At Star Wars Celebration I had the privilege to meet Tom Huddleston who co-writes the wonderful Adventures in Wild Space series with Cavan Scott. He was kind enough to agree to do the first ever interview on Star Wars Codex.
Over in the U.K we are lucky enough to have had four books in the series, the first two will be released in America in January 2017. In the interview Tom writes about working with the LucasFilm Story Group and what it's like co-writing a series. Check it out below.
Star Wars Codex: First of all, what did you get up to at Celebration?
T.H: Celebration was my first ever convention, so mostly I just walked around being knocked out by the variety and complexity of people's costumes. It was completely wild. I also spoke as part of a panel on Star Wars publishing alongside my Wild Space co-writer Cavan Scott, our editor at Egmont Emil Fortune, LucasFilm Publishing’s Creative Director Michael Siglain, and others. 900-odd people turned up, which took me completely by surprise! It was brilliant, and only slightly terrifying.
Star Wars Codex: How did the idea of Adventures in Wild Space come about? Who approached who with the idea?
T.H: The initial pitch came from Egmont, and was then fleshed out by myself, Cavan and Emil and guided by the Story Group at LucasFilm. The idea was to create a series of Star Wars books for kids who were just getting properly into reading, these little mini adventures that’d be exciting from start to finish and have characters they could relate to. It’s the only Star Wars series for young readers where the lead characters are also kids.
Star Wars Codex: We see within the adventures little nods to the wider Star Wars Canon? How much research did you have to do?
T.H: Very little, I’m a pretty huge nerd! I look stuff up on Wookiepedia if I need to know the particular class of a starship or need a bit of zoological info about a particular alien species. And sometimes Emil or the Story Group weigh in with suggestions – like the little nod in The Dark about where the cyborg spiders might have originated. That was a fun one that I wouldn’t have thought of.
Star Wars Codex: What is it like working with the LucasFilm story group? Do they come back to you with any further ideas at all?
T.H: They’re the guardians of Star Wars past, present and future, so you’d expect them to have a fair bit to say about anything that gets published with that name on the cover. It’s up to me, Cav and Emil to come up with the stories, but they don’t hesitate to tell us when we’re going in a direction they’re not comfortable with, whether because it’s been covered elsewhere or because it simply doesn’t feel “Star Wars” enough. They’ve been great throughout, guiding the series, making sure it all fits. The Wild Space books are canon, so they need to lock seamlessly into every other Star Wars story.
Star Wars Codex: How do you and Cavan Scott work together? Do you take it in turns to finish a book or are you working at the same time? There must be a lot of communication going on!
T.H: It can be tricky! We do write simultaneously, but we each have a detailed synopsis of the other’s book. If something major changes we have to rethink on the fly, and work that into the draft we’re working on. But that’s rare – most of the time it’s just small things: a character or a planet might change their name, or the kids might learn a new bit of information, and it’s fairly easy to work it into the existing draft.
Star Wars Codex: Do you have a favourite between Milo and Lina or are you a massive fan of CR-8R?
T.H: I love writing Lina. She’s strong, she’s independent and she’s smart. But she still makes mistakes – there’s a sequence in The Dark where she makes a pretty disastrous error of judgement, and even though she pulls herself together and deals with it, it’s nice to have a heroine who’s allowed to mess up, who isn’t perfect. Milo’s a lot of fun too. I had an older sister growing up – and I was really into animals – so we have a fair bit in common. And CR-8R is, of course, really fun to write – for his manner of speech, and for his endless array of amusing attachments.
Star Wars Codex: Any hints as to what may be coming in the future? The Dark seemed to end on a bit of a open ending…
T.H: Haha, you’re kidding! This is Star Wars, you don’t just go throwing around plot details! All I can say is that there are two more books in the works, and they’ll be out early next year.
Star Wars Codex - very very happy with this news!
Star Wars Codex: Away from the Galaxy Far Far Away, what else are you working on?
T.H: I’m currently working on the second draft of a new book entitled ‘The Mariners’, it’s a satirical future-Dickensian pirate disaster novel for kids! I’m also working on trying to get the sequel to my first fantasy novel ‘The Waking World’ published, which is taking longer than planned. Oh, and my band The No Sorrows have our first album out. And there’s the Time Out job – hopefully I’ll get to interview someone from Rogue One the way I did with John Boyega last year. So I’m keeping busy…
A big thanks to Tom for agreeing to the interview and I for one can't wait to see what happens to Lina and Graf in the future. These characters a load of fun and they're great books to read alongside your kids or to read as a "big kid".
See you soon,