Teen Author

Foothill junior Aashna Avachat can add published author to her resume.

“I wanted to create a protagonist that was deeply flawed, yet easy to identify with, and give the reader some kind of personal hope from sharing the character's story," Avachat said of her book's main character. "This is how Chelsea Carson, the troubled daughter of two flighty parents, was created.”

Avachat's self-published book, Going Places, was released Dec. 3. The young adult novel is published through CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon.

Chelsea Chandler Carson, a geography fanatic obsessed with her future, is a high school junior battling mild anxiety, illusions about her neglectful parents and the claustrophobic fear of being nothing special. When she stumbles upon mysterious, insightful Austin Ryder during one of her best friend's pranks, she begins a journey that teaches her about friendship, family, loss, and the fragility of dreams. 

Aashna started writing her first completed novel on a whim in the spring of 2014.

“Before then, I had attempted many novels, but had always moved on in pursuit of a better idea," she said. "At the time, I was reading books that perfectly captured all the themes of tragedy, love and humor and was inspired immensely by John Green, Rainbow Rowell and other such brilliant authors.”

Her spur-of-the-moment decision to open a blank document and start typing led to one of the most important years in her life.

“I finished the last word of the epilogue a year later and began the editing process soon after,” she said.

Although Aashna did most of the editing herself, she took advice from several members of the Tri-Valley branch of the California Writers Club, especially Lani Longshore, who read the first draft and offered feedback. Aashna is also thankful to her younger sister, Arushi, a Pleasanton Middle School eighth-grader, who had a large influence on the book.

"She read through every draft for basic grammar and spelling errors," Aashna recalled. "If I was ever stuck or needed advice on any scene, I'd ask her first. She was never afraid to tell me when something was too boring, too dramatic or just right."

“I've been writing practically since I could read, but this is the first time I've finished a full-scale novel," she added. "All those hours I spent hunched over my laptop feel completely worth it."

Aashna would love to write more novels and plans on doing so as soon as she can.

“I do have a few ideas for a next novel,” she said. While she can definitely see herself writing more books in the future, she’s not sure yet if she wants to take up writing as a career.  

Copies of Aashna’s novel will be available at the Foothill library starting Dec. 14. Click here to order the book for $12.99 from Amazon.

Story by Varupi Gupta

Click here for a Tri-Valley Times story about Aashna