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Discuss BP with Kathy -- Spoilers Welcome

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Shmi52, Oct 31, 2000.

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  1. Jee-dai

    Jee-dai Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 8, 2000
    I'm still in a giddy mood a day after reading Balance Point, but now I think I can pull myself together to ask a question. :)

    I noticed that the front and back map are different? Besides the obvious difference in that the back includes the Vong invasion path, it's also missing several interesting planets such as Wayland and Tatooine. Why is that?
  2. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    Reasoned critque can also be polite but critical responses, I've had essays back in the past where the comments were rude, abrasive and useless, but might be claimed to be 'reasoned critique'.

    My pref is for a polite but critical, that is an view that covers plus and minuses, response that aims at helping instead of harming.

    Having had both kinds where essay work is concerned, I know which I prefer, (and which I like to read in discussion forms.;) )

  3. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    Jee-dai -- I can't help you regarding the maps. Theory: sometimes not all details appear on real-world maps, depending on what's significant for the story at hand. Maybe this is a parallel situation.

    Jedi Ben -- Good point. It's tough to criticize justly, but in ways that don't provoke knee-jerk, self-protective responses.

  4. Sologal

    Sologal Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 21, 2000
    I can't think of any questions right now that haven't already been asked. I do want to say "Thank your Kathy" for restoring my faith in the NJO. Like others in this thread, I feel the series has been too dark and depressing and was just about to give up on it.

    As a Han and Leia fan, I have been extremely upset over their estrangement. These two were meant to be together. I feel you handled their reconciliation in a believable manner. Leia sacrificing her hair just so she can spend some time with the man she loves is pure Leia. A sacrifice I believe Han was deeply touched by. My only disappointment was in that Han and Leia were not afforded the same kind of time together as Luke and Mara. They have been apart to for far too long and I miss the romance between them. Please don't take this as a criticism, for it is not meant to be. I know that it is impossible for you to focus on each storyline as much as you would like to.

    Your characterization of Mara is the best since her creator, Tim Zahn. Indepentent, tough as nails and committed to what she believes in. I too believe she is a perfect match for Luke. I love the fact that they are expecting. In a series where death is so prevalent, the creation of a new life seems so fitting.

    Your portrayal of Jacen is great. I have always felt that he was the least developed of the Solo kids. I also like that you allude to the fact that at least one of the kids will grow to be as tall as their father. For some reason this has always bothered me.

    I could go on and on and on about the things I liked in this book, but the above topics are the ones that impressed me most. Is is obvious that you love these characters as much as we do. I only hope the "powers that be" recruit you to do another. Maybe HC5. Thank you again Kathy, and all those involved, for a great book. God Bless.
  5. Sologal

    Sologal Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 21, 2000
    Sorry, double post. Didn't think it went through the first time.
  6. Asyr Handor

    Asyr Handor Jedi Padawan star 4

    Oct 11, 1999
    Kathy, you're so great to respond to all these questions!!

    Thanks for wishing me a good night sleep, I don't think that has happened since I was approximately 2. :)

    Ok, last night when I posted I forgot my two most important things to say about the book.

    -The refugee parts. I loved them. From Apr. to June of this year I stayed (as an aide) to a UN Refugee council Rep. I spent time in Yugoslovia, Albania, Africa etc. You expressed the attitudes of the refugees well and had the general feeling in camps pretty much on the money.

    -Also, Jaina and Leia. I actually sympathized with what Jaina said to Mara while they were trapped in the rocks(not now--when I was about 13). Mara was right when she said she was being rather immature. Anyway, you got that feeling down perfect too. :)
  7. Harimad-sol

    Harimad-sol Jedi Youngling

    Nov 2, 2000
    This is my first post ever on these boards,but I've been a lurker months now. I was once an extremely dedicated poster on the AOL SW boards (permanent resident of the Who Should Luke Marry? Board), but I pretty much left with the publication of Specter and Vision. So, Balance Point gets the credit for getting me to socialize again. Huzzah!

    The thing is, I was a dyed in the wool Callista fan. Now stop with the booing already. I still am a big fan of Callista and I've always had good reasons for it. But I was burnt out on defending, arguing and explaining a long time ago.
    I was hurt by the treatment I and other vocal Callie fans suffered at the hands of some Mara fans, and by the inappropriate attitudes of certain people. I've always liked Mara as a great character. But nothing happened between her and Luke for years and then Callie came along in a romance so beautifully written I accepted it wholeheartedly. Then it was trashed. I never got over the way Callista was dumped by the EU Powers That Be. Then came the wretched disappointment of Vision of the Future. Basically, I and other Callie-fans felt we were being told, not shown slowly in romantic prose or even given a whirlwind courtship, just told with one little scene in a cave, "Luke and Mara are meant to be together. Love it or Shove it."

    I'm not trying to offend anyone or pick a fight at all. I just want to explain the importance of this.

    The point of all this history is this. Balance Point got me interested in Luke and Mara. Their relationship is beautifully written, subtle and finally reaches, even goes well beyond as it should, the depth of feeling between Luke and Callie. I finally feel I've been shown and made to feel the Mara/Luke relationship. I was even fairly thrilled to discover they were pregnant.

    I still hope Callista can be brought back. And now I have some hope the character will be treated with the respect she deserves and not turned into the horror I've feared and Mara fans have depicted for a long time, a vicious jealous hag bent on destroying Luke and Mara's relationship. That should never happen. Callista as she was originally written would never do such a thing. On the other hand, I think she could have a lot to offer in the galaxy's new need. Anyway, enough with the Callie PR spiel.

    My point is this:

    Thank you, Kathy Tyers. You've begun to heal some old wounds for me and hopefully many other people.

    I have lots of other good stuff to say about the book and some questions, but this is getting long and this was the most important so I'll leave those til later.

    Thanks again Kathy,
  8. Joyoda

    Joyoda Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jun 28, 1999
    I Don't know what to say except WOW! This book was great! Don't have time to think of any questions about BP(I'm posting In between calls at the Centurytel Tech suppot line :) but i had to say how much I loved this book. One of the Best Yet!. Also, is it my imagination or were you interviewed in a CCM magazine a While back? As Paul says "May God's Grace be with you always" (does that line soud familiar to anyone else? :)
  9. PaysonTerrik

    PaysonTerrik Jedi Youngling star 2

    Oct 30, 2000
    Wow ? talk about fast-growing threads! It?s obvious that we are all grateful for such a well-written book, but I also want to say thank you for taking the time to sit and read all of these posts AND respond to them! It goes beyond idle curiosity about the book?s success ? it shows that you actually care about your readers.

    I know I already mentioned this in another thread, but you did an amazing job at writing the characters and working on character development. I know that with so many authors writing them (and each with their own character interpretations), it has to be hard for the authors (and sometimes readers!) to follow continuity. Thank you for addressing some issues that I?ve seen brought up in the JC from time to time ? whether that was your basis or not (i.e. - ?I don?t like Mara because she never seemed repentant for her service to the Emperor.?). You seemed to have filled in the missing gaps on some character issues that I think a lot of people struggled with.

    I?m also glad that you have a website up and running now ? it looks great! I had been searching for it for awhile to try and see if you had any book signings scheduled. Any possibility you might be coming to Florida any time soon? I mean, it gets pretty cold in Montana in the winter ? but it?s nice and sunny here. . . if that?s not sufficient motivation, I don?t know what is.

    Sorry ? I meant to keep this short for you, seeing as how you have so much to read, but I?m just too excited to keep it to a few sentences!
  10. Dev Sibwarra

    Dev Sibwarra Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 4, 1999
    Okay, I finished BP this morning and had some time to think about it.

    First of all, let me say this: Balance Point is definitely one of the best Star Wars books I've read. Possibly *the* best. The characterization was perfect- I found that I could relate to the main character. Action, dialogue, and description are all handled well. I thought that the lost Jedi apprentice plotline was too much like those used in Ruin and Rogue Planet, but the rest of the book more than makes up for it.

    Here are my questions. Yes, I have others, but I know that answering them could cause problems with the implant. :) Sorry if any have been asked before, I scanned through parts of this thread.

    1)Tsavong Lah's obsession with capturing Jacen reminds me of Vader's hunt for Luke. Is this intentional?

    2)What has your reaction to the speculation on Balance Point been? The accurate guesses (on Jaina's blindness), the false ones (too many to list), and those that were just scary (the editing of the back cover to find the baby's head)? :)

    3)Did Del Rey or Lucasfilm reject any ideas?

    4)When you wrote BP, which NJO books did you have to work with?

    5)Will the Jade Shadow last longer than a week? :)
  11. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999

    I just had e-mail from Sue Rostoni of Lucas Licensing, my personal contact at Skywalker Ranch. She has read this thread and offers two comments:

    "In my humble opinion, the face on the back of your cover is Anakin. . . . Jacen's on the front . . . "

    "The map reflects the general layout of the galaxy and the general location of important planets. The galaxy has billions of inhabited planets, so it would be impossible to put them all on one single map, especially a two-dimensional map. That's why we change out planets now and again, to give the reader an idea of the scope of the galaxy, and to add those planets that are important to a particular book."

    Sue, I'm honored that you dropped by. Thanks so much!!

    sologal -- I loved adding a spark of new life to the ongoing crisis, and I think there are historical precedents. If all couples had stopped conceiving children in wartime, how many times could our civilization have died out completely?

    Asyr Handor -- I respect and appreciate your comments on the refugee situation. I only had imagination to go on. You've been there. And yes -- I've been both a resentful teen and a mom now!

    Harimad-sol -- Welcome to the boards, and I'm deeply honored that you would post here. Thank you so, so much.

    Joyoda -- You are not imagining things -- the late and very dear Bob Briner interviewed me years ago for his "Roaring Lambs" column in CCM magazine. I'm tickled that someone remembers! He was a wonderful role model, always helping someone along.

    PaysonTerrik -- I've mentioned before that I took "doing my research" very seriously. I guess that keeping one eye on the JC, and paying attention to thoughtful posts, was so much fun that I forgot to mention it as research. The mention of Mara's attitude is a perfect example. Thanks, all.

    Oh, my. Florida. Mm, sounds lovely, in February -- No, I'm dreaming. I need to be hard at work on my next project by then. But thanks anyway.

  12. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    Dev --

    1) No, not an intentional parallel.

    2) My reaction to BP speculation has been delight. What a thrill that so many people were interested enough to guess. What a tickle to know the answers -- and I loved it when someone guessed right, but I also loved some of the near misses. And yes, there was a time or two (no, I don't recall which times) when I wished I'd had their idea myself.

    3) They rejected . . . no, that's too strong a word . . . they asked for significant changes to several proposed outlines (since each outline represented many days' work and took days-to-weeks for them to consider, that part of the process was frustrating) (I would prefer not to address the question, "how many outlines?" :p ). Once an outline was approved, it was pretty smooth sailing IIRC.

    4) I believe I've answered that one!

    5) Hope so. Maybe I could get Professor Itrakh and faculty to send Mara a case of their special anti-chlorian marmalade from The School. :D

  13. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    It has just occurred to me that when answering the research question, I neglected the most important research of all: watching the films again! Every one of my Episode I tickets was tax deductible. :D

  14. JediTaGe

    JediTaGe Jedi Youngling

    Jun 17, 2000
    I just wanted to add a word of profound praise for a job well done in writing Balance Point.It's my favorite in the storyline so far :) Thanks for the great writing...
    My friend asked me an interesting question about the Truce at Bakura the other day,and I know this is a Balance Point thread,but I thought I'd ask it anyway:Was it implied that Han and Leia made love later in TAB?I think it's a legit question...I'm also the biggest Han and Leia fan in this universe..

    Great Job on Balance's a masterpiece...

    Peace and Love
  15. DarthNapoleon

    DarthNapoleon Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 20, 2000
    I finished BP this morning. One Word:GREAT!!
    I loved how u shaped the relationship between the charachters. YOu could actually see the tension and ease with Han and Leia, and u handeled the relationship between Luke and Mara better than i have seen anyone do it yet. I was nervous the whole time reading it, i thought Jacen was going to turn to the darkside. Oh well. I thought it was the best of NJO definetly. I hope you do many more star wars books. You would have my vote. Thanks for a great book.
  16. Darth Ludicrous

    Darth Ludicrous Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 25, 2000
    I think someone asked Kathy what working titles there were for Balance Point and what other titles were rejcted... if anyone wants to click the link in my sig, they can find out...
  17. Dev Sibwarra

    Dev Sibwarra Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 4, 1999
    Cover artist Terese Nielsen's page has this on the Knightfall cancellation:

    "My other favorite is the first one I did for Del Rey, called Knightfall. This was going to be the first of a 3-part series for the "New Jedi Order." Lucas said they weren't happy with the way the story was going, so rather than salvaging what had been done, they canned it. This painting has marbled paper in the background. I enjoyed playing with the colors and fluidity of textures within the illustration.

    Currently, I'm finishing up another Star Wars cover for Del Rey that is being written by Gregory Keyes. This duology fills in for the one they canned. It's been interesting to observe how Lucas will commission a painting before a manuscript is even started. It's up to the writer to make sure the painting is incorporated into the story."
  18. Cougar

    Cougar Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 22, 2000
    I have a question. Will Muurgh be in any of the books? Again, I don't know if someone already asked or not, but I found him a pretty cool character and it'd be neat to have him show up again. Do you know if there are plans for him, or is that classified? :) Being a Dark Forces/Jedi Knight fan, I also think it would be cool to see Kyle Katarn have some role in the books, if he doesn't have some already. He's a pretty powerful Jedi, and I'm sure he can have some adventures with the Vong. Just some thoughts. :)
  19. keiran_helcyan

    keiran_helcyan Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 13, 1999
    Welcome back to the EU mainstream Kathy, you've been gone for too long. :)

    The main concept in your book that struck me the most was the sudden shifting in my view of the force. Originally I (like most people I imagine) saw Kyp and his faction's rhetoric as extreme and bordering on the dark side. But now after BP and Jacen' annoying view of force using I see Kyp as something of a hero and Jacen's liberal ideas as the real problem. Was this shift in my views intentional? Also why was Luke so understanding of Jacen's betraying his force heritage?

    Once again welcome back!
  20. Freyja

    Freyja Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 2, 2000
    I really loved how you did not feel the need to glamorize anything in BP. While you kept the emotional warmth, the atmosphere of struggle was portayed great- right down to the shaved heads. Jaina is one of my favorite characters and I like how gritty and strong she was. Actually everyone was great. Good work!
  21. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    JediTaGe -- I suspected this rather delicate TAB question would come up sooner or later. After all, the theory is based on Luke's observation of Han and Leia's emotional state, and nothing is said from either of their viewpoints. I was deliberately ambiguous, as encouraged by my then-editor (and still very good friend -- read BP's dedication!), Janna Silverstein.

    I think it's safe to say that at Bakura, Han and Leia started acting like lovers. But as I've said before, there's a whole lot of alphabet between A and Z. Don't assume they were behaving like married people before that was appropriate.

    Whew. Now if anyone else asks, I can refer them back to Page 14.

    Darth Napoleon -- I'm glad you were worried for Jacen. That means I did my job. Thanks much.

    DL -- Heh.

    Dev -- Eek! With only the highest respect for Ms. Nielsen, and she's certainly to be considered an authority, I have it from another good authority that BP's cover was painted AFTER it was well underway. I do hope my source was as accurate as usual, but there was nothing I had to change in order to make BP match its cover. Honest!

    Cougar -- I can't speculate which characters will be used in future books. Apologies.

    kieran_helcyan -- Thanks, it's good to be back. Interesting shift in your views; it wasn't intentional on my part, but it is fascinating how different people will read a character's actions according to their own viewpoint. Didn't Obi-Wan have something to say about that?

    Freyja -- Thanks very much. May we never get caught in such an atmosphere of struggle ourselves, only in our GFFA.

  22. Thejedikiller

    Thejedikiller Jedi Youngling star 3

    Aug 26, 1999
    I have finally finished Balance Point, (that's what happens when get finished with school and have to jump to a full time job that makes you work ten hours a day, waking up at 3:45 in the morning);)

    Sidenote: I am sorry if a question has been already covered, but I just haven't had the time to read the entire thread yet.

    Just wanted to tell you Kathy that it was great. It really was. I can speak for every single L/M lover here and say that BP hit the spot. You gave us that realtionship that so many of us have only seen through fanfic, and made it offical. I can honestly say I was smiling all day at work after I found out they are going to be having a baby. I am a grown man, and I felt as if a close friend found out about an impending pregnancy and was happy for them.

    I also liked the intorduction of Tsavong. I suspected he would be intorduced in BP and was pleasantly surprised with him. I think he is going to be a great character in a few books. I can't wait to see his and Jacen final come-to-arms. It will be interesting.

    I would also like to give thanks to everyone in the NJO so far for making Nom Anor such a great character. People are always saying how they love to hate Borsk, we now I love to hate Nom. He is so decitful, power-hunger, untrustworthy, evil, idotic and yet brillant at the same time. I hope he sticks around for a good long time. Or at least long enough for Luke or Mara to give him whats coming to him. :)

    I also like what you did with Anakin, and the Solo family in general. I think, my favorite part was seeing them act as a family. Jacen needed to see his mother near death to see that to let go of his Jedi heritage would not only endanger himself, but also his familie's and other people. I also like the foreshadowing Mara saw with Anakin where she said give him five years and he'd be calling the shots.

    It was also nice to see Talz and Chandra_fan mentioned. I have always loved those aliens, nice to see them mentioned.

    I do have a few question, Here goes:
    -What made you decide to not use other already established Jedi, such as Ganner or the others in already mentioned in Ruin or the Agents of Chaos duology?
    -On the cover of Jedi Eclipse, that is Tsavong Lah, isn't it?
    -How many of the suggestions you asked from us fans, oh so long ago, actually made it into Balance Point?
    -Are you willing to write another NJO book if asked, and your schedule is free?
    -I read the recent transprits of the Luceno chat and I got the impression that Lucas himself is much more involved in thsi storyline than anyone originally thought. Can you shed some light on this?

    Once again I would just like to thank you Kathy. You have put up with us for, heck close to or even longer than a year now. I hope you continue to stick around here.
  23. Dev Sibwarra

    Dev Sibwarra Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 4, 1999
    Kathy-I believe you. Jedinet reported last year that the artist for the hardcovers read the draft of VP before doing the cover- I assume that he did the same with BP. My purpose in including the quote was just to bring in more information on the reason for Knightfall's cancellation, since people are asking about that here.
  24. Cougar

    Cougar Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 22, 2000
    You can't speculate? Darn. You can make sugestions, though, can't you? I think it would be appropriate that they'd be in there, Muurgh being one of Han's best friends, and Katarn helping Mara in her Jedi training and all. But, if you can't say for certain, whatever. :)
  25. Halcyon

    Halcyon Jedi Youngling

    Feb 25, 2000

    Since I've just finished reading 14 pages of posts, I'll try to keep this as short as I can, though I doubt that'll happen. [face_clown] I don't very often write a post for the forum, I'm more of a reader than anything. But after reading Balance Point, I felt the need to write.

    Ever since the NJO series began (and even back to the YJK series) I have felt an intense kinship with the character of Jacen. Being 17 years old, I have found his thoughts and my own paralleling each other. His feelings towards the Force are very similar to my feelings towards my life in general. I know that being the arrogant teenager that he is, Jacen is not necessarily everyone's favorite character, but I always find myself in his skin when reading Star Wars book. You did a marvelous job of capturing Jacen's thoughts, even though you have said yourself that you didn't think you knew him well enough. His fight with the Warmaster, the epiphany of his inner struggles, gave me hope that I can find the same humility and understanding.

    One quote has stuck in my mind ever since I finished the book. It is from Luke's discussion with Jacen over the Force:

    "You're claiming to be too humble to use the Force, aren't you?"

    A subtle reminder to me that even the most seemingly noble of purposes can be self-serving.

    Thanks so much for a strong story and rich characterization.

    P.S.- I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but has anybody noticied the faint picture of a fetus under the bacta tank on the back cover?
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