|Get to know Rizal like never before|
Yesterday was the book launch of The Lost Diary of Rizal by Filipina author Scy Sze (pronounced "Sky Zee") at National Bookstore so I decided to attend. When I got to the Glorietta 5 branch, I was greeted by Ms. Scy Sze herself and her PR manager and best friend from Lunar Publishing Ms. Lorraine Ong.
|The author Scy Sze (left) and host Pia Elexis Resultay|
The Lost Diary of Rizal is a historical fiction-romance novel about Valentina, a young and insecure girl, who discovers Rizal's lost diary and reads about his life simply as a person much like the rest of us - a gentleman, a lover, even a teacher.
Rizal's diary is of course fictional. But with this book the author aims for Filipinos to get to know Rizal better as a person. Most of what we know about Rizal we learned from school books. But through a diary we can really get to know a person, hence the title. This is what the book offers - a deep dive into Rizal's personality.
Written with young adults in mind, The Lost Diary of Rizal is easy to read but at the same time descriptive enough for readers of all ages to enjoy. Already with 3,000 likes in Facebook, it uses what the author calls her "double persona" style of writing wherein the story is narrated from the perspective of one character and then shifts to another. Facebook fans who have read the book say they have developed a new found interest in Rizal because of the way he is portrayed in the book.
Many Filipino writers are influenced by the West. But the author thought that if we Filipinos are to write why don't we write about ourselves? For Scy Sze, whose passion and outlet has always been writing, this thought was something she had been pondering about for some time before she wrote The Lost Diary of Rizal. The book is written in English so that non-Filipinos can read it and learn about us too.
If we Filipinos are to write, why don't we write about ourselves?
Because the book is a romance, it was designed with a red cover because the color symbolizes love. Red can also symbolize war and bloodshed, which also represents the historical part of the book. The book's cover and design were done by Joshua Mari Uy who also took the photograph of Valentina.
|The red cover design stands for love and war |
which are both themes found in the book
A book of its kind, The Lost Diary of Rizal is said to contain a lot of twists, revelations, historical trivia, and scientific information. It includes time travel and phrases from many languages including German, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese. Some works of Rizal were also included in the book. It was released in National Bookstore last July to coincide with Rizal's 150th anniversary.
|The author Scy Sze was born in Iloilo |
and graduated from college
After the program I had the privilege to interview the author, Ms Scy Sze about her book.
Q: It is really an interesting idea to write a book about how Rizal would have been like as a person. How did you develop his character?
Scy Sze: I did my own research about Rizal. Most of what's written about him is during his life in his 30s (after writing Noli and El Fili). But have we ever wondered what he was like when he was younger? like when he was in Ateneo attending high school? or college? That's why I included his portrait here when he was just 18 years old because most of his pictures of him are in his 30s, like his image on our 1 peso coin.
|Rizal at 18|
Q. Most writers start out as readers. What genre do you read?
Scy Sze: I read all kinds of books, from books by Filipino authors to fantasy books, particularly those by Tolkien, and titles like The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, and Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind.
|Some of the author's favorite books|
Q: Books by international authors get more attention in the Philippines than books by Filipino authors. What is your advise to readers nowadays to get them to read books by Filipino authors too?
Scy Sze: Just give it a try! I can relate to that question because I myself used to be guilty of reading books by international authors only. But one time I was given a book by a Filipino author as a gift and when I read it I absolutely loved it. It got me hooked. So that's my advise, just give it a try, and don't stereotype. You might just be surprised by what you find.
Q. What is your advise to Filipinos who want to be writers someday?
Scy Sze: Pursue! Just write down how you feel and don't worry about making mistakes. That's what proofreaders are for! Just concentrate on what you want to communicate.
|The author signing my copy|
The Lost Diary of Rizal is available in National Book Store for P340.