Paul S. Kemp's first Star Wars novel and is a story
that links the ancient Jedi and Sith wars of The
Old Republic with events that are beginning to unfold in
the Fate of the
Paul is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and
the University of Michigan law school and his reading tastes
run the gamut from Shakespeare to Tom Clancy, although he is
particularly fond of Milton. Apparently the best advice on
life he ever received was from an undergraduate college
professor in political science: always extend yourself. Paul
tries to keep that advice in mind at all times.
|Star Wars Books are pleased that Paul
has taken time out of his busy schedule to participate in this
welcome to Star Wars Books.
If you like, could we begin with a short résumé of yourself and
your work to date?
Sure. I’m Paul S. Kemp. I
live in Michigan, have been married seventeen years to same lovely
redhead, and have five year old twin boys named Roarke and Riordan. By day, I slog through the Hell that is corporate America
in my role as a corporate lawyer. By night, I write.
I'm known primarily as the creator of Erevis Cale, an assassin and
priest of the God of Shadows. My work featuring Cale is as follows:
three books of the Erevis Cale Trilogy (listed immediately above)
will be available in June in an omnibus that includes all three
novels and a couple Cale-related short stories. It is, aptly I'd say,
called The Erevis Cale
made your name working on roleplaying game tie-in novels. What
attracts you to roleplaying settings and stories?
I find it an interesting challenge to step into a fully realized
secondary world/universe, and attempt to tell a story within that's
fresh. I also really enjoy and
appreciate the passion that fans of the settings bring to the
novels. It's really a blast.
your opinion, what makes for a good book, whether it be sci-fi,
fantasy or otherwise?
I think characters are of primary importance. Obviously other factors are integral to a successful novel --
plot, pacing, the quality of the prose, theme, etc. -- but I want
readers to come away from one of my novels talking about the
characters first and foremost.
where do you draw your inspiration and what forms the initial
thought that leads to that first keystroke?
Honestly, like most writers, I get inspiration from everything:
other novels, history, television, a stray thought, whatever. For me, the process of writing a novel typically involves
conceptualizing a character first. I build from there.
have been a major contributor to The Forgotten Realms
franchise over the last 10 years, writing more 8 novels and several
short stories. Now you are writing for another major franchise, how
do you feel the two compare in terms of writing style and
Well, the Realms is a sword and sorcery setting, while Star
Wars is space opera or science fantasy, depending upon who you ask. But I've found them to be more similar than different -- both
feature cinematic action, somewhat larger than life heroes/villains,
rapid pacing, and an interesting underlying moral paradigm.
In terms of readership, both have extraordinarily passionate fans. The Star Wars readership is considerably larger than the FR
readership (which is, nevertheless, quite large) and I'd say the
passion of Star Wars fans exceeds that of FR readers.
did you get this Star Wars 'gig'?
Indirectly through Bob Salvatore (R. A. Salvatore, the bestselling
author of countless novels). He
introduced me to my editor at Del Rey years ago and I pestered her
for an opportunity to write in the Galaxy Far, Far Away for years. Finally, I annoyed her enough that she said -- Send me
something you've written. So I
sent her Shadowbred. She
read, really liked it, and invited me to write a Star Wars novel.
what was it like writing in George Lucas's sandpit?
Intimidating, to some degree. The
EU is complex, with history
stretching back a long way. When
I write in a setting, I'm not interested in just telling a
compelling story, I want to
tell a compelling story that nests in the lore of the setting, that
"feels" like a story set in the setting. Star Wars is more complicated than most when it comes to
meeting those goals. I think Crosscurrent
does so, but the readers will have to decide for themselves.
you tell us what your research for Crosscurrent consisted of?
Del Rey sent me volumes of research material, including all the
"Essential Guides." I
pored over those while I developed my story concept. And, of course, Sue Rostoni, Leland Chee, and my editor were
invaluable when it came to refining the story concept and/or
tweaking this or that aspect to make it consistent with past lore.
you have any particular reason for choosing the lead character Jaden
Korr, who was, before his appearance in Legacy of the Force: Fury
by Aaron Allston, just a videogame character whose biology was
customisable by the game player?
I did. When I spoke with my
editor about a Star Wars opportunity, I advocated strongly for the
opportunity to write a story featuring a character who hadn't been
featured in a novel before. As
I mentioned above, I wanted to come at the readers with something
fresh, and for me that meant an unknown character in a
character-driven, small scale story. Obviously,
I could have made up a character from scratch, but -- again, as I
mention above -- I wanted to nest the story in the lore as much as
possible. If possible, that
meant using a character who had appeared in the EU, but who had
never been featured in the EU. Jaden
was perfect for that.
working as a stand-alone story, Crosscurrent also acts as a
tie-in to the ongoing nine-book Fate of the Jedi series as
well as the eBook Lost Tribe of the Sith series, was this a
conscious effort on your part or did it form part of your contract?
This happened by creative osmosis. In my initial pitch to Del Rey, I has posited the existence
of an ancient ship carrying a Force-enhancing ore (which became
Lignan) that, through a relativity shielding malfunction, ends up in
the present. Later, my editor
came back and asked if we could make it two ships and tie-it into
the forthcoming Fate of
the Jedi series, which featured a lost tribe of Sith whose ship
had crash-landed on a distant planet, allowing the tribe to develop
in isolation. Harbinger
and Omen were born. I
thought it was incredibly cool that my novel was connected to the
larger Fate of the Jedi
metaplot, even if only in a small way. Kudos to my editor who conceived of the connection.
did you have any interaction with any of the Fate of the Jedi
authors, Aaron Allston, Christie Golden and Troy Denning or with
John Jackson Miller (author of the Lost Tribe of the Sith
series) while writing Crosscurrent?
Mostly via email. Christie and
I traded emails about names of personnel on Omen, and Troy was a great help about not only the
of the Jedi/Crosscurrent
overlaps, but about writing in SW in general. He's a class act.
JJM and I also traded a few emails. I
believe I sent him descriptions of a few things as they're presented
in Crosscurrent, and
he did the same for me.
It was a great experience all around.
Star Wars Expanded Universe is just as old as the original Star Wars
films themselves and every author who has contributed to the
Expanded Universe for the last thirty or so years, has, is some way,
left his or her mark on our Galaxy Far, Far Away; what do you think
your mark will be? Or to put it another way, what do you think Star
Wars fans will remember you for in another 30 years time?
I'll tell you what I hope they remember -- Jaden Korr. Meaning, I hope that Crosscurrent
and its sequel elevate Jaden, in the minds of the SW readership, to
something more than a more or less anonymous Jedi who you could play
in a video game.
has been recently announced that you will be writing both a sequel
to Crosscurrent as well as a tie-in novel for LucasArts'
forthcoming MMO videogame The Old Republic, what can you tell
us about either of these novels?
Not much, I'm
afraid. Sorry about that.Believe me, when I'm able to discuss things, I will.
maintain an online presence with both a website and a blog. You
contribute to the latter on a regular basis, just how important is
your blog to you and if so, in what ways?
I enjoy interacting with fans on a more or less direct basis, and
the blog allows for that. My
posts consist not only of writing-related material, but also
political observation, family stuff, humor, etc. I really enjoy the give and take with fans.
if you could meet face-to-face with any fictional person and could
only ask them one question, who would that person be and what would
you ask them?
Since this is a Star Wars site, let's stick with that: Anakin Skywalker. And
I'd ask: What the flack were
you kriffing thinking?
you Paul for your time, it has been a pleasure and wish you every
success in the future.
will be published in paperback in the US on 26th January by Del Rey
and in the UK on 4th February by Arrow Books.
You can also follow Paul's writings on his blog at http://paulskemp.livejournal.com.
© 2010 swbooks.co.uk
James (20th January 2010)
interview, Paul! I can't wait to check out your new novel.
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