What if the best things in life were on the verge of ending? What if a single thought — or a single kiss — changed everything? What if you realized that everything you knew — everything you believed — was suddenly wrong?
The emotionally-captivating debut novel of Justine Erler’s Starcrush series introduces Genna Savoy, a psychically-gifted high school senior who finds herself torn between rival aliens who look… spectacularly human.
In the first half of Starcrush, Genna meets Byron, deliciously aloof and rock-god cool. The second half unleashes Elon, drop-dead gorgeous with a killer smile. Each represents the opposite ends of extreme, scary-wonderful in their own way. In the aftermath of these encounters, conflicted anti-heroine Genna Savoy struggles to accept her own feelings as the reality of her perfect boyfriend … slips away.
About Justine Erler
Justine Erler is a business 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.
Can you describe your book in about five words?
Bungee jumping without the cord.
How did you come up with the idea of writing a book about aliens? What triggered it?
The genre is super-saturated with vampires, werewolves and angels. The time for a new character had come, but like other authors, I wanted to break-out of the stereotypical mold that traditionally defined the supernatural character. I wanted my extraterrestrials to be more than creepy monsters on a late night movie. So I deliberately played down the sci-fi elements and brought the characters into the context of a suburban neighborhood, having them do extraordinary things while into all the typical young adult stuff: school, dating, rock concerts, frozen yogurt bars, etc.
The idea of writing about aliens developed from my own natural interest in the subject. I follow the more credible accounts of UFO sightings and alien encounters. Behind them all, I have to believe that the truth is more than what we think or what we’re capable of imagining. In Starcrush, the most interesting scenes emphasize the gap between what we think we know … and what we actually do.
Genna is between two guys. Do you think you could choose if you were in her shoes?
Absolutely not! I wouldn’t want to choose. Each guy is extraordinarily different and worthy of my undivided attention. They would just need to be patient because I can’t be in two places at the same time.
Can you tell me something about the next book in the series? (Title, cover, expected publication, etc.)
The sequel, Starcrush: Beyond Perfect, will likely be released in early Summer. The unfolding story focuses on the relationship between Genna and Elon. The idea of the love triangle persists throughout the series although I think readers will be surprised to see how the triangle develops, allowing for unconventional possibilities. The cover for the book is already designed and is posted on my website. It’s an atmospheric beachscape cover, not unlike the first book, but with bolder, more surreal color enhancement.
What was the most amazing part of writing this book?
Cutting and pasting previous relationships into my own personal version of the perfect boyfriend. The way it was put together is fiction of course, but the individual components are straight from the heart.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
Two additional projects are already churning … a Vampire series (because I have to) and a paranormal historical romance set in Italy, inspired by The White Queen.
What are the difficulties of being a self-published author?
Well, let’s start by saying that the decision to be self-published was a deliberate choice from the onset. I never pursued a traditional publishing contract because I wanted to control all aspects of the creative process … including the product. That being said; book promotion is labor-intensive and time-consuming, and diverts valuable time away from writing. It’s also expensive to front the costs for a book launch and get it out there for the world to see. I’m surprised that everyone’s sister or cousin seems to have written a book … which means that exceptional books get buried under the weight of books that are of lesser quality.
What are some of your favorite authors?
Let’s see … they span time itself. Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters are a constant source of inspiration. Colette is a personal favorite … and I absolutely love Stephenie Meyer and Anne Rice.
What are a few books that are on top of your to-read list?
I haven’t read 50 Shades, which I would like to when there’s enough time. I also want to read John Green’s books because my daughter likes his work … and Edgar Allen Poe again.
Are there any other books that you would recommend to people who enjoyed Starcrush?
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga and Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire.
And some getting-to-know-you questions:
Coffee or tea? Depends on my mood … I’m known to switch between the two at any given time.
E-book or physical book? Physical book because I like the way the paper absorbs the moisture from my fingertips when I turn the pages. That kind of immersive interaction has a visceral quality as potent as the content, which is why the paperback version of Starcrush will be released shortly.
Writing at home or outside? I definitely prefer writing at home in my own private writer’s cave in the basement, surrounded by my creature comforts.
Sweet or salty? They ask those questions on Italian trains between Florence and Venice or Rome and Florence. A “sweet” train snack usually means cookies and “salty” means peanuts or pretzels. My daughter will usually get one while I ask for the other. The lesson holds for romance as well: never choose when you can have both.
Aliens or humans? If the love interests are anything like my otherworldly characters — aliens please!
Thank you so much Justine for answering my questions! I had lots of fun reading your answers!