Guest Author Alumni Speaks at Benicia High

By: Tara Thompson

Are you interested in Fantasy? Does a magical town full of secrets seem interesting to you? Then you’ll love Starling. A newly published book by a Benicia High School Alumni, Isabel Strychacz. Strycharz has lived here since she was 3 years old and used a lot of inspiration from her hometown for creating her small town for the book in rural California. Where the landscape is based on the small towns in Yosemite, mostly by a town called Bishop where she had recently visited and knew instantly it was the perfect place to base her book on.

This book, interesting enough, stemmed from a writing prompt in her creating writing class in college. Something as simple as a prompt about a cake in the road led to the creation of Starling. What was supposed to be a one-page story about said cake, Strycharz wrote 7. She eventually started writing the book in November of 2017 and Finished it in January of 2018. It took a month to get it published and another year for her to get a deal with a company. 

Strycharz has been writing since she was 5 years old, saying it “always felt like something I wanted to do.” Strycharz was surprised at how easy it was to write Starling, seeing as it was harder for her to pitch other book ideas to her agent. 

It took 2 whole years of editing and rewriting to eventually end up with the original prompt that started the whole book to be taken out. The title is something that also changed during this duration, originally being Rust due to a character named Starling Rust, her editors decided to change it to be more eye-catching which she reluctantly agreed to. 

Strycharz started studying creative writing in a college in Oakland, where she met her future husband. Though she had no previous experience of these classes in high school, she always regretted not taking the opportunity she had to take these classes earlier in her life. She wanted to write for herself when she was in high school, which she did. She didn’t show anyone her writing, but in the end, it didn’t matter if she took these classes or not because she ended up in the exact place she wanted; a published Author. 

Now Strycharz is living in England with her husband. She took this move as an opportunity to write constantly and be introduced to a new euphoric atmosphere. A perfect place to write a masterpiece.   

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