Armenian Culture, Science and Education Development Foundation

15-Year-Old Varak Kaloustian Debuts Science Fiction Novel


Asbarez.com reports about an engrossing and high-spirited story, “The Legend of V: The Solar System’s Prophesies,” by Varak Kaloustian, is a captivating cavalcade of adventure, humor and science-fiction written by a promising teenage author in what should be considered a sign of many good things to come.At 15 years old, Kaloustian published and debuted his book earlier this year to a warm reception. The story — concerning the protagonist, simply named V, and a group of characters, who take a supernatural journey through archeology and science-fiction mysteries – has proven popular enough to instigate demands from readers for a sequel.
A sophomore-to-be at Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles, Kaloustian, says the idea for writing his book stemmed from a school assignment in sixth grade.
Kaloustian will be on hand for a book signing at Abrik Bookstore in Glendale on Sunday, July 26 at 5 p.m. Also, his middle school alma mater, Laurel Hall Middle School, has opted to make Kaloustian’s book part of the required summer reading list for incoming eighth grade students.

“The first of two summer reading selections for the 2015-2016 school year is The Legend of V: Book 1: The Solar System’s Prophecies, by Varak Kaloustian. This is an action-packed, Science Fiction novel about the battle of good versus evil and teenage self-discovery. The author, Varak Kaloustian, is a freshman in high school and a former Laurel Hall student who just published his first young adult novel! As you read The Legend of V over the summer, write down any questions that you might have for Varak about the creative writing process and how to go about publishing a novel, as he will speak to us about his book in English class at the beginning of the new school year,” said Laurel Hall English teacher Suzanne Bergstrom and Pati Evans, Director of Middle School Programs in a letter sent to students, which was shared with Asbarez.
“I had a lot of thoughts in my head that were just kind of scrambled in there,” Kaloustian said in an interview with Asbarez News. “When I was little I used to make these little comic books, which weren’t so good but they were creative. So it inspired me to make something bigger a few years after. We had an assignment in sixth grade, where we had to write for thirty minutes every week and turn it into a little folder. And I ran out of ideas the second week,” Kaloustian said, laughing. “So I thought to myself, ‘I’ll turn it into a little story, and she might like it.’ And after writing I thought, ‘this is not terrible but it’s not the best thing in the world, so here’s what I’ll do, I’ll scrap this one and start all over.’ And the result: ‘The Legend of V.’”

Kaloustian said some of the characters are completely made up and some of them are inspired by real life people. “Like, V is obviously me,” the teenage author said with a chuckle.

Griff, the protagonist’s best friend and companion in the story – a Samwise Gamgee to V’s Frodo Baggins – is based on Kaloustian’s friends, according to the author. “Griff’s personality is a mix of all my friends. He’s high-spirited, he’s fun, he’s adventurous. His name was taken from one of my sixth grade classmates; he’s still my classmate.,” the author said.
Explaining what drew him to write science-fiction and the prominent inclusion of astronomy in the book, Kaloustian said, “I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural and the extraterrestrial. I’ve always liked to study astronomy, for a long time.”

“My favorite subjects would be math, science, maybe even like a creative writing class for English,” the writer said. “Weirdly enough, I don’t really like reading, I like writing!”

Kaloustian took three and a half years to write the book, starting in sixth grade and finishing in his freshman year of high school. “My mom helped me a lot with that, we’re partners almost,” he said.

“Whenever I felt like writing, I would just sit down and write,” Kaloustian said, explaining his process. “There’s nothing to explain really, it’s just you feel like doing it. Sometimes you write one page, sometimes you write an entire chapter. It all just depends on how you feel on that day, in that given moment. Otherwise it just won’t be good.”

Like Newton obstinately guarding his discoveries, Kaloustian allowed no one to see his work until it was completely finished, not even his mother.

“It was definitely a challenge writing the book while also going to school,” he said. But, the author said, “This is fantastic. This is what I’ve always wanted, for a long time.”
I asked Kaloustian what advice he would give to young writers like himself. “Start as early as you possibly can,” he said. “Don’t wait for anyone to tell you to do it. If you think you can do it, if you want to do it, you should do it. At least try to do it. Because if it doesn’t work out the first time, you take what you learn and you move forward.”
Kaloustian has more in store, as one could guess from the “Book 1” that prefixes the subtitle of the book.

“I’ve actually already started working on the second book in the series. Three people have already asked me, ‘Where’s the next one?’ I always tell them, hold on, I just published this one, it’s gonna take a little time,” Kaloustian said amusedly. “But yeah, I’ve started on the second one, I’ve got ideas for it, I’m writing down what I think is good.”

Kaloustian said he’s pleased with the reception his book has received, having had one book signing event and planning on a second one in the near future. He hopes to continue his creative writing into college.

Note, that “The Legend of V” is on sale on Amazon.com and at Glendale’s Abril Bookstore.

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