Padawan’s Journal #47: Snoopy Dancing at the Prom

AA028202I was an ugly duckling. The oafish, bespectacled, metal?mouthed character who sat in the back of the classroom drawing Star Trek inspired comic books with talking animals and who was the last person chosen for any sports team (until I discovered tennis in high school, that is).

I was … and in many ways still am … the archetypal nerd. Right down to the glasses and oxfords.

Not convinced of my geekitude?

I did not go to my senior prom. Guys dated me because I had a car. I had a would be boyfriend in college who thought he was Dracula. He had a painting of Vlad Tepes on his laboratory wall … that he painted himself. He had a scale model of HG Wells’ time machine in his laboratory … that he built himself.

Did I mention that he had a laboratory? (I rest my case.)

Where am I going with this?

To the Prom, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Or at least it feels that way. If my recent life were a Jane Austen novel, and I had a dance card, it would be full. I just did my fifth interview today for THE LAST JEDI, the most recent Star Wars novel that I collaborated on with Michael Reaves. It was released in late, late February, which I blogged about, natch, and on Friday, I shall have more to say about said book. I am not sure why this novel should have garnered Michael and I as much attention as it has, but I can’t say I am unhappy about this. Or even sanguine.

The Last Jedi

I am Snoopy Dancing … just a little.

The novel we worked on before this—SHADOW GAMES—was fun to write. THE LAST JEDI was not fun to write in the same way. It was a challenge. It was exhilarating. And it was a labor of love.

So far, the reviews have been great (like this one from Wired magazine online) and the interviews I’ve had have covered more philosophically and emotionally engaging subjects than they did for the previous book. Which makes sense to me. We put more of ourselves into this one because these are characters we’ve cared about and lived with for a longer period of time. Jax Pavan and I?Five and Den Dhur mean a great deal to both Michael and me.

More important, they seem to also mean something to our readers. I talked about this once before in an earlier journal entry. It’s gratifying when fans respond positively to the way you portray iconic characters. In some ways it’s even more gratifying when readers respond to characters you gave birth to. Which is why it made me happy to have Michael’s creations (Jax, I?Five, Laranth Tarak and Den Dhur) and my own (Sacha Swiftbird and Magash Darshi) be so well?received that readers have commented on how three?dimensional they are.

Claudia BlackThese characters are certainly three dimensional to me. I see them as I write. I hear their voices when they speak.  I feel their pain and anger and joy because I have to feel it to write it. And the nature of the questions the interviewers have asked me about them shows that readers are relating to them that way too. (Inside scoop: Sacha Swiftbird bears a striking resemblance to actress Claudia Black of Farscape and Star Gate fame).

So, thanks to the reviewers and interviewers and readers and fans (especially the one who said, “Wow! I didn’t expect it to be this good!” You know who you are.) You’ve brought my March in like a lion.

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