Question: Is the Starsong Chronicles Universe based on real places, or is it made up?
The answer to both questions, is yes. The planets that the characters live on within the story are fictitious; possible, but fictitious. However, all of the stars and the other places in the Universe are based on our very own Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the main place that the colonists have settled – the Hyades Star Cluster – is the closest open star cluster to Earth, at around 150 light years away. And, what’s more, depending on where you live, you can see it with the naked eye in the constellation Taurus. If you can find the big, orange star Aldebaran that is the bull’s eye, then Hyades is below that, and directly to the left of the Pleiades Cluster.
There are a lot of current limitations on our planet-finding technologies, so the number of planets that are earth-sized are relatively small compared to the larger planets that are easier to find. In this regard, I suspect that many of the imaginary worlds that I’ve created will become pure fiction instead of possible. The older the book gets, the more outdated the planetary system information will become, but that’s how it goes. But, where possible, I have included actual places that we do know about.
For example, the main planet that is the focus of the Exodus Arc is called Avaenon. It orbits a K-type star that goes by many names; Ain, Epsilon Tauri, 74 Tau, HD 28305, HIP 20889, and many others. The colonists call it Coronis. In Exodus, the colonists briefly mention a gas-giant named Amateru as part of that system. This is a real place. Amateru is also also known as Epsilon Tauri b, and it was discovered in 2007.
Many of the stars in the Hyades Cluster have had their names changed in the books. That’s simply because only a handful of the brightest stars have proper names and it’s easier to make a name than to keep calling a it by it’s Henry Draper or Hipparcos catalog number. But the stars themselves are very real. In fact, astronomers at Leiden Observatory provided me with data on the galactic coordinates of every star in that cluster and I was able to create a fully-accurate 3-D starmap.
So, is the Starsong Universe a real place? Yes, and no. It’s fictional worlds that orbit real stars.