Padawan’s Journal #46: THE LAST JEDI?

The Last JediSo, yesterday Del Rey / LucasBooks released THE LAST JEDI. Co-authored by yours truly and the remarkable Michael Reaves. Concurrently with this, Star Wars fan site Roqoo Depot posted an interview with moi and a review of the novel.

Ahem. Says the reviewer, “ I have to say that The Last Jedi was a damn fine novel.” I shall, I have decided, enjoy those words until such time as another reviewer or reader or disgruntled fan says, “Meh.”

The Roqoo Depot review also notes that “…it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a writer do Vader dialog this impressive.” I shall also allow myself to enjoy those words until one of the above says, “Naw, you guys got Vader all wrong!”

Do I still get excited when a book releases? You bet.

Do I live and die by reviews? Nah. But it’s hard not to care … just a bit. After all, Michael and I created these characters and we’ve lived with them through a series of books. Even before I started writing about Jax Pavan, I had the privilege of seeing Michael’s draft manuscripts as a beta reader.

As the interview and review note: this is a dark book in some ways. We put Jax Pavan through hell. (I have been reading a lot of Harry Dresden novels, so I know from hell.) Which meant that we had to go through hell with him. So, yeah, when you’ve marched your beloved characters into the valley of the shadow of the Dark Lord, you really want readers to make the journey with them and to love every agonizing moment of it.

In some ways, I think, I prefer having a fan emphatically disagree with the way I’ve painted a character than to not care. That’s because I care. So, the last time the subject of how Michael and I see Darth Vader at this point in his checkered career came up (in a previous journal entry or two), I was actually delighted to converse with a fan who was emphatically NOT in love with out depiction.

Yeah, yeah, I know—writers who do media tie-ins are not supposed to get attached to the characters, yada, yada. Really? How’s that possible, when even those of us who have just watched the characters and read about the characters are attached to them?

Pit-Droid-and-I5YQSo, I admit it, I love Jax Pavan, and the droid, I-Five. And I want that love to show up in what I write. I think Michael would agree. I also love to write, period. So sue me.

A little while ago a group of writers were discussing passion and its role in fiction. I recalled a quote from a painter named Albert Pinkham Ryder who mostly did sea and landscapes. He said: “For what avails a storm cloud, accurate in form and color if the storm is not therein?”

I think of that whenever I write an emotional passage. I thought of it often during the drafting of THE LAST JEDI. I felt the storm during quite a few passages and I hope that readers will recognize them and think “Storm Here!”

I’ll tell you a secret: My favorite part of the whole book are the scenes that take place on Dathomir—especially the scene on the Infinity Plain that’s hinted at on the cover.

I’ll tell another secret: there are a couple of sideways Tuckerizations in the book as well. I have a friend who said he didn’t mind dying horribly … in fiction. Does he die in THE LAST JEDI? I’m not sayin’.



Padawan’s Journal #46: THE LAST JEDI? — 3 Comments

  1. Hi, Mrs. Bohnhoff.

    I just finished reading The Last Jedi and realized it was way darker that I thought it would be, in both positive and negative ways. While I do enjoy the novel in general (I have been quite a fan of Reaves’ previous works in the EU), I’m still disappointed that you and Reaves decided to kill off a certain character so early in the book. Readers who have read Coruscant Nights might feel the emotional impact of her death, but the readers who haven’t read the trilogy might not manage to feel the same way.
    She’d been a very interesting, yet the least explored character in the Coruscant Nights trilogy. I wish you gave her more time to shine before killing her off. Killing her off so quickly made her seem somewhat useless. It felt like she was only there to fill in the ‘Dead Lover’ role and nothing else, even though she could actually be something more than that.

    On a more positive note, I really liked the new female characters and the new take on Dathomiri witches.


    • The early demise of a major character was non-negotiable as far as Michael was concerned. For this, I blame George R.R. Martin (for whom I have the greatest respect, by the way). I would love to have avoided that death in the family, but when we signed up to do THE LAST JEDI, we were asked to write a novel that was, and I quote, “dark and epic”.

      So, yeah, we dragged Jax through Hell, but the up-side of that for me, as a writer, was that I really got to know him inside and out and I have come to really, really love Jax Pavan.

      In my mind, he even has a musical theme. It’s a song called “Seven Cities” (on our Mobius Street album) that’s about the sort of spiritual forging by fire that Jax goes through. Though we recorded it while I was working on “Patterns of Force”, it’s even more relevant to what happens to Jax in “The Last Jedi.”

      Now, my husband, Jeff, didn’t write Seven Cities with Jax in mind, but somehow that song came to sum up Jax’s journey. I can’t perform it without thinking of him.

      I guess what I’m saying is that, for my part, “The Last Jedi” was a labor of love. And that what I wanted a reader to take away was that where there is unity of purpose (as Jax discovers on the blasted plain of Dathomir) there is always hope of doing seemingly impossible things. Oh, and that “There is no death; there is only the Force.”