Lexi: We are over the moon about a new sci-fi series: Starlight’s Shadow! It’s got enemies to lovers, alien pets, and bounty hunters! Join us in welcoming the author of the Starlight’s Shadow series: Jessie Mihalik!
Thank you so much for having me!! I’m Jessie Mihalik, and I write space opera romance, which may sound daunting if you’re not already a sci-fi fan, but basically, if you like the action and adventure of STAR WARS but wish it had more romance, you might like my books!
Lexi: Cantankerous meets sunshine. Some readers might call your newest release, ECLIPSE THE MOON, forced proximity, but we’re loving cantankerous meets sunshine! Do you have a favorite Kee and Varro scene?
I love Kee and Varro because Kee is such a chaotic rainbow and Varro is so stoic while also being a secret cinnamon roll, especially for Kee.
I really love all the time they spend together and grow as a couple, but one of my favorite scenes is early in the book when Varro is furious that Kee ended up in a dangerous situation, but he’s still so careful with her. Then, as soon as she asks him to leave, he does—but he also spends the night secretly guarding her door.
Lexi: We love it!! And we love bounty hunters—so many crazy things happen around bounty hunters! There’s espionage, intergalactic peace being threatened, kidnapping, danger. So much for the Starlight crew to face! Thankfully they have each other. What’s your favorite aspect of the Starlight crew?
A big aspect of the Starlight series is found family, and each book explores that relationship from the perspective of different crew members. The ship’s crew, while not related by blood, is still a family, and I adore writing about all of the ways they love, support, and play with each other.
In ECLIPSE THE MOON, Kee is going out on her own, but she has the confidence to do it because she knows that Tavi and the rest of the crew will have her back if something goes wrong, which of course it does.
But that same care can also feel like smothering, so Kee spends the book finding the balance between the two and growing in her self-confidence.
And on a personal note, I wrote the first book, HUNT THE STARS, during the beginning of the pandemic when I was really missing my own friends and family, so being able to go on an adventure with the Starlight crew helped bridge the gap until I could see everyone again!
Lexi: Bonds between found family members can be so strong. Aaand there are several potential love connections we’re crossing our fingers for. When you started forming the Starlight crew did you have matches set, or have any characters surprised you?
Because I’d written the Consortium Rebellion series, I sold this series on proposal, which means the publisher bought the books before I wrote them. In order to do that, I had to write an overview of the books and series for my editor.
Luckily, my editor is amazing, and she understands that I’m not a plotter, so it was a very high-level overview, almost more tropes than actual characters. So I knew the tropes I was going for, and I knew who my female main characters were going to be from the beginning, but their matches were a little more fluid until I started writing.
And even in ECLIPSE THE MOON, where the crew was set, a new character surprised me, and now I’m hoping I get to write another book because I think he would be a fun main character to write. Fingers crossed!
Lexi: We’re well aware of your strong romance writing skills, but your ability to create compelling worlds and galaxy impacting politics is even more fierce! How do you keep it all straight? Do you have a giant board in your writing space to keep track of the plot through the whole series?
I write in Scrivener, which has a place to store research notes, so I have A LOT of notes on planets, characters, technology, and existing story and character motivations. Since I don’t plot ahead, writing three books can be a little tricky because by the time I’m writing book three, book two has already been edited and is set for publishing, so I can’t change anything.
But that also means I can’t go back and endlessly tinker with things, so I have to keep the plot moving forward. Once I’m done writing a book in a series, I generally try to write up a short list of dangling plot threads, so I know what still needs resolution as I’m writing the next book. Then I take all of my research notes and move them into the next book’s Scrivener file. But mostly, I just start writing and hope for the best!
Lexi: Cheers to complex plot lines that compliment strong romances! We’re so excited for ECLIPSE THE MOON and can’t wait to see where this series takes us! Congrats, Jessie, and we hope to have you back soon!
Thank you again for having me! I hope your readers enjoy ECLIPSE THE MOON, and I would love to be back in the future!