Monday, June 24, 2013

Maven Blog Tour - Warning Girl Cooties

Today I’m pleased to have a guest: Starla Huchton. You may remember when I we revealed the cover for her most recent novel: Maven.

She’s back for the Maven blog tour and has agreed to an interview. But before I pester her with questions lets learn more about Maven.

Maven is Starla’s NA Science Fiction Romance available for purchase here, here, and here.

Check out the blurb:

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?

Sounds cool, right? So now on to the part where I bombard the wonderful, talented, gorgeous Starla Huchton with questions.

1. So Starla, Maven is the first book in your SciFi-Romance series: Endure. And during my research I discovered Maven is not the only SciFi novel you’ve written. In fact, you’ve won awards for your previous SciFi works. So tell me, why SciFi?

SH: Well, to be honest, Science Fiction was not my first love when it came to the books I read when I was younger. I read some, but found so much of it to be dry expositions on technology with any lack of character depth. I was a fantasy girl for the most part, though there were some SciFi stories that drew me in (notably the Dune series and ALL of Douglas Adams’s writing). In my writing it was a strangely natural progression. The first novel I ever completed was a Fantasy novel. My second project came along about two years later, at which point I had discovered Steampunk and fell in love. It was sort of a gateway drug, if you will. Master of Myth (Antigone’s Wrath #1) was an experiment. It has a definite fantasy thread (the magical energy of aether), which is a huge part of the story, but when you’re talking about true Steampunk, you’re talking guns, gears, goggles, and gizmos. That required research, mostly because I knew very little about any of it. Once I got started, though, I found I really, really enjoyed it! Strange for someone who’s a graphic designer, writer, musician, and voice artist (all the artsy fartsy stuff) who’s stayed far, far away from anything related to math (and, somewhat by extension, science, because OMG MATH). Researching for my writing became a bit of an addiction, actually. The further I go, the more I am driven to get it right. What I’ve discovered, much more so in Maven than in the Steampunk, is how fascinating the science of all this stuff is. Ever heard the word supercavitation? I hadn’t, but once I knew what it was and what it looked like… *sigh* be still my geeky little heart. I’m discovering this new (for me) excitement about science (still so weird to see me saying that!), and my hope is that my books share a bit of that with others that never gave it much thought before. (Now go Google supercavitation and tell me that’s not cool!)

2. I can relate to so much of that (OMG MATH #yuck and NERD RESEARCH #joy). I have to ask, as a veteran SciFi-Fantasy (SFF) author what do you think about the recent hoopla in the bloggosphere about Romance destroying the purity of SFF?

SH: Oh, honey. How much time you got? ;)

This supposed “purity” of SFF is such a silly concept to me. Science Fiction and Fantasy have ALWAYS been the domains of those who wanted to push the envelope. Whether that was to talk about taboo cultural/racial/societal issues or to completely reinvent the world, that’s what SFF was all about! It’s supposed to be something new or different. That’s what it’s FOR… at least, it used to be. That is to say, IT CAN BE EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING. SFF “purists” have gotten so caught up in the tropes and rules they defined for themselves (not outsiders, the actual SFF community did this) that they’ve forgotten the beauty of these genres. I don’t give one whiff about Author X’s portrayal of Faster Than Light travel versus Author Y’s take. They’re so caught up in arguing these fine points no one cares about that they’re turning their novels into doctoral dissertations instead of enjoyable stories.

So why can’t I have a little action with my “action”? Why can’t I throw a little smexy on that science? I, and others like me, have been doing this (some for years and years), not because some crusty old white dude from the 1960s heyday of pulp novels says we can, but because I (we) say, WHY NOT?

The issue goes much deeper than that (OMG GIRL COOTIES!), but let’s move on for the moment.

3. Eeew, cooties. LOL. Some fairly prominent writers and bloggers have spoken out about sexism and misogyny in the SFF realm. What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you feel sexism in SFF is an issue?

SH: It is ALWAYS an issue. Not only in SFF, but since that’s what you’re asking about specifically, we’ll go there with it.

What people like Ann Aguirre have spoken about is so sadly common. If you write, you’re an author. If you write and happen to have girl parts, you’re a FEMALE author. We’re spoken about and written about as though we’re a minority, and yet women are 51% of the ENTIRE WORLD POPULATION. “Author” is, by default, engrained in our heads as “male”. And yet, just in looking at my Twitter stream, where I see bloggers, agents, editors, authors… the majority of them are female. Yet I still hear them classified as “Lady Agent”, “Female Blogger”, etc, constantly, as though this somehow has some bearing on how well they do their job or how competent they are in regards to books. My ability to pull off a chainmail bikini has ZERO impact on the words I put on the page, yet the Miss America standard still applies. Who cares what she says if she can’t rock the swimsuit competition?

I’m going to make it a point to start calling them Male Authors and Boy Writers (making sure to put a nice sarcastic slant on the first word) from now on. If they can give me a qualifier, they should expect the same.

In the words of Eve Ensler, “I LOVE BEING A GIRL”. Also: RAWR.

4. Rawr indeed. I think we see a bit of that Girl Power in Maven. The Protag, Dr. Lydia Ashley, is a young, successful woman in a field full of men. Tell me, is any part of Maven autobiographical?

SH: Hmm. Tricky question. I think every author imbues a bit of themselves in their characters to some extent. Honestly, I’m as much Daniel as I am Lydia. I have those same impulsive emotional moments he does, yet I can be every bit the pragmatist Lydia is.

Speaking specifically to Lydia, though, I don’t know how autobiographical I would consider that character. I actually had a semi-lucid dream about someone leaving a Maven review that said I didn’t adequately address the gender discrimination issue specifically where the military was concerned (these are my worries, lol). At least for that much, I can speak to why I wrote Lydia and the story the way I did.

I spent over five years in the United States Navy. Never once was I harassed on the job or treated differently because I was female. Now, off hours might be a little different story, but in the way that a college class is different from what goes on at the bar on Saturday night. I did my job, I was smart and competent (I actually ran the base print shop when we were out someone to fill a senior leadership position for a six-month period… I was twenty-two), and conducted myself the way any professional person would. I was never met with anything but respect and attentiveness when I addressed those in command or those I supervised. As that was my own personal experience, that probably leaked into Maven more than a little. Sure, the military isn’t perfect, and I wasn’t in a stressful combat situation, but I spoke to what I know and what I continue to know, as my husband is a Naval Officer now.

Also, Maven is set forty years in the future. I might be too optimistic here, but I hold out hope that things will get better as far as gender issues go.

5. Wow, I have to say thank you for your service. And you’ve been great sport so far. One last question: If you could go out for one wild night of drinking with any fictional character, who would it be? (And BTW, there is not chance of a hangover the next day)

SH: Well, that’s not a question I expected after all that heaviness! But, I think I have an answer that might be as unexpected.

See, when I go out drinking, I do one of two things: One, I tend to fall into really deep, heavy conversations with one person or a very small group of people. We divulge secrets. We psychoanalyze and advise one another. We give and gain insights. We also get stupid, crazy sloshed in the process. It’s AWESOME. For this, I would request the presence of one Edmund Dantes from the Count of Monte Cristo. An odd choice, you say? No way. That’s one of my favorite books EVAR and I want to know all of Edmund’s secrets!

The second type of drinking I do sees me breaking into song, be it at karaoke or someone whipping out a guitar, or just because I AM THAT DRUNK. If you’re gonna do a thing, do it all the way! And for that, I’m jumping over to anime! I’ll need Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten (the Starlights) from Sailor Moon STARS as backup! Male or female form, who cares! Sing yer hearts out and help me take the stage! It’ll also be AWESOME. (And most everyone goes: Who what now??? I am SUCH a dork. LMAO)

OMG, I love those answers. I'm a huge fan of the Count of Monte Cristo and a complete fangirl for Sailor Moon. I would totally crash that party! Thanks again for swinging by the Blog and congratulations on the release of Maven.

No blog tour is complete without a raffle.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find out more about Starla and her books on her website, Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter.

Author Bio:

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 (earning her a third Parsec nomination), 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, 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.


  1. HI! Maven sounds awesome. This was a great interview. I adore SFF and SFR. Thanks for your Service.

    doxisrcool at

    1. I love to read SFR because it adds emotional depth to the SF I grew up reading.

  2. HI Anna,

    I agree with you, SFR seems to have more depth than just SF. I think romance is like the Rosetta stone of storytelling. Romance crosses all boundaries and is generally something everyone can relate to.

    And, it can be a heck of a lot of fun!


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