Face To Face With The Masters
Any citizen of the galaxy may be summoned to answer to the Jedi Council. Here you may read the transcripts of such sessions.
Cellblock 1138 - 1997-1999 - 2000 - 2002 - 2003+
R. A. Salvatore
December 1999, by Helen Keier
Part 1 of 4
Our own Helen Keier recently had the pleasure of meeting R. A. Salvatore at a book signing in New York. After the meeting, she was fortunate to be able to chat on the phone for quite a while with Salvatore. This is the first in a multiple part interview with the author of Vector Prime. The interview below is transcribed directly from the tape of the conversation. This is probably one of the most in depth and honest interviews we've posted on the site, and we very much appreciate Helen and Salvatore for taking the time on it.
Salvatore has visited the TF.N forums and even addresses particular concerns, praises, questions, and criticisms. Also, when you're done here, be sure to visit RASalvatore.com. On with the interview!
Be warned that spoilers from the Vector Prime novel are discussed openly in this interview. If you haven't read the book, go read it, then come back here!
TF.N: How did you get involved with Star Wars? Why do you think
you were asked to write Vector Prime?
RAS: I got involved with Star Wars back in 1977 when it came
out. I was 18 years old
and fell in love with the movie. How did I get involved with actually
working with SW? Last
August, Ballantine was looking for someone to kick off their series.
Apparently, they were
getting on the point where they needed someone to write this first book
and they had a list of
authors that they would submit to Lucasfilm. Lucasfilm would then pick,
...[and] approve or
disapprove various authors. That was my understanding anyway. I
wasn't in on any of this.
Ballantine wanted to put me forward and show me off to the Star Wars
audience. The editors
thought my action writing style would fit with the SW Universe, and
quite frankly, I'm one of the
bigger authors over at Del Rey. Just like they wanted to showcase
Terry Brooks with THE
PHANTOM MENACE, they wanted to showcase me in the NEW JEDI ORDER.
One of the reasons I think they bought the license would be so they
could take some of their
authors and present them to new audience. They asked me to do it. I
was very hesitant because
I hadn't read the books. I think there is some heat being taken for
that, but I don't think it's
relevant. I don't think it's relevant because anything that any author
is going to write in the NJO
is going to get through not only several editors at Del Rey but a whole
bunch of editors at
Lucasfilm, many of whom have read all those books several times. They
said don't worry about
the continuity, we'll help you with that, [and] we'll help you inject
elements of the novel past into
your book. [They said] we want you to come and just tell a good story,
and I agreed.
TF.N: What guidance did Lucasfilm give you in writing VECTOR
RAS: ...The NJO story arc was a collaboration between Del Rey,
several of the authors who had worked on Star Wars before. What they
had in mind was this one
series. At the time it was 30 novels, [and] I believe it's
20-something now. I don't know the
exact number they're planning, but this would be a continuous story
arc, which is a hugely
ambitious project, [and] a very difficult thing to maintain. They
wanted to do [the series] this
way, [to] introduce a new threat to the galaxy [that was] bigger,
badder, meaner, instead of just
doing the Empire. I think everyone has come to the conclusion that
maybe they were done with
the Empire for now. What they gave me for guidance basically was: They
told me I needed the
main characters from the movies. They told me who the bad guys were,
just generally. I was
told they were [a] humanoid barbarian race, [and] it's a warrior
culture that uses biological
instead of technological weaponry, ships, and everything else. [They]
are completely devoid of the Force.
TF.N: It was Lucasfilm...[that decided] pretty much the basics of
the Yuuzhan Vong?
RAS: The basics of the Yuuzhan Vong were [determined by] Del
Rey, Lucasfilm, and
those authors that got together at that meeting, including the absence
of the Force, [and] the
general physical appearance of them. What I added to the Vong were a
lot of the particulars, like
the Ooglith Masquer, the Ooglith Cloaker, the dovin basal gravity well
creatures, and the
coralskippers. Instead of having technology and having them use
bio-weapons (like dumping
plagues on planets), I had them be completely bio-based. Lucasfilm
went for [this] right away,
and said, "Yup, completely bio-based. If we can get away with that,
let's do it."
TF.N: What were your goals for VECTOR PRIME?
RAS: ...My primary goal was to write a fun story. That's
always my primary goal, [to]
write a good story that will just have people having fun with it. My
secondary goal - which was
of utmost importance in this book - was that I create the platform
that Mike Stackpole, Jim
Luceno, Kathy Tyers, Troy Denning, et al., can jump on as they complete
the story arc. I had to
be careful not to tell too much of the story. I had to tell a complete
story in and of itself but a
complete story that was nothing more than a foreshadowing of what is to
come. If I'm going to
solve all the problems, [such as] Mara Jade's illness, do I fix her at
the end? Han Solo is going
through a very difficult period in his life, including one with his
son. Do completely I resolve
that, or do I leave it? This will crop up again. I had to give them
enough ammunition to tie the
books together. I created the platform and they're all going to jump
off that platform with their
own story arcs. Not an easy thing to do, by the way.
TF.N: A lot of talk was been given to how VP was going to take the
characters in new
directions, as you've just mentioned Han Solo and Anakin having ...[an]
ongoing conflict. How do you think you accomplished that, just in VP?
RAS: I did a lot of things. Another of the instructions from
Del Rey was "Let's get back
...to the feel of the movies." I don't know exactly how he
developed in [the] EU, but
Lando was just that charming rake. I got back to Lando from the
movies. Mara Jade and Luke
are married now. I didn't play any part in that. I hadn't read VoTF
(VISION OF THE FUTURE)
because the book wasn't available for me to read for one thing, so I
have Luke and Mara at a
different place. They've been married for 6 years. That was my
understanding, although I don't
know when UNION takes place exactly. I've got to inject something into
that relationship that's
going to make it different as well. One of the things I chose to do,
because it was something
very intimate with me at the time, was give Mara a very, very, nasty
disease. One that Cilghal or
Luke (with the Force), [or] no one else can just cure. You just can't
cure this. It's just too alien,
[too] devoid of the Force, if you will. It's a very devastating
illness. Everyone else that has it
is dead already. She's only staying alive because with the Force she
can counter some of the problems that's going on [with her health].
What this does is add a dimension to Mara Jade. It makes her go back
to being Mara Jade again,
as opposed to being Luke's wife. A person with a disease like that
will necessarily step back
within themselves, and begin to question everything about their own
existence. A fierce,
independent, proud person does not want to be pampered, particularly
when they're ill. I added a
dimension there. It also means I have to add a dimension to Luke.
He's got to be supportive
without being condescending or pampering. The easiest people for me to
grow were obviously
Jaina, Jacen and Anakin because they're kids, and kids change weekly.
I've got kids. I know
this. My 15 year old son is not the same person he was when he was 14.
So knowing the
background of the kids...[I was] able to change them, logically, in
slightly different directions
than we've seen before...Han's gone through a pretty dramatic thing in
VP. We see a different
Han. We see a Han who has seen his bubble of invincibility go away.
That is a terrible thing
that happens to people. It happens to almost everybody, unless they
die very young. When all of
a sudden...you look...and someone who's always been there for you isn't
there anymore and is
never coming back to be there, it changes your perspective on the
world. Dramatically. I know
this, firsthand. That's what Han's going through. I think a lot of
the characters have done slight
shifts, with the introduction of the new bad guys and several other elements.
TF.N: One of the things we wanted to do was address some of the
criticisms about VP. This
seems to be a good point to get into that being we're talking in some
detail. [We'll use] the
comments that were in our message forums...[Using the forums] was a
really great idea of yours;
to really go to what the people are saying. I went through them and
I've pulled a couple out. I
don't have these in any particular order...If you could just take about
them as we have been
talking because I'm sure some of them will overlap and elements [of the
criticisms] will be pulled together through them.
One of the criticisms I noticed was...you didn't use enough of the
prior EU events and characters.
Did you feel that was necessary or perhaps didn't need to cover every
RAS: Comments like that, [such as] where Rogue Squadron was, or
where Wedge is, or
where Tenel Ka is, where's Lando's wife, I've heard a lot of that.
It's a new publisher who is
trying to not just continue where the old publisher was at but is
trying to expand the readership.
That's what publishers try to do. You don't expand the readership
after fifty books by referring
intimately to fifty books. People can not jump at that point. My job
was to give enough flavor
of the old EU and this is where Lucasfilm came in. For instance, I had
a rogue Jedi running
around the outskirts of the galaxy chasing smugglers. It was going to
be one of the impetus
factors that will push Luke toward reestablishing a Jedi Council,
understanding that maybe these
guys do need some guidance, even though they're Jedi. When Lucasfilm
saw it, they said, "You
know what, this looks like it could be Kyp Durron." They sent me a ton
of information on Kyp,
and we had phone calls about Kyp. I made the character fit for Kyp. I
had this bad guy agent,
one of the agents for the Yuuzhan Vong - another primary goal [was] to
make sure everyone
knew these guys had been around in the galaxy for a while - and when
Lucasfilm saw it, they
said: "This looks like Nom Anor from CRIMSON EMPIRE" ...They sent me
They put me in touch with the creator, and we found a way to make it
work. That's the beauty of
shared worlds right there, where I'm creating things that are already
in existence and they say use this instead.
Now for these other references [such as] where's Wedge, where's Corran,
where's Tenel Ka,
where's so and so, where's so and so? You can't possibly please
everyone in something as
diverse and huge as Star Wars by giving them their favorite character.
That's not what this book
was meant to do. This book was meant to present the main characters.
I'm already hitting people who had not read any of the books but who had seen the
movies...[They] are going to
pick up with VECTOR PRIME and that was the hope. I'm already hitting
them with the fact
Han and Leia are married and they have three kids who are teenagers.
I'm already hitting them
with the fact that Luke has this love interest who's a primary
character. You have to walk a very
fine line between over- indulgence and the inside jokes...I don't mean
that in a negative way...In
the intimacies of a sixty book series or however many books there were,
and just forgetting what
came before, it's a fine line to walk. Now where that line
[falls]...is going to be a matter of disagreement.
...I've heard people complain why weren't the Rogues mentioned.
They're going to be mentioned
in Mike Stackpole's books. They're not at this part of the galaxy. A
galaxy is a pretty big place,
and for me to sit there and keep injecting lines, sure some of them
might have been helpful.
When we're talking about Mara's disease I could have mentioned that she
had seen Cilghal and
Cilghal couldn't cure it. However, in doing that maybe I'm ruining a
scene in a book three books
down the line when Mara goes to see Cilghal. They finally can find her
or something. I don't know.
TF.N: So it sounds like you have to strike a balance between a
level of detail and leaving something else for someone else to write.
RAS: You also have to understand other things that happen. For
instance, why are the
Jedi back to X-Wings? There's a very simple reason. Did you see the
Star Wars commercial for
VP? It showed the X-Wings going toward the Death Star and those wings
coming up. That's
one of the most dramatic visual images of Star Wars. Now I know we
have A-Wings, B-Wings,
X-Y-Z Wings, and we have more advanced craft. I just made a more
advanced X-Wing, because
that visual means an awful lot, particularly to people who
haven't read the previous
books. You're right. It's an absolute balancing act and it's a fine
line. Some people wanted more
explanation. Why is Borsk Fey'lya the head of the Council? Why isn't
Cilghal helping Mara?
Why isn't Tenel Ka chasing Jacen around? If I'm going to answer all
those questions in book 1
of a twenty-five book series, I am robbing the authors that will come
after me. An author
that comes after me, looks at Mara Jade [and] maybe his book or her
book is going to focus on
Mara Jade and her illness, is the one who should be putting those
scenes about Cilghal in the
book, not me. That's the difference between writing a series and
writing a stand alone novel.
TF.N: Would you say then, that some of the criticisms from the
Forums that there's not
enough development is [not] really a criticism at all, but something
you were precluded from
doing at this time because of VECTOR PRIME being the start of a series?
RAS: It is a creative decision that was made by me and by the
editors that we can't tell
everything in the first book. We had to be very careful to pull back a
lot of things, particularly
about the Vong. [There were] things I would have loved to put in the
book, but we can't because
if we give it all away now, why would you buy book 2? If we gave it
all away now, by the time
you got to book 6, it would be nothing more than repetition. Ah... but
the Vong have a new
superweapon, and then in book 6, maybe Jacen's kidnaped...Then in book
9, Jaina will be
kidnaped....In book 12, Anakin will be kidnaped...Then in book 15, all
three of them will be kidnaped.
TF.N: That's pretty funny because one of the criticism of the Star
Wars books in
general is that they keep rolling out which one of the kids are going
to get kidnaped now.
RAS: There you go. There are only so many plot tension elements you're
going to be able to put in that are going to be reasonable and logical,
you're dealing with a singular enemy in this Vong. Yeah... I had to
pull back on a lot of
that stuff. My first instinct when someone had mentioned to me in an
email: "You should
have had a scene in there...if you had just mentioned that Mara had
seen Cilghal, it
would have been so much stronger for those of us who knew about Cilghal the
healer"...was: "Gees... you know I wish someone had told me that.
They're right." Then
as I thought about it, and no, they're not. If Troy Denning for
example, wants to deal
with Mara's disease, that scene between Mara and Cilghal can be a poignant and
touching scene. Who am I to take that away from him, for the sake of
adding one line in my book?
TF.N: I think leaving Cilghal out was actually a good choice,
because it raises bigger issues, if she had not been able to heal Mara Jade.
RAS: There's all of that too. How could she not be able to
heal Mara Jade? It takes more than a line to explain that.
TF.N: It takes a lot more. It could be chapters, because in the
Cilghal, when she cured Mon Mothma of an illness, she went cell-by-cell of Mon
Mothma's body. Kevin Anderson in the Jedi Academy Trilogy went into
detail on that,
[as to] how arduous a task that was. It would not have been able to,
in my opinion,
adequately have been done in even a paragraph or two. It was several
pages of that book...
RAS: ...and what's my book really about? It is really about
of the biggest, baddest thing that's happened. It's not about a page
by page description
of Cilghal trying to cure Mara Jade. Believe it or not there are page
restrictions for publishers.
TF.N: Back to some of the other criticisms. We'll leave the big
one for last. I think you know what I'm talking about.
RAS: No, I really don't because there have been a lot of big ones.
TF.N: Well, the big spoiler of VP.
RAS: Oh, that one. That's an easy one. Ok.
TF.N: One of the things that was said in the Forums was that - and
I have the text
of the post here - that maybe kicking off a series with a controversy
isn't the best way to
go about it, that perhaps you want to let people get involved first.
The poster wrote:
"Controversy is not what you want in an established line of books to
kick off a new
series. That event should come well into the series. Again, you want
all the existing
readers on board when you make a big change in story. " Would you agree
or disagree with this statement?
RAS: The statement makes no sense, and here's why it makes no
sense. It's a new series. You're saying you should wait until they get into the
series and then
[introduce] controversy?...[When we say] controversy, are we talking
about the big controversial event?
TF.N: No, I ...think it was controversy in general.
RAS: How could you not have controversy in Star Wars when you change? I
can't even believe the level of it. I'm not trying to put words in
Mike Stackpole's mouth,
but I think this was the source of his frustration when he was doing
that interview. I saw
some frustration in that interview he did. You have a whole bunch of
core people -these are the board posters. I can go into THEFORCE.NET and read
log out and come back in 5 minutes later, and half those message boards have new
messages. That's wonderful that people can have something to be that
involved in but
there is a huge, huge difference between expectation and demand, and
there is a huge,
huge difference between being the reader and being the writer. I think
this was what
Mike was talking about when he said that a true fan would accept what's
going on. He's
not saying a true fan would like everything, but a true fan would at
least give the authors
and the creative folks that are trying to do...[the series] the right
to take it in the direction they want to take it.
You don't have to like that direction, but it's a direction that being
chosen by people who
care very deeply about what they are doing. [This applies] whether it's me being
brought in to write one book, or whether it's Mike who's written
several before and now
coming back to help with this series, or whether it's the folks at
Lucasfilm or whether it's
the new editors at Del Rey. They care very deeply, and as far as
controversy goes, how
can you not have controversy [when] changing things in Star Wars? How
could you not
have controversy in everything that's Star Wars? This is the problem.
You've got a message forum that says "X-Wing Series Bashing." You've got another
one "Why I Hate So and So Authors." It's too proprietized. I guess that's the
right of the reader. I
think it's a silly way...to be a reader. Here's the perfect example.
I read [it in] an actual
post on one of your boards. I don't remember where it was because a
friend brought me
into it. He said "You've got to see this. This is incredible to me."
It's incredible to me
too. A guy actually posted, or a woman, actually posted on one of your
boards "I read
VP and I really liked it. And then I read it again, and I liked it
even more. But then I've
come in here and seen the criticisms and now I understand it's not a
very good book."
That's garbage. That's purely garbage. That is completely missing the
point of what it
is to be a consumer of entertainment. It's particularly frustrating to
be an author trying to
please a crowd like that. You almost feel like a politician. If I can
get 51% of the vote I win. That's insane.
TFN NOTE: see this link for Michael Stackpole's recent interview with
TF.N: I saw the post that you were talking about. It seemed to me
that the person had read the books but then was swayed by others.
RAS: Which is very common. That can happen. I can tear apart
any book you want me to tear apart. You name a book, and I will write you a five
page thesis. I'll ...
[write] a fifty page thesis telling you why everything in that book was
horrible. It's a very
easy thing to do. Any book. Any book at all. Even books I love.
It's an easy thing to
do. So I don't understand why, if this controversy they're talking
about is the big event,
then that was a decision that was made because there was an
understanding that the tension had gone out of the series.
TF.N: In the quote I had read to you one of the things I think the
poster was trying
to say was that perhaps the controversies of NJO had been introduced
RAS: How do you introduce them later? You've got the Bantam Doubleday
Dell books tied up beautifully with Tim Zahn. What are we going to do?
Are we going to
write a book that's going to have everything peaceful and funny and
wonderful and la-ti-
da? Are we going to write a whole book that centers around Luke and
I don't know, maybe we are, but it's not a book I'd want to write.
It's not a book that I'd
want to read. It might be a good chapter in a book, but I don't think
it's a book. The
essence of Star Wars is conflict. It's good versus evil. We're
introducing new evil.
Should we have started the series off by writing another Bantam
Doubleday Dell book?
I don't know. It seems to me it's not the province of a reader to
decide. That's what the
publisher has to decide. The publisher's decision was to do a continuous series
[introducing] a new threat. It's years later. Keep in mind that years
have past. A year is
a fairly long time. The publisher, Lucasfilm, and the other authors
who worked on this
project decided we were going to introduce a new threat to the galaxy,
a new tension. We were going to make it big, and bad, and ugly. So I don't
understand. Again, I say
that post makes no sense only because how do you start it off without controversy
unless you're going to write what's been done before, and that's not
the purpose of a
new publisher, and a new beginning story arc. I don't understand how you do it
TF.N: I'd like to talk about some of the criticisms...raised that
isn't really there. A poster wrote that they couldn't see examples of how Han
changes...They saw that it is demonstrated that Han is depressed, but
the poster made
the point that his behavior doesn't change, [and] he doesn't skip a
beat when fighting
the Yuuzhan Vong. He doesn't reject Leia, he forgives Anakin, but he's
still Han. Do you think...[character change] is something that could have been
addressed in VP...or is
it one of the issues that have to be left open for other authors to
tackle later on?
RAS: Are we talking about character, or character actions?
There's a very big
difference. I just had a huge loss in my life. I played basketball
last night. I did very
well. Do you want Han to change by reaching for his blaster and
missing? That's not a
character change. The last chapter of that book [and] the epilogue
that Han gives is not
something that Han Solo would normally be saying. Han doesn't think
or tries not to, but he has to now. That's a character change. I
don't know what they
mean by character change. Should he shave his head? That's not a
that's a characteristic change. A character change is somebody who has
to go through emotional levels. He's in grief after it happens. He lashes out
immediately at his son
after it happens. It's very un-Han like. Then he goes into [a] mode
where he is doing
things out of necessity, and then he sees a similar situation to what
happened when he lost his buddy.
When he sees that situation, it makes him think: "Maybe the kid had to
do what the kid
did." That's an epiphany, and the biggest epiphany of all is that
bubble of invincibility is
shattered - which is the ending of the book. I don't see how you can
say in that book
that Han Solo doesn't grow, because...that last chapter of the book, in
my opinion [is]
something that shows tremendous growth in Han Solo. Now again, I am
this particular criticism. This is an opinion. I don't share it, but
I'm not discounting it. I
am not saying it's not valid. I'm saying for me, I see growth in Han
from that moment on.
I'm not sure what people are talking about when want to see when they
say specific changes. That happens two thirds of the way through the book. Han
often after that happens. I've got 12 protagonists, then 11. Han's in
a few scenes after
that, and [in] many of those scenes, his actions are being dictated by
necessity. I could
have put in that when he's fighting, he looked over and it just wasn't
the same without this buddy there.
TF.N: You did.
RAS: But he's fighting. That's a minor point. I think at the
ending of the book
[and] the epilogue that Han gives shows tremendous growth of character. It also
forebodes tremendous problems for the character, because he will react
differently when presented with dangerous situations as he thinks about it.
TF.N: Do you think that Chewie's death should have affected more [characters]
than just Han? One of the things...I had noticed in the posts [was]
that people were almost criticizing the other characters, other than Han, for not
reacting more strongly to the big event in the story.
RAS: What would you have them do? They're being faced with a
threat to the
galaxy. In SAVING PRIVATE RYAN ...[the main characters have] stormed Normandy
Beach. Their buddies get cut in half on the beach. They wipe their
tears and they go on
and do their job. I remember a scene in the movies when Han got deep
before Lando Calrissian's eyes. I didn't see Lando shut down from that
point on as the
story unfolded. What would you have them do? I think it did effect
them. I could have
done a huge scene. I saw Obi-Wan Kenobi get cut in half in the movie or at least
disappear when he got whacked...A few scenes later I saw Luke Skywalker
being Luke Skywalker again. People don't fundamentally change immediately after
an event. Life
goes on. In real life, life goes on. It has to. Again, if people
wanted to see more of that,
ok, maybe some people did. To me, there was great affectation to the
big event. It did
hit home with a lot of people. They also happened to be in a situation
where if they sat
around crying about it, they were going to be obliterated, and they knew it.
TF.N: There were some criticisms raised about it as a body of work.
had mentioned that you had written VP under a certain time frame, with
a certain time constraint.
RAS: I write every book under a time constraint. So does every
other author out there who's making a living at it.
TF.N: Would you say the time constraint imposed upon you by
Lucasfilm impacted on the book?
RAS: No. I'm very proud of VECTOR PRIME...My writing style is my writing
style, like it or leave it. There's nothing I can do about that. As
far as other things, like
could I have done more research into the EU? Well, I could have, but I
don't think if I
had spent five years researching the EU I would know more about it than
Sue Rostoni or Mike Stackpole or Jenny Smith or Steve Sansweet or Steve Saffel or
Howard Roffman. There are a whole bunch of people here who were intricate in
okaying, letting go, [and] finding new things to add in, who have been
with this Star Wars thing since the beginning. I don't see how the time made any
difference. Typically, I write a 100, 000 word novel in three to four months.
That's what I do. I've
been doing it for 12 years. I have 30 books out. You do the math.
So no, I don't think
the time constraint [impacted upon the book]. I wish had the time and
the book was
available to me to read VoTF before - a little bit. I don't know how
much it would have
changed what I did, but that would have been about it. I don't see any
reason to stretch things out beyond that.
TF.N: Do you think VECTOR PRIME can stand on its on, as a story,
away from the ongoing series?
RAS: I think it stands better away from what's come before.
The reactions to
the book from people who weren't immersed in the Bantam Doubleday books has been
almost universally positive, from what I can tell from my emails, from
when I just meet
people on the street or from when I go to book signings. The only
I've really seen - and I haven't seen that many, I've got to be very
honest here - ...[are
from] several posters on your boards...I've gone away from your boards
by the way, I feel like I'm violating their rights by being there...You've got
several posters on your
boards who post probably 10 negative messages a day on 10 different...
threads about Vector Prime. I don't see a tremendous outpouring of anger at the
book. 99% of my
emails and the people I meet that talk about the book when I'm at book
signings...are extremely positive. Well, maybe not 99%, but a very high
percentage...With people who
hadn't been so immersed in the EU before VP and are just jumping in, I
haven't seen a
single problem. At all....Can it stand alone? I think it stands alone
better than if it stands
behind 50 other novels. Would it stand alone as a finished story? If
no one ever wrote
anything after it? No. The reason I say no to that is because it was
written as the beginning of a series. The ending would have to be changed.
TF.N: How would you change the ending?
RAS: ...The ending certainly shouldn't have the foreshadowing
of what's yet to
come. All through the book, we talk about the Praetorite Vong as the
beginning of an
invasion force. The expeditionary force if you will. Certainly you
can't end a series
there, when you know there's probably 300 worldships or whatever
sitting just beyond
the galactic rim ready to jump in. Also, I think that the ending of the book,
Han's...eulogy...would be much more full of closure than foreboding.
As it's written, it's
written in a foreboding way, "Now I know nobody's safe," as opposed to
"Oh, my God,
I've lost my friend." Little things like that would have had to change
focus, but it was
never written as a stand alone book. It was written as a stand alone
story within a series.
TF.N: Some of the criticisms, I guess could said to go to
style...[such as] the plot
seemed a bit contrived, and sometimes we're told things rather than
shown them. For
example, Danni's intelligence. She accepts Yomin Carr's lies. How
would you address that?
RAS: I don't know how to. It's hard to address an issue of
style. I write a
certain way. I have a certain way of telling a story [and] that's the
way I tell a story.
Many people like the way I tell a story. Some people don't like the
way I tell a story.
There's not very much I can do about that. If you don't like the way I
tell a story, then
you'll have no trouble at all I'm sure finding authors who tell a story
the way you like to
be told the story. I don't change my style. I don't mimic other
authors. There are plenty
of people who say "You should write more like Tim Zahn," and I've heard
that...Then there are readers of mine who say "Oh, God no, don't write more like
Tim Zahn." That's a question of personal taste.
As far as Danni goes, I don't understand that, only because Danni's the
one who beat
the cougar....I didn't show it because I didn't have the room go back
and show her
beating the red-crested cougar when it came into the compound. Danni's pretty
resourceful in that book. I don't understand where she should have done things
differently. Or could have done things differently. Why does she
believe Yomin Carr's
lies? Why wouldn't she? This guy works for the same company she does.
He's in the same outpost she's in. He's been nothing but an exemplary worker as
far as she knows. Is she supposed to suspect that there's an invasion force
coming in from outside the galaxy? Or these alien life forms she's never seen
anything like before that
have organic technologies and are completely devoid of the force?
Hmm... only if she's
been watching a lot of X-Files. Otherwise she wouldn't suspect that.
Why would she?
You know, I've gotten a lot of mail [from] people that really like
Danni....Again, it comes
down to personal choice. It's hard for me to address. If people want
to criticize the way
I write a book [or] my style of writing, it's hard for me to answer
something like that
because I only have one style. That's the way I write a book. You can
read VP and
then go read HOMELAND or one of my DEMON WARS books and you'll see very many
similarities in style because that's the way I write. I don't notice
that Mark Twain and
William Shakespeare and Mike Stackpole and Tim Zahn and Terry Brook sand Robert
Jordan write books the same way.
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