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                                     SF/Fantasy Romance Author

            Romance That's 'Out Of This World


Maven - Interview and *G*i*v*e*a*w*a*y -

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:00 AM

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I'm delighted to welcome Starla Huchton to the Flight Deck today, and to feature her new release 'Maven' - and how about that stunning cover?   Before we get to the interview, let's find out some more about this intriguing Young Adult SF Romance, I must say it sounds amazing. And don't forget to read all the way through and to enter the rafflecopter contest.

Maven The Endure Series, Book 1 S. A. Huchton Genre: New Adult Science Fiction Romance ISBN-13: 978-1484985632 ISBN-10: 148498563X ISBN: 9781301686940 ASIN: B00D5JOC8O Number of pages: 284 Word Count: 81,640 Cover Artist: Starla Huchton

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Book Description: How far would you go for love? Since losing her parents at 14, young prodigy Dr. Lydia Ashley has focused on one thing: an appointment on the Deep Water Research Command Endure. Now 21, she’s about to realize that dream, but nothing is how she imagined it would be. Her transitional sponsor forgets her, her new lab is in complete chaos, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s about to discover something so horrific it could potentially destroy all life on the planet.

Daniel Brewer, a noted playboy and genius in his own right, may be exactly what she needs… Or he may make everything worse. Has she finally found a puzzle she can’t solve?

Short Excerpt: It hadn't been a lie. That last glass of champagne was probably a mistake. Lydia stared out at the shifting colors of sunset. Even if this little scheme didn't work at all, maybe it would clear her head some. She rested her hands on the stone railing of the balcony, watching the waves break over the sand.

"Gorgeous." Daniel's voice made her tighten her grip on the rail. Lydia didn't look at him. "You don't see many sunsets under water," she said. "I'd almost forgotten how lovely they were."

He walked over and leaned next to her. "I wasn't talking about the sunset." She hoped the changing light hid the pink in her cheeks.

"Hmm. Your hypothesis lacks evidence to back it up, since clearly I wasn't attractive enough for anyone to actually invite to this thing."

Daniel winced. "Uh, yeah. About that..."

That was not the response she'd expected. "What, Daniel?" She looked at him accusingly.

He straightened and took a step back. "I may or may not have threatened to sever certain personal entertainment feeds for anyone that asked you."

Lydia stared at him, stupefied. "You... you threatened to disconnect their porn?"

"Well, if you want to be crass about--"

"Why would you do that to me, Daniel?" she yelled at him, shoving him, hard. All the rage she had been bottling up the last two weeks exploded out of her. "All my life, all of it, I have been too smart, too young, too intimidating, too... something, to be dated by anyone. The few times I was asked out somewhere, it ended with some guy asking me for a term paper or test questions so he could get a better grade or evaluation or something. And now, when I'm finally someplace welcoming, at an age where I'm not just a kid anymore, you decided issuing a threat to anyone who might even think of dating me is a good idea? What the hell, Daniel? Why? Why would you do that to me?" Lydia's eyes stung, but she would not cry. She. Would. Not.

Daniel's face was a mixture of fear and guilt. "You didn't hear them talking. I figured, anyone that would value porn over the chance at an evening with you, well, no one like that deserves you. I... I couldn't stand the thought of anyone else with you, Lydia."

She closed her eyes and turned away. "Then why not ask me yourself?" There was a pause before he spoke. Whatever he had to say, it had better be good.

"For one, I didn't want to cancel if my father decided I needed other arrangements. I thought if I waited until Friday morning and he hadn't pulled me by then I'd be safe. And for two..." His voice faded and she glanced at him.

"Well?" she prompted.

He swallowed, then exhaled in frustration.

"Honestly, you scare the crap out of me, Lydia. I've never... I mean, you're the first and last thing I think about every damn day. I'm physically ill when I think I might not ever be the kind of person you deserve to be with. You make me want to be better at everything I do. I'm terrified whenever I screw up because I think I might never get the chance to kiss you even once, and if that were true I... I don't know if I could deal with that."

Of all the things he could have said to her, she couldn't imagine any of them being more perfect. Maybe it was all the champagne, but her anger evaporated. He touched her bare shoulder.

"Lydia, I'm sorry. I--"

She didn't let him finish. The word "sorry" had barely left his lips before hers were on them. It had taken every ounce of courage she had, but she had done it. Daniel didn't respond for a moment. She thought maybe she had made a mistake, but his hand on her neck, and the other sliding around her waist eased her fear. His lips were warm, parting against hers. She thought she might actually melt at the sweet sensation. Her fingers dug into the fabric of his jacket, pulling him closer. Daniel's tongue tickled her own, encouraging her.

The embrace grew heated very quickly and she didn't think she could stand much more. Out of breath, she broke away. Unsure if her legs would hold her, she set a hand on the railing for support. She couldn't meet his eyes, anxious about what she might see there. He set his own hand over hers, entwining their fingers. "Seems I was wrong," he whispered in her ear.

"Wrong?" Surprised, she looked up at him. His empty hand touched her chin.

"Well, now that I've kissed you, I'm not sure I can stop." Lydia smiled. "And who's stopping you?"      

He kissed her again, gentler this time, his mouth brushing her skin as lightly as the breeze coming off the ocean. At this, she came undone and lost any feeling in her feet. She laughed as he caught her. It was positively mortifying, but she couldn't care less. If it landed her in his arms, she would consider never walking again.

About the Author: Starla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer's Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. Since her debut, Starla's voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor's Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, a short story for The Gearheart, and an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine's Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards.

Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven is her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four, being released under the name S. A. Huchton. After completing her degree in Graphic Arts at Monterey Peninsula College, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors and publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.

S A Huchton
HL: Welcome. Make yourself comfortable, help ourself to a drink of something refreshing from the repli-bar, and tell us a little more about yourself , with three things not many people know about you.

SA:  1. I love watching people play video games. I don't play them much myself (outside of a few story/puzzle games), but I have actually tried to talk my husband into playing them more often so I can watch the stories unfold!
2. I spent over five years in the US Navy, and was not stationed on a ship for any of that time. To be fair, I did spend four years in Keflavik, Iceland, where I met my husband and two of my children were born, so it's not like I wasn't plenty busy.
3. If you had told me five years ago that I would be writing romance, I'd have called you crazy. It didn't occur to me until I was nearly thirty years old that maybe I would be good at it and/or enjoy it!

HL:  Wow! It's amazing what one learns about fellow authors on the Flight Deck! :) What comes first: the plot or the characters?

SA:   Every book is different for me. In the case of Maven, the setting and the characters were the first to emerge. The first book I ever wrote was based on the idea of what happens to a dream when someone isn't dreaming it. I'm typically a pantser and fill in the details as I go. However, I've just started a new project where an entire 2-book idea hit me full in the face, characters, plot and all (hello, sexy superheroes!). So, it's a mixed bag with me. Inspiration is everywhere!

HL:   Oh I couldn't agree more about inspiration. Tell us about Maven, and what you think readers will enjoy about it?

 SA: Maven is probably something a little different for a lot of people. It's categorized as New Adult SciFi Romance, but this tends to cause hesitancy in some readers. They get worried that SciFi means aliens or too much explanation of technology, but that isn't what they'll find in Maven. Above all else, it's a New Adult story (set only forty years in the future) about two young people learning to function in the world beyond childhood and adolescence, and exploring what it means to love another. Every bit of science within the story is explained on a level anyone can understand, as I myself am not a scientist. I love the ideas science puts forward, but not so much the math and complex explanations behind it. What readers will find in Maven is enough information to understand what's going on in the plot without being overwhelmed by terminology. I love the idea of entertaining while maybe imparting a little knowledge. Maven will give you a sense of the fantastic while still keeping your feet on the ground. Or, under water, as it were. :)

HL:  I can certainly relate to much of what you say abovel  As a SF Romance writer myself, I have to admit I'm no scientist or mathematician either, but researching just enough to make the plot plausible and not drown the reader with facts is part of the fun isn't it.  I'd love to know - if someone were to play one of your characters in a movie, which character and what actor would it be and why?

SA:  I actually had to think about this one a long time. In the end, I narrowed it down to one of two Emmas to play Lydia: Emma Watson or Emma Stone. Brains are a requirement when it comes to portraying my heroine, and either of those two ladies would be a good fit. And I pretty much love anything they've ever been in ever.

For Daniel, I took to Google and searched around for a good casting match there. What I found actually surprised me. I ran across a picture of a young Jensen Ackles and my jaw dropped. While he's a bit too old to play him now (as Daniel is only 22), Jensen's appearance and mannerisms are really really close to what I envision for Daniel. So, I guess if you could bring someone from the past into the future for such a role, that would be my pick. This really did surprise me as I haven't watched Supernatural since the first season. And I always preferred Jared Padalecki on that show anyway. So there's that.

HL:  Great choices! Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

 SA: My support system seems to expand on a daily basis. I started out with a group of folks in the Second Life game who were all participating in NaNoWriMo. While I don't play any more, some of those connections still persist today, including someone who's become my "creative sounding board" and first line of defense in everything I write. When I dipped my toes into the realm of podcasting fiction, I was suddenly surrounded by a whole troop of authors who were ready and willing to offer every piece of advice they had. Really, I can't thank those folks enough for all the support they've given me in the last four years. Some of them have become great friends of mine, and are endlessly giving of their time. Within the last year I've started making connections in the Romance, YA, and NA communities of writers, bloggers, and readers as well. The indie author support in these groups of people has been astounding! There is a constant extension of helping hands reaching out wherever I turn. In everything from the mechanics of writing, to the navigation of blog tours and cover reveals, I've learned so much from them I can't even begin to list it all. I have to make mention of the SFR Brigade as well, as they're also incredibly supportive of authors within the SciFi Romance genre and help each other at every opportunity.

HL:    Oh, that's interesting, I'm a member of the SFR Brigade as well, and as you say, the support of other authors is amazing and so valuable What sort of research do you do for your books and what’s your favourite source of information.
SA: Given the contents of this book, I definitely did a lot of research. I mined the web for information on everything from UEFA soccer schedules to Hawaiian hotels to marine microorganisms to computer security technology. But I think my favorite method of finding the information I needed for my fiction was the conversations I had with friends and contacts working in professions associated with some of the topics I hit on in Maven. My husband has his undergrad in microbiology and his masters degree in computer science, so a lot of my info came from him. However, my Twitter timeline is full of all sorts of interesting people, so I used that for sources too. In order to have the story make sense and not confuse anyone, I needed to be sure I understood the science myself, and these conversations were instrumental in that. My notes probably look like lesson plans for kindergarteners, but, really, I had to make it simple. Because I'm more inclined to art and music than science and math, it was a challenge to condense the ideas into something a reader could easily wrap their head around without any prior experience. I figured, if I could get a handle on it, anyone else could too

HL:  Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

SA:  While I love both Lydia and Daniel, I think if I were to befriend any of the characters in this book it would be Cordellia Orietti (Cordy for short). Especially after working on books two and three (which are complete and coming soon) and what's in store for her in book four, I absolutely adore her spunk and sass. She has a no nonsense attitude and is both a loyal friend and fierce defender of those close to her. Cordy works in the Administration department on the Endure, but what you learn about her as the story progresses in the later books really shows that there's more to her than being a paper pusher. She's proof that you can be a girly girl and still kick some butt when the situation calls for it. It doesn't hurt that she's pretty smart in her own right as well.

HL:  She sounds a wonderful character.  I love girly heroines, who can still 'kick butt'! :) Where can readers connect with you?

SA: I am all over the web, but here are a few places people can find me:
HL:  Fantastic! Sadly time has run out and I have to return you to Earth. Thank you so much for taking time to visit my blog, it’s been a thrill having you here and learning more about you and your writing. I wish you much success now and in the future.

'STARQUEST'    'CHILDREN OF THE MIST'  (The sequel to Starquest)  Dancing With Fate      'Freeread':'A BARGAIN WITH DEATH

                  Also available on Kindle

Categories: Guest Authors

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Reply Joanna (Lazuli Portals)
5:56 AM on July 25, 2013 
This sounds like a great book, and I'll definitely download a Kindle sample. (I missed the Giveaway - just too busy to get here in time!)

How could I not explore this when there's a character named Cordellia, when Cordello is a word / place so close to my heart! ;)
Reply Hywela Lyn
6:13 AM on July 25, 2013 
Hi Joanna, thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the sample enogh to download a copy of Maven. I'm looking forward to reading it myself!