Clark Burbidge was born and raised in the high 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 nine grandchildren.
Clark’s award-winning works include the StarPassage series, Giants in the Land
trilogy, the acclaimed Christmas book, A Piece of Silver: A Story of Christ and a
nonfiction work, Living in the Family Blender: 10 Principles of a Successful Blended
Q & A with Clark Burbidge
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?
I have always been a storyteller. In the financial world, it is critical to be able to succinctly deliver your message in a compelling way. I have always made up stories for my kids. The fun part is always starting with a basic format and filling out the story in real time, as I tell it. I never know where it will go. I was between jobs in 2010 when I decided to try to pull together my first book and see who might be interested. It is an interesting story but has led me to this day.
Where/When do you best like to write?
I have a schedule, pretty much. I write in the morning before everyone starts their day. It is quiet. I have a lounge chair I sit in, which is comfortable, with my computer on my lap, and I begin or continue an amazing journey. However, a writer’s life is not his own. When ideas come, and they always do, at awkward times like in the middle of the night or any other time of day, I must pursue the path, and my sweetheart has learned if she hears me softly close the door at 2am, that I will return as soon as I get the rudiments down.
Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?
I suppose I have one that is not shared by too many others: I do not write from a previously prepared outline. I like to climb into the story with the characters and walk at their side. I may turn a corner and discover a giant facing us. Is he friend or foe? How does he advance the story? Will I need to go back and do some extensive revisions to write the character in? Yes, of course. I do not experience writer’s block because I am having an experience just like I hope my readers have when they climb aboard. The best part of reading is when you discover that you are no longer reading, you are having an experience with the characters. That is my major goal in all my books.
What inspired your story?
Before StarPassage Book 4, I thought maybe I was done with the StarPassage trilogy, but then a thought came to me after talking to some pathologists. I had done research on the Black Plague for StarPassage Book 3 and found it fascinating that the worst forms of disease always seem to be those that jump from one species to another. Marmots to humans, monkeys to humans, pigs to humans, etc. I think a little differently than many about problems, and so I began asking questions about what could happen if a computer virus could make a jump from computers to humans, who are basically electrical systems, too. The truth is that almost everything a computer virus would do would be immediately fatal to a human. The possibility seemed daunting, especially considering the new trans-human movement.
Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Each StarPassage book approaches a basic theme from a very different direction. We can feel overwhelmed, hopeless and helpless in the world today. It doesn’t matter if you have seemingly impossible family situations, injuries that changed your life or feel like you are completely out of place. I have never seen monsters and villains in life or in literature as threats to destroy us or the characters. In fact, without such antagonists, it is impossible for the characters or real people to reach deep down inside and find their own greatness, which has always been theirs. In other words, these monsters, villains, circumstances, whether without or within, are not a threat to destroy us but the vehicle which allows us all to become heroes. There are no heroes without villains.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Being a writer can be a very solitary journey. It is a lot of long days and nights sitting by yourself, pondering how to move forward with a character or a story. On the other hand, the publishing and meeting people part of the process is my favorite. I love being out among the people, my fans and future fans. I love hearing how my books have inspired them and changed their lives. This is one reason I participate in the Simple Treasures Boutiques every year. It is so important to stay connected.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
The COVID-19 Pandemic. The entire world went through a period in 2020 when there was very limited commerce, and it made no sense to try to get publishers with down-sized staffs to focus. Very little was working smoothly, and certainly in-person events were nearly impossible. StarPassage Book 4: Cyber Plague was intended for publication in 2020, but I held off until now, and I think that was a good decision. Little did I know how it would become so close to the news headlines. It is uncanny.
What’s the best writing advice you have ever received?
Those who overly dwell on gratuitous language, immorality, violence and gore are lazy and unimaginative writers. It also detracts from the story and one’s ability to climb about with the characters by pulling the reader out of the story time and again. It is worth the author’s time to use dialogue and words that move the story and characters along rather than bring it to a screeching halt or a graphic stream of epithets that do nothing for the story except destroy the magic. Unfortunately, much of moviedom, television and literature seem to dwell on this kind of cheap, poor substitute for good writing, good stories and quality characters.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I am an avid mountain biker and road biker. There is nothing quite like pedaling up a single-track trail on a crisp early morning. I also enjoy scuba diving, hiking, traveling with my wife and our camper and, of course, reading.
Where can readers find you and your work?
Readers can find me on my website: http://www.starpassagebook.com and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarkrburbidge
About The Book
Mike Hernandez and the Coleman twins return, but just when the friends think they have the Star of Passage, it’s riddles, and Orion’s Belt figured out, they discover a new relic.
All of Tim and Martie’s rules are tossed aside when Tocho, a member of the Native American Shoshoni tribe which roamed the Rocky Mountains, knocks on Callie and Courtney’s Astoria, Oregon door with the mysterious Star of Hope. The new relic
has the shocking ability to transport the teens forward in time, where cartels and gangs are a rising threat and technology has advanced so far that computer viruses affect humans. As Mike, Callie, Courtney, and Tocho struggle to remain free of the
virus, they also have to dodge the shadowy Trackers, those wicked souls who are doomed to haunt history and desire the relics to free themselves from their eternal prison.
The teens find themselves racing to save a possible future, but can they change it for the better? Award-winning storyteller Clark R. Burbidge’s latest addition to the StarPassage series, StarPassage: Cyber Plague, will inspire you to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.