April 30, 2015

Interview: Brenda Hiatt, Author of the STARSTRUCK Series {Excerpt} #UtopYA


Brenda Hiatt is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty novels (so far), including traditional Regency romance, time travel romance, historical romance, and humorous mystery. She is as excited about her STARSTRUCK series as she's ever been about any of her books. In addition to writing, Brenda is passionate about embracing life to the fullest, to include scuba diving (she has over 60 dives to her credit), Taekwondo (where she is currently pursuing her 3rd degree black belt), hiking, traveling, and pursuing new experiences and skills.

*What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
Probably traveling the world! Next to writing, traveling is my favorite thing.

*5 years ago: what were you doing?
Getting ready to walk the last 100 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago and wondering if I’d ever write again. (It was starting my Starstruck series that really rekindled my joy in writing after some serious burnout!)

*Do you have a certain writing ritual?
Yes! I typically take my big glass of water into my office, fire up my treadmill (it fits under my desk) start my writing music playlist, open my work-in-progress and start typing.

*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Early on in my career, being told to cut HUGE chunks from the beginning of a book (by an editor). She was right, but it was really, really hard!

*Is there an author you'd like to meet?
Living: J.K. Rowling. Past: J.R.R. Tolkien

*Biggest writing pet peeve?
When perfectionism rears its ugly head and makes it hard to get the words flowing.

*Do you read other's reviews of your books?
I really, really try not to. My hubby reads them more often than I do and has strict instructions to ONLY tell me about the good ones!

Fav Color
Purple (all shades)

Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with?
Hermione Granger

Fav food
Grilled lobster

Fav song and/or singer
Ack! Too many to choose from! I’m currently on a Muse kick, since that’s been my writing music for the whole Starstruck series.

Guilty pleasure
Rereading (and rereading) old favorite books, even though I have a gazillion unread ones waiting on my Kindle.

Twitter: @Brenda_Hiatt

Introducing STARSTRUCK, an award-winning new teen science fiction romance series!
The middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!
An orphaned astronomy geek dreams of escaping her pathetic small-town existence until the hot new quarterback inexplicably befriends her. Soon, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When she digs for a reason, she discovers secrets that expose her to deadly perils and change her mundane life forever.

The Starstruck adventure continues…
Formerly a nerdy nobody, now Marsha is the newly discovered princess of a secret civilization, dodging extraterrestrial paparazzi while trying to keep the truth from everyone at school. When she’s with her boyfriend and literal soulmate, Rigel, it’s easy to forget the responsibilities that will eventually come with her new status.  But when a new boy arrives at Jewel High,  everything M thought she knew about herself and her future is turned upside down. Will the very destiny that lifted her from obscurity now tear her away from Rigel and their happy ever after?

Being a Princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
Between keeping high security secrets from everyone (including Rigel) and trying to keep Rigel and Sean from killing each other, M has a lot on her plate already. As newly discovered Princess of a secret Martian colony, she knew she’d have to return there someday—but over spring break?? An emergency requires her immediate presence but not everyone is overjoyed to have their long-lost Princess back. Can she win her people over in time to save the colony from destruction? And what will she have to give up in return?

The electrifying conclusion to the Starstruck series!
M, no longer a nerdy nobody, has finally been acclaimed Sovereign Emileia, ruler of the Martian colony Nuath. But at what cost? Without her soulmate Rigel, life seems pointless but she’s expected to shake off her heartbreak and assume her responsibilities. Reluctantly, M does what she must until an unexpected discovery restores a glimmer of hope for the future. Now she’s determined to do whatever she can to salvage her longed-for happy ending—if it’s not already too late.

Excerpt from STARSTRUCK:

"M! Hey, Marsha!"
It sounded like Rigel's voice. Was I hallucinating? Shouldn't he be at football practice?
I turned and sure enough, there he was, sprinting toward me.
"Hey, I'm glad I caught you," he said, joining me as I reached the bus line. "I only have a sec—have to be at practice—but I wanted to make sure Trina didn't pull anything."
Though I couldn't help feeling a rush of warmth at his concern, I refused to be an object of pity, so I suppressed the smile that tried to break free and shrugged.
"She wasn't much worse than usual."
He looked relieved. "Good. I sure don't want to make things worse for you, especially—"
"I can take care of myself, Rigel." I spoke more sharply than I'd intended, but I didn't want him to feel like he had to protect me—from Trina, of all things. "I'm not some puppy that needs rescuing." Oops, definitely more than I'd meant to say, but now it was out there.
When he didn't immediately refute my words, I turned away before he could see my disappointment. "Have a good practice," I called over my shoulder.
"M, wait! I was going to say, especially when I'm hoping we can be . . . friends."
On that last word, Rigel put a hand on my arm to stop me—and it definitely worked. When his fingers touched my bare skin, a jolt went through me like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I spun around to face him, startled.
I was used to static shocks since I got them all the time, but this was different. It was more like the surge of adrenaline you get when you almost fall but catch yourself. Only stronger. And not unpleasant. More like every cell in my body suddenly sizzled to life.
From the stunned look on Rigel's face, he must have felt something too. He snatched his hand away like I'd burned him and stared at me wordlessly for what seemed like minutes. It was almost like he was seeing me for the first time . . . or like I'd suddenly turned into some kind of freak.
He backed away, slowly shaking his head, then abruptly turned and ran off without saying another word.
I didn't have a clue what had happened or what I'd done, but I was pretty sure I'd somehow spoiled everything before it even got started.

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A bit about how the whole series came to be…

Back when I was in third grade (or thereabouts), a girl in my class used to tell us all that she was really a Martian princess. She was ADAMANT about it, and even though we made fun of her (as kids will) and tried all kinds of things to convince or trick her into admitting she was making it up, she stuck to her story—probably for at least a month, though of course I remember it as much longer now.  I forgot all about her and her story until a few years ago, when something brought it to mind. At that point, my writer-brain suddenly whispered, “What if she was telling the truth? What if she really WAS a Martian princess?” And thus, the idea for STARSTRUCK was born.

By the time I finished the book (which took me over a year, since it was my first foray into writing for the young adult market after more than a dozen historical romances, and because I was so very determined to get it “right”), I realized I had a series on my hands, not just one book. I really, truly expected it to be a trilogy, but by the time I was halfway into the writing of STARBOUND, the third book, it became obvious that M and Rigel’s story couldn’t possibly be wrapped up without turning it into a mammoth tome! And so…STARFALL happened. I was a little worried because I left STARBOUND with a bit of a cliffhanger, but reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive.

Oh, I should probably mention that STARSTRUCK, the first book of the series, is currently FREE!



Nook: (pending)

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