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!