Charleigh Reid, a student at Arizona State University, aspires to be a published author from high school. Now her dream has come true with the release of her first novel, “Ignorant: The Adventures of ViLuma», A fantasy novel for young adults that explores the intersection of inequality, justice and forgiveness.
Reid began writing his book in June 2020, through the Institute of Creators‘s Book School program, an accelerated book publishing process led by Professor Eric Koester of Georgetown University.
Charleigh Reid, a student at Arizona State University, recently published her first novel, “Unaware: The Adventures of ViLuma”, a fantasy novel for young adults that explores the intersection of inequality, justice and forgiveness.
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As part of the program, she was asked to identify what she was passionate about. Reid was inspired by the justice and women and gender studies courses she took at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as the increased global awareness of social justice issues. She knew she wanted her book to address these topics and themes of inequality, justice and forgiveness.
Eager to learn more about these topics, Reid interviewed his friends who have encountered racism firsthand as well as the management team of the ASU Rainbow Coalition.
From there, Reid crafted a story about four young adults with different backgrounds and experiences who must work together when they find themselves locked in an alien prison on a planet far away from Earth. She said she hopes her story will raise awareness in others of their place in communities and positively affect their actions.
“I really wrote this book because of everything that’s going on in the world,” Reid said. “I wanted to write a book where there were several things going on that people could read and hopefully come out a little more aware and realizing that we all have something in common.”
Reid plans to graduate next May with a BA in English Literature and a double minor in Women and Gender Studies and Justice Studies with a Certificate in Disability Studies. While writing her book, Reid also attended classes, worked part-time as a Gold Guide for ASU New Student Programs, and was the History and Outreach Officer for ASU. . Culture conference club.
Reid shared more about his writing process, tips for other writers, and his plans for the future.
Question: You wrote your book under the name LC Reid. Why did you choose to use a pen name for your book?
Reply: I chose a pen name because when people look at Charleigh they don’t know how to say it, and when they hear it they don’t know how to spell it. My legal first name is hyphenated and the initials are LC My family often called me LC when they needed to shorten my name, so I chose it because I feel like it’s me but it’s always easier for people to understand than my real name.
Q: What was your process of writing the book like?
A: Because I was in a Creator Institute program, the easiest part was probably the fact that I had different deadlines. I had people holding my hand throughout the process, and I was never alone. There were always people I could turn to, ask questions and talk to. But the hardest part was the timeline. Most authors write a book in three to five years – I wrote it in 10 months. I started it in June and wrote my first manuscript before Halloween, so it was a really quick process.
Q: How did you manage to balance schoolwork, book writing and work?
A: Fortunately, my job is part-time, so I can work as many or as few hours as I want. When I had homework and my book, I was always busy. I never had time to sit down and watch TV or do anything. I was always in class, doing my homework or writing. I got pretty good at balance. I just had to realize that in order to publish a book, I had to do it for 10 months. I had to be very strict with myself and my schedule. I took breaks to spend time with my family and friends, but because we have been in the pandemic, I have spent a lot of time at home working on it.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in writing a book?
A: I have recommended the Creator Institute program to many people simply because they are holding your hand through it all. It’s a lot less intimidating because they get a lot out of it for you. The hardest part of writing a book is just getting started – sit down and start. I’ve had so many times that I didn’t want to go and write. But when I started to write my book, I couldn’t procrastinate because I had deadlines, homework and I also worked a lot. I had so much to do, but I kind of forced myself to do it. Sometimes when you sit down to write your mind is just blank and you don’t know what to write. But you just have to go through it and really sit down and force yourself to do it.
Q: What has been helpful in your ASU journey?
A: the Early start-up program gave me a bunch of friends early on, and it confirmed that ASU was where I was supposed to be and that being a major in English was what was best for me. It was a beautiful bridge between high school and college for me. I walked in and I had people leading me to my classes and the same teachers. By the time school started I felt a lot more confident than some other people I knew.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I hope to enter ASU 4 + 1 program for English literature and do my masters. After that, I hope to get into publishing and eventually progress to becoming a publisher. I could definitely see myself writing more books in the future. Right now I’m thinking of taking a little break, but I loved the process of writing a book and I could definitely see myself writing more soon.
“Unaware: The Adventures of ViLuma” can be purchased at Amazon.