depends on which law school I get accepted in! Nonetheless, I still see myself being a lawyer (hopefully corporate) about 9-10 years from now.