Martha Wells on ‘Razor’s Edge’

In preparing to write Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge, what kind of research did you find yourself doing?

Martha Wells: I watched A New Hope again, and looked at several of the Star Wars reference books. The Essential Atlas was really helpful. I concentrated mainly on the period right after A New Hope.

Was the process for writing Razor’s Edge different from other projects you have done?

Martha Wells: The biggest difference is that with a tie-in, the outline has to be approved first. With my fantasy novels, I usually don’t submit an outline at all.

Leia is first and foremost the star of Razor’s Edge, but Han plays a sizable role as well. On the other hand, Luke doesn’t show up much in the book. Why did you decide to have him play a more minor role?

Martha Wells: I wanted to focus more on Leia and to a lesser extent Han. The plot also just worked better for him to show up with Chewie later in the book.

There has been a lot of discussion about gender and diversity in Star Wars, especially in the novels. In Razor’s Edge, you use quite a lot of female characters and several alien species. Were those natural choices on your part while writing the story, or was there a conscious effort to add that extra degree of diversity to the cast?

Martha Wells: I wanted a diverse cast from the beginning, with a lot of female characters, so it was a conscious effort.

In an interview with Fiction State of Mind, you mentioned that you’ve always wanted to do something with space pirates. Razor’s Edge actually explores several different types of pirates, some more good than bad. What’s your take on the differences between Caline Metara (the Alderaanian pirate captain), Aral tukor Viest (the pirate lord) and Anakaret (the Twi’lek)?

Martha Wells: Metara was someone who says that she fell into piracy by necessity, but the more we find out about her, it’s clear she and the crew could make their living in other ways, but for Metara this has become a way of getting revenge on the Empire. The revenge means so much to her that she has made herself stop considering the collateral damage to civilian crews. It’s become more about obsession than survival. Viest was someone who was sold into slavery with pirates and who eventually fought her way to the top of a very violent and dangerous pirate organization. It started as something she was forced into, but somewhere along the way she made a conscious choice to stay and pursue it. Anakaret is more like Han, in that she’s someone who is trying to make a living for herself and her crew, and who smuggles and occasionally falls into small time piracy just as a way of survival. None of them are ethical, but they all have very different reasons for why they ended up where they are.

While Razor’s Edge is pretty action-packed, you seemed to characterize Leia with a very subtle hand, especially juxtaposed against Han’s larger-than-life characterization. Was this a conscious effort on your part?

Martha Wells: It’s just the way I see the two characters. I think Leia has a temper but also a lot of self-control and I wanted to get that across, and Han just lends himself well to larger-than-life moments.

You really captured the characters of the Big Three, portraying their distinct individual motivations, the things that shape their future actions and choices. Yet, you kept it really true to this early Original Trilogy story timeline, and where their relationships which each other would be at this point. Was that difficult to do?

Martha Wells: Not really. I was such a huge Star Wars fan when the originally trilogy was being released, and the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite period for those characters. It wasn’t hard to imagine them back at that point.

What can readers look forward to next from you, be it Star Wars or non-Star Wars?

Martha Wells: The next book I have coming out is Emilie and the Sky World in March 2014, a sequel to the YA fantasy that was also published this year, Emilie and the Hollow World. I also just recently finished a novella set in the world of the Books of the Raksura series which will be published as an ebook. It’s called The Falling World.


We want to thank Martha Wells for taking the time to answer our questions. You can pick up Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge in hardcover, digital and audiobook formats. If you’d like to find out more about the author, you can visit Martha Wells’ official website.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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