We talk to writer Kristen Terrell about her latest release, The stars are among uswhich is described as Bridgeton Meets Illuminae An explosive romance space opera where danger and deception lie behind magic and fortune.
Hi Kristen! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I am the author of three books for young people: For all our days, here lies Danielle Tate and now the stars are among us. Between writing books, running my own Wordsmith Workshops that hosts writing retreats for aspiring authors with fellow YA author Beth Revis, and working as a business manager for The Author Village, I mainly deal with books and other writers all day every day, which isn’t bad To spend your time! I live in upstate New York with a small herd of cats.
When did you first discover your love for writing?
I started writing when I was really young (mostly fan fictions veiled from my favorite TV shows), but it was never something I had any aspirations to do professionally. My mom always thought I should follow her, so I wrote my first novel to her as a Christmas present when I was in my twenties because I knew she would cry and wish she would love me a little more than my sister. By doing so, I discovered that I love writing novels, and here I am! Mama I know.
Lightning fast tour! Tell us about the first book you ever remember reading, the book that made you want to become an author, and the book you can’t stop thinking about!
The first book I really remember falling in love with was THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB series. I was a geek, so scholastic, please contact me if you need a ghost writer. Perhaps the first book that got me thinking about trying to become an author was Philip Pullman’s The SUBTLE KNIFE. And lately – I worry about what this says about the world or my life in particular – I find myself thinking a lot more about The Hunger Games and how clever these books are than they are generally given credit for!
Your new novel The stars are among us, out now! If you could describe it in just five words, what would it be?
From poverty to riches, by murder.
What can readers expect?
Vika is a poor waitress who struggles to survive on a poor planet, but one day learns that it was within the will of a recently deceased billionaire. For reasons unknown to her, this billionaire stipulated that his son could inherit his huge fortune only if he agreed to marry Vika, his father’s choice of bride. This sets off a chain of events that propels Vika into the realm of high society on a wealthy nearby planet. The reader follows her as she navigates her new life of fancy partying and spreading social gossip to befriend a young man from her old life who holds a devastating secret to investigate a series of mysterious bombings targeting the heirs of the billionaire’s fortune, including herself.
Where did the inspiration for this new novel come from?
Back to my roots of the thin veiled fan stories! At its core, it’s a retelling of a Dickens novel called Our Mutual Friend that almost no one has read but I love, except for my space-flavored version and has a lot of bangs and kisses.
Can you tell us a little bit about the challenges you faced while writing and how you managed to overcome them?
This was a challenge, he won’t lie! I sold the book based on just a few chapters in…February 2020. Which means I had to do it Type Most things happen during the first few months of a pandemic. I don’t know how easy it was for the rest of you to find doing really focused work during that time, but it wasn’t an experience I’d like to repeat. I accomplished this by doing a lot of additional writing in Zoom with friends and reminding myself that I had signed a legal contract promising I would!
Were there any favorite moments or characters that you really enjoyed writing or exploring?
too much! I loved creating all three of my characters from my point of view, but I have a particularly nice niche for Vika. I’m often accused of writing unloved heroines, but that’s part of the reason why I love them! Growing up, I always felt, and still feel a lot, a lot of pressure to be accepted and to keep everyone around me happy even on my own tunnel. I think that’s something a lot of women feel. That’s why I like to write from the perspective of teenage girls and young women who work no feel that way. Vika can be unpleasant at times, but she’s not afraid to say what she means even if other people don’t like her, which is fun and a little therapeutic for me as a writer.
What’s the best and worst writing advice you’ve received?
I’m not sure I received bad Advice. I’ve been given a lot of advice that didn’t work for me personally, but part of being a writer is learning all the things that don’t work for you so you can figure out what does.
The best advice I’ve received is to just accept that my first draft is going to suck because sucking is the first thing that drafts do. If I don’t learn to let go of my perfection, I’ll never learn Been completed That’s the first of my vulgar novels, let alone published anything at all.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on another “Classic STORY BUT IN SPACE WITH MURDER” novel as we speak, so I hope this is on your way soon!