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!
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.
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