Horror in Star Wars is very minimal, but Joe Schreiber is a name that will always be known for connecting the two. His two books, ‘Maul: Lockdown’ & ‘Death Troopers’ certainly bring horror tails to the Star Wars franchise and I think it’s something that we should be seeing more of in the Star Wars novelisations. I was lucky enough to ask Joe a few questions with regards to the book and here’s what he had to say.
What was it like working with James Luceno?
I didn’t really work with James. I did listen to the audio of ‘PLAGUEIS’ while writing the Maul book because he does such a good job with Plagueis’ character, and I thought he got it just right.
Lockdown ties in with ‘The Wrath of Darth Maul’. Was this what you initially wanted to do, or was it just something that progressed during the writing process?
I read all the Maul stuff I could get my hands on during the process of writing LOCKDOWN, so I think that the tie in aspect was inevitable.
Darth Plagueis features in Maul: Lockdown as well, how did that come about?
Early in the outlining process, we decided Plagueis would have to play a role, given where the the book occurred on the continuity timeline.
How did you get into writing?
I started early, as a teenager, but didn’t actually publish anything until my 20’s, a psychological suspense novel with Putnam. Then, there was another long stretch where nothing happened. I started writing horror novels after my kids were born, and things developed from there.
How did you get involved with Star Wars novels?
My editor at Random House suggested a zombie Star Wars novel. They were doing crazy stuff like that back then, under the Del Rey imprint. I jumped at the chance.
What is your writing process?
I don’t really write anymore. I’m basically retired from that. These days I’m an MRI tech in Northern California, a husband and a dad of teenagers. It keeps me busy.
Does writing for Star Wars bring any added pressure considering how big the franchise is and how passionate the fans are?
I enjoyed the opportunity to get involved in the Star Wars universe. It never felt like pressure. More than anything, I was thankful for a chance to play in such a big sandbox and have the freedom to get away with as much as I did.
What do you think makes your stories stand out?
I honestly have no idea. I’ve written horror, Star Wars, young adult and middle grade books. I always wrote to entertain myself first, and I tend to get bored pretty fast if it’s not moving along.
What sort of books do you read?
Everything, really. Right now I’m reading Joe Tone’s excellent nonfiction book BONES, about two brothers on either side of the border, the drug cartel, and quarter horse racing. I’m also reading an old Elmore Leonard book, UNKNOWN MAN #89.
When it comes to writing about Star Wars where do you draw your inspiration from?
The inspiration for the Star Wars books really only came from the same place the inspiration for any book. It’s really more process of just finding it in your imagination, that archaeological process of digging it out and not smashing it up too much in the process.
What are some of your thoughts on the Star Wars films?
I’m a big fan.
Do you have any favourite characters from the franchise, if so, who are they and why?
I always loved Han Solo, and I was thankful to be able to include him in DEATH TROOPERS.
Are there any restrictions when it comes to writing, in terms of character development and plot lines, or do you have a lot of creative freedom?
There was a ton of creative freedom throughout the whole process. It was a really nice surprise to be given that about of latitude creatively.
With regards to Maul: Lockdown, what are some of your fondest memories of working on this book?
For a while we were talking about a very different kind of book. At one point I got to fly out to San Francisco and spend time at Lucasfilm looking at all these conceptual designs for projects that ultimately never got made. It was great.
How did the idea of making a Star Wars horror story come about, and how did you come up with the story for ‘Death Troopers’?
Death Troopers was very much a haunted house novel set in the Star Wars universe. I wanted to create characters that you really cared about and throw them into a fast scary relentless situation where anything could happen. I wanted to pull out all the stops in case I never got another chance to do something like this again.
I was really excited about this interview and I am extremely happy with how it turned out. Thank you to Joe for giving me these responses and I wish him all the best with the future.
Stay tuned for more interviews in the near future, and may the force be with you all!