Star Wars Author Claudia Gray and Del Rey Senior Editor Elizabeth Schaefer were part of the Star Wars contingent at C2E2 2016, a comic book and pop culture convention. After both women participated in the Star Wars Books Panel at the show, I asked them these three questions.
(And when you’re done, check out our Star Wars Book Panel Recap to read what Claudia and Elizabeth had to say there.)
If you could have any Star Wars in-universe job, what would you choose to be?
Claudia Gray: Not a Death Star contractor. You don’t really see much that’s safe to be, do you? … at all.
Basically the best place it looks like to be is on Cloud City. I would want to be Lando’s Cape Tailor in Cloud City. That man can rock a cape and I really like to make great capes. And he gave us good warning to get out before the Empire got there. So that’s about as much as you can ask for.
Elizabeth Schaefer: That’s a tough one. They don’t really have bookstores in Star Wars, do they? You can’t be just someone who sells books.
What I’d like to be would be an X-wing pilot, flying around saving the day. But what I’d actually be would be a dianoga feeder.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer/editor (in our universe)?
Claudia Gray: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it took me a really long time to get up the courage to do it. I tried to do everything else first. I wrote fan fic for many years. I still do when I have time. I had a story go over really big and it still took about six years for me to go for it but that was when I thought wait a second, this might be something.
Elizabeth Schaefer: I’ve pretty much always known. I helped all my friends in high school with their projects as a beta reader. I also came up in fan fiction. I worked on this Harry Potter website called fictionalley.org; I was on the fic intake team. And I realize now that was like my first editorial job. Then I moved to New York and got my first job at Disney doing Star Wars editing.
When it comes to telling stories in the Star Wars galaxy, what’s your favorite part?
Claudia Gray: The secret favorite part is getting to play with the stuff that you love and then somebody gives you money that actually buys things with it. I’m just doing this for free, but now it’s like no, we’ll actually let people read it and you can pay your mortgage with that.
But I mean, when I was seven I wanted a Princess Leia doll so badly and now they tell me to write a book about Princess Leia. That’s tremendously fulfilling to the seven-year-old inside you and it’s sort of wonderful to get back in touch with that.
It’s also nice because when you write original stuff you have to do all the world-building, but with this you just have to be like – What would that be? And they tell you it’ll be on X planet – somebody has that, they have it down and you can just get that information. You just sort of get it and drive. You don’t have to build it all.
Elizabeth Schaefer: I really like whenever someone finds a completely new perspective on this story you’ve watched over and over.
I’m reminded of this one time working on Lost Stars, (Claudia) was talking about the destruction of the Death Star and how shocking that would be for someone in the Empire and how the Death Star II would be like their Freedom Tower. And it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I never thought of it that way. You know, sometimes people make fun of why did they build a second Death Star, but if you think of it that way…
Claudia Gray is the author of Star Wars books Lost Stars and the upcoming Bloodline. She’s also known for her young adult fiction with the Evernight, Spellcaster, and Firebird series. You can find out more about Claudia and her work on her website www.claudiagray.com or by following her on Twitter @claudiagray or Tumblr.
Elizabeth Schaefer is a senior editor of Star Wars books for Del Rey. She’s also the author of Star Wars The Force Awakens: Rey’s Story. You can find Elizabeth on Twitter @eschaefer.
This interview has been slightly edited for clarity.
— Elizabeth Schaefer (@eschaefer) March 18, 2016
Kay reviews Star Wars books for FANgirl in addition to movies of several genres with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. She also writes about fandom reflections and fashion as well as co-hosts the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She has been known to make appearances on other podcasts including Fangirl Chat, Nerd Lunch, Disney Vault Talk's Rebel Yell, and Assembly of Geeks.
Currently a voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.