Starcrossed, a Starstruck novel by Brenda Hiatt, is out now! To celebrate the release we are happy to share an interview with Princess Emileia and Rigel Stuart as well as an excerpt from the book. Be sure to stay tuned to the end where there's a giveaway as well!
The Starstruck adventure continues…
Marsha spent the first fifteen years of her life as a nerdy nobody before discovering her true identity as the long lost princess of a secret civilization. Now M is dodging extraterrestrial paparazzi while trying to keep the truth from her adoptive aunt and uncle and everyone at school. At least she can be herself with her boyfriend and literal soulmate, Rigel. Whenever they’re together, 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. Now the very destiny that lifted her from obscurity threatens to tear her away from Rigel and their happy ever after. But when two planets conspire against you, where is there to run?
Recently Discovered Princess Grants Exclusive Interview
with Gwendolyn Gannett, Echtran Enquirer
I’m sitting here in a charming little ice cream shop in Jewel, Indiana, to chat with our newfound Princess Emileia and Rigel Stuart, the boy who recently saved her life when she was attacked by the dictator Faxon’s minions here on Earth.
Tell me, Princess, how did it feel to discover your true identity after being raises as a Duchas?
With great presence of mind, the Princess immediately shushes me. “Not so loud! And please, stick to English. I don’t want everyone in Dream Cream to freak out the way I did when Rigel first told me there are . . . people like us…living on Earth!”
Given the pains our Nuathan Ministry of Terran Obfuscation has taken to keep that secret, I suppose she has a point. I lower my voice as I continue.
Is that true, Rigel? Did the Princess ‘freak out?’
“Only for a day or so,” he replies. “Really, she handled the news like a champ—way better than I did when my parents first told me.”
So you were raised Duch— I catch myself. Like a regular Earthling, too?
“Until I was ten, yeah.”
Back to my original question, Princess—
“Please don’t call me that!” she interrupts me. “Not here. Just Marsha is fine, or M—that’s what my friends call me.”
Though it seems terribly disrespectful, far be it from me to disobey. M, then. How has your life changed since learning the truth?
“If you don’t count people trying to kill me, mostly for the better. I mean, back in August I was a complete nobody on the very bottom rung of the social ladder. Now I hardly get picked on at all—well, except by Trina, but that’ll never change. I even get invited to parties and stuff. Not that my aunt ever lets me go, but it’s still cool to be invited. But that’s not because of being, you know, who I am. Nobody at school knows about that.”
Unfortunately, this coincides with the rumors of her being mistreated by her adoptive Duchas family and the surrounding townsfolk.
Then why the change?
“Mostly because of Rigel. He’s pretty popular, what with being quarterback of our football team and just generally awesome. I’m just kind of along for the ride.”
“Not true!” Rigel interjects. “You’re the awesome one. It just took people a while to figure it out.”
The Princess laughs at this and claims, “Nobody would ever have called me awesome before—” She breaks off when Rigel raises his eyebrows at her.
Not wishing to pry, I move on. You must be dying to tell everyone the truth about yourself. Is it hard living with such a huge secret?
“Sometimes,” she confesses, “but when I think about what could happen if people found out, I’m a lot less tempted to say anything.”
And what was your life like, growing up as a—you used the word ‘nobody’ in a non-Echtran household? Was it difficult living in such primitive conditions?
She laughs again. “Since I never knew anything else, I never thought of my conditions as primitive. And it’s not like my aunt was ever actually cruel or anything, even if she isn’t always easy to get along with.”
All right, then, next question. Once a certain dictator falls, how do you see your future unfolding? Are you excited at the prospect of someday returning to the place you were born?
The Princess shrugs. “I guess so, though I have an awful lot to learn before I’ll be ready for that! All the stuff people will expect of me, I mean. Besides, I’m pretty happy right here in Jewel for now. For instance, I went to my very first Homecoming dance last week and it was amazing.”
Oh? With Rigel here as your date?
“Well, yes. He and I—”
“Went with a bunch of our friends,” Rigel butts in, cutting her off for the second time, something he’d never dare to do in Nuath, I’m sure.
This makes me very curious. You two have shared a few harrowing experiences since meeting and I’m sure that’s created a bond of sorts. (I notice they exchange a glance when I say that.) Tell me, just how close have you two become?
At this point, Rigel stands up, then the Princess stands, too. “We said we’d give you five minutes,” Rigel says, “and we’ve been here longer than that. You have your story. And please tell your readers she’s tired of being stalked, okay?”
The Princess is much more polite, but it’s clear she’s ready to leave, too, so I don’t detain them.
Overall, I’d say our Princess seems surprisingly content with her new identity and especially with her knight in shining armor, Rigel Stuart. It will be interesting to see how things progress there once she’s called upon to take up the position she was born to—but I’ll leave that story to my colleagues in Nuath, who will be on the spot to witness it firsthand.
“Hey, did you hear there’s a new transfer?” Debbi Andrews asked the moment I sat next to her in Geometry class.
Petite and blond, Deb was my second-best friend after Brianna Morrison, though lately it seemed like the two of them were closer to each other than to me. Not that I could blame them, between the time I spent with Rigel and all the secrets I couldn’t tell them.
“Really? Two in one semester must be a record.” I grinned over at Rigel, who’d been the new kid at the start of the school year. “Boy or girl?”
“Boy. I haven’t seen him yet. I think he’s a junior or senior. Natalie said—”
The teacher cleared his throat then and Deb had to shut up. I was sure I’d hear more later, from Bri if not from Deb. New students were a huge deal at our little rural school.
Sure enough, the new guy was the first thing Bri talked about when we met up with her in the lunchroom a couple hours later.
“Hey, Rigel, looks like you’re off the hook for the basketball team.” Bri had been pestering Rigel for days to try out, egged on by her father, who was on the coaching staff. “This new guy, Sean, is just what our sucky team needs, according to my dad.”
“Sean?” Deb asked eagerly. “So that’s his name?”
I glanced at Rigel, who looked more relieved than curious. I, meanwhile, was having a mild deja vu moment, remembering when Bri had been all excited about the wonderful new quarterback we were getting—Rigel.
“Yeah, Sean O’Gara,” Bri told Deb.
“So, is it true he’s from Ireland? That’s what Natalie told me this morning.”
Bri nodded, her long, dark curls bouncing. “That’s what Dad said, too. I didn’t even know they played basketball in Ireland! But apparently it’s huge there.”
“Ireland? Really?” I glanced at Rigel again, remembering something he’d told me a while back, and saw he looked a little more interested.
“Yeah, he and his family just moved here last— Ooh, that must be him!” Bri broke off to point.
Of course, we all looked. The new guy was definitely tall enough to play basketball, maybe three or four inches taller than Rigel. He was fair bordering on pale, with bright, copper-colored hair. Very good looking, though of course he couldn’t compete with Rigel in that department. Who could?
“Let’s go say hi,” Bri suggested, already heading his way. “You know, welcome him to Jewel.”
It looked to me like plenty of people—mainly girls—were already doing just that. Again I was reminded of Rigel’s first day, especially when I saw Trina Squires—cheerleader, flirt and bitch extraordinaire—saunter up to to the newcomer. Rigel and I followed Bri and Deb, since it seemed the nice thing to do. We were maybe halfway across the lunchroom when both of us stopped cold to stare at each other.
“Do you—?” Rigel asked.
* * *
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Brenda Hiatt is the author of nearly twenty novels (so far), including traditional Regency romance, time travel romance, historical romance, and humorous mystery. She is as excited about her new 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 recently achieved her 2nd degree black belt), hiking, traveling, and pursuing new experiences and skills. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and Novelists, Inc, an international organization of multipublished novelists, where she served as President in 2006. For the past dozen years, Brenda has also collected data on writers' earnings, which she shares at her website, http://brendahiatt.com
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