John Jackson Miller Live Chat Recap

September 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Posted in Books, Del Rey, Events, Star Wars, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment
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Kenobi author John Jackson Miller did a live Facebook chat on Del Rey’s Star Wars Books Facebook Page. You can check out the full chat here, or our edited recap below. This was probably one of the best live chats I’ve seen yet. In fact John answered so many questions that he was banned from Facebook.

John Jackson Miller: Glad to be here! Happy to talk about things Kenobi and Star Wars in general. (Hoping to keep things relatively spoiler free — for more spoiler-y kinds of questions, I suggest posting to this thread on my website, where I’ll be addressing the more detailed questions later on: http://blog.farawaypress.com/…)

Hi John, I’m a big fan of your work. Are we ever going to see Zayne Carrick again?

JJM: It’s a big galaxy, and he’s still around, so anything’s possible. It was many years between X-Wing novels and another one happened. So we’ll see!

The book was great. Any chance of a sequel or at least additional short stories?

JJM: I’d definitely be interested in writing more Kenobi. A lot of things are going on in the Star Wars universe right now, but hopefully there’ll be an opportunity that makes sense for everyone involved.

Hi John! Looking forward to reading Kenobi as soon as i swing by Barnes on Saturday. Can you tell us what inspired you to take on this missing chapter of Star Wars lore?

JJM: I had been interested in telling a different kind of story, really — drawing on some of the tropes of westerns. It seemed to fit perfectly for this time in Obi-Wan’s life, as he starts to transform into Old Ben.

I saw the book,at Wal-Mart looking forward to reading it.

JJM: Enjoy!

You nailed it by the way!

JJM: Thanks!

Knowing that you are a classic tv guy, were there any shows you pulled the ideas for the Oasis from? Or the culture of the Raiders?

JJM: Heh. The Oasis draws a bit on fish-out-of-water stories — think NORTHERN EXPOSURE and BALLYKISSANGEL — where the out-of-towner arrives in new and strange surroundings. There are certainly others. The Raider culture was more based on what we had already known about them, plus some new twists.

Hi John, what would you say were your influences while writing Kenobi?

JJM: Hi, Trudy! I think a lot obviously comes from old westerns, like SHANE, and some newer ones, like Larry McMurtry’s LONESOME DOVE where we get to see a lot about the world the heroes live in.

So did you pitch the idea for Kenobi to Del Rey, or did they come to you with an idea?

JJM: I brought them the idea. It had started as a notion for a possible original graphic novel at Dark Horse, but it became clear as I wrote it that it would work better as prose.

How hard was it to write a story about such a pivotal character like Obi-Wan Kenobi?

JJM: Obviously a lot of people have in mind what Obi-Wan should sound and act like, but fortunately we also had performances by the actors — Guinness, McGregor, James Arnold Taylor — to serve as guides in making sure he sounded right.

You just wrote Kenobi is there another classic Star Wars character (or prequel) that you would love to approach similarly with a novel (if you could)?

JJM: Hmm… big question. I think there’s a number of characters that’d fit that description. I also think Lando would be a blast to write — my first Star Wars pitch was a Lando story, eons ago!

Hey John, really loved Kenobi, you really seemed to keep the novel very grounded using the other characters perspectives on some of the more fantastical things that were happening which I loved. If there were to be a sequel to the novel in the future, would there be a possibility of obi wan investigating what Anakin did to the Tuskens years earlier or even dealing with the realization that Darth Vader survived?

JJM: Well, we know those events do come up a little later — LIFE AND LEGEND OF OBI-WAN KENOBI tells us that — so yes, they’d certainly be available for exploration should we choose, I would think.

Hello there, John . Loved Kenobi! You portrayed, “Ben” perfectly. The surrounding characters and their back stories were amazingly entertaining as well.

Trying to keep this “spoiler free”, but I must say that you definitely managed to stay true to, Obi-wan’s roots. Doesn’t matter what situation he found himself in, he was always the same, purehearted Jedi we know and love. Even his “negotiator” skills shined through during the story. Great Job!

JJM: Thanks. I figured this kind of story would really force him to rely upon his softer skills. He can’t solve everything with a lightsaber and not get seen!

I don’t have any questions, just wanted to say awesome book! I have a 90 minute commute to work and I’ve been listening to it everyday. Keeps me awake during the drive.

JJM: Hey, thanks!

Hi John, I specifically finished the last chapter of Kenobi today so I could thank you personally for such a great portrayal of Kenobi. it really built a lot of the background between the end of Episode 3 and Star Wars A New Hope and it really mirrored a lot of the things that went on throughout the series in a much smaller aspect. Anyways, my question is:

Do any of the Tusken Raiders in the story(or any characters) show up in Ep4? Basically did you scan Ep4 for characters you’d like to use in the book? Albeit about 20+yrs younger.

JJM: Good question. No, I didn’t look for any Tuskens in A NEW HOPE — I created all of the ones I used for this book (not counting some characters that had appeared in earlier stories).

The book is simply awesome. is there a character you really wanted to include that just didn’t work out?

JJM: No, not really. I was thrilled that we got to use a certain henchman of Jabba’s — that was a blast for me. If you’ve read the book and are familiar with the character’s history, you’ll know what I mean.

John, I was intrigued by that Rodian who’s silently sitting in the bar and just staring into his cup. I feel there’s a story behind this, am I wrong?

JJM: Maybe. Maybe not. I wanted to leave that open to your interpretation.

If you could write an EU story about any Star Wars character/event, what would it be?

JJM: Gryph wants me to write MARN HIEROGRYPH’S GUIDE TO HIGH FINANCE AND EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT.

Hi John. I loved Kenobi, it surpassed my expectations. Is there a chance we will ever see a Qui-Gon adventure where he encounters the Whills? It seems to me that that is a fascinating bit of SW lore that has yet to be revealed.

JJM: Not something I’d thought of, but it does sound interesting.

Hi John, I’m reading Kenobi now and I wondered if you watched all the movies or read the novels before you began writing this book? Did you talk or correspond with other S.W. authors to maintain consistency with characters or places? You have a great deal of detail about Tatooine and you fleshed out what life would be like there. Good job!

JJM: I read up on everything that had been written about Ben’s time on Tatooine, about the planet, about the Tuskens. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.

How do we talk Dark Horse and Del Rey into letting you do a rewrite of the classic Tales of the Jedi series?  The old comics read like a story on permanent fast forward. They could use a sweet JJM flushing out and character writing!

JJM: A lot of stuff happens in those stories, to be sure! But I’d probably enjoy working on new material more.

Will Overdraft be only available as an e-book?

JJM: Overdraft is also available right now as a physical book: http://bit.ly/overdraft1a

JJM: Also, there’s a giveaway for physical copies closing tonight on Goodreads.http://bit.ly/OverWin

Hello John. Do you know if the new movies will coincide with the books?

JJM: I know as much as you do.

Knight Errant was one of my favorite Star Wars novels. Any chance of a sequel? Loved Kenobi. Keep up the good work!

JJM: Thanks! Like KOTOR and Lost Tribe, Knight Errant is one of those things that remains out there for possibly returning to someday, once we know more about what the future looks like (literally!). So we’ll see. Kerra isn’t going anywhere!

Hey John, off the subject but how do you feel about Episode VII?

JJM: I think it’s really done a lot to spark interest in the franchise. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have planned!

Was there any LFL-ban on the background of the Sith Triumvirate? (Nihilus, Sion, Traya) I read Knights of the Old Republic eagerly hoping for more background on those characters, but didn’t get any…

JJM: I was never told of anything like that. I touched on KOTOR game elements where it made sense in my own story, but really, it was Zayne’s saga, and we couldn’t expect him to meet everyone.

Do you think Kenobi’s Ghost would ever feature in a novel/ movie (Episode VII)/ or TV show showing what Obi-wan was like from events after his complete surrender to the Force?

JJM: I imagine anything’s possible. The future is always in motion!

Is there any chance that you’ll write another Kerra Holt novel? I would love to see more of her and those wonderful Sith.

JJM: I’d be happy to return to her world at some point should it work out as possible. There are certainly more worlds left to free.

Which medium do you prefer? Meaning do you like the graphic novels where the story is told mostly through pictures, or do you prefer to write novels and tell the story through words and let the readers create their own images?

JJM: I still do both, but I admit that lately I have mostly been doing prose. It’s a little different in that I get to see a final product a lot faster. I expect to keep doing both — comics are a huge part of my life.

Hi John. Your stories all Rock!!!! Thanks so much for all of them…

JJM: You’re welcome. And thanks!

Was it your plan to make Qui-Gon a more relevant (or present) character in the novel, or did Lucasfilm limit the use of that character?

JJM: No, that was already established elsewhere. I explain that situation here:http://www.knightsarchive.com/…/

How did you get into the business of writing a star wars novel?

JJM: I had written comics for many years, and got the chance to write short stories for the Star Wars website and later for Lost Tribe of the Sith.

Would you ever write a book about Luke’s son Ben?

JJM: Heh! Now that would be confusing!

If you can change anything about Kenobi what would you have changed?

JJM: We really did nail the book down almost exactly as I had wanted. It’s rare when that happens, but there’s very little I would consider changing. Maybe a word here and there?

I’m really looking forward to the book. Got mine in the mail yesterday. Tatooine is such a pivotal place in the Star Wars universe. It’s like the year 1955 in Back To the Future. Jedi have been described as boring protagonists by some, because they’re essentially indestructible heroes. What’s your view on that?

JJM: I think they’re as interesting as we try to make them. And yes, I fully agree on the Back to the Future 1955 analogy — was making that comparison just the other day.

Also, what is it like to write in someone else’s universe? do you feel constricted?

JJM: Not really — everything you write about has rules, even if they’re your own rules in your own universe. I see continuity issues as opportunities, really… possible springboards.

I love when Ben spills his guts and let’s his pain show but isn’t overwhelmed by it. True Jedi there! Stays true to McGregor’s performance in Episode 3 when he’s talking to Anakin on Mustafar.

JJM: Thanks. Yeah, Ben really is resilient — he wasn’t going to wallow. That’s one reason I wanted to do the story as I did — if we were inside his mind all the time, there would be too much angst over what had happened, and it might not feel like how Obi-Wan would react.

What’s the best source for researching Dewback harnesses?

JJM: Hah! I asked Beth Kinnane, a college friend who’s worked for several breeders and other equestrian firms over the years. We sat online one evening and figured out what all the parts of the harness were called. We go the extra mile at Star Wars Books!

Greetings from Jedipedia.net! How are the chances that you are able to attend next year’s Jedi-Con? Since many of our active authors really appreciate your work, they’d definitely love to meet you in person, since you weren’t able to come to CE in Essen.

JJM: Let me know where it is and we’ll see. My passport expired in 2002, so I clearly don’t get abroad much!

Dear Mr. Miller, two questions about Kenobi’s life: He was born on Stewjon (57 BBY), what kind of people belongs there (Han e.g. is a Corellian, Luke a Tatooinian and so on). And the second question about Stewjon: Why is the planet not yet established in the expanded universe?

JJM: Heh! Licensing problems with the Daily Show? I’m not sure. But I’m sure Stephen Colbert is their emperor.

About how many weeks/months does it take you to write a book? About how much time in writing Kenobi?

JJM: The drafts of the plot were written over several weeks seven years ago. The actual writing of the novel took about three months. That seems to be standard for me. It’s exhausting going any faster.

Hi Mr. Miller. Here is my question: What was your thought process in writing Kenobi in regards to having written it from the way the other characters perceive him. I found it interesting that each character saw different aspects of the same man. And follow up: What was the biggest challenge of getting into the mindset of a Tusken?

JJM: Well, it’s very much like life, isn’t it? No two people see someone else the same way. I wanted to play on that. And yes, the Tuskens were about the most cold hearted characters I’ve ever written, even worse than the Sith in some ways — the Sith are at least logical. There’s a lot about the Tusken way of life that seems deranged to us, but somehow they accept it. Challenging, indeed!

Since we don’t know the ultimate fate of Ahsoka Tano from The Clone Wars, assuming that she survived order 66, is there any chance she could show up in a sequel or is she an off limits topic?

JJM: I haven’t asked, really. I wrote the plot for this story in 2006, so a lot of stuff hadn’t happened yet.

Hey John, really loved Kenobi, you really seemed to keep the novel very grounded using the other characters perspectives on some of the more fantastical things that were happening which I loved. If there were to be a sequel to the novel in the future, would there be a possibility of obi wan investigating what Anakin did to the tuskens years earlier or even dealing with the realisation that Darth vader survived?

JJM: Well, we know those events do come up a little later — LIFE AND LEGEND OF OBI-WAN KENOBI tells us that — so yes, they’d certainly be available for exploration should we choose, I would think.

Hey John, so I haven’t read Kenobi but its next on my list. So what do you plan to write next for Star Wars, any ideas? I know this may be too early to ask since you just put out Kenobi.

JJM: I always have ideas — it’s just a matter of what direction they want to go in with the sequels coming out. I would be glad to pitch in in some way.

Hi John, I love your books, is there any chance of seeing you back writing novels in the old republic era?

JJM: Anything’s possible — just a matter of seeing what the future holds once we know more about the sequel movies.

I think Disney would be smart to ask for your assistance on episode 7 and more. All your work is fantastic.

JJM: Thanks! As noted above, I’d be happy to help on the prose or comics side if I’m asked.

Congrats on the book John it is my third favorite Star Wars book. That’s a big thing to me anyway. LOVED your take on Kenobi and very much look forward hopefully to a sequel.

JJM: Thanks very much! Glad you liked it.

If you had to go one way or the other which do you think is true: trouble finds Obi-Wan or Obi-Wan looks to get involved? the book is really a classic.

JJM: Thanks! And I think the Force moves him where he needs to go.

Hey John! Since KOTOR was (and still is) my favorite series, I hope you can get back to the KOTOR era eventually – especially Gryph and Jarael are missed. Is there any chance we can expect a return to that era from you?

JJM: No KOTOR anytime soon, but Brian Ching and I are always talking about various projects to work on together. We’ll see!

Who are your writing inspirations? Did you feel yourself channeling those heroes at any time during this project?

JJM: There are so many. There’s all the people I read in comics and prose… and then on the writing side, I got career help from Harlan Ellison, Maggie Thompson, and Michael Stackpole and more. (Mike’s really been my guru over the years.) I really appreciate all the advice I’ve gotten over the years.

What was one aspect of Obi-Wan’s personality or history do you wish you could have touched upon more, if given the chance?

JJM: Well, we were restricted in some degree by what he knew about at the time, so there are facts he doesn’t have about what the Empire has been doing. Certainly as you get into the storyline later on, we’d see him dealing with what he knows about Vader’s survival.

Hi John, will we ever see a Lost Tribe of the Sith prequel that tells the story of Omen and Naga Sadow?

JJM: Well, we know some of what happened in that early time from the start of Crosscurrent. As to something more detailed, anything’s possible.

Can we expect a Kenobi sequel? If you were to write one, what could we expect next?

JJM: As noted above, I’d be glad to — just a matter of timing and having it make sense for everyone involved. As to the topic, there are a lot of different ways to do it. Many points on the compass left unexplored on Tatooine!

Hey John. Glad you’re here. What work can we expect from you in the future?

JJM: I have a Conan story coming up in November’s ROBERT E. HOWARD’S SAVAGE SWORD #6 from Dark Horse Comics (http://bit.ly/SavageS6). The audiobook is due out soon for my OVERDRAFT series (http://bit.ly/overdraft1)… and I have a Star Trek: Titan novella which has just been slated for February (http://bit.ly/JJMTrek1). I have some other projects unannounced yet… stay tuned!

JJM: Just a note that Facebook has sent me an alert saying I’m “using their commenting feature too fast and could be blocked.” So if I vanish, that’s what happened!

JJM: Facebook has indeed blocked me from this thread for Too Many Responses (honest, Officer, I didn’t know!). So I guess that’s it. I thank you for coming out — and please check the lead post on http://www.farawaypress.com for your chance to ask your questions there. I am also on Twitter at @jjmfaraway. Thanks, all!

Star Wars Books: Looks like this was more Kenobi than Facebook could handle. Thanks to everyone who came by for the chat. If you have additional questions please visit John’s blog: http://blog.farawaypress.com/

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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