The two main protagonists in my book are Edward and Burn and I love the journey their friendship takes. They are much more than polar-opposites they are planet-opposites. To the Left of Your North Star is an adventure, a fantasy, and a road trip, but at its core is the relationship between the two lost boys, Edward and Burn.
Edward is a spoilt rich kid with a huge chip on his shoulder. He lost his mother at a young age and has a rocky relationship with his famous father. His bravado is to cover up the fact that underneath he’s scared, alone, and neglected emotionally by his father. With his good looks and money, he was the boy that everybody at school fancied but Edwards relationships never lasted long because, put simply, he was a complete ass.
Edward represents the boys that I used to watch from afar in secondary school, the boys that always had a flood of kids around them, popular, perfect, and trendy. As I was the weird kid that tried to disappear into the walls, I used to admire those plastic people. But, now I know the plastics weren’t perfect after all, in fact they probably had the same self-doubt that I had.
Edward has always believed, because that’s what he was taught, that the only valuable people in the world are the rich and famous. But he slowly learns that is not the case and I love the fact that he has to rely on Burn, a weirdo as far as he’s concerned, for his food, shelter, and protection.
Burn is a simple boy from a simple life, different from the other villagers but intelligent, loyal, and loving. Orphaned from a young age he had to raise himself and that gave him a quirky edge to his character.
At school, I always felt different; a vegetarian in an age where people couldn’t even spell the word never mind understand why some people refused to eat meat. I was the only vegetarian in the village (so to speak) and viewed with suspicion. It’s unbelievable to think of that now. I feel I unconsciously wrote a part of younger me into Burn.
Burn uses Edward’s desire to leave Abaytor as a way of experiencing his planet and expanding his horizons. Whereas Edward has a serious dislike for him, Burn likes Edward, he likes everyone, it’s in his nature, but he also has a naughty streak and decides to liven up their journey and seduce the sullen boy from another planet.
My teenager and friends have all read the book and I overheard them talking about who identified with Edward and who identified with Burn. I was so pleased that I had created characters that resonated with them and hopefully others.
I’m very proud of my debut book, it marks a steep learning curve in which I acquired new skills, new friends, and a new passion.
I have a short story in the Call to Arms anthology. My story is called From Air to There and is about a paratrooper called Puppet who crash lands into a pig-pen, injured, alone, in occupied territory, and devastated by the loss of his friends. But little does he know that his fate lay in the hands of a young French farmhand called Henri and his endearing tenacity.
I also have a story in the No Holds Bard anthology, and I’m delighted with both stories.
You can find me at @shellpeart