Blogs Survaliennes Winter Term

Surval Blog: A Published Author...

19 September 2019

We are extremely proud to announce that Survalienne Angeles Cibils, who joined us for our exciting Winter Camp programme in January of 2018, is now a published author! Angeles' first work, The Archimedean Letters, is a short suspense story, written in English, and is not only getting five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but is even being promoted by schools in her native Paraguay - "As parents, we feel very proud that several schools are using it here as additional reading material for their English and Literature lessons," says Angeles' father, Cristian Cibils, who got in touch with us to share the news of his daughter's success.

This morning's school assembly celebrated Angeles' achievement, with the students of Surval encouraged to download and read Angeles' book as part of their Bronze Reading Award programme, an extra-curricular challenge which promotes reading fiction in both English and other languages. As Angeles herself says, "Reading fiction is crucial! It enhances our imagination and develops a think-outside-the-box mentality..."

Keep scrolling to read our interview with Angeles, in which she reflects on her journey to becoming a published author, shares some thoughtful advice on achieving one's dream, and reminisces about some of her Surval Winter Camp highlights!

Surval: When did you first begin writing stories?

Angeles: Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved telling stories. Creating worlds, characters and entire lives from seemingly nothing is something I’ve always been passionate about. However, if I had to pinpoint a moment in time when I thought “Wow! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life!”, it was when I was twelve years old and had just finished reading the Percy Jackson series. The series blew my mind and opened my eyes in such a way that it left me wanting to create that same impact on others.

How have you been helped along the journey to becoming a published writer?

I’m extremely blessed to have such a supporting and encouraging family, who was by my side cheering me on every step of the way. I also have amazing teachers who guided me through the entire adventure: planning, writing, editing and publishing the short story.  

What inspires you as a writer?

The authors I look up to the most are J.K.Rowling, J.R.R Tolkien and Rick Riordan, all three of fiction and fantasy. I’m inspired by everything that surrounds me, from nature’s big and awe-inspiring beauty to the little things in life, observations of ordinary events and people and how similar yet different we all are from each other.

What specifically inspired you to write The Archimedean Letters?

It all started with a class assignment, with the original prompt being “Whispered Truths.” Cryptography and codes were the first things that came to mind which I believe is due to my love for mystery novels. After having written the first chapter, I asked my teacher if I could go over the word limit. He said there was no problem. How could I resist!

How does it feel to be a published author - to see your own words in print, and excellent reviews coming in for your book?

Honestly, it is completely insane! It is such a rewarding feeling knowing all the effort and hard work has paid off so excellently. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that my lifelong dream has become a reality. It feels as though I'm soaring through the clouds, and it gives me the confidence that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

Is writing the career you hope to pursue? If so, what are your next steps - what does the future hold?

Although I have no idea what I will study in college, I am sure that I want to be an author. For the time being, my plan after college is to find and create a stable source of income so that afterwards I can dedicate myself to writing full time.

What advice would you give to school students about pursuing a goal or dream?

Here are a few practical steps that can help you achieve your goals, with effort and dedication:

  • Make a Map: Divide your main goal into smaller tasks, small steps that you can take every day to inch you closer towards your dream.
  • Make it tangible: Decorate your room, workplace, and other visible places with pictures and drawings of your dream; surround yourself with encouraging statements, smile at the mirror everyday and repeat this affirmation loud and clear: “I can do it!”
  • Don’t give up: no matter how long or how difficult the road is, even when you don’t see any improvements. Keep going, change your strategy if you need to, but don’t step out of the race altogether! If you’re pursuing what you love, it will all be worth it.
  • And last but not least: enjoy the ride; you’re on the road to your dreams! So smile, because everything is going to be alright. YOU GOT THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS!

How important do you think reading fiction is, and why? What power does fiction / the author have?

In my opinion, reading fiction is crucial! It enhances our imagination and develops a think-outside-the-box mentality that later one can turn into problem solving skills, which, needless to say, are beneficial to humanity on an individual and collective level. Not only this, but reading fiction can also be a relaxation technique as one “takes a break” from reality. It is also worth mentioning that sometimes we can understand abstract concepts and ideas better through metaphors, analogies, and other works of fiction, as they can make tangible what in real life may not be so clear. 

Could you share a few of your favourite moments at Surval?

I have so many! How to choose!? From Army Fitness Club hikes, to skiing, to making amazing friendships, Surval was able to leave a lasting footprint in my life. During my brief but action-packed months at the school, I was exposed to different cultures - new ways of thinking and living, which opened my eyes and expanded my worldview. I am so grateful for my time spent at Surval, and can’t wait to go back and visit again!

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

My best advice is to give your all and put your soul into everything that you do: what is meant to be will be, and what isn’t - well, it must mean that there is something brighter and better for us in store in the future!

We would like to thank Angeles for taking the time to write such thoughtful responses to our questions, and wish her all the best of success with her writing in the future!

Drop us an email to share with us what you have been up to since leaving Surval - we love to hear from our Survaliennes!