Ryka Aoki’s novel “Light from Uncommon Stars” shines on a diverse San Gabriel valley – Press Telegram

In Rika Aoki’s novel “The Light of a Rare Star”, the essential instrument of the plot is the real instrument. The violin appears in the story as part of a tort transaction, a source of competition and a tool of empowerment.

Set in the San Gabriel Valley, the speculative fiction work “Light From Uncommon Stars” combines elements of folklore and science fiction as three women strive to balance tradition and modernity. I am. Life; The genius of music Shizuka Satomi turned to a teacher with decency. Ran Trang, the owner of a donut shop and the captain of a spaceship.

Aoki, who grew up in Rosemead, said he was drawn to writing about the area in his book. Explain the differences and diversity of the Monterey Park neighborhood in San Marino, and stop at real-world landmarks such as Lapuente’s Donut Hall, Santa Anita Plaza of Arcadia, San Gabriel River Freeway, also known as highway name 605.

“Because we’re so widespread, places like the San Gabriel Valley can thrive and create these very vibrant and, in a sense, self-sustaining communities that mirror the people who are there. She said, “I wanted to convey some of that perspective to the reader.”

It pays homage to local events such as the Camellia Festival in Temple City and over 75 years of history. Aoki points out how the consistency and detail of local events change, but they last for years after they start.

“I think we crave a sense of tradition no matter where we’re from,” says the author, who is now based in Hollywood.

Aoki has a deep understanding of the violin and is surprised to find out that she is, in fact, a pianist. She studied the violin as part of her study “Light From Uncommon Stars”, and her enthusiasm for musical instruments is contagious in books and recent phone conversations.

“The violin does everything the piano can’t. It can vibrate. It can be a glissando, ”she says. “He can do all kinds of cool things. “

Aoki visited a violin store, learned how to make musical instruments, and incorporated the smell of varnish into the workshop. However, the greatest influence on the novel was that it actually played an instrument. For months she quit the piano and focused on the violin.

“I think such research must have been acquired by learning to play the violin,” she says. “I must have had my coldness.”

During his research, Aoki had a deep moment of self-discovery that would eventually help shape one of the themes of the novel. Transgender Aoki explains that he uses the upper vocal register when speaking.

“Getting into the bass makes me a little uncomfortable. It doesn’t sound like the voice I want, ”she said.

As she played the violin, she noticed that the instrument also served as a voice. “The violin is so delicate, yet nuanced and so powerful that I could play it, sing it, or even drop it and sing,” she explains.

It was a moving discovery for Aoki. “I don’t think it’s the quality of my performance. I don’t think I’m there yet, ”she said of the revelation. “I think it was the freedom, the possibilities and the ideas that finally made me feel like I was in my head. I felt it was fair, ”she explains. “So I wanted to pass that on to one of my characters, Katrina, because I knew what it would be like to monitor my voice 24/7. Because it’s really hard.”

When the characters came back to life on the “Light of a Rare Star” page, Aoki relied on the ideas he had learned in Santa Monica College.

“I teach students all kinds of background stories, all kinds of different abilities, all kinds of different strengths and weaknesses. Some of them were injured by other teachers and their high schools. Some like English. Somehow I have to make it a cohesive class and let everyone learn something, ”she says. “What I try to do sometimes is just listen. At the end, the class tells me what it is. It has helped me for years.

Ultimately, the experience led to a book full of richly developed characters from a variety of backgrounds that exist in a fantasy world and deeply rooted in real places and times.

“I would be happy if you read my book, but what I wanted to allow in this book was to make you a paradoxical and multifaceted me”, explains her reader Aoki. to augment. “Maybe it will help them see themselves a little more in my work. “

Ryka Aoki’s novel “Light from Uncommon Stars” shines on a diverse San Gabriel valley – Press Telegram Ryka Aoki’s novel “Light from Uncommon Stars” shines on a diverse valley of San Gabriel – Press Telegram

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