|Photo © Tracey Lebbon|
Lightsaber Rattling (LR): Into the Void introduces us Lanoree Brock who is certainly the protagonist of the story, but throughout the novel we see her at least face challenges and ponder choices that at times are far from heroic. What do you think defines a hero and does she qualify?
Tim Lebbon (TL): I think someone who faces these challenges, makes the correct decisions––however hard they might be––and emerges triumphant is a hero. She faces some very dark times, true. But yes, I think she's heroic, if also a little tragic.
LR: In the story we are also introduced to the Je'daii. This group is the ancient progenitor of the Jedi we are more familiar with from the films and the Expanded Universe, yet they are in many ways very different. How did you approach fleshing out the Je'daii? And what do you think makes them similar and distinct from the future Jedi Order?
TL: The similarity is that they are generally good people seeking peace and calm. But what sets them aside quite dramatically is their perception and use of the Force. The Je'daii seek balance in the Force. The light, which they call Ashla; and the dark, which they call Bogan. They believe that a balance between light and dark forms the perfect relationship with the Force, as opposed to the future Jedi Order who seek only knowledge of the light side and actively avoid the dark (most of them, at least...).
For me as a writer this was a much more fascinating concept to explore than pure light or pure dark. Every real person exists with shades of grey, and that's no more obvious than in Lanoree Brock.
LR: Into the Void focuses largely on the broken relationship between the main character Lanoree Brock and her brother Dalien, as well as Dalien's broken relationship with the Force. I have to ask, is Dalien a squib? Or do you think his relationship to the Force is more of a self-imposed condition?
TL: (Note: first I had to find out what you mean by squib ... but I think I get the gist): I think Dalien is one of those people who is not naturally in tune with the Force. Back in this era there are many, and it's these who moved away from Tython––it's a Force-rich planet, confusing and troubling to those not rich with the Force––and settled on other planets and moons in the system. Dalien is one of those ... but instead of being allowed to exist as his own person, he'd continually nudged and pushed towards the Force by his family (his parents are both Je'daii Masters). The more this happens, the more he resents it. And then he rebels. It's quite a tragic story.
LR: The novel feels a bit like the Mos Eisley Cantina with the wide variety of alien species present, including some like the Cathar and the Noghri that we haven't seen too often lately. How did you go about picking your aliens?
TL: The deeper history of this era tells how a variety of species and races were brought from all across the galaxy to the Tython system by the Tho Yor. So I wanted the novel to be populated by an array or alien species, most of which I chose from the comics by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema.
LR: Finally, you have been very prolific in writing novellas and short stories, in the past there have been a number of Star Wars short story collections (Tales from...) and more recently there was John Jackson Miller's Lost Tribe of the Sith eBook novella series. If asked would you be interested in doing more Star Wars work particularly of the short story or novella variety?
TL: Yep, I'd love to. I'm also keen to continue Lanoree's story ... there's a lot happening in the Tython system, and I'm sure she'd be in the thick of it!
A special thanks for Tim Lebbon to take the time to chat with us and to Random House Publishing for arrainging the interview.
Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void is on sale now in hardcover, eBook and audiobook formats.