StarPassage: Heroes and Martyrs
The award-winning StarPassage saga continues with the relic guiding the Carsons to a new and desperate family. Two brothers, Bobby and Mike, are struggling after a tragic accident turns their world upside down.
Join our heroes on a series of dangerous adventures to solve the relic's riddles, save lives, escape the ever-increasing Tracker threat, and experience some of the most dreadful and exciting moments in history.
Will they learn from the past--should they change it if they can? Is there any hope for survival?
Just like the first book, I enjoyed this book. It was nice to see Tim and Martie again. They were first introduced in book one. This time they are taking what they learned about the star and applying it to help Bobby and his older brother, Mike.
As was the situation with the first book, the star had a lot to share with Bobby and Mike. Again, each place that the group traveled, they met different people who were valuable to the brothers and the healing process. Yet, the traveling is not without some dangers. This includes "trackers". They are bad people who want the star. The main one is Clynt. He will stop at nothing to get his hands on the star.
I am proud to share these books with my nephews. Not only because these books are good reading but they also have lessons that they can learn from. I can't wait to get my hands on the third book to see if Clynt does get the star. The author really brings to life rich characters and great storylines in his writing.
1. What inspired you to create this series? A silver star at the top of my son’s family Christmas tree a couple of years ago. It was a beautiful setting as they placed it at the top and I commented that there was a good story there somewhere. The idea kept bouncing around in my head and then combined with the difficulties we experienced when I was growing up with what I now have come to understand was my Father’s struggle with PTSD from his experiences in the Korean War. Within a month the story was well underway. I wanted people, especially children who struggle to feel there is real hope that they can overcome family challenges and personal challenges. This book provides such hope and encouragement I believe.
2. How would you describe the characters Bobby and Mike? Brothers and best friends. Bobby looks up to and idolizes Mike, his older brother. They are also competitive and both try to outdo each other especially at surfing. Bobby is devastated and guilty as a result of the accident and injury to Mike. He feels responsible. They struggle together as a team to move forward.
3. How would you explain the dynamic between Bobby, Mike and the Carsons? How does it evolve through the book? Bobby first comes into contact with Tim and it is a very rough interaction at first. With a lot of work Bobby comes around and the Carsons meet Mike. Their relationships grow through experiencing passages together and surviving difficult trials together. The families grow closer as they learn through their shared experiences more about each other as well as themselves.
4. What was the most rewarding moment you experienced in writing StarPassage: Book Two, Heroes and Martyrs? The experience of Bobby and Mike meeting their ancestor in person and (spoiler) saving his life. The moment when Grandpa Chris also meets his Father for the first time is also touching. There is another moment when Mike has the opportunity to turn the clock back and avoid the accident that paralyzed him and chooses not to do it. These insights were moving to me when they burst upon the stage of my mind. I hope readers will feel the spirit of these moments just as I did. The book is full of these kinds of moments.
5. What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing this book? It’s always tough to write a squeal. It’s a satisfying challenge to develop the story and characters, introduce new characters and ratchet up the adventure and excitement. You can’t just do the same thing over again. The story needs to move forward as do the characters and as they do it opens doors to more excitement and meaningful experiences for the reader and the author.
6. What does your writing process look like? I don’t really set an outline per se. I like to write as if I am experiencing the story as the characters do. This means I don’t know what I will discover when I round the bend. It makes it very exciting for me to write and I can hardly wait to get back to it. In a way it is like what I hope my readers experience when they put my book down, I hope they can’t wait to find out what’s next. This also keeps me from experiencing writer’s block.
7. What type of research did you do? Research for any book is critical. However, it is more complex when you involve the Present as well as historical settings. Researching the D-Day Parachute drops and the 101st airborne, the attack on the twin towers in 2001 and the interaction with the Riders were both interesting and touching. My interview with Creighton and Lisa Rider was a wonderful and touching experience. They are delightful to speak with and inspirational. I really hope that comes through in the book and encourages support for those courageous souls who battle disease or injury for which there is no clear cure. Life goes on and can still be incredibly meaningful and make a difference even though we are through curve balls.
8. What drew you to the genre of young adult fantasy adventure? I believe young adults and middle readers need exciting reading that also inspires and uplifts with strong well designed characters that can be identified with and respected. They are not superheroes but rather regular people that demonstrate the power each of us have within to bravely stand for what we believe, have hope and the faith that we are never alone. I believe my books can make a difference with young adults and help give them direction, purpose and a reason to become something more than they otherwise might have been.
9. What is the key to attracting young readers? I believe they want to have a story that transports them to an adventure where the can find something of themselves in the characters and identify with the process and thereby absorb the lessons so they can apply them in their own life. It is not just about attracting, rather it is about holding attention with real stories that compel and inspire. Making them memorable and raising their expectations in life and their courage in stepping up to do hard things. I believe all young people are better off if they learn that they can accomplish hard things. Too much of writing in literature and on the screen has become lazy due to over-reliance on CGI and gratuitous violence, profanity, immorality or cheap crude humor. Young people respond better to a well written story, dialogue and good writing than anything else. A story and characters that draw them in and move them along make all the difference.
10. What has been one of your own greatest adventures? By far my greatest adventure has been marrying my wife Leah which created a blended family of 10 children overnight. It has been wonderful and full of unexpected twists and turns almost daily. This wild ride of course continues. We have overcome great challenges along the way and have much still to accomplish but it has been something we have done together and we both cherish every day, every challenge and every joy. Oh and by the way…they just keep on coming…
11. StarPassage: Book Two, Heroes and Martyrs continues with the relic guiding the Carsons to two brothers, Bobby and Mike, and through a series of dangerous adventures through time to solve the relic's riddles, save lives, and escape the ever-increasing Tracker threat. If you were able to travel back in time to any moment in history, which would you choose? I have thought a lot about that and always seem to come to one situation. I would like to stand at the tomb of Lazarus as he steps out having been raised from the dead by Jesus to a life where he is named public enemy number 2 just behind the Savior himself. I would like to get to know Lazarus and understand better his motivation and how Jesus changed his life and especially learn about what happened following the great event at his tomb and how he carried on after the Savior was Crucified and Resurrected.
12. Which writers inspired you as a kid? Which writers inspire you today? As a kid I read a lot of Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury (Sci-Fi). In my 20’s and 30’s I enjoyed more of Tolkien and CS Lewis as well as history and historical fiction. Nowadays I am always reading a couple of books trying to appreciate good writing styles and discovering interesting parts of history.
13. When do you expect the next installment of the series to come out? I am working on Book Three of the series now. I am very excited where the tale is going and am about 2/3’s through. It is an adventure every day. I expect to submit it to the publisher this summer and have it available summer of 2018. My wife, Leah, and I are also excited about our book on Blended Families that we are finishing together. We are looking for a great publisher that has interest in bringing something truly ground-shaking and inspiring to the ever-increasing world of the needs of blended families. Every person is touched in some way by what we call the “Family Blender”. We believe our 10 principles of a successful blended family will truly make a difference.