The Big Idea: Charlie N. Holmberg
CHARLIE N. HOLMBERG:
The big idea behind Star Mother actually came from the cover of another book. A book I’d never read.
I’d recently attended a local writing conference, which handed out tote bags full of information, ads, and swag to all its guests. I generally don’t pay much attention to these, but afterward, that tote bag’s contents ended up dumped on my bed, and a bookmark showcasing the original cover of God of the Sun by Kimberly Loth stared back at me.
One might argue that this wasn’t a remarkable cover, which is likely why Ms. Loth later changed it to something more evocative. It was simply a woman with dark hair, turned away from the viewer, the title God of the Sun illuminated in white. But that woman, in relation to that title, sparked something in me. The first two lines of what is now Star Mother wrote themselves in my mind instantly:
I had thought making love to the Sun was the most unbearable pain I would ever experience.
Giving birth to His Child was far worse.
Immediately I wanted to know more about this story, and about the woman who seemed to have spoken directly to my mind. Who was she? What situation warranted her intimacy with a sun god, and why did she have to birth his child? Was the pain worth it? What happened after the fact?
Did she love him?
I’d recently taken my first trip to Europe, which included a short tour of France. I absolutely fell in love with the history of the place—the age of the buildings, the depth of culture, and the beauty of the cathedrals that seemed to occupy every single city, town, and village. That feeling of ancient awe stuck with me long after I returned home, and it ultimately shaped the world of my star mother, Ceris, who grew up in a rural town with a notable cathedral. Who’d been taught to worship the sun god from a young age. A god who is the father of stars.
Granted, in our world, the sun is a star. But in Star Mother, he is more than that. He is the progenitor of light in the universe, and that light is what powers all things celestial, including the Earth Mother Ceris lives on. And so when Ceris’s village is chosen to provide the next star mother, Ceris volunteers, leaving her mortal love behind. But while star mothers have always perished giving life to their stars, Ceris lives, and for reasons far beyond her understanding.
Little does she know the stars are only the beginning.