Pearl has already appeared in three of my books and she’s done some nasty things to my characters. When I was at secondary school, I knew some girls like Pearl and I did anything I could to avoid their usually terrifying attention. If I’m honest, for a long time I wasn’t interested in what made those girls behave in that way – they were bullies, end of story – but then I became a teacher and I learnt more about what some teenagers have to cope with, particularly at home. I can still remember just how frightening it is to be bullied and I put these experiences in Flirty Dancing. Star Struck looks at the other side of the story.
Romeo and Juliet
The action in Star Struck takes place around a musical production of Romeo and Juliet, a play I love, which is a good job as I taught it pretty much non-stop when I was a teacher. Pearl’s favourite line is: ‘I dreamt my lady came and found me dead…And breathed such life with kisses on my lips that I revived and was an emperor’. These words come to have huge significance for Pearl. In Star Struck, Romeo and Juliet is reinvented as a musical so I got to make up songs (Capulet It Go) and think of dances and costumes. I imagined the show taking place at a theatre like the Congress in Eastbourne and I imagined it in such detail I feel like I’ve seen it. Honestly, it’s awesome. Someone should definitely put it on!
Hoshi grew up in Japan, a country that I love. I visited Japan with my husband and on our first day in Tokyo we got lost in an underground station for an hour, went to a dumpling theme park and ate way too many tentacles (BTW: waitress who told us we’d ordered too much sushi: you were right!) Originally, I planned that Star Struck would end with Pearl walking through the cherry blossom in Japan. This scene isn’t actually in the book, but in my head it happens.
Japanese Street Fashion
I spent far too much time ‘researching’ this aspect of my book. Words can’t really do justice to the colourful spectacle of Harajuku fashion so it’s probably better if you just watch this film.
You have to be brave to dress this boldly. Initially, Pearl is challenged by Hoshi’s clothes because they reveal Hoshi’s confidence, but at the same time she’s intrigued. Would Pearl ever become a Decora girl? I think she’d probably be more into Visual Kei.