Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blog Tour: (Guest Post) The Road to Hell By Christopher C. Starr

I would like to welcome Christopher C. Starr to The Avid Reader today. Thanks for stopping by Christopher. Christopher will be telling us about Making Heaven UnHeavenly.


The Road to Hell

Book Title: The Road to Hell: The Book of Lucifer

Author: Christopher C. Starr

Published: August 9th 2011

Publisher: Sanford House Press

Pages: 286


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.



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Lucifer heard me: as soon as my feet touched the glass surface of his platform, he laughed aloud and doused all the light in Heaven.


“I know why you’re here, Raphael,” Lucifer said in the darkness. “You’re afraid.”

I was afraid but I wasn’t willing to admit it. Instead I said, “Why should I be afraid? The Father is with me.”

“You sure about that?” And I could see Lucifer’s teeth glinting in the light wafting from my body. He was smiling. “You think he’ll still back you up now that you’re failing him?”

His face was the color of fire, deep and red, and a haze made him seem like a mirage. Even in the darkness, in the heat of his rage, Lucifer was still beautiful. His thin face, the angular cheekbones, his wide, open eyes, his halo of shimmering hair—all presented a portrait of absolute perfection. Even in this dark hour, I envied the crude formation of my own round face, my pudgy nose, the softness of my jawline.

I tried to sound as sure of myself, as certain as he was but my voice cracked, “I’m not failing—”

He pounced on me, laid long, thin fingers on my shoulders, pushed that gleaming grin into my face. “Sure you are! Why else would you be here, Peace Keeper? Angels are dead, Raphael. It’s slipping through your fingers. Sounds like failure to me.”

“This is your doing!” I pressed him back.

“Raphael, you insult me; finger pointing seems so…beneath you. Besides, I’m bound, remember?” He fondled the chains streaming from his wrists and ankles, smiled at me again. “You chained me up so I couldn’t cause any problems for the others. Weren’t those your words?”

He was right. And I hated him for it. “Yes,” was all I said.

“So you failed them or you failed him. Either way, you’re a failure, kiddo.”

“I want to talk about what we do next.”

He was walking around me now. I could hear the chains scraping the surface of the glass.

“And I want to talk about your fears,” he said and his voice sounded like velvet in my ears.

“This doesn’t help us, Lucifer. It doesn’t help us end this nonsense. ”

“Maybe I don’t want to end it. Maybe this is exactly what we need.” He got louder, bolder. Closer. “Does that scare you, Raphael, that you won’t be able to keep it together? Is that why you tremble in the darkness? Because when it’s just you and the Father and all the light and noise is gone, you know you’re going to have to tell him you failed?”

He had me. I understood in that moment how Lucifer could enflame the deepest of emotions. His words touched the very root of me; spoke directly to the futility flexing in my palms. It was out of my hands—I knew that much. Lucifer knew it too. By virtue of the fact that I was there, standing before him while he taunted me, it was out of my hands.

I tried to turn it back on him, “What about your fears? What about what you’re afraid of?”

“I’m scared,” he whispered, “that the Father won’t want me back once I’m finished.” The smile was gone.


Heaven’s not what you think. At least not in my book. And you’re either gonna love it or you’re gonna hate it.

I generally get questions about the world, about the version of Heaven, I built for The Road to Hell. It’s not a world of fluffy clouds and fat babies with harps. It’s not even a grass-covered meadow with wondrous waterfalls and hordes of wildflowers (well, not in the beginning), and there are absolutely, positively no diamonds or golden streets, rainbows or unicorns. My version of Heaven is kind of minimalist, kind of bleak. Kind of blah.

But there’s a reason for it.

This story is Lucifer’s story, it’s told from the very beginning and, as Lucifer says, he was first. There’s nothing in the beginning except him and Father (God) so there’s no reason for a Heaven. Lucifer simply is. It isn’t until he makes some poor choices that we have Heaven at all. His poor choices compound, building on one another and Heaven changes as a result: it grows, it is destroyed, it is remade and expanded. Heaven changes to meet the needs of the angels, whether that is positive or negative. It is a world created and manipulated by their choices.

You have to remember, when Lucifer fell, about a third of the angels fell with him. To me, this is significant. I have always been fascinated by the power of his argument: what can you say that will compel 30% of the population that you are right and God is wrong? How unpalatable can Heaven be that a third of its inhabitants are willing to stage a coup? There has to be something there, just beneath the surface. Heaven can’t be heavenly then, it can’t be this bosom of peace and bliss and worship; it has to be something more raw, more angst-ridden. More disconcerting. It has to be a place where doubt can live, where faith can be challenged, where rebellions can foment.

And it has to make sense.

That’s the other piece. Everything that happens in Heaven happens for a reason. So much so, the Father makes it a point to say, “Everything serves a purpose.” There is a reason behind everything, choices that propel both the story and Heaven forward and ultimately break it apart. Heaven fractures as the angels fracture. There are seven cities named for seven virtues: Truth, Wisdom, Peace, Hope, Faith, Righteousness and Light. These cities experience varying degrees of destruction as the angels destroy those virtues within themselves. Their world actually crumbles as their society crumbles. And It physically breaks apart when angels are cast out.

This is in sharp contrast to our own world. Earth is not shaped by choice; it is given to us as a promise. The Father forges this world then places humanity in it; He built Heaven around the angels and let them shape it.

You know, as an author, there are some magnificent moments where you realize something about your own story you never meant to write. I never saw Heaven itself as a character or even indicative of what was happening in it—it wasn’t until someone asked me about it, about why I made the choices I made, that I really realized its significance.

Thank you so much for having me! I really appreciate it!



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 christophercstarr.net.



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Christopher said...

Hey Nancy--thanks for being so cool! And for letting me crash your pad--I mean, blog. I appreciate it!

The Avid Reader said...

Hey Christopher,

No, thank you for having so much patience and helping me out. I am thankful for the opportunity to have you as a guest on my blog. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

For the record I really liked your guest post. I let my husband read it because I knew he would like what you had to say in your guest post. And now he is going to buy The Road to hell.

Christopher said...

Well, now that's really cool! You're a saint, Miss Nancy.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post--it's one of the most honest I've written. I was discovering the themes in Heaven as I was writing the post. I guess I hadn't realized what was hidden in the story.

I hope your husband enjoys the book. Please have him swing by the Facebook page to chat me up. Or holler at me. Both are plausible.

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