Starcrush by Justine Erler
Kindle Edition, 248 pages
Published December 19th 2013 by Trio Capital LLC
Age Group: YA
The Perfect Boyfriend … is an Alien.
Close Encounters of the crush-worthy kind. There are no ordinary moments at the Jersey Shore as psychically-gifted high school senior Genna Savoy finds herself torn between rival aliens who look … spectacularly human.
An interview with Justine Erler
Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.
The inspiration is Colette’s Cheri and The Last of Cheri, which I view as the ultimate sensory romance. The writing is visceral in nature, so that every word is laden with an emotional weight that is beyond anything I’ve read.
In Starcrush, I adapted Colette’s freely abandoned, sensual style to the modern, teen genre. The more explicit references meant for an adult reader have been appropriately tempered, while still maintaining the emotional thrust of Cheri.
Q. How did writing this book affect you?
I’m drawn to intensity; the kind of emotions that unravel the characters so completely that you can’t tell where one ends, and the other begins. When I wrote Starcrush, I was going through a series of personal crises, compounded by an epic hurricane that decimated the Jersey Shore and left us without power for weeks. Many writers feel that whatever is going on in their personal life finds its way into the book. During that time, I found my writer’s voice and began to explore the genre.
In the book, every scene, every moment is sourced from an actual experience — something I felt or endured that left an impression on me. Writing this book gave me the presence to explore past encounters, past hurts … and the ability to examine how they affected me from a safe distance.
Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future?
Of course. There’s always something to write about. I would like to write a different kind of vampire book series, one that doesn’t make use of the usual behaviors and props. I want to write stories where romance is the driving force instead of violence. I also want to write more poetic, lyrical prose that sways the modern reader like a music video.
Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?
That’s easy. I would have to be Genna, because Genna is who I used to be before I was old enough to vote, not necessarily who I am now. She’s essentially a flawed creature, given to narcissistic impulse, easily disillusioned and ready to jump to all the wrong conclusions. Through Genna’s perspective, the reader experiences her growth. In the first part of the book, Genna is forever resisting her emotions. Later we see a gradual acceptance, a readiness to allow love to transform at the deepest, core levels. In the sequel, this transformation comes full circle and is truly … beyond perfect.
Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Write under any set of circumstances — where conditions are uncomfortable and distracting. I seem to write best when I’m in this perfect mind set, when my body is fed and warm and music is lulling me into this creative trance-like state. I would like the ability to write with urgency, like a war correspondence in the middle of battle.
Q. What are you currently reading?
…Anything Jane Austen, and of course, the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights is my particular favorite, but any dark, brooding gothic romance from classic literature will do.
Q. All of the books you’ve read, which one has impacted you the most?
Pride and Prejudice because it beguiles the reader in so many powerful and understated ways … so that a smile becomes a promise, a glance or touch of the hand … an invitation.
Q. What gives you the most joy in life?
Spending time with my daughter, listening to music… and of course the moments when the words flow effortlessly, without impediment.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. If Starcrush does nothing more than put a smile on your face at exactly the right moments intended — I have succeeded!
I drifted into silence as my eyes fell over him, the way he leaned over the desk, chilled to the extreme. Yet there was something overpowering about him. That “easy does it, rule-the-world” attitude felt good to be around but just now I couldn’t decide whether this made him the most incredible guy I ever met — or the most obnoxious.
I was relatively sure that the answer was not somewhere in between.
Justine Erler is a consultant with a background in health care management. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband and daughter. Starcrush is her first novel of the series, combining Books I and II, and was written while in search of the perfect vampire-alternative novel.
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