London girl, 11, self-publishes bilingual fantasy story written during pandemic

Gabriella Kikwaki, 11, started writing a fantasy series during the pandemic. left image via: Angel Ilunga, right image via: Tellwell

Gabriella Kikwaki of London, Ont., says she started writing the self-published A Link Between Two Worlds/Un Lien Entre Deux Mondes, “on a day when I had nothing to do.”

She was already using the computer for remote learning during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and asked her father if she could write a book on Word.

“And he said, ‘Sure.’ So I started writing and it didn’t really interest me at first, but then I came up with this whole brand new idea and started writing and writing and writing and keep on writing,” she said.

The 11-year-old’s father, Olivier, says she showed him two pages, then a couple weeks later she returned with 18 pages, and a few weeks after that she had 45 pages.

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“We thought that if you would like to share your book with your friend or the rest of the world, maybe it’s a good idea that we publish it,” he told Global News.

He says he and his wife, Angel Ilunga, went to the kids sections in bookstores to research publishers before deciding on Tellwell, a Canadian assisted self-publishing company.

In traditional publishing, the publisher takes on the costs and risks of publication but as a result they receive more of the profits if it’s a success. With self-publishing, the author takes on the risks but also gets more control.

“Today, people choose to self-publish, they want to self-publish. They don’t want to go the route of a trade publisher. They want control of their book, they want their book out in a more timely fashion,” Suzanne Anderson, author of Self Publishing in Canada, previously told Global News.

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According to Tellwell’s website, they offer services including editing, design, distribution, marketing, and illustrations.

Kikwaki began writing in English and then translated to French. She kept going back and forth to complete the story in both languages.

Her father says that she loves reading in both languages and would often take out books from the library at her school, École élémentaire Marie-Curie.

She told Global News she decided to write about what she loves: galaxies and parallel universes.

“My book talks about this planet … that got divided it into two planets. One became the planet Aliese and the other became the planet Earth. But there were also two sisters called the telepathy sisters, Alaura and Ali, that got separated. One went to the planet Aliese and the other to Earth. But there’s an evil force called the Gaulris with their leader Lord Zefron to destroy the world and make the universe their empire,” she explained.

“Unfortunately, there’s also a change in the universe. If the two parallel universes reunite once again, then total destruction will roam over the entire galaxy. So the telepathy sisters with the help of some of their friends have to find a way to stop this danger before the universe ends.”

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Kikwaki says she already has more books in the series written as well as two other unrelated stories.

You can find more about Kikwaki and her stories on her author website.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba author explains how she self published her first book'
Manitoba author explains how she self published her first book

— with files from Global News’ Tim Sargeant.

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