Author Interview "Starlight"
Starlight is the author of the series The Galactic Adventures of Hazel, which is an inspiration from her fascination of Space and the Unknown, ever since her childhood. Through this series, she wants to bring imaginative adventures from different nooks and crannies of the universe to young readers. She currently lives in California and she is also a software engineer.
Did your upbringing inspire the story of your book? Growing up I have always been very much interested in outer space and the workings of the universe. I remember as a little girl, I used to ask my mom if there was life out there in far-off galaxies and if there were people like us living on distant worlds. My mom encouraged me to keep an open mind for all possibilities. As a little girl, I also came to know, and the news thoroughly disappointed me, that we don’t have the technology necessary for galactic travels and most of the universe still remains a mystery to us. Years later, when I wrote the book, I was able to get back a sense of childhood adventure and curiosity about Space and live my childhood dream of traveling through the cosmos through my imagination! My parents always encouraged me to be independent, resourceful and to have a problem solving mentality. As a kid they didn’t confine my thinking into a stereotype or into a limited box so to speak. Naturally, the adventure story I have written has ideas out of the box, not to mention having a girl as the main protagonist. I was disappointed when I used to read as a child the adventure novels because they didn’t have a girl as the main character of the plot. So there you have it, "The Galactic Adventures of Hazel."
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I never knew I would be a writer until I decided to write The Galactic Adventures of Hazel. Coming from a technical background I had this huge block in my head when it came to writing and the funny part was I was encouraging everyone else to write books on fantasy and fiction. But one day this thought came to me that I should write a book. Initially it was intimidating and I had no clue how to go about, but as I started writing, the ideas and all the rest began to flow.
Tell me a bit about your journey as a writer. As a writer I felt that I needed to give a lot of commitment and even when I’m not writing, I’m constantly on the lookout for ideas. Sometimes small things trigger your imagination, I may be looking at a bird’s nest while out for a walk and suddenly a grand scene unfolds in my mind. Writing has also made me become more attentive to people’s personalities, interactions and reactions.
Writing takes me to another world. Even though I’m the one creating the galactic adventures and worlds, I can’t help myself but feel that I’m actually going on an adventure with Hazel and friends. I create one scene or a vignette and it’s sometimes funny that I start feeling anxious or thrilled as the story unfolds. I used to think that it is only the readers that feel these emotions but I have to say as a creator of this story, I can’t seem to be doing a great job of excluding myself from experiencing this roller coaster ride.
You are a software engineer and have an MBA. How do you think that has influenced your writing? I owe a lot what I have created in the book about the 46th century and the technological advancements to my software engineering background and knowledge. I use it as a base – what is now, to develop ideas as to what it could be. Personally, I feel that writing is very similar to coding. When you code, you start with a problem that needs a solution. You start writing your code from say point A and end at point B. All along the way you optimize the best route and approach to take, in order to come to the solution. I felt story writing to be very similar to it however it is much more enjoyable because you will be the creator of everything: the problem, the route from A to B and the solution. In a story it is important to tie everything together, to have a sense of suspense, to provide sound analysis and justification. For this I’ve put all my MBA skills to good use.
Your book is called “The Galactic Adventures of Hazel.” Do you relate to your character, Hazel? Partly. I am curious by nature and I wanted Hazel to have that curiosity, to want to learn, to know new stuff thus getting herself into trouble. That way I wanted to project her strong characteristics of being genuine, brave, adventurous, optimistic, independent, and a people-person so that children could easily relate to her.
What draws you in to writing children's books? Kids are amazing people. They are adventurous and love to question everything. They have a can-do attitude in life. I want to celebrate these wonderful qualities in children by writing the series: The Galactic Adventures of Hazel. I want kids to feel thrilled and happy going on an imaginary ride of galactic adventures. Through these stories, kids can make a personal connection to their day-to-day activities such as going to school, having fun with friends, visiting a theme park, using their cell phone, but at the same time enjoy a different dimension that this galactic world brings.
What would you like your readers to take away from this book? I want the readers to dream big, dream of healthy possibilities in life. And, it would be so cool to see if people actually make these galactic travels a reality in the near future!
What is in the future for your writing career? I’m planning to write a series of books on The Galactic Adventures of Hazel. Currently I’m working on the second book where Hazel and her friends go on a school excursion to another star system. So there is plenty of action and adventure, nothing less than spectacular, in store in the series.
"The Galactic Adventures of Hazel" What is it like to live in 4519 AD in a suspended town in the Earth's Stratosphere and commute to school in your Inter Galactic Vehicle? How far do the adventures take you? In this story, you will find yourself traveling with Hazel, Richie and their alien best friend, Dmitri, on an exciting roller coaster ride of electrifying but perilous adventures from Mars to Enceladus, from Gly to Drethna. You will have to deal with the annoying doorbell, alien creatures and beings, while on a journey to understanding what Gurecoa is. ""An interesting take on the future in a well-crafted tale that integrates what education, technology, business, and everyday living might be like a few centuries from now. Throw in space travel and interactions with beings from other planets and it is a science fiction page-turner. Some might scoff at some of the ideas for the future but some scoffed at Jules Verne and Arthur Clarke, yet some of their 'crazy ideas' have become reality."" - Ed Massey, Retired Project Manager for Voyager & NASA Manager for Ulysses