Meet the Characters

Meet Alec Serafeim and Pete O’Neill, the “stars” of The Stars That Govern Us.

While The Stars That Govern Us was inspired by history, the novel’s two main characters, Alec Serafeim and Pete O’Neill, are entirely fictional. You can meet or learn more about Alec and Pete through this “game” of twenty questions.

1. What is your full name and how do you feel about it?

AS: My full name is Alexandros Vasilos Serafeim. I felt like the unusualness of my name made me stick out as a boy, but I do like that my father named me after Alexander the Great.

PO: I am named after two apostles, Peter and John, so my full name is Peter John O’Neill. My mother had a book with a copy of Poussin’s famous painting Saints Peter and John Heal the Lame Man. My father claims he always knew I’d become a physician, but that’s actually where my name came from. I don’t otherwise have a strong opinion on my name.

2. Do you prefer a nickname? How did you get the nickname?

AS: I prefer to be called Alec. But my nickname among the surgical trainees is “The Iceman.” They call me that because supposedly I have ice-water running through my veins in a crisis.

PO: Pretty much everyone just calls me Pete.

3. Where do you live?

AS: Elysium. Or, well, it might as well be Elysium. I consider myself lucky. can’t imagine why anyone would want to live anywhere else.

PO: Perth, Western Australia. It gets so bloody hot here that sometimes I feel like I live on the surface of the sun.

4. Do you have any unusual phobias?

AS: Pete’s cat.

PO: Alec’s driving.

5. What do you do for a living?

AS: I am Consultant and Director of Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgery at Stirling University Hospital.

PO: I assist Alec. (All right, well, my “official” title is Consultant and Associate Surgeon, Department of Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgery, SUH).

6. Do you have a pet?

AS: I have a black Arabian mare named Jarrah. I wouldn’t consider her a exactly “pet,” though.

PO: Fluffy is a deaf Persian cat. He’s white and has blue eyes.

7. What do you do in your free time?

AS: My hobbies outside of medicine are sailing and running. I also like fixing cars, feeding birds, and following horse racing.

PO: Free time? What is this “free time” you speak of?

8. If you couldn’t have been a surgeon, what would you have been?

AS: A jockey.

PO: Honestly, I can’t see myself as anything other than a surgeon or other type of physician.

9. How would you describe yourself in a single sentence?

AS: You may think you know the real me, but you don’t.

PO: What you see is what you get.

10. Are you married?

AS: Yes. I married my wife Ravenna in December 1948. We have one son, Ambrose, who was born in March 1950.

PO: I married my wife Kate in January 1949. We have seven daughters.

 

 

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8.
9. Tell me about your family.
10. Who is your closest confidant?
11. Who is your greatest enemy?
12. Who do you idolize?
13. What is your biggest fear?
14. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
15. What is your biggest regret?
16. What was the saddest moment of your life?
17. What was the happiest moment of your life?
18. Are you religious? What do you believe?
19. If you had a theme song for your life, what would it be?
20. If you could change anything about your life right now, what would it be?