Our Interview with Martha WellsFebruary 8, 2013 at 9:55 am | Posted in Books, Fantasy, Interview, Star Wars, Star Wars Books, Stargate | 1 Comment
Tags: books of the raksura, empire and rebellion, martha wells, razor's edge
Martha Wells is one of the writers for the upcoming Star Wars book series Empire and Rebellion. Her book will be featuring Leia, and with the momentum already building with Dark Horse’s new self-titled Star Wars comic series (which features Leia in a major role), and wide support for a female lead in Star Wars Episode VII, anticipation is building. We took a moment to ask Martha a few questions about her Leia novel, about fan fiction, and a little Stargate for good measure. We also covered her wonderfully imaginative series The Books of the Raksura (a trilogy available as both trade paperbacks and eBooks). So, without further ado, we present our interview with Martha Wells.
In preparation for your upcoming Star Wars novel, I ended up diving into The Books of the Raksura series and I loved it. The series has some pretty wild species, creatures, and places. What compelled you to create a setting where nothing is normal?
Martha Wells: It was because I was ready to do something completely different. In the early 2000s, I was writing the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, which is a more conventional fantasy, set in a 1920s-era world that is sort of steampunkish. Though it involves a giant ocean liner that can travel between worlds, and the characters do spend some time going to settings that are more like what you would find in a sword and sorcery novel. I worked on the trilogy for over three years, and though I enjoyed writing it, I was really ready to go in a different direction. Then I did the two Stargate: Atlantis books, which were a lot of fun and sort of got me out of the conventional fantasy mindset. After that, I knew I wanted to do something more like the anything-goes fantasy I read when I was growing up. Those books were usually filled with strange creatures, and there was more than one moon so you knew you were on a different planet, and the plot and world building often mixed SF with fantasy. I knew that’s what I wanted to do next. So I tried to push that feeling as far as I could. I would come up with a setting, then think about how to make it as strange as possible. It was a lot of fun.
Was there anything specific that inspired you in the creation of the Raksura?
MW: I knew I wanted the characters to be able to travel very quickly, so I could show more of the world, so I wanted them to have wings. Everything else built off that.
You’ve mentioned in other interviews that you’ve written fan-fiction. Have you ever written any Star Wars fan-fic?
Can you share what it was about?
MW: I generally wrote adventure stories, with the characters fighting off Sith Lords, etc. Back then, only a few tie-in novels had been released, like the Brian Daley Han Solo books, so we had to make our own.
What kind of characters do you find most intriguing?
MW: I tend to like characters who may be older or more experienced, or who have at least already had a few adventures under their belts. I also like characters who have something to protect, whether it’s their family, their friends, their living situation.
You’ve been signed on to write a Star Wars novel about Leia in the upcoming Empire and Rebellion series. As a hero in her own right, how do you see her in comparison to Luke?
MW: Her time in the senate, her training, the other things she’s done for the Alliance before A New Hope, have made her a lot more experienced than he is. He learns fast, but I also think her experiences, particularly Alderaan, have made her much more mature.
How were you approached to do the novel?
MW: My agent was approached, and asked to suggest some of her clients who might be interested, and I was one of the people she suggested.
You’ve mentioned that the book will have a lot of Leia’s point-of-view. Was is a challenge to get into her mindset?
MW: Not really. I think the key to her character is her sense of responsibility, for the Alliance, for everyone fighting for it, for the remnants of Alderaan. I see her as a lead-from-the-front, the-buck-stops-here kind of person.
Since you’re a fellow Stargate fan, we’ve got a couple Stargate questions.
By my count Daniel Jackson was killed off 6 times. I think he was also killed off in a book. If you wrote an SG1 novel, how inventively would you kill off Daniel and bring him back? Clones disallowed.
MW: That’s a toughie, because it’s been done so many times. I think I’d try to come up with something where they were trapped in a very strange ruined city, and thought he had been killed, but he had actually been transformed into one of the aliens who built the city. They would have to find a way to transform him back, but you could have a lot of fun with them trying to figure out how to communicate with him, exploring the city, figuring out what happened to the aliens who built it, fighting off whatever killed them, etc.
What do you think Jack, Carter, Teal’c and Daniel are doing these days?
MW: I’d like to think they’re on Atlantis, going on adventures with the SGA team.
Who was your favorite Atlantis character and why?
MW: John Sheppard was definitely my favorite, though I loved all the characters. I still miss both SG-1 and SGA a lot.
Back on topic, do you any other projects besides the upcoming Leia novel that you can talk about?
MW: I have a YA fantasy called Emilie and the Hollow World coming out in April from Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot Books, and I’m working on a sequel to it now that will be coming out next year. I have a Raksura short story in the anthology The Other Half of the Sky that will also be out in April. And I’m currently getting ready to release one of my older Ile-Rien novels, The Death of the Necromancer, as an ebook in late February. It will also be serialized online by Black Gate Magazine, later in the year.
We want to thank Martha Wells for taking the time to answer our questions. If you would like to get to know more about Martha Wells, be sure to check out her official website which includes links to all her books, free short stories, fan art and a whole lot more. You can also stay up to date with the latest Martha Wells’ news by following her blog. And don’t forget to check out the Books of the Raksura, be it digitally, in print, or at your local library.