Author Holocron Series: A.C. Crispin

May 6, 2020 at 12:02 am | Posted in Author Holocron, Books, Star Wars, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment

As A.C. Crispin, Ann wrote the popular Han Solo Trilogy for Star Wars, a back story set before the events of A New Hope. She’s authored works for Star Trek and the miniseries V as well as original works such as the StarBridge series. More recently, she wrote for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with The Price of Freedom.


Ann Carol Crispin was born in Stamford, Connecticut on April 5, 1950 to parents George Arthur Tickell and Eleanor Hope Hooker. She went to college at the University of Maryland and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature in 1972. Her first published novel was Yesterday’s Son, a Star Trek novel that explores Spock’s discovery that he has a son. It was the first Star Trek novel, other than the movie novelizations, to hit the New York Times Bestseller List. The previous New York Times Bestseller for the Star Trek franchise was The Wrath of Khan by Vonda N. McIntyre, who would later write the Star Wars novel The Crystal Star, which was also a New York Times Bestseller. The fact that both authors had such success in Star Trek certainly helped them in being selected to write for Star Wars. The remarkable point is that they both succeeded in the two biggest sci-fi franchises of all time, a testament to their writing talents.

Following the success of Yesterday’s Son, Ann wrote the novelization for V, which sold over a million copies. After two more V novels, she moved on to the Witch World series, some original fiction, more Star Trek, and eventually Star Wars. In grand total, Ann wrote 23 published novels, as well as several anthologies and short stories, even co-writing a short story with fellow Star Wars author Christie Golden.

Beyond just writing books, Ann was a particularly vocal advocate for helping authors avoid fraud and scam artists. She co-founded the Writer Beware watchdog committee for SFWA with Victoria Strauss in 1998 to “to track, expose, and raise awareness of scams and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry”. It has since grown into a website, blog and Facebook page and the SFWA’s Committee on Writing Scams. Writer Beware is the only professionally sponsored group that warns aspiring writers about scam agents and fraudulent publishers.

As a member of the SFWA, Ann served as Eastern Regional Director for almost 10 years, and served as Vice President for two terms. Outside of the SFWA, Ann taught many writing workshops from full courses at at Charles County Community College and Anne Arundel Community College, to smaller courses at Harrisburg Area Community College, Towson State University, and many of the conventions she attended such as Dragoncon.

Star Wars Bibliography

  • “Play It Again, Figrin D’an” (1995, Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina)
  • “Skin Deep” (1996, Tales from Jabba’s Palace)
  • The Paradise Snare (1997, Han Solo Trilogy)
  • The Hutt Gambit (1997, Han Solo Trilogy)
  • Rebel Dawn (1997, Han Solo Trilogy)


~The Paradise Snare~

  • Ann emphasized Han’s tendency to react first, then think about it later when he launches himself at the bank manager who has just frozen Han’s hard-won assets and has called for the Imperial stormtroopers. “Han has learned that the best defense is an all-out offense.”
  • Han’s line about “hokey religions” in A New Hope is re-enforced in The Paradise Snare when Han encounters the t’landa Til priests and their slave operation. Ann used this encounter to help establish his jaded nature toward all religions.
  • Ann made sure Han evolved throughout the series in order for him to match up with the films. In The Paradise Snare, he is a 19 year old, street wary kid, but still capable of love and trust. His encounter with Bria leaves him more cynical and selfish. The downward trend continues through The Hutt Gambit and Rebel Dawn to the point that he would betray his friends for his own selfish gain. Chewbacca is the only exception. “He’s learned that money and Chewie are the only things you can count on.”

Source: Echo Station

  • The Paradise Snare took about five months to write.
  • Any characters based on real life people tended to be minor characters. They were mostly based on people who had irritated her in real life, thus allowing her to kill them off in some nasty way. For example, the bank manager was a real person.
  • Ann got the gig for the Han Solo Trilogy because she had told the Star Wars editor at Bantam that she was interested in writing some Star Wars books if they ever had an opening. When the Han Solo Trilogy project came up, they thought of her and contacted her agent.
  • Han’s alias Jenos Idanian is an anagram for Indiana Jones. Ann even has him say “Those treasures belong in a museum!”

Source: Echo Station

  • Another topic Ann was not allowed to write about was Han’s parents. He was not allowed to know them (not even their names).
  • Among the background items provided by Lucasfilm, they informed Ann that “Han has no memory of his family, and will never discover anything about them. Han was raised by a bunch of space traders, roving from place to place. They were a pretty seedy lot, and forced Han to steal, beg and pick pockets.” From that, Ann created Trader’s Luck and Garris Shrike. According to Ann, the “Oliver Twist” similarity was probably George Lucas’ idea.
  • The droid F8GN is modeled after Fagin, an adult leader and teacher of a group of young street thieves in Oliver Twist. Like Fagin, F8GN also oversees a group of young thieves.

Source: Echo Station

~The Hutt Gambit~

  • Ann made the Hutts hermaphroditic based on the material in the West End Games books since they stated the Hutts could reproduce at will. She was not aware of the Hutt reproductive methods developed in the Boba Fett comics until after Lucasfilm had approved her version.
  • The Hutt Gambit took nearly seven months to write.

Source: Echo Station

  • Lucasfilm’s positive response to the story of Muftak and Kabe, “Play it Again, Figrin D’an” for the Cantina anthology, and the story of Yarna, the fat dancer, for the Jabba’s Palace anthology is what led to Ann being chosen for The Han Solo Trilogy. Thanks to Kevin J. Anderson’s encouragement, The Hutt Gambit is dedicated to him.

Source: Echo Station

~Rebel Dawn~

  • The Godfather like ending in Rebel Dawn was done intentionally. The assassination scene on Ylesia was directly lifted from the film. Since the Hutts were crime lords, she looked to the Mafia for inspiration. She watched the Godfather movies and made note of the wheels within wheels attitudes of the characters. “Making the Hutts complex enough to be some of the primary antagonists in a trilogy meant I had to flesh out the species, create a lot of background for them. I wound up doing a lot of thinking about how creature who are basically not very mobile would run a large crime syndicate…they’re smart, and completely amoral.”

Source: online Interview with T’bone’s Star Wars Universe (September 20, 1998, no longer available online)

  • According to Ann, Muuurgh and Mrrov were not a part of Red Hand Squadron when it was wiped out on Toprawa. They went back to Togoria. “I couldn’t bear to kill them.”
  • Rebel Dawn took seven months to write.
  • Although Ann was not allowed to say how Han earned his bloodstripes, she did leave in the scene that she intended to be the reason. It’s the one where Han saves the Corellian orphans.
  • Regarding the inconsistencies on the Death Star plans between Rebel Dawn and Soldier of the Empire, Ann commented that her book was sold and plotted first. She tried to put in some quick fixes, but it wasn’t enough, and she regretted the inconsistencies, though there wasn’t much she could do about it.
  • One of the smugglers in Rebel Dawn was Ann’s Echo Station editor.
  • Ann once proposed to Dark Horse Comics the idea of writing The Chronicles of Red Hand Squadron. According to Ann, they seemed interested.

Source: Echo Station

~Han Solo Trilogy in general~

  • When writing the Han Solo Trilogy, Crispin was asked by Lucasfilm to not cover Han’s time in the Imperial Academy and his first meeting with Chewbacca (which was when he saved Chewie’s life, thus earning a Life-Debt).
  • Crispin had not read any of the Star Wars novels prior to writing the Han Solo Trilogy.
  • Crispin received some info from Lucasfilm detailing Han’s childhood and early life which she used when developing Han’s backstory.
  • Han is Ann’s favorite character. “I adore scoundrels. I considered Han a much more interesting character than Luke, I must admit. “Bad boys” are much more fun! Also, I was 26 when the first Star Wars film came out, so Han was much more my age. Luke seemed to me like a kid, not a romantic object. But Han…well, lots of women can easily get romantic notions about Han. : )”

Source: TheForce.Net

  • Another subject Ann was not allowed to write about was how Han received his Corellian bloodstripes.
  • Due to Lucasfilms’ PG rating for the Star Wars books, Ann was instructed not to write any graphic sex. Romance was allowed, but there could not be any scenes with characters talking in bed or specific references to them having sex. “Hugs and kisses are fine. But don’t go beyond that.”
  • Ann had to do more research than normal in order to write the Han Solo Trilogy. She consulted the West End Games editors for questions about continuity. “I would frequently have to write a paragraph, look something up, then write another paragraph, look something more up. As you might imagine, this was very frustrating! It was hard to get up a ‘flow.’ However, by the end of the trilogy project I had so much basic knowledge that the answers to my questions required a lot of digging…I wound up reading the Marvel comics, Dark Horse comics, etc. I tried very hard to be conscientious with the SW continuity.”
  • According to Ann, Bria Tharen was created as a ‘dimensional character’, someone who was capable of doing very dark deeds for the greater good. In learning that the Ylesian Priests had tricked her in order to enslave her, Bria became very angry. This in turn grew into a hatred of slavery and all who engaged in it. She became consumed by an ideal, the Rebellion, and her hatred. She witnessed so many atrocities committed by slavers during her time in the Rebellion that she became cold and hard and convinced that slavers deserved no mercy. Those emotions altered her emotionally from the girl Han first met, and they shaped her eventual destiny. Ann wanted Bria to be as much a conflicted character as Han Solo. Her character also helped shaped Han’s negative attitude toward the Rebellion and female Rebel leaders, thus tying in with the films.
  • Ann got the idea to use Togorians out of one of the West End Games manuals about Star Wars aliens. She wanted a creature that was large and potentially dangerous.

Source: online Interview with T’bone’s Star Wars Universe (September 20, 1998, no longer available online)

  • Ann developed Han’s dislike of droids by using the astromech aboard The Ylesian Dream (Han has so much difficulty communicating with the droid that he ends up crashing the ship) and ZeeZee who is “a total pain — twittery, incompetent, fussy, noisy, and always underfoot.” Han even keeps stubbing his foot on the droid.
  • The entire Han Solo Trilogy is based off of one line in A New Hope when Han says, “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

Source: Echo Station

  • Ann estimated that 80% of the plot for the Han Solo Trilogy was hers and 20% were additions by Lucasfilm. According to her, it took quite a while to get the whole plotline approved. The plot she turned in was partially okayed while some parts were turned down. Through new proposals and approvals, the plot was eventually cleared.
  • From the onset, it was planned that Bria would die.
  • Ann had wanted to get Han mixed up with Palpatine and Vader early on but was not allowed to by Lucasfilm. Early on, George Lucas had said it was okay, but at some point that was changed.
  • Ann was cautioned to keep mention of Zorba the Hutt to a minimum.

Source: Echo Station

  • Ann touched base with fellow Star Wars authors Kevin J. Anderson, Kris Rusch and Mike Stackpole when dealing with characters they already established (like Moruth Doole, Wynni the Wookiee, and Hal Horn).
  • Ann created Muuurgh the Togorian, with his fractured Basic, as a foil for Han’s sardonic humor.

Source: Echo Station

~Tales of Anthologies~

  • Kevin J. Anderson was actually the person who talked Ann into writing for Star Wars. She did two stories for his “Tales” anthologies.

Source: Echo Station

~other trivia~

  • Ann went by A.C. Crispin in homage to her favorite writers in the the genre, C.J. Cherryh and C.L. Moore.

Source: Illana’s V Celebrity Site


Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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