Recap of Facebook Chat with Christie Golden

August 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Events, Interview | Leave a comment
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Yesterday Star Wars Books hosted a live Facebook chat with Fate of the Jedi author Christie Golden. You can check out the full chat here, or click below to see our edited transcript.

These Star Wars books come out pretty fast, and you’ve worked on media tie-ins before. What’s your typical writing/development process? Do you outline/how many drafts do you usually do/how do you develop plot/etc.?

CG: It depends…sometimes I am given outlines, sometimes I work them up myself. Generally I do a first draft, go over it before I send it in, and then put in any changes the publisher or IP holder wants. Sometimes things are so tight my first draft is really what hits shelves…fortunately this year I celebrate 40 books and 20 years in the business!

Is it hard writing in a series where you have to set up other writers for the next book and have you ever finished writing a book, set it down, and thought “damn that’s good” I wrote that because I usually feel that way after reading your stuff.

CG: It really was a challenge “passing the baton,” but fortunately Aaron and Troy are great writers and great people. The whole team including Shelly and Sue made it much easier. Second, hehe…usually I think it’s terrible and I never want to see it again…then am happily surprised by the time galleys roll around.

I was wondering about the confrontation between Ben and Vestara over her letters to her father – specifically about Ben’s choice of a slap over a Force push or restraint – what was the thought process behind that specific action and fight choreography?

CG: I think it’s important to remember that Ben and Vestara, despite their unusual upbringings, are also sixteen. Ben was very, very hurt by what he perceived as Vestara’s betrayal, and well…acted like a sixteen year old boy. :) It’s a mistake I don’t think he’ll ever make again…can’t wait to see how Troy is going to handle things!

Your book was really the first book that got into the head of Abeloth. What was it like writing her as a character, how did you go about approaching such a powerful and relatively unknown entity?

CG: Hmm….yeah, it was pretty tough to get into the head of such an alien alien! I wanted to keep her mysterious and yet accessible at least in some ways. there are reasons behind what she’s doing.

I just wanted to say that I really like how you write villains in general, within Star Wars and World of Warcraft also. I haven’t read Ascension yet, but I’m really excited!

CG: Thank you! I always think you should give villains some virtues and your heroes some flaws.

Was the choice to keep Vestara a Sith yours alone, or one the group writing this series agreed upon? Was that the plan from the start?

CG: This was something we had all planned from the get-go. We thought while it would be romantic to have her turn to the light side of the Force, in the end, it wasn’t who she was. Believe me, that was a tough scene to write…the two really do love each other.

What’s the Empire of the Hand been up to before their appearance in Ascension? It’s been said that they were disbanded, destroyed, absorbed, etc. When Luke visited Korriban, were you told to stay away from hinting at the One Sith from Star Wars: Legacy? They’re suppose to be there at this time but the Tuk’ata didn’t even seem to know they were there.

CG: Oh, the One Sith know how to hide. :) We didn’t want to reveal the One Sith just yet. Also, I don’t want to spoil what Troy might have in store for you all re Empire of the Hand. :)

Why did you do the scene of Vestara where she “kills” Natua? Why couldn’t they fight it and she could stay a Jedi?

CG: That was certainly an option. But that was not the one Vestara chose, because it wasn’t who she is.

In Fate of the Jedi we repeatedly see characters talk about how Ben has faced the Dark Side and as such, Vestara would not be able to pull him there. However, in Ascension we see Ben displaying some pretty dark emotions, being very rough emotionally and physically with Ves. How do we reconcile what Luke and others say about Ben with his actions in this book?

CG: I’m a little puzzled by the concern people seem to be having with Ben and Vestara…I think I answered that a bit earlier. He isn’t perfect. Being a Jedi isn’t about being perfect and never doing something you might regret later.

I would like to say that Chapter 4 of Ascension is one of the best written and most compelling chapters in recent Star Wars novels.

CG: Troy did create those three Squibs, and I made sure he had a chance to see the scenes with them. He liked it, so I guess I did all right! :) I sure loved writing them, they were fun!

Did you realize you got the type of TIE fighter wrong, you called it TIE Destroyer when it’s TIE Defender?

CG: I try hard to make sure I get all the technology right, but I think you all may know the finer details of fighters better than I do. :D

The battle between Daala and Jag was one of my favorite scenes in the book :)

CG: I’m glad you enjoyed that battle scene–space battles are tough for me, but I wanted to make sure this one hit the spot with readers!

What are your favorite locations in the Star Wars universe?

CG: My favorite locations…wow, that’s tough! I’ve gotten to get to know and like Coruscant, and of course I have a really soft spot in my heart for Dagobah. :) Loved loved getting to create Kesh, and the Sith love of glass.

Now that you’ve written your third book in the Fate of the Jedi series, do you have a favorite of the three? (and yes, I understand I’m asking you to pick a favorite child!)

CG: My favorite of the three? Argh….I love something about each of them, but I do think Ascension just might edge the other two out. I think because it was so challenging to have so many threads, and I think I did a pretty good job with them. :D

Which of the previously established characters was it easiest and hardest for you to write for?

CG: Easiest to write for? Ben, I think. Hardest? Maybe Jag, because he’s such a complex and simple personality at once.

Do you plan on writing other Star Wars books ?

CG: I would love to write more Star Wars books! :D

Sue Rostoni: Christie, what will you be writing now that your Star Wars gig is up? I want to read more of your books!

CG: Haha! Sue, I am working on some Warcraft novels now, but I have an idea for an original series that I hope to steal time to work on. :)

What non-Star Wars sources have influenced your storytelling in Fate of the Jedi? any drawing on real world people or happenings?

CG: Non-Star Wars storytelling…well, a fun thing is that I took Korean swordfighting, Haedong Gumdo, for two years. It is a fighting form that emphasizes many enemies at once, and that came in handy for some of the lightsaber scenes!

How did you discover Star Wars?

CG: I found Star wars in the movie theater in 1977. I’ve not been the same since.

One of the reasons that the post-90s Star Wars novels have been so good (in my opinion) is the recruiting of many other shared-world authors, a good few from Faerun. I was wondering if you were intimidated at all to be tossing back and forth with Troy Denning?

CG: I actually knew Troy slightly back when we were both writing for TSR. Troy is wonderful to work ideas back and forth with! And Aaron is so darn sweet and fun that it’s hard to be intimidated. He makes it all seem so easy, doesn’t he? :D

How do you deal with Star Wars continuity issues in the story?

CG: Continuity is always tough, in shared worlds or in your own. I relied heavily on Sue, Shelly and Leland and the Holocron, as well as reading Legacy of the Force twice and pouring over the research books.

How was writing Vestara, someone you introduced to the Expanded Universe, different from writing other peoples’ characters?

CG: I loved Vestara. I really don’t treat “my” characters differently from the others–they are all players. I just got to “build” Vestara, whereas Luke et all were already well established. I don’t want the established characters to feel more “real” than the newer characters or the other way around. And I apparently like quotation marks, LOL!

How will Vestara and Ben leave if she isn’t staying with the Jedi? Will she and Ben stay friends or does she die?

CG: You’ll find out in Apocalypse. :D

What is your favorite Star Wars movie?

CG: I think Empire, with A New Hope close behind.

Who is your favorite Star Wars characters from the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars?

CG: I’ve sadly not had a chance to watch The Clone Wars. Luke is my favorite movie character, and Ben my favorite established Expanded Universe character. Though 3PO is a hoot and a half to write.

You have received lots of praise for your work in Fate of the Jedi, and rightly so. Are you happy that this multi-book story is at an end, thus freeing you up for more projects, or would you rather continue with this story, if you had a choice?

CG: I think I am glad that the enormity of the project is completed, but no question, I’d love to do more with these characters in other books. I really enjoyed getting to know them. Even the villains are good “traveling companions” to hang out with for so long.

I realize that you got to build the foundation for the Lost Tribe. Was that your decision (as much as it could be in a group project) or did you just happen to get lucky?

CG: It was luck–the Lost Tribe got to be established in Omen, so while we all hammered out the details, I got to initiate a lot of ideas that shaped them and I was lucky enough to bring them to life.

With your background in game tie-ins (and playing games), would you consider writing story content for Star Wars games (either The Old Republic MMO or for the upcoming Star Wars RPG)?

CG: I am always happy to try new things, and wouldn’t rule out writing gaming content at all!

CG: Also, I love Wynn Dorvan, and he is pretty much all my guy. :D And Pocket too!

What’s the hardest part of writing a book in such a complicate series with so many others already out?

CG: Coming in “late to the game” as it were, with so much established history to catch up on. I really want to get things right, no one is more peeved than I am when I don’t. :/

Is Dorvan now dead? It didn’t seem that clear to me at the end of Ascension.

CG: It’s not clear. You’ll just have to wait. ^^ Muahahahaha!

I am calling it now, Pocket is going to take down Abeloth.

Pocket and Anji.

CG: I wouldn’t bet against Anji if Amelia is involved. >.>

I would imagine it’s also difficult to write around such popular characters who can’t really be killed or majorly harmed as well. How do you approach such a challenge?

CG: It’s never really bothered me, as I actually started out with tie-in work. It’s just part of the whole picture. You can, however, make them suffer, have them have major setbacks, or lose something precious to them…which is sometimes harder for a person to bear.

Were any references or elements from outside of Fate of the Jedi (Empire of the Hand, that thing Jaina mentions from Invasion: Refugees, etc.) motivated by what you saw among fans online, or did it all come from personal interest among the creative team?

CG: I try hard to make things feel “bigger” than just the events of the series. There’s 40 years of history here to mine. For instance, I needed a planet in a certain area…I researched it…Klatooine not only fit the bill but hat that amazing fountain of glass–how perfect! I think everyone feels that way–this is a big universe and there’s a lot to play with.

Did you and John Jackson Miller trade any ideas about the Lost Tribe?

CG: You know, we’ve spoken a bit, but not much. Since we work in different eras, there’s not a lot of back and forth.

Did you grow up a Star Wars fan? How thrilling is to have your name associated with such a wonderful franchise? (It’s my dream as an author)

CG: Yes. A huge Star Wars fan. Saw the movie at 13 and it changed my life. There really aren’t any words to describe how it feels to be helping create the official world of Luke, Leia and Han!

How do you go about capturing the right feel? Timothy Zahn, for example, gets high praise for how much his books “felt” like the original trilogy. I imagine that’s also part of the challenge.

CG: I’ve always had an “ear” for how characters sound and been able to recreate them true to form (at least I hope so, and 40 books means I’m doing something right!). I re-watched the movies (oh, twist my arm!) and really just tried to “sit” with the feel of it. Also tried to pay attention to what Troy, Karen and Aaron were doing with Legacy of the Force, so that it would feel a believable continuation from that as well.

Do you get a say on who appears on the covers of the books, because it seemed a bit random that boba fett was on the back cover when he only appears in one scene?

CG: I actually get more of a say with the Star Wars books than most writers get with any books! Authors very seldom have any input on cover, back cover, or the flap copy. That’s for marketing to handle. So it’s nice to even be asked for ideas. That being said, it is still the publisher’s final decision.

I’ve not previously read your Star Wars work. Could you provide me with a list of your contributions so I could look into acquiring them?

CG: Thanks for your interest! Since my three contributions are part of the Fate of the Jedi, a nine-book series, you would probably enjoy it more if you started with Outcast. My contributions are Omen, Allies, and Ascension, books 2, 5 and 8.

Has Imprint been mentioned yet? Another Star Wars work (brief, but nice) by Christie.

CG: Hm, don’t think so, and thanks for mentioning it. Poor Tikk….

Just curious…any spoilers for Apocalypse?

CG: And I fear I cannot give spoilers for Apocalypse…Troy is working far too hard on it for that. :D

Who’s you’re favorite character in the Star Wars universe?

CG: Gotta be Luke. Oh I had such a crush. ^^

Do any of the other Expanded Universe eras strike you as particularly appealing if you were to pitch a future novel to Del Rey?

CG: Other than perhaps doing novels based on the upcoming MMO, I think I’d like to stick with what I know. :D I’ve learned so much about the “current era” that I’d love to continue with it.

Would you like to write Post-Fate of the Jedi novels?

CG: Yes, I would very much enjoy writing Post-Fate of the Jedi novels!

Do you and the other authors of the Fate of the Jedi series have any plans for future series/ novels and do you plan to eventually link them up to the Legacy comic series?

CG: Currently I don’t know of any definite series or books that are going to link up with the future.

Was Abeloth created to counter Luke’s almost ‘UNLIMITED POWA’? I understand that in previous novels or series the authors tend to pull a Superman (via Kryponite) on Luke and try to de-power him either via injuries or “if I kill Jacen I will fall to the Dark Side” rhetoric (I thought was rather weak). Was that taken into consideration when creating Abeloth?

CG: I don’t think Abeloth was created deliberately just to counteract Luke’s power, but we did want to make sure we had a worthy opponent. Or several.

I was a little let down with your last installment with Fate of the Jedi, I think you write Jag and Jaina great, and your own characters flawlessly, but some of the things I find Han or Luke and even Ben are a little off.

CG: I fully understand that when one writes tie-in fiction, not everyone is going to like everything, I’m pleased you did enjoy the Jaina/Jag relationship! As for Vestara…she has made her choice. She couldn’t back away from it now even if she wanted to. And I think the last line says how she feels about that.

Why is Threepio a hoot and a half to write?

CG: Threepio is so much fun because he has such a distinctive voice and personality. He’s very easy for me to see and hear in my mind, which makes him easy to write. He’s so prissy and precise and self-righteous….it’s just so much fun. :D

Do you have a favorite Star Wars novel?

CG: And my favorite Star Wars novel is I believe the first “new” one, an oldie called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. To someone hungry for MOAR STAR WARS it was meat and drink! :)

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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