Karen Miller on being a female Star Wars writer

Tor’s Liz Bourke has a great interview today with author Karen Miller, where she addresses some of the harsh realities of writing licensed fiction and, in particular, Star Wars and the differences with a female-dominated fandom like Stargate.

The Stargate fan audience is small, compared to the Star Wars audience. The Stargate fan audience is also, overwhelmingly, female—which means that it is far, far more accepting of a female writer and a female writer’s particular POV (and I think there is one). The Star Wars fan audience, on the other hand, is overwhelmingly male. At least as far as I can tell. The vast majority of writers who do the tie-in novels are also male. There is a definite predominance of male voices and male POVs in Star Wars novels. And that makes a huge difference in the reception of the material.

Everything I write is grounded in character. Everything. It’s the people that make a story for me. So my Star Wars work is as much a character study or exploration as it is an action adventure romp. For some readers, that was brilliant. For others, it wasn’t. For a lot of Star Wars fans—the guys in particular—the story is about fighting and space battles and stuff like that. For them, that’s the whole point. For them, the intricacies of psychological investigation are boring and unwelcome. And I completely accept that. But it’s not what floats my starship—and I felt strongly that I can’t be the only one who is in love with the story because of the characters, not despite them. Or who wants to take a breath and spend some time with them as human beings, who wants to explore what makes them tick, the relationships between them, the strengths and fragilities they contain and share.

She goes on to defend Karen Traviss, among other things, though I really must disagree that gender was the only aspect which garnered Traviss venom from fandom. (Though I’m sure some of it was, I’d hesitate to call it the main issue. The lesson one should take away from Traviss’ tumultuous time in this fandom? Don’t feed the trolls, and be respectful of your audience.)

But that quibble aside, it’s so refreshing to hear a Star Wars author actually be in it for the characters. There is nothing else here I have any issues with – it all needs to be said. Though not so much to label it as a niche, even though it’s probably true. Club Jade has been fighting that fight for so long…

Miller’s Insider story features Myri Antilles

As previously alluded, it appears that the short story by Clone Wars Gambit author Karen Miller will indeed tie-in to August’s Mercy Kill.

Myri Antilles was confirmed as one of the new Wraiths last year. The youngest daughter of Wedge Antilles and Iella Wessiri Antilles, Myri made her adult debut in the Legacy of the Force series.

EUbits: Apocalypse reverb continues with Denning chat

Chat season. Troy Denning will be chatting Apocalypse tomorrow afternoon on the Star Wars Books Facebook page. (He’ll also be at San Diego Comic Con in July… A behind-the-scenes FOTJ panel, perhaps?) Also chatting, on the 11th, will be Essential Guide to Warfare author Jason Fry. We’ll likely be recapping both.

Scoundrels. Del Rey editor Frank Parisi was on last week’s ForceCast where he revealed two of the established characters that will be on the team. (If you want the fairly minor spoilers, highlight this: Kell Tainer and Winter. If Kell means nothing to you, he’s in the X-Wing series.)

Upcoming. We can expect news on something post-Fate of the Jedi what’s next “sometime this summer, if not sooner,” Erich Schoeneweiss said in response to a fan question. Not at SDCC, I hope.

Blurbs. Knights Archive spotted a longer summary for Pablo Hidalgo’s Essential Reader’s Companion in the Random House online catalog.

Interviews. Roqoo Depot talks to Matt Stover – mostly about his new book, Caine’s Law, which was out in stores yesterday – but they also touch on Star Wars. Meanwhile, Angela Slatter interviews Karen Miller and Sean Williams about working in franchises.

EUbits: Karen Miller returning with Insider short story, inside Del Rey and more

Is Miller writing a post-ROTJ story? On her Livejournal, Karen Miller wrote that she is “getting ready to put together a short story for Star Wars Insider magazine.” She also shares/gloats that she got to read Aaron Allston’s Mercy Kill for “preliminary research.” All three of Miller’s Star Wars novels were Clone Wars tie-ins, so if Mercy Kill is any indication, this may be her first foray into post-ROTJ – or even post-Fate of the Jedi, since that’s when Mercy Kill is set. Or, she’s just writing about fighter pilots. We’ll see, I suppose.

Inside the beast. A new feature on Del Rey’s Star Wars Books Facebook page offers a few hints, including an “an author who is new to the GFFA.” And they liked our (also your) snark!

Speculation. It may be a moot point since Zahn said most of the Scoundrels scoundrels will be new folks, but EU Cantina has some theories on who might appear.

Excerpts. A little Scourge and a big Scourge. (via)

Review. James seems really excited about Dawn of the Jedi #2. Someone has to be, I suppose.

Randomly… io9 has some art from a Willow cartoon that never came to be. It’s not quite EU – unless you count that StarWars.com April Fools joke a few years back – but where else am I going to put it?

Our top 10 Star Wars books of 2010

Can’t end the year without a list, can we? Here are our staff’s picks for the ten best books of the year.

Be sure to check out more favorites at StarWars.com. They asked us to do the literature portion, but other contributers include Kyle Newman, Ashley Eckstein, TFN’s Eric Geller, Steve Sansweet, and Bonnie Burton!

10. Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle by Daniel Wallace, Pablo Hidalgo, Gus Lopez, and Ryder Windham
Rounding out the list is the one book that has it all. Expanded Universe history? Check. Oddball merchandise? Check. Museum exhibits? Early versions of Yoda? Mark Hamill on Broadway? Check, check, and you better believe it. Star Wars Year by Year compiles over four decades (yes, four) of highlights, lowlights, and trivia – think of it, perhaps, as The Essential Franchise Chronology. But its scope goes beyond Lucasfilm productions. The authors also spotlight various milestones in science, pop-culture, and politics, giving readers a sense of the events that helped shape Star Wars, as well as how Star Wars changed the world. – Stooge

9. The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams
Setting the stage for the eventual release of The Old Republic MMO, Fatal Alliance builds up the worlds and character types, and then throws them all into the fray against a new threat. Sean Williams captures the look of this era, and brings together some new enjoyable characters. It’s a heist caper that unfolds into a tale of espionage and war. It takes a little while to set up the players, but the endgame is well worth it. – James

8. Millennium Falcon: A 3D Owner’s Guide by Ryder Windham
The saga’s most iconic ship is revealed! Ryder Williams’ text is sparse but clever, the illustration work by Chris Trevas and Chris Reiff shines, and the layer-by-layer design is icing on the cake. Kids will love it and adults will delight in the technical specs and (in-character!) modification notes. It’s a just plain fun book – certain to entrance even the most jaded fan for at least a little while. – Dunc

7. Fate of the Jedi: Vortex by Troy Denning
With Luke and Ben and their new Sith allies having defeated a more sinister evil, you’d think that Troy Denning would take it easy on the Jedi Order, but Abeloth’s demise in Allies is just the beginning of a series of explosive events. Faster that you can say “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal”, the Sith bring it. Chief of State Daala brings it. The Mandalorians bring it. Tahiri’s prosecutor brings it. So it’s up to a couple of Jedi, and Han and Leia to strike back – and when they bring Lando and droids to help, you know it’s going to get heavy as the Jedi shake things up against their adversaries. – James

6. The Sounds of Star Wars by J. W. Rinzler and Ben Burtt
A book that needs a volume button? Not to worry, this is more than just a gimmick. To fully explore the audio awesomeness of Ben Burtt, The Sounds of Star Wars has a built-in soundboard which plays over 200 (unmixed!) effects from that galaxy far, far away. So you can read about the crazy ways he made these sounds, then listen to the fantastic end results! Plus, Mr. Burtt has enough behind-the-scenes stories to fill ten volumes – and for a quadruple Oscar-winner, he’s remarkably humble. – Stooge Continue reading “Our top 10 Star Wars books of 2010″