It isn’t often that a teacher has the opportunity to engage with their former students once they have grown up and moved on with their lives. I am very fortunate that LaChia Logan, my student from my first teaching job in Washington DC, reached out to me to edit her new book, Chocolate City Hood Diaries Vol. 1. I taught LaChia when she was in the 9th grade, but lost touch with her for a several years. The benefit of social media is that it allows you to reconnect with your past in a way that can forge deeper relationships.
LaChia contacted me through social media three years ago about a manuscript she was writing that she wanted to eventually publish. By now she was no longer the teen that once sat quietly in my 9th grade English class, she was a burgeoning writer. LaChia knew that one of the processes to improving writing is to have an editor and reached out to me to ask if I could be a resource. I offered editing services through my company JUST-A-SISTA and told her that when she was ready, I would be honored to serve as her editor.
Three years later, LaChia sent me her short manuscript and I assumed the role of editor. While I knew her as a teenager, at 29, she had become a successful woman in the field of cyber security. When I first read her manuscript, it evoked such emotion that I wanted her to receive the best editing possible. I put my own personal projects on hold to be fully present for her work. We had a very rigorous editing schedule as LaChia wanted the book finished by her 30th birthday in February. It was November, which meant we had only 2 ½ months to get the book ready for print. To LaChia’s advantage, she chose a short book format that would appeal to 21st century readers who are accustomed to reading short articles on social media. She wanted to spread the story out over a series of short books understanding that her audience may not want to sit with a 400-page novel. This was a great strategy for moving her writing forward and I dove right into the manuscript.
When we completed our work together in January, Chocolate City Hood Diaries Vol. 1 emerged as a 63-page short novel that was taut and fast paced. I don’t read a lot of urban fiction, but from those I have read, LaChia’s book is able to compete with the best of them. Although it isn’t nearly as long as Sister Souljah’s The Coldest Winter Ever, the storytelling is just as compelling. As I reflect on my relationship with LaChia as her editor, I was emotionally overwhelmed knowing that even though the book was fiction, the elements of truth were there and LaChia had done what many girls had not, made it out of a ‘hood’ in Southeast DC. Chocolate City Hood Diaries Vol. 1 is just the beginning of a book series that will allow LaChia to not only make a significant mark in the world, but will inspire other young girls and women who find themselves in similar circumstances as the main character Jamie; trying to find their voice in the chaotic fragmented world in which they live.
LaChia’s first book signing for Chocolate City Hood Diaries, Volume 1 is Sunday March 17, 2019. I decided that it might be fun for her audience to get a glimpse into LaChia’s life by introducing the personality behind the book. So, I sent her a few questions and would like to share her answers with you. I am very grateful to have worked with this young writer and it is my hope that she continues to create and, of course, hire me. J Congratulations LaChia from one of your biggest fans! I am proud to call you a Sister Artist who is poised for greatness! To read more about Lachia Logan, visit her website www.lachialocagan.com and purchase Chocolate City Hood Diaries Vol. 1.
You are a member of an apocalyptic tribe, what special skill do you have that will support the survival of the tribe?
LaChia: My ability to be a strategic thinker and figure things out.
You can fight a cat the size of a horse, or 25 cats, which do you choose? Why?
LaChia: I would choose to fight 25 cats. It will take more energy and strength to fight off a cat the size of a horse. I am a firm believer in working smarter and not harder.
You are stranded on a train car after work, what music will help you survive 6 hours?
LaChia: Definitely 90’s R&B; or Jay -Z.
Your younger self is meeting your older self, what will you say?
LaChia: Don’t invest so much of your emotional well-being into others. Everyone will not continue on your journey with you.
How does art manifest in your life?
LaChia: Art manifests in my life through music, fashion, painting, and interior design.
What inspires you?
LaChia: I am inspired by black women who come from similar backgrounds as myself, and have built a successful entrepreneurial career monetizing from their skills and God given talent (e.i. Ming Lee, Ronne Brown, Taraji P. Henson).