Clark Burbidge is the author of StarPassage: The Relic:
Teenagers Tim and Martie are desperate to end their parents’ downward spiral. Between their father’s PTSD and their mother’s depression, their family has reached a breaking point.
Then an ancient Christmas ornament reveals its secrets, sending the siblings across the centuries on a search for hope. But Tim and Martie aren’t the only ones hunting through time. They’re being watched by dark figures—Trackers doomed to haunt history. These Trackers believe the teens’ ornament is their key to freedom, and they will do whatever it takes to steal it.
What begins as an exciting adventure becomes a deadly race. Can Tim and Martie find the answers they seek before their enemy finds them?
Read on for an interview with Clark.
S.R.: What inspired you to write StarPassage?
C.B.: 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 removed it from its wrapping and placed it at the top and I commented what a beautiful setting and that there might be 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 and personal challenges. This book provides such hope and encouragement I believe.
S.R.: The main characters, Tim and Martie Carson, have to deal with their parent’s struggles with PTSD and depression. What kind of research did you do for StarPassage?
C.B.: This book required much more extensive research on several levels than any of my previous works. Firstly, when dealing with conditions as much in the news as PTSD and depression it is important to not only get it right but also to educate in a hopeful and uplifting manner and still avoid turning it into a textbook. This is a fictional adventure after all. I seek to engender hope and confidence through my books so library and online research were important as well as interviews and reviews by military and medical personnel with hands on experience. Secondly, it was necessary to research each of the historical periods represented in the Carson’s travels. These covered experiences as diverse as Colonial America to the contemporary Middle East. Each period and event required singular focus to bring it to life in a way that feels real so that the reader may credibly walk along side the Carsons in their desperate struggle.
S.R.: What do you hope readers take away from StarPassage?
C.B.: I believe young adults and middle readers need exciting reading that also inspires and uplifts with strong well developed characters that can be identified with and related to. Such characters 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. When faced with insurmountable odds or impossible challenges such characters, like us, stand up and face their fears and by so doing learn they can overcome. 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. If they can identify with the characters then the chance that they will absorb some of the lessons is more likely. And a lesson absorbed becomes part of who you are and changes you in a positive way. Finally, I hope that young people will be inspired that they can accomplish hard things and that they are never alone in doing so. They have a Father in Heaven who walks with them each step of the way.
S.R.: What can readers expect in the rest of The Relic series?
C.B.: Book two is ready to submit to the publisher and will be available summer 2017. I am working on book three at this writing. The next book will again involve travels to interesting and dangerous places and require new solutions to new and difficult problems. It will introduce new characters as the relic’s attention turns to the needs of another family although the Carson family will still be involved. With new historical settings as the backdrop the Trackers will pursue the holders of the relic with desperate and cunning purpose. There are heartfelt moments that will bring silent and tearful reflection, awe inspiring moments that will engender appreciation for sacrifices made for our freedom and examples of the tremendous power and influence of the Trackers over the careless soul. Disappearances, death, near-death and hares-breadth escapes will keep readers on the edge of their seat. But through it all is hope in the midst of trial and a message that the courage and faith of common humans can make all the difference.
Clark Burbidge was born and raised in the mountain valleys of the Rockies. He earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS from the University of Utah. Clark and his wife, Leah, live near Salt Lake City, Utah, where they enjoy their blended family of ten children and five grandchildren. StarPassage is Clark’s seventh book. His award-winning works include the Giants in the Land trilogy and A Piece of Silver: A Story of Christ.