Chat highlights with Fate of the Jedi: Ascension author Christie Golden

Del Rey hosted a chat on Facebook with Fate of the Jedi: Ascension author, Christie Golden, this afternoon on her new novel and writing Star Wars in general. First, some spoiler-free highlights:

  • On the challenge of sandbox writing and characters that can’t die: “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.”
  • On capturing the right feel: “I rewatched 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 [Denning], Karen [Traviss] and Aaron [Allston] were doing with LOTF [Legacy of the Force], so that it would feel a believable continuation from that as well.” and “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 had 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.”

  • On writing her own characters versus established characters: “I really don’t treat “my” characters differently from the others–they are all players. I just got to “build” Vestara, whereas Luke et al were already well established. I don’t want the established characters to feel more “real” than the newer characters or the other way around.”
  • Abeloth: “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.
  • Characters: Her overall favorite Star Wars character is Luke Skywalker (“Oh I had such a crush.”), while her favorite EU character is Ben, although C-3PO is a “hoot and a half to write” and Wynn Dorvan is also up there. Ben is also her easiest to write, while Jagged Fel is more of a challenge since “he’s such a complex and simple personality at once.”
  • Real world influences: “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!”
  • Other eras: Besides continuing in the FotJ era, Golden expressed interest in writing in The Old Republic MMO era, and would be open to writing game content (for either the MMO or upcoming SW RPG).
  • Cover art: Star Wars authors have a little more of a say in cover artwork and design than other authors, though it is still the publisher’s decision.

And a few spoilery things from Ascension:

  • Regarding a scene between Ben and Vestara: “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!” and followed up with “He isn’t perfect. Being a Jedi isn’t about being perfect and never doing something you might regret later.”
  • Regarding Vestara’s journey: “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.”
  • Regarding Wynn Dorvan’s fate: Is he dead? “It’s not clear. You’ll just have to wait. ^^ Muahahahaha!”

Thanks to Christie Golden for chatting with the fans, and to Del Rey for making it happen.

2 Replies to “Chat highlights with Fate of the Jedi: Ascension author Christie Golden”

  1. I have to admit: I was relatively apprehensive about Golden, especially since she was new to the franchise and they were choosing to field her for the first time in one of the big series. She had a fairly rocky first entry, but ultimately I think she’s done a fine job. Ascension was kind of wonky, but that seems to have more to do with the undesirable place that it takes in the plot progression (all of the final building to the climax, with none of the resolution) than it did with her writing. She otherwise looks to be firing on all cylinders as a new author for the line.

  2. I think she did a pretty good job overall but has definitely become stronger as she went on. I knew she’d be good as I’ve read several of her much older Ravenloft books. Vampire of the Mists in particular is a great book, though the title and cover art perhaps doesn’t sell it so well.

    The series is set up for a good old ding dong ending which I’m certainly looking forward to!

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