What’s your book about?
The god-like Celestian Knights are doomed! They are about to meet their greatest enemy, the Lore, in their last battle. But so their legacy survives, they send their children, the Starguards: Novan, Sceptre, Altair, Decion, Alpha Rion, Astara, Cirrius, and Urana to a new universe. This book chronicles their survival and lives on new worlds even as the Lore seek them out.
Soon the Starguards find they are not alone and are thrust into conflict with time-travelling rivals: the Astrals, echo through Earth’s 23rd century war with the Axalan Empire, find themselves cast as mistrustful superheroes on Earth; and are flung into a universal apocalypse in the far future facing the ultimate destiny-defining battle against enemies never thought to have existed.
Who is the central character and what problem are they trying to solve?
There is not one central character. The Starguards are very much a group and each have their storylines during the trilogy of books. They are busy trying to keep their civilisation safe while deliberating why they aren’t godlike like their parents instead of trying to be of the people (much like the loss of absolute monarchy in our age). Personalities differ and conflicts arise in power games and secret agendas.
Other central characters are Deb the Sky Warrior, Commander Lynn Kellis, Aristedes and Zane, Marquis Edgar de la Valtare, Dr Van Tager, Simon Exmoor, and Xaul Relentus. They all have major roles and agendas which will impact the Starguards for better or worse during the whole series.
What inspired the storyline to your novel?
Well, two questions below answers this – I can’t exactly remember as it was so long ago, but I would guess it’s an amalgam of my imagination, TV shows I had watched as a kid (original Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek and Doctor Who) and comic books (X-Men, Defenders, The Elementals, Futurions, Justice League, etc) I had read. I like mythic history, superheroes and science/science fiction so why not combine them all.
Why do you like writing in this genre?
I love the scope sci-fi can offer and the fantastic worlds that can exist anywhere, anytime. But usually humans are still humans and have the same issues no matter how powerful they are or what technology, powers, or alien environment surrounds them. (Though the Starguards aren’t humans – interactions with humans will have a huge impact on them!)
How long did it take you to write your novel?
30-odd years! I was a school-kid trying to create comic books which didn’t work out so I decided to write a novel. But moving between Canada and the US, being in the army, and starting Uni and then work just cut down on time with the type-writer, font-writer, and laptop. I still have original stories on floppy disks! I hope the next books don’t take so long to write!
Which do you prefer to do first and why, Character or Plot?
When I first began writing it was the characters that popped into my mind first and what their costumes were. Names and costumes would come to me in dreams (of course forgetting most of them when I awoke) but when the characters were established the plot followed on from their goals and agendas. Now, I can truly say it’s the characters which prefer to tell me what the plot is nowadays!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Ending it! I was working as a concierge in 2010 and the ending came to me as I was at the desk. After 30-odd years I finally knew how my book was going to end. It had all come together and I knew I hadn’t wasted my time. That’s surprising even though I had already written loads for the 2nd book and a bit for the third.
What did you research the most while writing this book?
I didn’t research much. I knew a bit about Greek mythology so used that, but I’m not a hard-science writer. So there’s no ‘how to grow potatoes on Mars to survive’ moments. My tech is pretty much made up and exotic, like crystalators and thanium. I did look up some cities and maps to get locations right, but it wasn’t an in depth process.
What did you do before becoming a writer?
I was a student in New York at the time of its start. During the writing of the book, I was in the Army, then studied archaeology, and after worked various customer service roles. All afforded me time to write, though I found I wrote a lot more during exam time at Uni which was not always convenient, but I suppose the creative juices were flowing so just went with it.
For those who have not discovered your novel, how would you describe it to them to get them interested?
I always say it’s Greek mythology meets Battlestar Galactica meets Justice League America.
What’s a typical writing day like for you?
I’m a night owl. While I might think of ideas or write them down during the day, my main writing time is between 9-11pm. I’m relaxed, fed and watered, TV out of the way (I rarely watch TV after 9pm – I record a lot), and get the social media stuff done before. It also helps if I’m listening to music, mostly hard rock/heavy metal. A few of the short stories/poems were written to music and it also helps with the mood of the characters/plot. And sometimes after I’ll dream stories/characters, again trying to recapture what was pure gold in dreams but getting only 1% of it by the time I’m awake!
Who’s your favourite character arc of all time?
It has to be Captain James Tiberius Kirk. There have been many fictional Captains before him (some of whom he was based upon) and there have been many since (some of whom were based on him). But his name and exploits just put him in a different category. And of course a lot of that comes from William Shatner (a character in his own right!) who translated writers’ words into the ultimate combination of personality, action hero with a never-say-die attitude and strong leadership who was also a flawed man who valued true friendship and who had an unmistakable, and, unique, gift, of… speech! All space-based Captains owe a great debt to him!
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I am working on the second book – The Starguards: Earth Legacy and have some written for the third book. I have also started a new book about Sci-Fi TV, which I hope will become the all-time best companion book for all sci-fi TV lovers. And I am outlining a new sci-fi series to start next year possibly as a screenplay.
What is the theme or take home message of your book?
Hmm, life is not just fate, it is what you make it…
Thank you for your time.
Raymond Burke is a British-born author – The Starguards being his first novel. His background includes an early life in Canada and the US, employment in the British Army as an aircraft technician, an MSc degree in Archaeology from University College London, and short-article writing. He is also a member of The Mars Society. Raymond cunningly lives without a fridge, satellite TV, iPods/iPads, and he also can’t drive. He’s a self-confessed 21st century caveman . . . and loves it! Through all, he has been a keen and aspiring writer. He currently lives in London.
Facebook Author Page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/706069159502316/ I have a Starguards Group page. Members are added by me or members or can request to join.
Amazon Author Page: