Teenage author from Tokoroa discovers love of writing through friendship

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Rutendo and her friend Sophie at the launch of Rutendo’s first book, “Rachel and the Enchanted Forest”, which she dedicated to her friend. Photo / Provided

Tokoroa teenager Rutendo Shadaya, 14, is writing up a storm as she begins work on her third fantasy novel – just months after launching her second.

Rutendo was bitten by the writing bug after self-publishing her debut book “Rachel and the Enchanted Forest” in 2020, and soon set her sights on writing a series.

However, when she wrote her first book at just nine years old, she didn’t really like writing and only took up the challenge for one special person: her friend, Sophie Thompson.

“My writing journey started because I needed a birthday present for my friend, and I thought, ‘She likes to read, I’m going to write a book for her,'” Rutendo says.

“I spent days, hours, on the computer writing the story, but I didn’t do it in time to [Sophie’s] birthday. My parents said I could just tell him the story on paper, but I wanted it to be a real book.”

Little did Rutendo know that it would take him two years before he could finally launch the book and give it to Sophie.

The big process included a lot of proofreading and editing – and convincing her Zimbabwean parents Rachael and Blessing that she wasn’t kidding about publishing a book.

“My parents didn’t take me seriously when I first told them I wanted to write a book.”

But once they realized Rutendo got into it, they threw the whole family behind her.

Tokoroa Secondary School Principal William Ford and Rutendo Shadaya at the launch of his second book,
Tokoroa High School Principal William Ford and Rutendo Shadaya at the launch of his second book, ‘Rachel and the Chevene Pirates’. Photo / Provided

“My father was the first to read the story. He gave me his feedback and I adjusted parts of the story based on [that]. My brother sacrificed his computer time so I could write and my mom helped me meet other people to spread the word,” Rutendo explains.

She says her school, Tokoroa High School, was also very supportive of arranging the launch of her second book “Rachel and The Chevene Pirates” in July this year and including her books in the school library.

For her novels, Rutendo draws inspiration from television shows and her favorite book series, “The Land of Stories” by Chris Colter.

“I love fantasy and books with powers.

“When I wrote ‘Rachel and the Enchanted Forest’ I was watching the TV show free rein which contains horses, so I included one in the story,” says Rutendo.

As a young author, she says she wants to empower everyone to pursue their passion.

“You can do whatever you want if you want to.

“If you want to write, just start…don’t worry about posting before you’ve finished your story – it’s going to be a big process. Sometimes you have to try to motivate yourself, but you can take breaks in the process. writing. , too.”

Although she is currently suffering from writer’s block, Rutendo has already started work on her third novel.

“I really want to develop my characters and improve my writing.”

She’s in 9th grade at the moment, but already knows she wants to keep writing books for a long time – just not full time.

“I am thinking of going into dentistry after finishing my studies; maybe travel a bit. »

If she’s not writing, Rutendo plays netball and tennis – and, of course, she enjoys reading books.

You can consult his books, written for 8 to 14 year olds, on his Facebook page.

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