Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Road to Hell by Christopher C. Starr


Christopher C. Starr is the author of The Road to Hell: The Book of Lucifer, the first novel in the Heaven Falls series. These stories examine the God’s relationship with Heaven and Earth, told through the eyes of the angels. The next book in the series, Come Hell or Highwater, is scheduled for late 2012/early 2013.

Chris makes it a point to look at the dark side of his characters, both heroes and villains, and his work explores the “grey”—that place where good and evil come together in all of us.

When he’s not being chased out of churches, Chris enjoys comic books and movies, staying away from cemeteries, and poorly participating in P90X. He lives in Seattle with his wife, two kids (The Boy and the Honey Badger), and his huskies, Rocky the Wonder Dog and his colorful sidekick, Leylah Redd. You can check out his blog at

The Road to Hell: The Book of Lucifer
You already know my name and, yes, I am that Lucifer. Fall from Heaven, Garden of Eden, ruler of Hell, Satan, the Devil, the Adversary, blah blah blah. I am the one you condemned without, what do you call it? A fair trial. Forget what you think you know: I want to tell my side of the story. The Road to Hell is all about how a pathetic group of short-sighted angels kicked me out of Heaven.

Humans are naturally curious and I suspect you’re asking ‘why now?’ Well, He has a book and it’s been pretty successful, so I figured what the hell? Found a ghostwriter and gave it a go. After all, the story is fantastic! It has everything you clods of dirt crave: a love story, a little sex, intrigue. Murder. War. Lots of blood. And a cast of characters you already know and love—Michael, Gabriel, Raphael—along with a host of others. Even has a special guest appearance by the Father and that damned boy.So, let’s get down to business or brass tacks or whatever colloquialism works for you. I have plenty to say and plenty of time: The Road to Hell is just the first in a series of novels about my experience with Him, with my brothers and sisters, with you. If you’re interested in featuring me, reach out to the pile of dust below; if not, well, I’ll see you soon.


When did you first know you wanted to write?
I figured it out when I was little. My brother and I convinced my father to take us to see Alien when I was six. Big mistake—kinda. The movie scared the mess outta me. I didn’t even see the whole movie at that time: I saw everything until the facehugger jumped on John Hurt’s face, then spent the next 20 minutes peeking through my father’s fingers. Until the chestburster jumped out of Hurt’s chest. Then we were through. What I remember about that experience, after I reconciled my fear, was wanting to do that to people. To make them feel something with the thoughts in my head.


I can honestly say I've never seen another book written from Lucifer's point of view. Where did the idea come from for Road to Hell?
I absolutely am not the first author to take on the subject matter and even Milton tries to write Lucifer’s part from his point of view. There are couple books that take his point of view but most them don’t deal with his fall, they address the aftermath or work it in through flashbacks and memory. It’s always something that already happened. Those contemporary authors that do take on the subject write around Lucifer, trying to get at the larger picture. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to be original.


The idea for the story honestly woke me up as a dream. I could hear Lucifer saying “The Father is wrong!” and I could see Michael wielding his sword, ending the madness. It wouldn’t leave me alone. And, in the beginning, it was Michael’s story. I was really interested in what he must have gone through having to be the one to actually exile Lucifer from Heaven. But after I wrote the first draft and shared it, everyone around me said Lucifer was the best part and he was the one they wanted to hear from.  Upon rewrite, I really got into the character, really heard his voice. Really made it his story.

I initially wrote it as a screenplay. I thought I was writing a movie until I met a guy who was presenting a workshop on religion in film at the Sundance Film Festival (The Passion of the Christ had just come out and did much better at the box office than expected). He asked me to flesh it out into a novel. I think you can tell in the pacing of the book: it’s faster, moves from scene to scene, written a little leaner. Much more dialogue.


How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
A few experiences have really colored who I am as an author. A lot of it is the movies and comics I saw as a kid. You’ll see a lot of action, a summer blockbuster approach to my subject matter. I see my stories visually and try to give the reader that same picture. I act out my actions, I speak my dialogue out loud, I outline with screenplays so you get pacing and strong dialogue. Though I’m a novelist, I’m always trying to write a movie.

When I was in college, I was at a crowded restaurant and saw two women get into an argument. One shot the other. Right next to me. It was the first time I used writing to process life, the work through the human condition. I had to make that incident make sense and place it into a larger context. When I started writing about it, my words resonated with other people. They felt it. I learned a little about responsibility in writing and honesty, about putting your emotions on display as a way of connecting with people.


As a person of color, I try to also write characters other people of color can relate to. In The Road to Hell I see the characters as representing all races and colors. I have to be sparse on their descriptions because angels and God are intensely personal ideas. But you’ll see additional main characters, particularly women, as people of color in my writing.


Have you learned anything from writing your book?
To trust my gut. I have plenty of doubt as an author—I think we all do. Writing is such a solitary endeavor and we authors tend to live in our heads. We all hope other people find the story as compelling as we did, see what we see, feel what we pray they’ll feel. But, in the end, we have to believe the story we told is the story we’re meant to tell and it’ll find its intended target. With this book, I’ve had to learn to trust my abilities as a writer and believe in the story I have to tell.


What do you do to unwind and relax?
Unwind? Relax? What are these things when there are new novels to write and existing ones to promote? Actually I do a couple things: I LOVE movies and have famously said “I’ll watch anything”—a statement I instantly regretted when my kids made me watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua. I’ll get lost in a story. I build Legos with my son, let him beat me on Xbox, and will engage in house-wide Nerf wars with my kids at the drop of a hat. Up until a year ago, I was a kickboxing fan until I messed up my ankle (me + mole hole = 3 torn ligaments and a year of rehab). I’m just getting back into it now.


Do you have any hidden talents?
I used to write rap lyrics in college and, while my rap career went absolutely NOWHERE, I did gain the ability to rhyme any word. Haven’t been stumped yet. I have no idea where such an incredible talent will get me but, hey, there it is.


Do you have any advice for budding writers?
The moment you commit to writing that story and giving it to the universe is the moment you stop being a “budding” writer. We all have growth to gain in our craft, our characterization, our plot, whatever. Don’t talk about being inexperienced: writing is the only thing that can give a writer experience. So stop trying to write it and just write it.

Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
Prolific, proud and blessed. Prolific in that I never stop telling stories. That nothing ever takes that away. And proud of everything I’ve accomplished. Proud of the stories I’ve written, the words on the page, the people I’ve connected with. And blessed to be able to do it at all.


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  1. Thanks for having me, everybody! I appreciate it!

  2. Christopher, I'm glad you commented on trusting your gut. It's something I really need to learn. :-)