One of the questions Tricia asked the panelists during the From A Certain Point of View panel was what we most enjoyed about Star Wars. Before Celebration Anaheim, I had a fairly stock answer: the movies, of course, especially IV, V, VI; some of the EU novels, especially Timothy Zahn’s; playing SW:TOR; and the interesting people I’ve met. What I realized at the convention was that really, truly, what I love most about Star Wars are the other fans.
I met quite a few interesting people at Celebration Anaheim, and in this series of posts I would like to share their stories with you.
My first post for FANgirl Blog was a review of Drew Karpyshyn’s Revan, and I first interviewed Drew at Celebration in Orlando. Drew’s written a few more books since then, including the first two books of his Chaos Born trilogy as well as Annihilation. This time we reconnected when I had lunch with Drew, my family, and his friends. Later that evening I hung out with him and met his wonderful wife, Jennifer, at The Old Republic Cantina Party held by Bioware.
As I chatted with Drew by the food trucks, I was struck by how much energy it takes to be at a con. My family and I had just waited four hours to see the costumes for The Force Awakens. Drew had just finished a long session of book signing at the Del Rey booth. Eating burritos, drinking Cokes, surrounded by nearly every imaginable Star Wars character under the bright Anaheim sun, it was nice to relax and talk. We spoke about being on panels, current interesting science fiction novels, the Star Wars fandom and Drew’s experiences publishing a collection of his short stories in his latest book, A Minor Malevolent Spirit, and Other Tales.
Enjoy joining our conversation.
- This was not your first Celebration. How was being a panelist at Star Wars Celebration? Did it change your experience of the convention?
Actually, every time I’ve been to Celebration it’s been as a panelist or presenter; I’ve never had the chance to go purely as a fan. But even when I’m working, I still have time to check out the show floor and a few panels. The only bad thing is when I have a scheduled talk or signing that conflicts with something I’d like to see, but that’s a small price to pay.
- What did you enjoy the most the most about Celebration Anaheim? The least?
For me it’s always great to meet and interact with the fans. I love doing the book signings, especially when someone shows up with something of mine besides the Star Wars books. If they’ve got some Mass Effect novels or one of my Chaos Born trilogy at Celebration, then I know they’re a hardcore fan and I make an extra effort to spend a bit of time with them during the signing.
The worst part of any big convention used to be the food; convention center food is bland and it was always too much of a hassle to leave the show and go to a decent restaurant. But this year they had a bunch of awesome food trucks right outside the doors. The lines were a bit long, but it was still a better alternative to any other con I’ve been to.
- Was this the first time you went with Jen to a Star Wars event? What was Jen’s experience of it?
Jen has come to some smaller Star Wars events with me in the past, and she’s been to Comic-Con before so she wasn’t caught off guard by the crowds or overwhelmed by the show floor. But this was her first time at Celebration, so I’ll let her tell you about it.
Jen: For me, what I really like are the fans, especially those in amazing costumes. I took all sorts of pics, and even found time to get one with Chewbacca!
- What does it mean to you to be a Star Wars writer and a fan?
Being a Star Wars fan means being a part of a much larger community, one that’s been around almost as long as I can remember. I was six when the first film was released, and my mother took me to see it in the theaters. So Star Wars has almost always been part of my life; it’s a shared cultural experience that crosses generations. And now I’m a writer who gets to contribute to this amazing universe, too. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that’s happened, and I can’t really explain how it feels other than to say it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of it.
- When I first interviewed you, you mentioned you had a “notebook of story ideas.” Is that how A Minor Malevolent Spirit and Other Tales come about?
Actually, my idea notebook is a collection of unfinished bits and pieces that may eventually become books or screenplays; it’s a giant list of all the things I plan to work on at a later date. Whenever I finish a project, I sit down and go through the ideas and try to figure out which one I want to spend the next year of my life developing.
A Minor Malevolent Spirit and Other Tales, on the other hand, is a collection of stories that I had already written over my first ten years as a writer. A few of them had been published before, but most were never released to the public until now. Short stories aren’t a great market for publishers, and I make more money focusing on novels so I don’t work in that format much anymore. But I’m still proud of these stories, so I wanted to get them out there for folks to read. Self-publishing an anthology of fantasy, horror and sci-fi stories seemed to be the way to go.
- How was self-publishing different?
There are a lot of things that go into making a book that I sort of took for granted, because they were always handled by my publisher. Obviously you need an editor and an artist to design the cover; I was ready for that. But you also need to get an ISBN number and register with the Library of Congress. You need to make sure e-books are in the proper format for each reader. You need to choose a font and a design layout for the pages for both print and e-book formats. You need to choose the size of the book, and the size of the pages and even the size of the type… So many little things that are crucial, but easily overlooked.
It really made me appreciate all the behind the scenes stuff publishers have to stay on top of. I was fortunate to have some help from folks over at Curtis Brown Ltd., the agency that represents me; without them I’d still be sorting this all out.
- I really enjoyed Children of Fire and Scorched Earth. When do we get to see the rest of the Chaos Born trilogy?
Chaos Unleashed, the final book in my Chaos Born trilogy, is coming out October 15. It’s already written and we’re just putting the final post-production touches on it – like adding a map! I know it’s been a long wait since The Scorched Earth was released last summer, but fans of the series only have to be patient for a few more months.
- What else can we look forward to from you?
I’ve been digging through my idea notebook and looking for what might come next. I’ve narrowed it down to two prime contenders – one is an alternate history thriller set in Elizabethan England, and the other is a sci-fi tale set in modern day Vegas. (Anyone who knows me figured it was only a matter of time until I wrote a book that involved Vegas somehow.)
I still haven’t figured out which one will get the nod first; partly that will depend on what my agent can drum up more interest in with publishers. But I’m hoping to have an official announcement, along with more details, by the time Chaos Unleashed comes out.
Fans who want to know more about what I’m up to can also check out my NEWS blog on www.drewkarpyshyn.com, or follow @drewkarpyshyn on Twitter. And you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I respond to all emails, though sometimes it takes me a couple weeks.
Linda has been a Star Wars fan from the time she saw Episode IV in the theatre with her parents and insisted on being Han Solo while playing with the neighborhood kids. She’s now a fangirl who splits her time learning to twirl a bo staff like Ray Park, jumping horses, writing fanfic she dreams up on her commute to work, and spending time with her husband and their own feisty Padawan version of Ahsoka. She can be reached at Linda.HansenRaj@gmail.com and on Twitter.
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