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Friday, August 7, 2015

Miri Castor Opal Charm The Path to Dawn

Meet Miri Castor

Elle: Tell a little about yourself.

Miri: I’m in my twenties, born and raised in Brooklyn! I’m in my fourth year of college, and I’ve been studying biochemistry since freshman year. In my free time, I’m either working in the lab, revising a story, or watching my favorite TV shows, one of them How to Get Away with Murder; I indulge in Netflix shows too, like Black Mirror and Sense8. I enjoy reading action adventure and scifi fantasy books, but paranormal and horror books have become my guilty pleasures.  

Elle:  What can you tell us about Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn?

Miri: Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn is a novel I first wrote in the sixth grade. It’s a scifi fantasy, YA novel, but I think the content hits home for many adults around my age, and adults in general. Older teenagers can also relate to the protagonist’s social struggles as well. I had to revise it four times-twice in high school, twice in college. One of its major themes is to learn to accept the truth and that denying yourself of it not only hurts yourself, but the people around you.  

Elle: What was your inspiration for your novel, Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn?

Miri: I had many inspirations, I’ll compress them into three points. My first was the video games I played as a child, mainly Square Enix games. Their themes for my favorite game, Kingdom Hearts, really resonated with me. One of the general themes of Opal Charm, finding a balance between light and darkness, actually comes from this! My second inspiration was my own struggle in high school being a passive-aggressive doormat. I let people walk all over me to keep them happy. As a result, I channeled my frustrations into my protagonist, Opal. She said all the things I wanted to say when people blantly disrespected me; I gave her the encyclopedia of curse words. Fortunately, I mellowed out towards my freshman year of college. That brings me to my last inspiration, early life in college. 
I moved from lively Brooklyn to a collegetown practically in the middle of nowhere. Brooklyn is also a diverse city and my campus has a small population of black students. I felt isolated and depressed, I thought I wasn’t ever going to feel better. Part of the reason why I revised Opal Charm the fourth time was to encourage myself and cope with the isolation. I’m hoping that it can inspire people who are feeling- or have felt the same way-to reach out to people; I also want help those who are trying to escape that gaping pit of loneliness.  

Elle: What genre do you write and why?

Miri: Mainly scifi/and or fantasy. They are the first genres that left a mark on me. I write in those genres because it gives me boundless creativity for my stories. I can create anything I want, and then justify it with a bit of science so it isn’t too far-fetched. Most importantly, scifi and fantasy have always been sort of a background genre for me; they help me create an unique setting while I focus in on more human (or non-humans in the context of my novel) issues. Of course, you have to tie it into the plot imaginatively.

Elle: If a fiction writer, is any part of your book based on events in your life?

Miri: Yep! Opal’s school life at a parsimonious Catholic school is based on my years at such a Catholic school. The Thanksgiving Day Feast towards the book’s end reflects my own experiences during my lunch periods. I’m not bashing on Catholic schools, though! They made me the resourceful, well-rounded person I am today.

Elle: What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work?

Miri: Well it’s not officially published yet, so I’ll say what my greatest challenge is now-amassing interested readers. I have an idea of who’d be interested in my novel, but I know they’re primarily glued to hipster blogs on Tumblr, getting in on the latest Twitter feud, and liking pictures of food and sunsets on Instagram. Marketing is tedious and if not done properly, an author can end up investing money in something that they can’t get a financial and emotional profit from; even if a handful people go wild for my novel, I would make some emotional profit.

Elle: Do you have a favorite author or book?

Miri: So many. Currently, it’s Octavia Butler and her book Kindred. It’s a refreshing read from the many scifi books that tell the same story of a jaded, male protagonist who deals with the non-Earthlike world they live in. Butler’s writing style is fluid and descriptive, which is what I strive to have. 

Elle: Describe yourself in three words.

Miri: Pensive, considerate, funny!

Elle: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Miri: The island of Dominica. It’s a small island, the locals are friendly, and it’s a peaceful place. It’s also a good place for writers to focus on their work, there are very little distractions compared to collegetown and New York.

Find Miri Castor

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