Laya Anasu, a high school junior, said she thinks of herself as a regular teen. She plays tennis, spends time with friends and likes to write in her spare time.
But unlike others her age, Anasu is the author of a published novel.
When she was 11 years old, Anasu wrote “Little Horizons,” a novel set in an alternate universe in the year 2020. The fantasy adventure follows fifth-grader Brinda Arora and her friends as they help the Lord of Radiance save the world from evil Nekrosis and his army.
Though set in the future, Anasu said “Little Horizons” was inspired by friends she had before her move from Carson City, Nev. to Dublin, Ohio in 2005.
“[The move] was a big change because [I] had so many good friends in Carson City,” Anasu said. “Since it was summer, I didn’t have an opportunity to meet a lot of new people.”
The changes spurred by the move encouraged her to write about those she left.
“I missed my friends and I started imagining all sorts of cool adventures we could have had,” she said. “I decided to start writing about possible fantastical adventures so I wouldn’t miss my friends as much and I could pass the time.”
These adventures took off and created a 385-page novel, a feat that Anasu said she hadn’t planned.
“I wasn’t really aiming for a certain length to my novel, but I was surprised at how long it turned out,” she said. “I was also surprised with how much more in-depth it is than I thought it would be.”
But for Anasu the result was worth it, and with a little help from her parents, “Little Horizons” was published in 2009.
“My parents helped me along the way through the long publishing process,” Anasu said. “They gave me their full support. It’s because of them that I was able to write my novel and complete it.”
Success isn’t measured by getting published alone. All proceeds from “Little Horizons” go directly to Asha for Education, a charity organization whose mission is to bring change in India through the education of underprivileged youths. Anasu said these donations are what make the novel successful.
“There are younger kids than me who have published novels and poetry and such, so I don’t think that my success is so great,” she said. “However, if I do sell a lot of copies and am able to help Asha for Education and get pretty good reviews, then I’ll consider it a success.”
For Anasu, “Little Horizons” is a personal achievement and a way to reminisce.
“I love most that it’s my creation and that I actually completed it,” she said. “I love looking at it and remembering my friends. It’s nice seeing my thoughts in a final product.”
Anasu’s writing won’t end with “Little Horizons.” In addition to college, she said she sees writing and publishing in her future, including a new novel.
“I write a poem a day and I plan on publishing my poems in the near future,” she said. “I do have a new novel [unrelated to “Little Horizons”] planned. It will be realistic fiction, and I’ve made some progress on it. I still have a lot to write though, so we’ll see when I’ll finish it.”