Today I am interviewing Michael Moreci, author of the new science-fiction novel, Black Star Renegade.
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DJ: Hi Michael! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Michael Moreci: Sure, and thanks for having me!
So, hi everyone. I’m Michael. DJ’s right; my debut novel just came out, on January 2 to be exact. Before that, I was known for my work in comics. There, I’ve written series like Roche Limit, Hoax Hunters, and Burning Fields; I’ve also written for established characters like Superman, The Flash, Conan the Barbarian, The Shadow, and more. I live just outside Chicago with my two sons (I’m a stay at home dad), wife, and our dog.
DJ: What is Black Star Renegades about?
Michael: It’s a space adventure centering on a young guy named Cade Sura who, through certain circumstances (I don’t want to spoil anything!) comes into possession of a mythical, powerful weapon. He’s a terrible choice for this responsibility, but if he doesn’t figure out a way to use the weapon, then Ga Halle–the queen of the evil Praxis kingdom–will take it from him and use it to complete her tyrannical control over the entire galaxy. Along with a group of friends–Kira, Mig, and 4-Qel, all misfits just like Cade–Cade sets a course to upend the fate that’s been shoved into his hands and create a new future for the galaxy.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Black Star Renegades?
Michael: Star Wars, obviously, is a big one. But there’s a pretty wide range things that have touched BSR in different ways.I guess it would be best to break it down into categories, so here goes:
Literary influences: John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, and Timothy Zahn
Film/TV influences (the book is fairly cinematic): Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon, Battle Beyond the Stars, Guardians of the Galaxy
Everything else: Mass Effect, Dune, Star Trek, The Book of Three, Arthurian legend
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Michael: I love these characters so much–happy to talk about them. The main character is Cade, who is kind of a slacker, in a sense. He’s brash, he’s a little cocky, and he’s certainly too cavalier about things. But underneath that is someone who’s really insecure and harboring a lot of pain–he’s suffered a lot of losses in his life, and he uses levity and arrogance as a shield to protect himself from being hurt in any way. He’s made it his point to skirt responsibility, to never be asked to do much of anything–but when fate comes calling, he has to realize that the world doesn’t disappear when you close your eyes. It’s still here, and it needs heroes. Heroes like Cade and his friends.
Speaking of Cade’s friends, possibly my favorite character is Kira, the hotshot pilot–headstrong and as tough as can be–who teams up with Cade to defeat the evil Praxis kingdom. Like Cade, Kira is also harboring deep wounds, but she’s channeled her trauma into being the best she can be–the best pilot, best commander, best agent in the fight against evil. She’s smart, she’s cool, and she’s got a terrific sense of dark humor.
Last, but not least, is Ga Halle, the queen of the Praxis kingdom. I love writing villains, and Ga Halle’s as big and as bad of a villain as I’ve ever crafted. What’s best about her, though (in my opinion), is that she’s a totally believable villain. Meaning, we get why she’s bad–what drove her to be bad. I don’t agree with why she’s done what she’s done (causing suffering across the universe, embracing being a tyrant), but when I look at her story, I understand what drove her down that path. That’s the kind of villain that I love; no one is the bad guy of their own story, and that’s certainly the case with Ga Halle.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Black Star Renegades like?
Michael: I try to keep it simple when it comes to planets and worlds, all of that geographical stuff. Like Star Wars, the worlds are all habitable and have their own unique characteristic (my favorite, personally, is Dotax, the ice world that has a cool character to it that I don’t want to give away). If this was hard sci-fi, I’d get deeper into the science of things, but it’s not that kind of book. Every place is habitable to the myriads of the galaxy’s races, and that’s just the way it is.
There’s a governing body, the Galactic Alliance, but we don’t see much of them. The real power of the galaxy resides in two powers–Praxis, the evil kingdom, and the Well, the peacekeeping corps. The two sides balance the galaxy’s power, though when the book starts, one power is overwhelmingly assuming more power. It’s a universe that’s very much in peril.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Black Star Renegades?
Michael: I’m not even kidding–all of it. Start to finish, I had the time of my life writing this book (and its sequel). I know that sounds like the most generic answer, but it’s true. I’ve wanted to write a book for so long, and I’ve loved Star Wars my entire life, so to put those two together, for me, was magic. I had a wonderful time playing in this universe, getting to know these characters, and crafting a fun, action-packed adventure that I myself would like to read. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to have written this story, and I hope to keep it going for years to come.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Michael: Well, what I hope they talk about how much fun the book was. You know, it’s funny, because I never read comments. I’ve been working in comics for years, and a lesson I’ve learned is to stay away from comment sections. And not just because the discourse can get so nasty, but because that’s not the place for the author to be lingering around. But–I broke my rule, and I’m glad I did because I saw one comment in particular that made me really happy. Someone had said–and I’m might be getting this a little wrong, but I believe I’m close–that the book was a lot of fun, that it was popcorn entertainment. I fully, totally embrace that. This person went on to say how not everything needs to be dystopian, and I agree–levity is a-ok with me. Does that mean Black Star Renegades is shallow? Absolutely not. But what drives the story is fun–it’s a rollicking, fast-paced, energetic book that moves fast and, hopefully, takes readers on a great ride.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Black Star Renegades? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Michael: For sure! I think the biggest message was that of unity, that of realizing that we’re all heroes–or have the potential to be heroes–and we can all make a difference in our world. It’s funny, because The Last Jedi–and, again, Star Wars is a huge influence on me–tapped into similar ideas, this whole thing that the Force is in us all, and it takes each and every one us pulling in the same direction, utilizing our talents, working hard and true, to make the best possible world. It’s not one lone savior–be it Luke, Rey, whomever–who’s going to make solve all our problems. We’re better when we’re together, equal and united. That’s huge in the book (and it carries over into book two as well).
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Black Star Renegades that you can share with us?
Michael: This is actually the one question I’m going to skip–not because it’s a bad question, it’s not. But I’m very self-conscious about my work, and it’s hard for me to look back on it once it’s done. No quotes come to mind, and I’m not enthusiastic about digging back into the book. Apologies : /
DJ: Now that Black Star Renegades is released, what is next for you?
Michael: Mainly a constant state of worry over how the book is received.
Kidding, kidding…sort of.
Being serious, I have a very full year. My next project is Wasted Space, a Philip K. Dick-inspired sci-fi comic that’s launching in April through Vault Comics. I have a couple as-of-right-now secret projects with DC Comics. I’m currently wrapping up a pitch for what I hope to be my next series of novels, a teen fantasy series. And then, come early 2019, the second Black Star Renegades book comes out (which I’m about to start working on with my editor)!
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Moreci/e/B00ACO6XBO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Author Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/24e6681ac9cf/email-sign-up
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Black Star Renegades that we haven’t talked about yet?
Michael: I really want people to know that the journey the book is taking them on is a fun one. Our world…it’s not easy right now. It’s dark, it’s troubling, it’s a lot of unpleasant things. Black Star Renegades, in a way, is an antidote, at least for a little while. I want readers to be compelled to turn the page and see where the story goes next, to be taken along on this ride and walk away feeling that they enjoyed what they read–that it was fun, exciting, and joyful. Simple as that.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
Michael: I’m good, this was fun!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Michael: Thank YOU, DJ! I had a great time with this, and I really appreciate you being willing to talk with me!
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*** Black Star Renegades is published by St. Martin’s Press and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.
Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option:
He has to fight.
Cade’s not going to let destiny send him on a suicide run, though. With some help from his friends—rebels and scoundrels alike—Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself. He just has to do so before everyone around him discovers that he’s a complete and total fraud.
Michael Moreci is the creator of numerous original comics series and has written and collaborated on multiple established properties. His most recent original works, Roche Limit (Image Comics) and Burning Fields (BOOM! Studios), were both recognized by many publications as being among the best comics of 2015. Roche Limit was called the “sci-fi comic you need to read” by Nerdist and io9, and Paste Magazine called it one of the “50 best sci-fi comics of all time.” A regular contributor at DC Comics, Moreci has written Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and more.
In prose, Moreci just completed the first novel of his sci-fi series, Black Star Renegades, which will be published in January 2018 with St. Martin’s Press. In June 2018, Forge Books will release his spy thriller, The Throwaway. He’s currently writing the sequel to Black Star Renegades.
He lives in Chicago with his wife, two children, and their dog.