Interview with Brenda Hiatt

Published 2019-04-12.
What's the story behind your Starstruck series?
I’m often asked where I got the inspiration for the premise behind my Starstruck series. The answer lies way back in elementary school, around third grade. A girl in my class back then, who shall remain name- less (mainly because I don’t remember her name!) insisted for quite a while that she was really a Martian Princess. Of course, we all made fun of her and asked lots of questions to try to prove she was making it up, but she stuck to her story—for several weeks, anyway. Many years later, something made me think of her again and this time, with my writer’s brain, I suddenly started wondering, “What if she was telling the truth?” And thus, the idea for Starstruck was born. If you’ve read it, you’ll see how I worked in that little snippet from my own childhood memories.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After I'd spent many years publishing traditionally with some of the big houses like Harlequin and HarperCollins, the ebook revolution started to gather steam. I began requesting the rights back to my previously published books and as they were returned, I had new covers made, re-edited them, formatted them and put them up as ebooks. Smashwords helped to make that process easy back in the day when there were few formatting or distribution options out there. As my older titles began to find new readers (and make me new money!) I was also writing new books in a new genre--my Starstruck series of YA science fiction romances. After trying to sell the first book traditionally for a while only to be told it crossed too many genre lines, I decided to put it out myself in both ebook and print. I've certainly never regretted that decision, as those books are now my bestselling series and have won me a very loyal readership clamoring for more!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
When I first began indie publishing, there were few options for authors who wanted to format and distribute their books to this new and rapidly growing market. The Smashwords Style Guide was invaluable to me in those early days and became my formatting bible for several years. I still appreciate Smashwords as a way to reach various smaller and library markets I might otherwise not have access to.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I don't know if I can pick just one! I love those times when I get lost in the process and my characters and their stories come alive for me, pouring onto the page. (Of course, other times it can be like pulling teeth to get the words to come, so the process isn't all joy!) I also adore hearing from my readers, particularly when they have just discovered a new book or series of mine and want to ask detailed questions about the characters or what will come next. I swear, sometimes it seems like my readers know my books and characters even better than I do! And, of course, there's nothing like releasing a brand new book into the "wild" with all the anticipation a mother bird must feel when a fledgling takes its first flight. Such a thrill, and it never gets old!
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! They are what keeps me writing. I love hearing their feedback, particularly when they tell me how they have connected with my characters and their stories. Without my fans, I'd be completely lost!
What are you working on next?
I have just typed "The End" on the first draft of my next book in the Starstruck series. As I type this, I'm polling my readers to help me decide on a final title for the book and I have my amazingly talented cover designer working on the perfect cover. My readers keep asking when it will be available and all I can tell them is, "As soon as it's ready," because I'll never release a book that isn't as perfect as I can possibly make it. That tends to slow me down as a writer compared to some, but I think it also helps to explain my loyal and growing fan base.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
More often than not, the story I'm currently working on. A valuable part of my writing process is what I call "noodling," when I lie in bed after waking while still in a dozy, dreamlike state, and think about yesterday's writing and what needs to happen next. That's when I tend to get my best ideas. Of course, then I have to jump out of bed so I can write them down right away!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to spend time outdoors walking, hiking and gardening. Hiking in the mountains or along beaches are great joys of mine. I've also been on a few longer hikes, to include two segments of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which were among the highlights of my life. When I'm closer to home, I also practice Taekwondo three times a week. I'm currently a third degree blackbelt, pursing my fourth. Writing is such a sedentary occupation, I do my best to stay active. Though I have to admit I'm not a very sedentary writer, since I generally write on a treadmill!
How do you approach cover design?
My talent is in my words, not in the visual arts, so it never even occurred to me to attempt my own covers! With recommendations from other authors and scouring lots of portfolios online, I have found a few very talented cover designers to create my covers for me. I currently use three different designers, one for each of my main book genres/series. I generally come up with the initial cover concept, which I communicate to the designer so that she can go looking for appropriate artwork and come back to me with a draft design that we tweak until we get it right. On occasion I find the perfect artwork myself and send that to the designer. It really is a collaborative process and I've been very happy with the results so far.
When did you first start writing?
When I started writing, I was a stay-at-home mom to two toddlers, determined to sell a book before my youngest started first grade, so that I wouldn't have to get a "real job." I met that goal by the skin of my teeth, and went on to sell six Regencies and a Superromance to Harlequin over the next few years. When the traditional Regency market slowed, I began writing single title historical romance and found a new home with HarperCollins, where I published a total of eight books, most of them set in the Regency period. After that, my muse became restless and I started writing in a whole new genre, young adult science fiction romance. I'm now enjoying my Starstruck series as much as anything I've ever written!
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Latest books by This Author

The Girl From Mars
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 109,900. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance » General
We’re going where?? Kira’s life on Mars is great these days. She’s a rising sports star and the guy she’s been crushing on is starting to notice her. When her parents decide to move to technologically backward Earth for the good of their underground colony, Kira is aghast—and furious. Will life on Earth be the nightmare she anticipates or a chance for happiness beyond her wildest dreams?
The Starstruck Series Two-Book Set
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 238,260. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
Welcome to the award-winning Starstruck series, where teen romance blends with science fiction to open a whole new world of action, adventure and discovery! This starter set includes the first two novels in the series, an extended preview of Starbound, book 3, and never-before-published bonus content providing additional insights into the series.
Fractured Jewel: A Starstruck Novella
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 39,330. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
Change is never easy. Sometimes it’s downright dangerous! M and Rigel have now averted threats to their relationship, to M’s people and to both Mars and Earth. The future looks bright but not everyone is open to change. When resistance arises, M and Rigel will again have to work together to keep the secret of their people and the little town of Jewel, Indiana safe from potential disaster.
Gallant Scoundrel
Series: The Saint of Seven Dials. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 96,460. Language: English. Published: February 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Historical » Regency
What secret in Harry Thatcher’s past changed a celebrated war hero into a dissipated wastrel? Is he already too far along the path to ruin, or can becoming the next Saint of Seven Dials–and the love of the right woman–transform him back into the man he always had the potential to become?
Hiatt Regency Classics 4, 5 & 6
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 202,410. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Historical » Regency
Three heartwarming traditional Regency romances from a New York Times bestselling author in one special volume! This brand new set includes Daring Deception, Christmas Bride and Azalea.
Hiatt Regency Classics 1, 2 & 3
Series: Hiatt Regency Classics. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 173,530. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Historical » Regency
Three Hiatt Regency Classics in one value-priced collection! Brenda Hiatt’s first three traditional Regency romances for your reading pleasure. This collection contains: GABRIELLA, THE CYGNET and LORD DEARBORN'S DESTINY
Starfall: A Starstruck Novel
Series: Starstruck. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 116,440. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
The electrifying conclusion to the Starstruck series! M is finally acclaimed Sovereign Emileia, ruler of the Martian colony Nuath. But at what cost? Without Rigel, life seems pointless but M reluctantly does what she must until an unexpected discovery brings a glimmer of hope. Now she’s determined to do whatever she can to salvage her longed-for happy ending—if it’s not already too late.
Series: Starstruck, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 110,010. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Being a Princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! As newly discovered Princess of a secret Martian colony, M knew she’d have to return someday—but over spring break? An emergency on Mars requires her 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?
Series: Starstruck, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 120,710. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance » General
The Starstruck adventure continues: Formerly a nerdy nobody, Marsha is the newly discovered princess of a secret civilization. Even better, she’s dating her literal soulmate. But when a new boy arrives at Jewel High, everything M thought she knew about herself and her future turns upside down. Will the destiny that lifted her from obscurity now tear her away from Rigel and their happy ever after?
Christmas Bride
Series: Hiatt Regency Classics, Book 5. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 69,760. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Historical » Regency
Adventurous Holly would rather spy for England like her twin brother Noel than make her London debut--until she meets the Marquess of Vandover. A whirlwind courtship, a Christmas wedding, and Holly's life seems full of promise until her inept attempt to become a heroine in her own right ends in a terrible conflict of loyalties. Now Holly must choose between her marriage and her brother's life!
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