“Always believe in yourself” – Savidula Ratnayake 

By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna

Savidula Ratnayaka is not a new name for us at The Sunday Morning Little Stars. She has been writing short stories and essays for quite some time. Savidula enjoys writing short stories and reading magical stories. During the pandemic break, Savidula was bored and she had a grand plan to overcome this. She started to write a storybook and now Savidula is counting the days to launch her debut storybook ‘Mary Smith and the Magical Toy Dragon’. She is only 11 years old.


Q: Savidula, what more can you tell us about the storybook that you are planning to publish? 

A: It’s about a girl who loves dragons. She gets the chance to raise a dragon but the dragon goes missing after a while. The novel is woven around the story of how Mary is going to have her dragon back. The book is full of magic. This is the first book of a series of seven books. You have to read the book to know more about Mary and her dragon. 


Q: Can you tell us about yourself too?

A: I am 11 years old and I have been writing stories since I was seven years old. I have one younger brother. I am a student of Lyceum International School, Gampaha. I love to play the organ. I do swimming and basketball at school as extracurricular activities. Apart from writing, my other hobbies are reading and drawing. My drawings have been published in The Sunday Morning Little Stars several times. 


Q: How old were you when you first learnt how to play the organ?

A: I was seven years old. I attended a private institute to learn the skill. Unfortunately, I couldn’t continue that class due to the pandemic. I continued practising by myself. There are many tunes that I have mastered how to play. But even now, my favourites are the basics like, ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Diya Goda Samathana Kiri Ithire’.


Q: What inspired you to write ‘Mary Smith and the Magical Toy Dragon’?

A: Reading ‘Harry Potter’ books got me really interested in magic. That is why I started writing stories with magical components. I was also inspired to learn how to perform a few magic tricks. 


Q: So, is ‘Harry Potter’ your favourite book/series?

A: Yes. ‘Harry Potter’ by J.K. Rowling and ‘The Heroes of Olympus’ by Rick Riordan. ‘Heroes of Olympus’ is based on the conflict between Greek demigods, Roman demigods, and Gaea also known as Mother Earth. Percy Jackson is also there in the story. I love both sets of books.


Q: Who is your favourite fictional character?

A: Hermione Granger. I like her because she is smart and really hard-working. I like to be like her – to be good at what I do.


Q: You said you were inspired to learn magic tricks too.

A: Yes. I have performed magic for an online school event once. I also got invited to do a magic show during a magazine launch of the ‘Amuthu Iskole Writers’ Club’. I am a member of that club. 


Q: You said that your favourite thing is to write short stories but the first book you are going to publish is a novel. Why did you decide to write a novel?

A: Well, I didn’t have much to do during the pandemic. After online school, I missed my extracurricular activities. So I decided to make use of the free time I had and I wanted to try writing a long story. I was nine years old when I started. Now I am about to launch the first book of the series. I have already completed writing the other books in the series. 


Q: Why do you write Savidula? 

A: I really enjoy doing that – creating characters and stories. It makes me feel really good. When I write, I feel very relaxed.


Q: What is the most memorable day in your life?

A: The most memorable day in my life was when J.K. Rowling replied to the letter I sent her. That was the best day ever!


Q: What is your ambition?

A: I want to become a best-selling author. 


Q: Do you have any tips for young writers who want to try writing stories?

A: Yes. Be as descriptive as you can when you describe a character or a scenario. It helps the reader to get a full picture of what you want to write about. Read more and observe all that’s happening around you. 


Q: Should all storybooks have a moral? 

A: Well, it depends. It’s okay if there are books with no morals at all. But they need to be entertaining. Not all books are there to teach us lessons. Some books are there to make us laugh and for our enjoyment. 


Q: Is there anyone you want to thank?

A: My mother and father, for always supporting me, and all my teachers at school.

Ramith Dheerasekara sir, for creating ‘Amuthu Iskole Writers’ Club’ and for encouraging me to improve my writing and write stories.

Neo Graphics and Neo Printing, for designing and taking the responsibility of printing my book.

My best friend Induwari, for always having my back.

I would also like to thank my friends Sethumi, Senuki, Monady, Jedhith, and Sanduni for making my world magical and helping me every time I needed it. 


Q: Finally, do you have a message for our readers?

A: Believe in yourself. Your dreams will then come true. I have wanted to become a writer since I was really young. I dreamt about publishing a book. I worked towards it because I believed that I could do it! And, finally, my dream came true.