How Starstruck came to be

Never give up, never surrender!

More than a decade ago, after publishing 15 historical romances with big New York publishers, I hit a wall. Several too-tight deadlines back to back had turned what used to be a fun escape from real life into a source of stress. For a while, I stopped writing entirely. Finally, hoping to rejuvenate my joy in writing, I decided to attempt something totally different from my historicals–a teen science fiction romance. 

The idea had been nagging at me for years, ever since remembering how, back in third or fourth grade, a girl in my class insisted she was really a Martian princess. In fact, she was adamant about it. No matter how much we made fun of her (like kids do), or tried to convince her or trick her into admitting she was making it up, she stuck to her story. For a month or so, anyway, though as a child it seemed much longer. We all moved on and eventually she moved away and I forgot all about it, until…. 

Many, many years later, after I’d written several books, something brought that girl to mind again. Suddenly, my writer-brain whispered, “What if she was telling the truth? What if she really was a Martian princess?” That “what if?” eventually became Starstruck

It took me well over a year to write and polish the book. Because this was my first foray into the young adult genre, I was absolutely determined to get it “right”—the school details, the science details, and especially the teen “voice.” By the time it was finally finished to my satisfaction, I realized Starstruck had all the makings of a series. Which was fine, because now I absolutely loved writing again! Getting into Marsha’s head had been surprisingly easy—I just had to channel my own inner fifteen-year-old. Through M, I got to live out all kinds of teen fantasies—having the hot new quarterback fall for me, making the cool, popular girls jealous, and being in on a huge, cool secret that nobody else at school knows. I’ve always enjoyed stories with fantastical hidden worlds that coexist with our own (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, Twilight) so it was a blast creating my own secret world with its own rules, quirks and people. I wrapped up Starstruck’s original story arc in four books, but readers kept clamoring for more—and I was starting to miss those characters. So, after writing another historical romance with my new-found joy of writing, I went back to my Starstruck universe to write more. And I’m still not done!

Meanwhile, Starstruck, the book that started it all, is currently free!

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I am so glad Starstruck was mentioned on Bookbub! It started me on a wonderful journey to Mars and back.

    Brenda Hiatt

    I’m happy you’re with me on this journey! 🙂

Shaquandra Russey

I just want to thank you for writing the Starstruck series. With the crazy world that we are living in today your books have brought so much joy to my life and I will forever be grateful of you for writing the Starstruck series.

    Brenda Hiatt

    Thank you so much for saying this! Writing is a lonely profession and it helps more than you can imagine to hear that we really are touching people with our words. (Agree on the crazy world!) Hang in there!

Crystal Mayo

Brenda, I love this series. I like alien romance ever since I was young. Now I’m 42. I’m not ashamed to say that I breathe young adult books also. I feel young at heart and I think a lot more people need to feel that way.I think what you did was awesome because I haven’t heard or read of anybody else that has thought of something like this. I want to read books where if I come back and read it again it feels like I’m coming to visit a good friend. There are a couple books where I feel that way and yours is one of them, it’s like I’m happy to see my best friend.

    Brenda Hiatt

    Aww, thank you so much, Crystal! I love hearing that my series has touched people. I’m also a huge YA fan (and it’s been a very long time since I was a teen, at least physically, LOL!) The Starstruck series are all books of my heart, so it feels extra special to me when readers tell me it resonates with them.


I love the series and I too was transported to a 15-yr-old’s life of what if’s. I tried telling my 14-yr-old granddaughter about the story and she rolled her eyes at me. She has NO imagination! And she’s way too serious. 🙂 However, some of my friends that are my age (past 50) loved it.


Love all the Starstruck book’s and look forward to more.


Hi Brenda, even though I am 40 and way past those teen years, I just love your Starstruck series. It’s a great story—interesting characters, good chemistry, intriguing secret world, and page-turning plots. I like sci-fi romance, and I love that Starstruck is all pretty wholesome too. I was so excited to read in your newsletter that your next project is going to be another Starstruck book. Yay!


Oh my god! I have been waiting to know this for sooooo long! Thanks Brenda for this amazing series! I hope Starstruck series never end!

    Brenda Hiatt

    Thank you, Umang, for asking me on Instagram for the story of how I got the idea. I really thought I’d written that here on this website a while back, but when I searched for it, I couldn’t find it… so now it’s here! 🙂

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