Archive for the ‘Knights Archive Exclusive’ Category

Hello There! John Jackson Miller Talks Kenobi

Kenobi

John Jackson Miller has quickly become a fan favorite in the Star Wars expanded universe. His first Star Wars novel is Knight Errant, released in 2011, alongside a comic book series of the same name which he wrote for Dark Horse Comics. He’s also been the regular writer of Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic comics since the beginning, and has written for the Star Wars Role-Playing Game. And of course, he’s the man behind the incredible Lost Tribe of the Sith series.

John recently answered some questions I had regarding his newest Star Wars novel, Kenobi.

Be advised, there are Kenobi spoilers!
Read more

Dawn of the Next Great Star Wars Author: Tim Lebbon

Tim LebbonTim Lebbon is an award winning horror and dark fantasy writer. His first published story was in the UK indie magazine Psychotrope in 1994, and in 1997 Tanjen published his first novel Mesmer. Since then he’s had over almost thirty books published in the UK and US by Bantam Spectra, Allison & Busby, Night Shade Books, Simon & Schuster, Leisure Books, PS Publishing, Necessary Evil Press, Cemetery Dance and many others, with many more due soon.

His latest work is Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void, which is set some 25,000 years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. We were pleased to have Tim answer a few questions for us regarding this exciting new novel.
Read more

Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves

Michael Reaves is a prolific writer and book author, who’s worked on dozens of television shows. His work on the Batman television animated series has even earned him an Emmy Award. And, of course, he’s Michael Reaveswritten several Star Wars novels that expanded universe fans instantly recognize, such as Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter and Death Star.

What some people may not know is that for more than a decade, he has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, which no doubt makes his career unimaginably difficult. Michael maintains a blog titled Parkinson’s Monster, which serves as a chronicle of his battle of the disease. Link

For several years now, he has had a collaboration with author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, which he briefly talks about below. Their latest work is The Last Jedi, a book that continues the story of the Coruscant Nights series. Michael recently sat down and answered a few questions we had about The Last Jedi!

KA: Congrats on the release of The Last Jedi! You and Maya have built a strong follow-up to the Coruscant Nights series. If you could single out your favorite thing about this series, what would it be?

MR: The family structure. That’s the key ingredient in an ensemble cast like this. They know that at the end of the day, they’re there for each other.

In The Last Jedi, Jax and I-Five continue their strong bond, even though it becomes strained at times. How do you think Jax would have fared if he didn’t have I-Five behind him all this time?

Not as well, I’d guess. He would’ve had a lot harder time getting out of Rokko’s stronghold in Jedi Twilight.

I-Five and Den Dhur have had quite a journey; from Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, to the Medstar duology, to the Coruscant Nights series. What do you want your readers to take away from this unusual duo?

Well, actually Den joined the gang in Battle Surgeons, but he’s been an integral part of the story since then. What should they take away from them? Whatever they can keep after going through their pockets. And all those endless and obtuse ontological discussions, of course.

Jax makes several questionable decisions that lead him perilously close to the dark side, and could equally lead to disastrous outcome. Personally, after reading this book, even though I know the outcome, I still wonder if his choices were worth the risk. How do you as the author feel about that?

Hey, I had no more choice in the matter than Jax did. He had to do the stuff he did — given what happened, he had no alternative. That you’re asking the question means to me that I’ve done my job well.

I’ve talked to Maya in the past about the collaboration you two have. What are your feelings about it?

I’m ecstatic about her. I’ve been slowed a great deal in the last few years due to health problems, and Maya has been a godsend (and I say that as a confirmed atheist). She’s smart, fast, funny and her style is quite compatible with my own. What’s not to like?

Finally, if asked, would you like to continue the Coruscant Nights storyline? The Last Jedi left an opportunity for it.

One of main reasons I had Five switching bodies was to give him (and us) a fresh perspective. I tend to stick to the same locales (or in the case of the GFFA, the same planets,) because I can put roots down and delve into the characters deeper (that’s the theory, anyway). But he IS a droid, after all, and we weren’t taking enough advantage of that aspect of him. So we stuffed him into a Human Replica Droid chassis. I’m hoping there’ll be enough room for at least one more book, but we have to wait to see how the EU will continue with the new movies coming.

I asked a few more questions that Del Rey felt the editorial staff would be able to answer. The replies they gave me have been used on other sites, but I’ll repeat them here.

The Last Jedi continues the Coruscant Nights story, but it’s also considered a stand-alone. Why?

Shelly Shapiro: We went back and forth on that a million times, trying to figure out how best to attract new readers and old readers alike. In the end we decided that the back cover copy–which makes clear that it’s an adventure with Jax, I-Five, and Den Dur–would carry the message to existing fans of the Coruscant Nights books, while the front cover wouldn’t be off-putting to those who haven’t yet dipped their toes in any of Jax’s story. However, the back cover does show the covers of the first three books with the following line: “LOOK FOR THESE THRILLING NOVELS IN THE CORUSCANT NIGHTS SERIES.”

What are your feelings regarding the death of Even Piell in The Clone Wars? Has there been any discussion regarding possible changes to Jedi Twilight?

SS: Yes, that certainly took us all by surprise! But when Evan Piell was offered as a usable Jedi Master for Jedi Twilight, no one knew that the TV show would end up using him in their stories and killing him off there. When we found out, the authors and I discussed the idea of changing Piell to a different Jedi Master in the Science Fiction Book Club version, and maybe even in future Del Rey reprints of the book, but that wouldn’t fix the fact that continuity had already been broken, and it would leave two versions of the book existing on bookshelves. So we just opted for not mentioning him by name in The Last Jedi. I’d like to say it’s a miracle that, considering how huge the Star Wars universe has become, more of these kinds of slips haven’t happened. But in truth, I think it is a testament to the diligence and hard work of everyone involved, especially the continuity keepers at Lucasfilm.

For more information about The Last Jedi, read our interview with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and our reviews by clicking the links below. And be sure to pick up a copy of The Last Jedi today! Thank you Michael for answering our questions, and thank you Del Rey for arranging the interview!

SEE ALSO:
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

The Last Jedi

Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

We are pleased to welcome Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff back to Knights’ Archive for a third time, to talk about her and Michael Reaves’ latest novel The Last Jedi!

The Last Jedi continues the storyline of the Coruscant Nights series. Jedi Knight Jax Pavan is possibly the only Jedi that survived Order 66. He must stay one step ahead of the Empire while dealing with his own inner tormoil.

We asked, and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff answered a few questions about The Last Jedi and a few of its memorable characters.

THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE LAST JEDI!

Spoilers

KA: How does it feel to see The Last Jedi completed?

MKB: I’m pretty jazzed. It’s been a long time coming. BUT having said that, I was glad to have the time we did to write the book. It’s got a fairly complex plot and was not an easy book to write in some ways. I, personally, got very emotionally invested in the characters—especially Jax. Which means that it’s also scary having finally in print. Now people are reading it and giving us a thumbs up or thumbs down and to be honest, some fans can be pretty blunt in their criticism.

But hey, we’re writers, we don’t feel pain like real people ;=)

We’ve waited several years for this book. Do you think the extra time helped in forming this story? It’s a great one.

It definitely helped to have the time. We were still working on Shadow Games when we started brainstorming the story. Writing The Last Jedi after Shadow Games was like shifting gears. The two books are entirely different in pacing and tone and complexity.

We knew going in that The Last Jedi was going to be a fairly dark, epic story in which we got to deeply explore Jax’s relationship to the Force and to Darth Vader. That level of character development required us to focus on Jax and Anakin’s back story. We also wanted to tell a fairly complex story with a lot of moving parts and characters. Significant action takes place in five different venues: Coruscant, Mandalore, Toprawa, Dathomir and Kantaros Station. Each stop on Jax’s journey introduces new characters and relationships and dynamics that Jax and his companions have to deal with. We were glad to have the time to do our homework on the locations, and to flesh out those characters and relationships. To build in more layers.

The Last Jedi made me nervous a few times regarding the fate of I-Five. Why has he become such a popular character that people care about?

I-Five is a “breakout” character (as I’ve heard them called). He’s a lot like a Spock or Data or Seven of Nine in the Star Trek universe; the character that becomes an symbol of the human condition. As ironic as that sounds, we seem to love characters who are not human, but want to be and who essentially become exemplars of human perfection. While the people around them are flawed and often embroiled in their own emotional stews, these characters are rocks, anchors, islands in the turbulent stream. They’re often the most selfless, bravest, and most loyal. When your hero or heroine is in deep trouble, this is the character who will get them out.

I think everyone would love to have a friend like I-Five. He’s … comfortable.

I also think part of I-Five’s appeal is that he’s a mystery. No one knows how he came to be what he is—which is a sentient droid with a Force signature. That’s why I find him so fascinating. Somehow he’s transcended his programming. He’s evolved. In a way, I-Five’s evolution allows us to speculate about our own evolution and identity. I think characters like Five invite us to ask what it means to be human.

And, like Jax, I’d love to find out if he could be trained as a Jedi…

I-5

Leebo and I-Five are my two most favorite droids in the Star Wars universe. You’ve written about both of them. Who is your favorite and why?

I am an I-Five fangirl for the reasons I mentioned above. Five is more than the sum of his programming and why is kind of a mystery. He’s the Velveteen Droid; the puppet that becomes a Real Boy. I like Leebo, too, and writing him is fun. But it’s different than writing I-Five. When I’m writing Leebo, I’m conscious of the fact that he’s a droid and that everything he says and does—however clever—really just comes back to his peculiar programming. That’s fun, because it’s a sort of constant word play.

I-Five is something else again. He’s not human, but he’s more than a droid. There’s a scene in LAST JEDI that sums that up for me, I think. Jax has located Five by following his Force signature, and finds him indulging in some rather un-droidlike behavior. They have a conversation about loss in which it occurs to Jax to wonder how the droid “feels” about losing his original I-5YQ chassis—in essence, losing his identity. I-Five realizes he hasn’t considered his feelings. What’s interesting about this to me, in retrospect, is that both Jax and I-Five are essentially in disguise during this conversation—Jax as a Ubese merchant; Five, as a DUM pit droid.

Jax had many difficult choices and experiences in The Last Jedi. Can you see him rising above these struggles over the long term?

I think he’s on his way to rising above them, largely because he has a purpose. He doesn’t know if he is the last Jedi or if there are others, but he does know he needs to do something about that. The Jedi Order needs to be rebuilt. Jax sees himself serving that end.

Many people are wondering: Why did it have to be Laranth?

That was Michael’s call. From the very first draft of the outline, the catalyst for Jax’s journey was Laranth’s death. I was also looking for ways around it through the first couple of drafts (you know, what if Darth Ramage’s holocron gave Jax the ability to turn back time?), but ultimately I bowed to the inevitable. Jax’s trauma had to be that deep, and his recovery needed to bring him to a deeper understanding of the Jedi mantra. Especially, that last line: “There is no death; there is the Force.”

Finally, The Last Jedi leaves the opportunity for this story to be continued. Has there been any discussion about this? Would you be up to doing it if asked?

Heh. I think leaving things open to be continued has become ingrained in my nature. Bottom line: I love Jax Pavan. He’s become one of my favorite characters—and that’s including characters I’ve created myself. And, of course, I love I-Five. I love the fact that he can now swap chassis. I mean, how cool is that? So, yes, if asked, I would love to write more about Jax Pavan and I-Five. I suspect that Michael shares that sentiment.

The Last Jedi is a fantastic book. This book is a stand-alone, but I recommend reading the Coruscant Nights series first, so you’re familiar with the events leading up to The Last Jedi. Read Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter too, as it ties in somewhat with the overall Coruscant Nights storyline.

Thank you Maya for this interview and thank you Del Rey for arranging it!

SEE ALSO:
Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

The Last Jedi

Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn
Photo credit: Timothy Zahn’s Facebook Page

We are honored to present to you a conversation with the prolific science fiction novelist Timothy Zahn! Among his other notable works, he is widely known to Star Wars fans as the man who invigorated the franchise with the spectacular Thrawn trilogy, and has continued that success with such novels as Outbound Flight, Allegiance, and Choices of One.

Many of the characters he’s introduced to the Expanded Universe have become fan favorites, including Mara Jade, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Talon Karrde, and Gilad Pellaeon.

His latest novel, Scoundrels, features Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian in an all new adventure that promises to be fraught with danger, yet fun to read. Along with the familiar characters mentioned above, there is a host of new ones with all sorts of attributes needed to take on an impossible heist.

Mr. Zahn took a break from planning his upcoming Scoundrels book tour to answer some of our questions. Read on for a brief, non-spoiler glimpse into the novel!

Hi Tim! I was pleased to be able to meet you at Star Wars Celebration VI, where you had quite a busy schedule. How was Celebration VI for you, and what do you like most about conventions in general?

CVI was great fun. My main purpose in going to conventions is to meet and interact with the fans; to get feedback on past books, to update them on current work, and to hear about the various directions they’d like to see me go with future books.

I think it’s also useful for readers to be able to match up the author and the book, and doing conventions and other appearances allows me to do that. I think of it as a sort of retro Facebook…

Your next highly anticipated novel is Star Wars: Scoundrels, which features an Ocean’s 11-style heist. Other than hoping they’ll enjoy it, what do you want your readers to take away from this novel?

ScoundrelsIn all honesty, I wasn’t intending to put any deep philosophical messages into Scoundrels, as there’ve been in some of my other books. My goal here was to simply write a book that would be fun to read, with interesting characters, a knotty problem, a twisty but mostly logical scheme, tension and suspense where appropriate, an occasional plot twist to stir things up, and a satisfying ending.

Without spoiling it, of course, can you describe Scoundrels compared to the subject matter of your other Star Wars novels?

It’s really just as the tag line says: “Star Wars meets Ocean’s 11.” Han, Chewie, and Lando are going to assemble eight other scoundrels and hit up a Black Sun sector chief’s supposedly impregnable vault.

One thing that made Ocean’s 11 so popular was the roster of well-known, and dare I say, handsome actors. I remember it being mentioned in one of the film’s documentaries that nearly every scene featured a gorgeous person to look at. Obviously with a book, you don’t have the advantage of such a visual medium. Did that at all present a challenge to you during the development of Scoundrels?

Actually, the goal here wasn’t really to reproduce any of the Ocean’s 11 movies, either in plot or in the glamour of the stars. (Though it does have Han and Lando in it, so I think we can give Danny Ocean and his crew a run for their money.) Rather, I was hoping to match the movies’ tone, in that our crew is working together as a team, with no one scheming to betray the others and no expectation of anyone collecting a knife in the back when it’s all over.

In my (admittedly limited) knowledge of heist/con movies, the two that come closest to this tone are Ocean’s 11 and The Sting.

And since I already had a cast of eleven…

Which minor character(s) would you like to explore in more detail?

I think all of the new characters could be explored, but for me the most interesting are the sisters Bink and Tavia and the Imperial agent Dayja. I could easily see those three in particular showing up in future books.

Let’s just say it: Scoundrels contains one of the most surprising plot twists of all time. It alone is worth the price of the book, in my opinion. Did you have it in mind all along, or was there a meeting at some point to find a way to knock readers off their feet?

Most of the plot twists in the book were my invention, but the one you’re referring to actually came from Shelly Shapiro and the gang at Del Rey. They brainstormed it out together and suggested it to me, and it was indeed so cool that I grabbed it and ran. I’m hoping the fans will get a kick out of it.

Thanks to Timothy Zahn and Del Rey for this interview! If you want to learn more about Scoundrels, read our review and news links below. Then go buy Scoundrels today!

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

An Interview With The Master: Drew Karpyshyn

Mass Affect, Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur’s Gate, The Old Republic… If you know these titles, chances are you’ve heard the name Drew Karpyshyn.

I was pleased to be able to meet him at the recent Star Wars Celebration VI, where he was busy signing autographs, participating in panels, and conducting interviews.

Drew has penned and lent his talents to some of the most popular books and video games in recent history, including the above mentioned titles, but also the wildly popular Darth Bane trilogy and a few of the Old Republic novels.

His latest book, The Old Republic: Annihilation, has a few tie-ins to The Old Republic online game, but it is a stand alone story. You can dive right in, and not feel lost or confused within the Old Republic era. The focus of the book is a human male named Theron Shan, who is an operative working for the Republic Strategic Information Service (SIS).

To coincide with this exciting release, we are happy to present an interview with the author, Drew Karpyshyn!

KA: Hi Drew, thanks for chatting with us! You’ve obviously been quite busy this year; in addition to writing, you attended the Star Wars Celebration VI and also participated in Star Wars Reads Day. What are your thoughts about those major fan events?

DK: I always enjoy meeting the fans in person. I try to make it easy for people to get in touch with me through Twitter or my website (www.drewkarpyshyn.com), but there’s something cool about talking to someone face-to-face. I also find people are much friendlier and polite in person – sometimes the internet brings out the worst in us.

You’ve written many novels, but regarding the Star Wars franchise, all of your titles are set during the Old republic era. Is there something about this era that helps to showcase the strength of your craft? Your books are among my personal favorite.

For me the biggest appeal of the Old Republic era is the freedom I have as an author. Because I’m so far removed from the films and the iconic characters, I’m able to tell stories that don’t have to tie in with what happened on the screen. There are also far fewer authors working in the Old Republic era, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally stepping on another author’s story or characters quite as much. For me it’s the best of all worlds – creative freedom while still being able to tell a story set in the Star Wars universe.

Drew (far left) signing at Celebration VI, along with Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, and John Jackson Miller.

Your latest release is The Old Republic: Annihilation, which is your second book in this series and the fourth in the series overall. Two questions here: How does Annihilation stand out from the rest in the series, and how do you feel about the series as a whole so far?

I wouldn’t use the term “series” to describe the recent Old Republic books. Each one is a stand alone story with unique characters (and often different authors); they just happen to have a common setting in the era of the SWTOR mmo. Annihilation takes place shortly after the events of the game, but you don’t have to play the game – or read the other books – to understand and follow the story.

What sets Annihilation apart, at least from other books I’ve written, is the tone – it’s not as dark and grim as Revan or my Bane series; it’s more of a fun, fast-paced espionage thriller.

Editor: Noted! I borrowed the term “series” from Wookieepedia listings.

Annihilation focuses on Theron Shan, a person that is quite different from the main characters you’re used to writing about in Star Wars, in that he is not Jedi or Sith. Do you feel that a character such as him can be just as compelling as one with incredible Force power?

In a lot of ways I find Theron more compelling than Revan or Bane because he’s more relatable to the reader. He doesn’t have these incredible powers he can call on at will; he has to rely on his wits, his training and his gadgets to get by. Yet somehow he still manages to hold his own with the powerful Sith and Jedi he runs into.

You also dig deeper into the personal lives and feelings of Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan and Supreme Commander Jace Malcom. What is your opinion of these two major characters of the Old Republic?

I think they’re both fascinating and tragic figures. They’ve sacrificed so much for the greater good, putting the needs of the Republic above their own wants and feelings. They’re heroes, but they’re also imperfect… and they have regrets and self-doubt. Exploring that contradiction – the public image versus the reality – is something that drew me to them.

There are several villains in Annihilation, but the one that stands out is the Falleen Darth Karrid, who has a special connection to her ship, the Ascendant Spear. How would you describe this Sith, her ship and the danger they present to the galaxy?

I don’t want to give away too much of the novel here. Karrid is the apprentice of Darth Mekhis from the Lost Suns comics, so she is focused on combining the mystical elements of the dark side with technology to create powerful weapons. The greatest of these is the Ascendant Spear, a warship unlike anything else in the galaxy. Together, Karrid and her vessel represent the greatest single threat to the Republic’s survival.

We know the Old Republic era to be a massive chunk of the overall Star Wars timeline. Is it safe to say that we’ll likely be seeing more Old Republic novels?

That’s not my call to make, but the era seems pretty popular with the fans so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more novels in that setting.

Many fans that I’ve talked to want a Darth Zannah novel(s). Any word on this possibility?

There’s nothing in the works right now; for the foreseeable future I’m focusing on Children of Fire, my original fantasy trilogy. But after that, who knows? If the opportunity to continue the tale from the Bane trilogy comes up, I’d probably jump at it.

Finally, the most important question of all: When can we expect your debut on the PGA Tour?

Sadly, my golf game has hit a bit of a plateau. I think the best I can hope for is to slowly improve over the next decade and take a run at the senior PGA tour when I hit 50.

Drew, thanks for your time and your incredible work within the Star Wars Universe!

My pleasure.

The Old Republic: Annihilation is out now! Pick up your copy today! Check out our reviews for Annihilation by clicking on the first two links below.

SEE ALSO:
Novel Review: The Old Republic: Annihilation by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Old Republic: Annihilation
Read 27 Pages of The Old Republic: Annihilation Now!
The Old Republic: Annihilation Cover Blurb Now Online
The Old Republic: ANNIHILATION Cover
Drew Karpyshyn Talks ANNIHILATION
Star Wars: The Old Republic: ANNIHILATION
Drew Karpyshyn To Write The Old Republic #4

Knights Archive Exclusive: Steve Thomas

Artist Steve Thomas had worked for newspapers churning out graphics and illustrations for almost 14 years.

Self portrait. The reflection in the glasses is Steve holding a lightsaber.

Steve now tries to come up with new and interesting ideas for illustrations. His love for vintage poster, propaganda and product art from the early 20th century and an interest in retro-futuristic art from the mid-20th has led him to create some cool poster art. Steve also has experience creating marketing and advertising art for various companies, from label expo organizers to architecture firms.

From vintage travel and propaganda to sci-fi and fantasy, Steve has created some truly masterful works of art.

It was a link in an article to some of his Star Wars-themed posters that caught my attention a few years ago, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I had a chance to chat with Steve recently about him, his work and his incredible vintage Star Wars posters.

Read more

Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff will always be special to Knights Archive because she was our first VIP to accept an interview, back when we were a little blog. We are once again pleased to welcome her to our site! This time, we’ll talk about her latest book: Star Wars: Shadow Games, which is another collaborative work with author Michael Reaves.

Maya, it’s been about 3 months since the release of Shadow Games. What kind of fan reaction have you seen?

Well, the week it came out I screwed up my courage and went and looked at the early reader reviews. They were good. I was especially happy to see people talking about how unexpectedly three-dimensional the characters were and how pleasantly surprised they were with the Javul Charn character. I saw especially positive responses from Dash Rendar fans. It was also on the New York Times top 100 bestsellers list at #25, so we were happy to see that, too.

I’ve gotten some fun tweets from fans who want us to do another Dash book and a couple of people have begged for us to bring back Eaden Vrill (missing and presumed dead.)

The cover art for Shadow Games really does stand out from all the other Star Wars novels in the bookstore. How do you feel every time you see that cover?

I love that cover. The movement, the color, the eye-catching, dramatic quality of it. I like that it’s not too specific to the story, which means it doesn’t give away any of the plot. I hope we get the same artist for the next book (Dear Editor—hint, hint) And of course, there’s just a thrill of seeing it on the new releases table and in the stacks. My friend Seanan McGuire had a release in the same time period, and I took an iPhone shot of the two books sitting together on the “new science fiction/fantasy” shelf at a local Barnes and Noble.

You and Michael have truly provided a much needed break for Expanded Universe fans from all the galaxy-altering events or Jedi vs. Sith struggles we’re accustomed to reading. Was that your intention before and during the creation of Shadow Games?

It was definitely our publisher’s intention. They pay close attention to the fan base and saw, I think, that a number of fans were begging for something that was Jedi-free. Dash Rendar was a pretty undeveloped character as EU characters go, and I think Michael was ready to take a break from the Jedi-Sith conflict. Of course, with the next book, we’re right back in it again. ;=)

Dash Rendar is quite the concerned and responsible bodyguard in this novel. How does that mesh with the preconceived notion that, for the most part, all smugglers are scoundrels?

Yep, but then so is the way that Han Solo goes out of his way for Leia. The thing with Dash is that he’s not a career scoundrel. He was an academy-trained pilot with a rosy future. The scion of a well-placed and solid family with parents and siblings that he loved until it was all taken away by Prince Xizor. (Nothing personal, just business, as the Prince would say.) Dash’s impulse to empathize with victims of injustice and greed lies under a very thin veneer. Underneath the care he takes with Javul Charn is the painful recollection that there was no one to stand up for his family when Xizor made it a useful pawn in his own vendetta against the Emperor.



Speaking of scoundrels… Han Solo. Even though he’s in the back ground in Shadow Games and clearly in it for himself, he ends up playing a major role and comes through for the cause, foreshadowing, perhaps, what he see of him in the Original Trilogy. I’m guessing this was the author’s intention.

Yes, again. That was one of the delightful things about writing Han. We knew how he turned out, so it was fun riffing on the “you’d never see me acting like that over a woman.” Han’s soft spot (not the one in his head), has a different genesis than Dash’s. He’s a veteran loner, but not by choice. He was cheated out of family relationships by a series of people. Ultimately, Han gravitates toward helping Javul precisely because his own life was so manipulated by uncaring forces. There’s a point in the book where we paint that pretty clearly—the reader gets to see “the moment” in which Han decides he’s had enough of being herded by the Empire.

The holostar, Javul Charn, turns out to be quite an individual; much more than meets the eye. Can you tell us about the development of this new and exciting character?

With Javul, the question was always—for me, at least—how can she raise the stakes? What’s her real story and how can it be a big enough story to intersect with THE story of this time period in the GFFA. We wanted her to deke the reader just as she did Dash. Once we decided what her story arc was, I just set about writing her as if she was a real person with certain goals (hidden, of course) that she was willing to do anything to reach. All the time, of course, she had to look to the reader like a loose cannon or a ditz—until the veils start coming off. It’s too bad that I can’t really experience her the way the reader does, because I KNEW her secret the whole time and could only pretend I didn’t.

Has there been any discussion of possible future stories featuring Dash Rendar or Javul Charn?

We’ve pitched an idea to our editors and they haven’t ruled out the possibility. Of course, if fans were to make it known that they’d like to see another Dash and/or Javul book, from Michael and me, we’d be happy to write it.

Moving on to Coruscant Nights IV… Any development on what the final title will be? Jedi Dawn, The Last Jedi, or something else? Where are you in production? Can you tell us anything about the plot at this point?

We are just doing our first round of editorial changes to the manuscript. No definite word on the title, though I note that Jedi Dawn has already been used. And the plot is classified :=)

Do you have other, non-Star Wars projects in the works?

I’ve got a ton of stuff in the works and wish I could clone myself so I could work on all of ‘em. They run the gamut of science fiction to detective fiction to magical realism, but nothing immediately forthcoming, though Michael and I are plotting a non-Star Wars collaboration …. Most recently Book View Café released an anthology of twisted fairy tales entitled “Beyond Grimm” in which I have a couple of stories—as do Vonda N. McIntyre, Irene Radford. and Laura Anne Gilman among others.

Maya, thank you again for visiting with us!

SEE ALSO:
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Review: SHADOW GAMES

A Chat With Sue Rostoni

As most of you know, Sue Rostoni, Executive Editor for Lucas Licensing, recently retired after a long and prosperous career. I’m sure she’s been enjoying retirement, but she recently journeyed back to the world of Star Wars and granted us an interview. To say that we were thrilled is an understatement!

Sue was born and raised in Northern California and has held a variety of jobs from motorcycle mechanic to carpenter, meter reader to editor. She graduated from San Francisco State University and for the past 20+ years worked for Lucas Licensing, one of the of Lucasfilm Ltd companies, retiring in July 2011 as executive editor. She lives with her dog and cat, Tiki and Butters, in the home her grandpa built.
Read more

Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff recently granted us an interview via email, about her, her collaboration with fellow author Michael Reaves, and about Star Wars in general, mixed in with insight about writing for the franchise.

Mrs. Bohnhoff has enjoyed an extensive career; her print publications include six fantasy novels and a lot of short fiction in Analog (“I’m a member of the dreaded Analog MAFIA—Making Appearances Frequently In Analog”), Interzone, Amazing Stories and a number of anthologies.
Read more

Return top