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If you have not read the first three books of my Star Saga series, don’t read this interview. You have been warned.
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I’ve had some folks curious as to what is going on in the Star Saga and why certain things are the way they are. This happens whenever I pick up a new group of readers brave enough to read through the series. So this “interview” is an attempt to answer these common questions.
Just what is the reading order of your books anyway? I mean some of them are numbered books and some are not and there’s that anthology. What gives?
When I wrote my first book I set it in the middle of a thousand year old war between the human led Alliance and the Votainion Empire. That book was Starstrikers. I later decided to make a trilogy of trilogies just like Star Wars. This would make Starstrikers, book four. So I went back and wrote book one – Starforgers. Then I didn’t think I’d ever get to the third trilogy, so I wrote the first book of that final trilogy – Starveyers. Each trilogy is separated by about 500 years. So the main characters in each trilogy are all different and the trilogies are set in three different eras. You could look at them as Pre-War, War and Post-War Eras.
Before I wrote Starforgers, I wrote a series of Space Western short stories about a Stellar Ranger named, Devon Ardel. I decided that she would be my protagonist for the first trilogy. Those short stories all take place on the planet Ocherva and the anthology of them is called Tales from Ocherva, Volume One. I may eventually release a Volume Two. Don’t hold your breath though.
After I finished Starforgers I went on and wrote The Rising and Counterattack to finish up the first trilogy. Those are the numbered books, 1-3 of the Star Saga. While I was writing The Rising, I realized that I had more story than would fit in a single novel, so I took out a whole storyline about the Empress of Voton and that became the novella, The Blood Empress. I later realized that I could do the same thing for my protagonist and create a nifty little aviation story about her days as an Alliance starfighter pilot. Thus was born Devon’s Blade novella.
After writing five books in the first trilogy, I decided to write a Book Zero in order to bring in new fans to my series. That’s when I wrote Corvette. Corvette takes place about thirty years before Starforgers and has a fresh new cast. I left that one open ended because I knew I had some time to play with before the war started in Starforgers. I’ll eventually write two more Corvette books to make a Zero Trilogy.
So here again is the reading order and the timeline of the series so far:
Tales From Ocherva
Starforgers, Book 1
The Rising, Book 2
The Blood Empress
Counterattack, Book 3
This pattern or algorithm will continue for the middle trilogy, and the final trilogy. Starforgers Trilogy (500 years) Starstrikers Trilogy (500 years) Starveyers Trilogy.
Okay, so the Starforgers Trilogy is all about the main character of Devon Ardel. Tell us about her and what makes her compelling as a main character.
Devon is a tough woman. She’s had a hard life growing up with a Senator for a mother and a Stellar Ranger legend for a father. She wound up rebelling against both of her parents and becoming engaged to a dashing young man who was later killed by pirates. To avenge her fiance’s death, she joined her father’s Rangers and came to the Outer Rim world of Ocherva to find the pirate who murdered him. At the start of Starforgers her best friend, Hap is killed by Votainions. To avenge Hap’s death Devon joins the military and goes off to fight the ruthless blue skinned Votainions.
In Starforgers we first meet Devon as she is about to kill a pirate in cold blood. Hap talks her down. Later in the story Devon meets the pirate who killed her fiance and she nearly fillet’s him. But is stopped by cooler heads. Still hot with revenge for Hap, Devon eventually meets the leader of the Votainion invasion force who killed Hap. But nobody is there to stop her from killing him in cold blood. The event has a profoundly negative effect on Devon and she would later suffer from PTSD.
In The Rising, we take a time out from the newly started war in order to deal with the death of Devon’s mother, apparently at the hands of a Silicant. Most of that novel is about Devon coming to terms with her own killing of an innocent man as an innocent Silicant is destroyed for killing her mother. The Rising is about the search for equality by the Silicants and about Devon’s ability to deal with her own PTSD. At the end of The Rising, Devon is off to command school to learn to be a starship captain.
Counterattack takes place about five years after The Rising and now Devon is a seasoned starship captain and defending the newly minted Alliance from a huge invasion by the insane Blood Empress of Voton. Devon is still dealing with her issues of killing an unarmed man but now she has to protect a child born of the man she had killed. And so her journey comes full circle. In the end, the enemy strikes her down. Because this trilogy was about Devon, I didn’t want her living on after this and having readers begging for more Devon. We must clean the slate and set the stage for the middle of the war.
Because Devon was so compelling though, I decided to write the novella about her fighter pilot days – Devon’s Blade. So we have a nice little self contained story about her going after a Votainion Ace and dealing with a maverick pilot not unlike her younger self.
I did the same thing with Empress Nykostra in The Blood Empress. We learn why she was so crazy in Counterattack and what got her to that point. TBE is a coming of age story for someone who is essentially the heavy of the series. Can we relate to the bad woman as easily as we relate to Devon, the good woman? TBE answers that question.
Okay, so what’s next in the Star Saga? Are you picking up after Starstrikers and telling another story about Centar, Dekka, Kiloe and Tamia?
Yes! But first I’m going to try and do a collection of short stories that will set up the events in Book 5. I’ve already written a few of these stories and I hope to finish them up this year and release them next Spring. I believe the title will be Trader Tales, Volume One. Then I’ll start writing XiniX, Book 5 of the Star Saga and the second book of the Starstrikers Trilogy. But in the meantime, I have another novella set in between Starstrikers and XiniX and I will be releasing that this summer. It’s called K’nat Trap and it features Kiloe and Tamia. I’m in the process now of fleshing out the story arch for that trilogy and outlining XiniX.
Here is the coming read order for the Starstrikers Trilogy:
Trader Tales, Volume One
Starstrikers, Book 4
XiniX, Book 5
NexGen, Book 6
Who is the main character of the Starstrikers Trilogy? We’ve read that book and it looks like it might be Centar.
Kiloe, because he stands to change the most over the six or seven years the trilogy takes place. He’s one of the protagonists of K’nat Trap and will be in a position to take over the Alpha Team by the time XiniX takes place. So there’s your answer. The anthology, Trader Tales will deal with Joules Rouse who was introduced in the Tales From Ocherva book and Kiloe. We might see Kiloe as a younger man and will probably meet Sloan, who died in Starstrikers. Should be lots of cool stories in that one and I must write them before taking on XiniX.
Anything else you’d like to say about the Star Saga at this time?
I have a thing for fighter pilots, I always wanted to be one. So there are three books about starfighter pilots in this series. Devon’s Blade, K’nat Trap and Vickens from the Starveyors Trilogy. The inspiration for Devon’s Blade was WWII fighter planes. Anyone who’s read that one will see that right away. For K’nat Trap it’s more of a carrier warfare story. So I guess the inspiration comes from Navy carrier based fighter pilots of any era. The final book is about retired fighter pilots and the folks who play the Opposition Forces in war games. Maybe someday I can bundle those three books under the Starfighter Pilots banner.