Starlight, Star Bright
By Carin Chea
We are all familiar with the ageless rhyme, penned by an anonymous poet:
Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.
Just like the timeless poem, engineer, MBA recipient, and children's sci-fi adventure author, Starlight, illuminates and awakens the dark corners of our imaginations that have been clouded by the rigidity of reality.
In her newly released book, The Galactic Adventures of Hazel, Starlight reminds children (and adults) that everything is possible, and that imagination leads to invention.
I'm sure you get this all the time, but I've got to know: How did you get the name "Starlight?"
My given name is Sitara, and one of its meanings is "Starlight."
You're a software engineer and you also have an MBA. How did you get interested in writing?
After I received my MBA, I got into programming. I do a lot of coding for work. I have always had this block in my head that I can't write because that's something technical people just don't do.
But, one day, a thought came to me: I should write a book. All of a sudden, I got these ideas of galaxies and other planetary systems. I've always had this childhood fantasy of being an astronomer. I even used to ask my mom if there was life out there in distant galaxies. I think the enthusiasm and fascination came from my childhood. When I decided to write these books three years ago, all these ideas came back to me.
My book is all about technology and galactic travel in the 46th century. I took my software knowledge and transformed it in a way that would most likely fit in the 46th century.
I code a lot, and I felt that coding was very similar to writing. I enjoyed that because, in writing, there's a problem that needs to be solved. You start at chapter one, and along the way, you have to make the story as interesting as possible, with the main goal being, to come up with a solution. It's very similar to coding.
For a story, it's important to tie all loose ends together, so I think I've been able to put my MBA and analytical skills to good use. I also try as best as I can to make the plotline interesting to make the children turn pages.
Coding is science-related and left brain, and writing is creative and right brain. My friends ask me how I could do it, but I guess you just have to switch between left and right.
Tell us about the moment you got the inspiration or idea for The Galactic Adventures of Hazel.
I was terrified at first. I didn't know how to begin. It's not an easy task. My easy, go-to subjects are galaxies and the universe. I think it's from my upbringing and doing research on the solar system.
I used to read adventure stories like Harry Potter. All these adventure themes were in my mind. I wanted to put an adventure together that was space-themed.
Who did you model your protagonist, Hazel, after?
That's a good question. Hazel is a 12-year-old girl and I'm very curious by nature. I wanted a strong curiosity in Hazel. That way I have some room to play with the character and bring out other special qualities, like bravery and independence.
But, there's no one in particular I modeled her after. I wanted to write about a girl who is independent and has leadership qualities. Hazel takes care of her friends and she has leadership abilities that other girls and boys can relate to.
She's also a people-person, so children can relate to her and picture themselves going with Hazel and her adventures.
Who would play the main characters if your book were to become a film?
Hazel has a brother (Richie) and her best friend (Dimitri) who form a great team. The other supporting character is The Doorbell, which is an A.I. gadget. It has a pleasant personality, but it's always nosy.
It would be a series. So, if it was turned into movie, there would be a series of movies.
It would be wonderful to see them on the screen. Millie Bobbie Brown would be a great fit for Hazel.
I understand you've released Gurecoa, which is book one in the Hazel series. What does book two have in store for its readers?
Book two is currently going through the editing process. In it, the kids have to complete a school project, and Hazel, Dimitri and Richie and the other kids in the school go on an excursion to another planetary system to study the planets and the culture, technology, and the inhabitants. They need to come up with a final presentation and share it with their teachers as well as with the university on that planet.
Along the way, Hazel (being curious) will run into trouble and have an adventure of her own. This time, her cousins will join her and that takes the story to a whole new level.
Are you working on any other projects?
Currently, I'm going to stick to the Galactic Adventures. I'm still coming up with ideas for the third book. My intention is to come up with seven or eight books where you really get to know Hazel and her friends and the bizarre worlds they explore.
What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
I want to write these for kids because I want to celebrate their many great qualities. Kids have this can-do attitude. They have this positive mentality. I want kids to be able to relate to Hazel and her stories. Children should be able to relate to Hazel in some way, but it's in a different dimension since it's in the 46th century.
My book is about cultivating friendship and bonds. Imagination leads to great things, and who knows? It's also important to have an open mind. All these things in my book may be possible in the future. Imagination does lead to invention.
For more information on Starlight's current and upcoming works, please visit www.GalacticAdventuresOfHazel.com.
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel can also be found on Amazon.com.
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