ONE-ON-ONE WITH MR. STACKPOLE
over eight Star Wars novels to his credit Michael Stackpole started
out on video games 1984's "2010 Adventure Game" for Coleco! He has
written a ton of Sci-fi novels, comics, short stories, role-playing
guides, video game guides and more. His Star Wars books include:
X-wing Rogue Squadron Series, I, Jedi, Dark Tide I: Onslaught and
Dark Tide II: Ruin. Michael has also done work on several Star Wars
comic books including: Rogue Squadron, Mara Jade: By the Emperors
Hand, Star Wars Union (marriage of Luke and Mara). We caught up with
Michael and were able to ask him a few questions about his Star Wars
Was 1996's Rogue Squadron your first New York Times Bestseller?
How did that change your life?
Yes it was my first Bestseller and how it changes your life is
you will forever afterwards be known as a New York Times best
selling author. It’s sort of nice when you met a person who asks,
“have I ever read anything of yours?” and when you tell them many
of your books have been on the list you tend to get a little
different attitude out of people sometimes. Mostly the cool thing
with a Star Wars book out, it brought me a lot of new readers, a
lot of loyal readers.
2. How did you come about being a
Star Wars author?
I was really lucky I had a two-book contract with Bantam. They
were looking for an author who had the right background knew how
to write fast, write military science fiction and had been there
and been stable and worked in other universes as well. I was the
only guy that scored in every category, and one morning my agent
called and said “Bantam just called, they’re waiting to do four
X-Wing novels!” I couldn’t wait to get to work.
3. With the X-wing Rogue Squadron
Series being such a huge hit with fans would you consider making
I’d consider it anytime, unfortunately when you work
in someone else’s universe or world you have to be invited. So
unless they ask me to come back and do something I can’t just
write another book.
4. Knowing that Lucasfilm has a
"Don't call us, we'll call you" attitude towards its Authors, any
calls from them lately?
No, but you know it’s one of those things, I still get along
quite well with the people at Lucasfilm, they are very, very nice
and great to work with. When books would come out in foreign
languages they always forward copies to me. So I guess it’s a
question of if they see something that they think I might be good
at, they’ll then give me a call.
5. Going from characters that did
not have a strong presence in the Star Wars novels (Wedge, Corran)
to having to take on more well know characters for the Dark Tide
series (Luke, Leia, Han) was that a challenge?
No because by then I had learned enough about the universe and
especially learned a lot from Tim Zahn and how he handled those
characters. So I was confident enough in what I was doing and was
able to slip in and use Leia, Luke and Han. That was just so much
fun, I used them a little bit and then Han in I, Jedi.
6. Which characters were your
favorites to write?
That is like asking a parent which of your children
is your favorite. I loved Wedge and Ysanne and I think they’re
great, I really liked writing Coran. Someone like Booster, how can
you not love that character? I think that is the key thing to
writing really well, you find an aspect about that character you
really like. Some of the characters I absolutely hated, but they
were fun to hate.
7. Being that the Dark Tide series
was one of the first to feature the Yuuzhan Vong, did Lucasfilm
have set ideas of what the Vong were, how they fought etc.? Or did
each author get to create that part of the characters as they went
Well, I was involved in the planning of the Dark Tide series.
It was a weird situation where I helped develop the thing, so
since being involved with the project early I was given a quite a
bit of freedom. I have worked with Star Wars for a long time, and
I’ve sort of developed a sense of how much leeway the author has.
Lucasfilm is also very good too about allowing you to do many
things you would like to do in the universe.
8. The Rogue Squadron series had
such a great mixture of seriousness and humor. Is this common in
all your novels?
Oh yeah, there is a lot of stuff that I look at and
say you just can view the world as so grim that you can’t laugh at
some point and sometimes you just have to laugh or you would cry.
The other thing is when you are a writer, especially Star Wars, if
you look at the movies they have humor, action, romance they’ve
got everything. If you don’t bring that whole mix to the book
you’re not doing your job. I love humor and I love making people
laugh, where and when appropriate.
9. Out of all of the novels you
have written which is your favorite?
It’s really hard, for me the X-Wing books as a short series are
one of my top choices. Some of the fantasy series I’ve written as
well in my own world but the X-Wing books were all spread out, but
like a sprint more than a marathon. If I had to put my finger on
one book it would have to be I, Jedi just because that one wrote
itself so fast and was so much fun. Everyday I was on the phone
with Tim Zahn and we were coordinating things back and forth, and
it was just a total blast. So if you’re into Star Wars I’d say you
have to read I, Jedi.
Thanks again for your time Michael,
the readers of Sandtroopers.com appreciate you allowing us
interrogation! Keep us informed if you are ever on “patrol” again!
Special thanks to Rogue Jedi Princess for her work in contribution
to this interview, the Empire hasn’t a finer Slave!