This interview has been a long time in the coming. And I’m very sorry to Christie Golden, who was wonderful enough to do this interview almost two months ago. We kept playing a bit of e-mail tag, and I wanted to do her interview and work justice by posting this after I’d gotten things settled. So here it is, my interview with Christie Golden.
1.) First, in any interview I do I like to just start with the basics in case someone doesn’t know who you are, can you tell who you are, what you do, and where people can find your work?
I’m Christie Golden, and I’ve been writing professionally for over 20 years. I’ve written over 40 novels and several short stories. Much of what I do are called “media tie-in” novels such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and gaming novels for World of Warcraft and StarCraft. I’ve written six original fantasy novels as well. Most of my books can be found in your local bookstore or online at Amazon.com, bn.com or other online bookstores. I also have a lot of books on Audible.com.
2.) Now that that’s out of the way, what got you into writing franchise books?
I wrote a full-length manuscript and shopped it around for seven years. It never did sell, but I started getting “good” rejection letters. And because of connections I had made through my efforts, I got on an audition list for TSR. No publishers do this any more that I know of, but it was a good break for me and led to the publication of VAMPIRE OF THE MISTS
3.) What franchise series (star trek, starcraft, world of warcraft etc. . .) do you enjoy writing most for, and why?
Aww, now that’s just asking me which of my children is my favorite. I’ve enjoyed participating in each one of the shared universes. I can’t really narrow it down. I will say that I have a tremendous working with Blizzard, that has been extremely rewarding and creatively inspiring.
4.) Do you think it’s more of a challenge to write within the constraint of characters that have established history, lore, and expectations (ie: Sylvanas from Warcraft universe) than to create your own?
For me, absolutely. I don’t look as tie-in works as “lesser” creations. So for my own self-respect, I have to make sure that I’m as proud of them as I would be for my original work. That means that all the things that I would put into an original novel (strong characters, good pacing, clear writing, a solid plot, interesting dialogue etc.) I need to make sure appear in my tie-in fiction. Then on top of all that, I have to make sure that I have captured characters that other people have created–and that those creators are happy with my work. So yes, I think it’s much more of a challenge to get that right.
5.) If you could complete rewrite a character (change their personality/history/etc. . .) from any of your franchise novels, who would you pick and what would you like to do to them?
Fun fact: When I was younger, between the Star Wars movies THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI, I mused on who Yoda meant when he said “There is another.” I came up with a story about the Emperor’s daughter, who was sent to kill Luke, and who fell in love with him instead. Someone else had the same idea–enter the famous Mara Jade, not the Emperor’s daughter but the Emperor’s Hand. So if I could wave a magic wand, I’d have my storyline. But Mara is an amazing character too! 🙂
6.) To aspiring franchise writers, how did your relationship with blizzard come about, did you contact them or did they contact you? How would you suggest getting into this?
The best advice I can give you is to work hard on your own, original fiction. Editors of tie-in work, are looking for professionals who often have to work under tight deadlines. (See my above comments about the challenges of this work!) Very, very, very rarely will they publish a first time novelist. Your odds of selling are much better with your own work already out there. These days, some publishers/franchises do story contests, like Blizzard does; that could be another way to get a foot in the door. Do your research about who owns the rights to the franchise, and what your options are.
7.) What was your most challenging character to write? Why?
Initially, it was a toss-up between Luke Skywalker and Captain James T. Kirk, because they are such pop culture icons. However, my “ear”served me well, and once I got over my “stage fright” I found them to be wonderfully fun and fulfilling characters to write.
8.) Do you see yourself sticking to franchises or do you see yourself creating your own intellectual properties someday?
Actually, I’ve had several original short stories and half a dozen original novels published. 🙂 I’d love to delve more into that. I’m actually working on reviving a fantasy series called THE FINAL DANCE, which was cancelled without the last book(s) being written. Wish me luck on that, and I’ll let readers know how that goes!
9.) A bit of a running joke with my online interviews as well (that my readers would shoot me if I didn’t include) what do you have in your pocket at this moment?
“String, or nothing!” Actually, nothing, but usually it’s my cell phone. 🙂
10.) And lastly, is there anything you’d like to say or get out there that I may not have necessarily asked or you don’t think someone would think to ask?
If you have enjoyed my work, post reviews! Try out my original fiction, many of my books are available now as e-books or from audible.com. And email me with what you’d like to see–I can’t always reply but I always read them. Also….thank you to all who have purchased my work. You make it possible for me to do something I love, and I hope to entertain you all for many years to come!