Interview with Carolyn Golledge

How did you get started writing short stories for the Star Wars Adventure Journal?

Carolyn Golledge: I had been writing Star Wars fanfiction since 1985, my often novella length stories printed in fanzines such as A Tremor in The Force, and the amusingly named, Wookiee Commode, and I Don’t Care What You Smell. All we fans were most excited about the professionally licensed books coming out. I wrote a long letter… snail mail! .. to Kathy Tyers telling her how very much I had enjoyed The Truce at Bakura. She floored me by not only writing back, but also saying she’d read and enjoyed my fanfiction, and she suggested I contact the newly developing Star Wars Adventure Journal. I did so, and very quickly heard back … they wanted me to write for them! To say I was excited is a big understatement. Kathy Tyers had said she’d put in a good word for me, and I’ll always be immensely grateful, as her kindness launched my professional career and made it possible for me to get an agent in UK.

What was it like writing in that time period of the Star Wars franchise? And what was it like working with Star Wars Adventure Journal editor Peter Schweighofer?

CG: It was immensely satisfying, and very exciting AND the first time in my life that I was paid ($400 US per story) .. I still have a copy of that cheque!

Regarding Peter Schweighofer, he was simply wonderful to work with! He was very much a fan, and eager to encourage fanfiction writers and include them in the more formal world of Lucasfilm. We had several long phone calls, me getting up around 5am to make up the time difference between USA and Australia. We discussed all sorts of details, including my having to cut the word ‘prayed’ from one story and substitute ‘hoped’ to fit with Lucas’ no religion in the Star Wars universe. Generally however, he said I always presented ‘print ready work’ which I found highly rewarding.

Then, I had the very great pleasure of meeting him and ‘his crew’ in Honesdale, PA. He gifted me all the Official Guide series! It was an adventure finding his office, in what looked like a large barn in the middle of a dairy paddock. The Journal HQ shared space with an Italian shoe manufacturer! Peter really helped me hone my writing, each story had a 12,000 word limit, and that included making up all the role play stats. The latter was a completely new experience for me — I’d never known much about RP. So, I joined FOE, Forces of The Empire, a RP group associated with MediaWestCon, which I attended 1987-2007. I created a comedic character I called Major Calamity, a demolitions ‘expert’, a mercenary for the rebels. It was great fun and taught me much! I actually found, initially, that the RP stats were tougher to write than the story itself as were the detailed instructions to the illustration artist, who did fantastic work — it was always such a treat to SEE a story come to life like that.

Your two stories that appeared in Star Wars Adventure Journal, “Firepower” and “Desperate Measures”, were those written specifically for the publication?

Yes, these stories were written specifically for the Journal. It was a lot of work but fun, creating Makintay and the people of Eyrie Base as well as the villain, Imperial Major Pedrin. I did write a third story which never saw print, as Lucas changed his mind on and off about continuing the Journal, and so, the story on hard disk, was shuffled from one new editor’s desk to another as Peter Schweighofer, sadly, had left.

Did you ever continue the story of Makintay (the noble born X-wing pilot), Ketrian (the scientist love interest), and Merinda (the Sullustan tech) in your fanfic?

Yes, I later used the same ideas from Eyrie Base in three fanfiction stories, but Makintay’s role became Han Solo, Pedrin-Vader and of course, Ketrian/Merinda -Leia, Luke and Chewbacca. It was always my first love to write about Solo, although I would have loved to continue writing about Makintay and all. It was very disappointing to put all the work into the third story in the arc and never see it make print as the Journal ceased production.

When writing your short stories for Star Wars Adventure Journal, were there any changes you had to make to them before they were given the okay? In other words, let’s here the full story on the Imperial underwear situation :)

CG: Ahh yes, the infamous underwear scandal! Actually, there were very few changes that had to be made. It was always just little details, the underwear an example. I had Major Pedrin having taken a ‘lover’ who was actually a woman he was holding against her will. Makintay discovered this, and deduced that the best time to capture the man was literally when he had his pants down, in bed, late at night. I assumed originally, that Pedrin would be … shock!… naked! But knowing that wouldn’t do, I had him still in underwear when captured. Peter really didn’t like this, telling me I ‘couldn’t have an Imperial Major captured and running around in his underwear!’ I wore him down, and he agreed that given the situation, it could stay, but I think I had to have him get dressed ASAP after his capture.

Makintay ambushing Major Pedrin in his underwear.

The major difference of opinion came with the new editor, whose name, after all these years , escapes me. It concerned desperate behavior by the good guys. I had had Makintay and the others at Eyrie, seeing their X-wing pilots being decimated because of need of spares, not to mention food!, and facing a critical mission the next day. They’d arranged for a mercenary freighter captain to come in with supplies. He wasn’t the nicest of men, having a nickname of ‘Sleaze’. The money for payment was incoming within days. But Sleaze refused to release his shipment ahead of payment, even if it meant many lives being lost. Mak and the others got Sleaze drunk and broke into his ship to secure the supplies. I suppose that wasn’t really good guy style and I can see why the editor was uncomfortable with it… however, I was trying to paint the realities of life on an isolated Rebel Base in the midst of desperate warfare. I’m sure the Allies didn’t always follow the letter of the law on the front lines, either. But as said, could understand , in the end, the new Ed’s dislike of the storyline. Giving up on its publication, I eventually used it, too, in my fanfiction.

In our emails, you mentioned that an author asked if they could use two types of aliens you created. Was that the Ghawems and Myills? (in Star Wars Adventure Journal 8, the Ghawems were “overgrown scaly swamp creatures” who used the Myills as slaves)

CG: Yes, I was, very kindly and properly, contacted by another author who wanted to use my idea for the two aliens, The Ghawhems who were pirates, and the little Myills, the methane breathers, who stowed away on ships that the pirates were aiming for. The Myills ate their way through circuitry etc (think Mynocks). The Ghawhems would attack and board the crippled ship, first flooding it with methane gas which didn’t bother the Myills but would slow down or kill the crew. I was very pleased to have someone want to continue this idea, and very impressed with the author for taking the time to get my permission. It was really a courtesy only as the contract with Lucasfilm gave them all rights to any original ideas.

How did the The Corellian Embassy come about and what was it like working with author Martha Wells?

CG: The initial impetus came from our dissatisfaction with a fanzine editor who repeatedly and radically altered our stories without permission — note NOT those mentioned above. Finally, me being Australian, I knew that people overseas couldn’t afford the high expense of Air Mail to buy fanzines. Martha worked in website design, which back in 1998 was new stuff. She is a wonderful lady and a good friend who also was a big help in developing my writing skills. I did the collecting of permissions from authors, and put in months of laborious scanning of stories from old fanzines. Martha put in equally long hours redoing formatting and HTML script and other techno stuff about which I knew nada. It was a very popular website and it’s very sad to think it’s forever gone. I’m currently trying to track down the files (both Martha and I had our old computers die with them) and am hoping that someday soon the Embassy will again be open for reading! There is so much fun to be had in further exploring the Star Wars realm and many talented people who want to write or become artists. When I began my own print zine, Bloodstripe, in 1999, it was a great privilege to find talent from many countries; one issue I believe had at least 8 different countries represented from Asia, through Europe and USA. It brought so many people together and created many friendships.

I understand you have an original science fiction series coming out. Can you tell us a little about that?

CG: Yes, my original SF trilogy, Sunweavers, will finally hit online and bookstores in May. What’s it about? A lot!

Basically, 500 years in Earth’s future with food and energy crises in a warring overpopulated world, scientists genetic engineer Sunweavers, people who have chloroplast photosynthetic cells in their arms and upper body along with a neural circuit lock that is triggered to harvest and store this energy which is then focused through nano tech implants in hands and fingertips, into laser beams as needed although with limits. These people and others GE as animal-human soldiers, rebel and negotiate a starship escape. But when they arrive in orbit about their new world, they find their ship is sabotaged and their enemy the Spider-humans, stowed away and take most of the lifepods. Only half the Weavers survive and importantly only few of their bio-computers, the Akkarra, called ‘trees’ as they look and grow much like them, are also lost. Centuries later they have lost knowledge of their origins and regressed to steam age technology and think of Weavers as sorcerers. The story picks up at this point, after the Spiders, who have continued GE on themselves, discover a native mineral, methirri, that blocks Weaving if made into a slave collar worn about the neck. They invade the Weavers lands, wanting their bodies as they themselves are slowly dying out but can transplant their minds.

Well, in fewer words! here’s the back cover summary of the plot of the first book —

The Spider Lords discover the Severing Stone and make slave collars that prevent Sunweavers harvesting sunlight through their bodies and cut them from a connectedness with the vibrant energies of all living matter. The dense dark mineral tears out Weaver souls, their bodies reclaimed by a Spider mind.

With the aid of their sea-faring friends, some Weavers escape and begin a desperate resistance. Having rescued his Weaver Brother’s soul-less living body, Taran m’Connor is sent back into enemy lands, his memory altered to safeguard his friends and the true purpose of his quest. He must find an enemy officer, raised to fear and loathe Sunweaving, whose brother, killed in battle against the Weavers, is haunting him, trying to guide him toward his true heritage. A legendary sunburst sword, the Catalyst Blade, has come to him and might unite their kingdoms against the Spiders and restore m’Connor’s Brother. Can Weaver and soldier stand together? Can the enemy officer, an engineer and pragmatist, rediscover a lost science?

We’d like to thank Carolyn for taking the time to answer our questions and for all the fun information she shared. We’re looking forward to checking out Sunweavers, so we’ll definitely keep fans posted as news comes out. And for anyone who hasn’t read Carolyn’s Star Wars stories, go pick up those Star Wars Adventure Journals, they’re worth it.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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2 Comments »

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  1. Nice interview. Loved her perspective.

  2. […] incredible Star Wars nursery; kudos to Savanna for her excellent photography. Roqoo Depot shared an interview with Carolyn Golledge, who wrote short fiction for the West End Games edition of the Star Wars […]


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