Jennifer Heddle was hired by LucasBooks to fill the position of Senior Editor late last year. Working previously as an editor at Simon & Schuster, Heddle brings experience of not only in managing fiction, but also of being a Star Wars fan. She keeps an active hand on Star Wars novels and comics, but was kind enough to find time to answer some of our questions. The interview discusses her new life at LucasBooks, and Heddle managed to drop some hints about future EU projects as well.
We’ve included two additional answers from Jennifer! The new questions are the final two at the end of the interview.
EUCantina (EUC): What has it been like working at Lucasfilm? Any favorite moments so far?
Jennifer Heddle (JH): It’s been fun, and surreal, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) easy, considering what a strong influence Star Wars has been in my life. There are always moments that make me think “I can’t believe I work here” – like seeing Stormtroopers from the 501st roaming the hallways for one reason or another, or going to Big Rock Ranch to get an advance peek at episodes of The Clone Wars, or stocking up at an employee sale. One of my favorite moments happened just this past week, at a dinner with other members of LucasBooks and some visiting folks from Random House, and in the course of the conversation we found ourselves in an intense, sincere discussion about Darth Vader’s fate at the end of Return of the Jedi in terms of both narrative arc and movie-going experience. It was definitely a “these are my people” kind of moment.
EUC: We seem to hear a lot from the editors at Del Rey about getting proposals for books from authors and brainstorming ideas. Do you have the same involvement in the creative process that they do?”
JH: So far it depends. Sometimes they will approach me with an idea they’ve already cooked up, and other times story ideas will generate just from us chatting on the phone or trading emails. But regardless of where the idea originates, I’m engaged at every step of the process.
EUC: How involved are you in the comic side of Star Wars publishing? Will we be seeing any more collaborations between LucasBooks and Dark Horse in the near future?
JH: I basically fulfill the same function for Dark Horse Comics as I do for Del Rey, so I’m very involved. And I think you’ll be hearing soon about more collaborative events between Random House and Dark Horse, yes.
EUC: Which novel were you first involved in when you began working at LucasBooks?
JH: The first novel I read in manuscript form was Apocalypse, but since that was book nine of a nine-book series I didn’t have too much additional input. As far as novels I’ve been involved with since the beginning, that’s more our late 2012 line-up – The Old Republic: Annihilation, Tim Zahn’s Scoundrels.
EUC: If you could pick any author to finish the Imperial Commando series, who would it be and why?
JH: Whoever would be the best author for the job. How’s that for a maddening response?
EUC: Can you give us any additional details about Paul S. Kemp’s untitled duology or Drew Karpyshyn’s The Old Republic: Annihilation?
JH: I can’t say too much about Paul Kemp’s books yet, aside from the fact that they’re in development, and it’s a concept we’re all really excited about. As for Annihilation, it’s a book that will have a lot of appeal for fans of the Old Republic game and/or comics, in that Theron Shan is the star and his mother Satele Shan plays a crucial role, but it’s also a strong action-adventure that will be entertaining even if you’ve never heard of the game. There’s also a great villain in the form of Darth Karrid, a former Jedi who commands the Sith’s ultimate warship through a cybernetic hookup. She doesn’t just command the ship, she is the ship. And Theron is determined to take her down.
EUC: If Mercy Kill is a success, would you consider publishing another X-wing series?
JH: We’d absolutely consider it, yes.
EUC: Any chance a Leia or Padme novel will be published anytime soon?
JH: There are a couple different plans in the works to focus a bit more on Leia (in both the novels and the comic books). There’s nothing planned for Padme at this time, but never say never.
EUC: Can you give us any hints about the new post-Fate of the Jedi series or era?
JH: We’ll be making an announcement about that at San Diego Comic-Con, so stay tuned.
EUC: Will you be attending Celebration VI?
JH: I will! I won’t be there the whole time, as in a strange coincidence my previously-planned beach vacation kicks off that Saturday evening. But I will be around for the beginning of the convention. I’m really looking forward to it.
EUC: Do you see an opportunity to bring Matthew Stover back into the Star Wars universe?
JH: I think the return of Matthew Stover is a distinct possibility.
EUC: Could we see comics play a larger role in bridging the gap between Fate of the Jedi and the Legacy comic series? Is that a time period that you think the comic medium could explore well?
JH: Something we’re very much aware of is that the timeline is heading straight toward Legacy (though I should note, as Yoda wisely said, that always in motion is the future). We’re currently exploring how we’ll be handling that. I can certainly see the comics being involved in that storyline – you ask if it’s a time period the comic medium could explore well, and my answer is that the comic medium can explore ANY era well – but that hasn’t been decided just yet.
EUC: The Fate of the Jedi series ended up tying into The Clone Wars animated TV series quite a bit, and we’ve seen other recent books make references to the show as well. Is connecting the events of the show to the books and comics more and more a current goal for the future?
JH: I don’t think it’s a matter of seeking out Clone Wars connections so much as making sure as we move forward that anything that might tie into, or line up with, The Clone Wars, should. The novels, the comic books, the Clone Wars series – these are all different facets of one universe, the same universe, and it’s important for us to treat it as such.
Thanks to Jennifer for her time and answers! Remember to follow the Senior Editor at LucasBooks on Twitter.