Brenda Hiatt self-published Starstruck in 2013, and it immediately won many awards and grabbed the reading public’s attention. It became the first of a four book series featuring the young adult leads. Demand was so great for more stories that she’s continued writing in the world with novellas and two more novels. A seventh book is scheduled to be released to be released in Fall 2020. I admit I love this series and have read it more than once—especially my favorite scenes. That’s what you do when you love a book.

In discussing this book, I want to give fair warning there may be spoilers ahead.

The tag line for the first book gives a hint of what’s to come: The middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting. The story is set in the fictional town of Jewel, Indiana, where the flat land grows lots of corn.

Marsha’s hobby is astronomy, which sets her apart from the rest of her schoolmates. She starts her sophomore year with the opening sentence “I boarded the bus on the first day of school with a weird sense of anticipation. Even after nine years as the class dork I couldn’t quite squelch a fizzy little hope that this year would be different.”

Immediately the reader cares for Marsha. An underdog quickly establishes empathy. The school buzzes with the news a hot-shot quarterback has enrolled. Since their football team usually loses games, this engenders lots of hope among the school and town. The amazing thing is, he’s interested in Marsha.

She can’t understand it. Naturally the outsider notices the school star, but why does he pay attention to her? When he reveals the secret, the middle of nowhere will never be the same again.

While researching this post, I came across an interview Ms. Hiatt did about this series. I’ve excerpted one question below, but this is the link to the whole thing.

What inspired you to write Starstruck?
Ms. Hiatt’s response: When I was in third or fourth grade, a girl in my class claimed she was really a Martian princess. In fact, she was ADAMANT about it. No matter how we made fun of her or tried to trick her into admitting she was making it up, she stuck to her story—for weeks at least, though I remember it as much longer. Many years later, after I became a writer, I suddenly wondered, “What if she was telling the truth? What if she really WAS a Martian princess?” That “what if?” eventually became Starstruck.

It’s always interesting to learn where an author’s ideas for a book come from. That is the most popular question an author hears, so I was glad to read this answer. Things that happened in the past are always fodder for an author’s imagination.

If you’d like to read Starstruck, the e-book is currently available as a free download on Amazon here:

To learn more about Brenda Hiatt’s books, including the Starstruck series, her web site is here: