Building A Legacy

15-year-old Cayla Kluver releases first novel to national distribution

Abi Zimmer, photos by Andrea Paulseth

At 3am, while most people are sound asleep, perhaps dreaming of faraway kingdoms, independent princesses, and mysterious boys, 15-year-old Cayla Kluver can usually be found wide awake, hunched over a flamingo pink laptop dubbed Philippa, and pounding out the story of a faraway kingdom, an independent princess, and a boy with a mysterious past. Her first novel, Legacy, released April 15 and containing all these plot points, has already been picked up by national distributor Baker and Taylor, and copies of Legacy are now available in such places as New Zealand and Canada as well as libraries across the nation. She has even received fan letters.

But she’s unpretentious about her status of published author. “I’m just kind of normal,” she says, sipping lemonade (with a straw) at Grand Avenue Café.

Legacy was birthed from a video game in which Cayla Kluver grew bored with the plot and took the characters on her own quest. Supported by her family, Cayla Kluver thoroughly outlined the plot and characters before hammering out the details, often talking out different ideas with her family.

“Part of her creative process, we’ve realized, is talking through it,” says her mom, Kimberly Kluver. “She works through everything.”

Cayla Kluver admits that her friends and family might have gotten tired of her obsession. “Someday,” she says, “I’ll have to marry a very tolerant man.”

But Cayla Kluver is convinced that writing is what she wants to do. In nine months, she finished the first draft, and spent the next seven months editing. Eventually, Cayla Kluver was no longer correcting errors, but rearranging sentences arbitrarily. Then she knew Legacy was finished. “It was done once I’d gone over it so many times I thought I’d go crazy,” she says.

After sending out the manuscript, Cayla Kluver couldn’t find a publisher. “People automatically assumed she can’t write,” says Kimberly Kluver, who decided to establish her own publishing company, Forsooth Publishers.