In one week, the highly anticipated book Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy will be released online and in major bookstores. Having flipped through an advanced copy ourselves, this is a must-have book for Star Wars fans looking to celebrate the women who take part in the story.
Earlier this month, we spoke with author Amy Ratcliffe about the making of the book and she kicked things off by stating how Lucasfilm recommended her for the project. She was approached by Chronicle Books via email soon after.
“How many exclamation points do I put in the reply?” she initially thought when the email first arrived in her inbox. That’s how thrilled she felt about this opportunity.
The book itself includes 75 profiles “highlighting the different types of characters… different roles in Star Wars that aren’t bounty hunters or heroes or villains.”
Mira Bridger, the mother of Ezra Bridger in Star Wars Rebels, is a great example.
“I knew her from Rebels and really respected her role with Ezra and how [she] and her husband just spoke out and did what they did. Something I didn’t really know about her was when I was researching Lina Graf. I hadn’t read the Adventures in Wild Space books yet, and [Mira] ties into that… so it was cool to learn more about characters like that or really learn about them for the first time.”
In order to keep track of the characters provided to her, she made a spreadsheet and tackled most of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars characters first because of her deep connection to that animated series.
“It was a lot of calculating in my head,” she said in regards to how many characters she had to do per day and which ones she had to set aside simply because she didn’t have access to the information yet, like characters from Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Resistance.
“Torra, Tam, and Aunt Z were on the list,” she added, but at the time, she had no idea who they were. “I think actually the Resistance characters were the very last characters I wrote.”
She kept working on other characters in the meantime, but every once in a while, she’d reach out to her editor and ask if more information was available.
“They were kind enough to provide… what they were thinking of for licensing, so I at least had descriptions of the characters that they would give to licensees,” she said and emphasized how she tried to get her hands on anything pertaining to their personalities and what they do in order to build profiles for them.
“Amy Beth Christenson, who’s the art director for that series, did all three of those characters for the book,” she expressed with excitement, since Christenson is also well-known for her amazing work in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, just to name a few.
When asked if she had met Christenson before, she said, “We did an email interview once a long time ago, probably for Rebels,” but unfortunately, she hasn’t had a chance to meet her in person. Here’s hoping that changes in the near future.
She has met, however, the various voice actresses who’ve brought life to these characters over the years. While writing this book, she spoke with Ashley Eckstein, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Anna Graves, and Janina Gavankar. “Everyone was just so helpful and kind and positive.”
While some of the characters they voiced were included in the book, some had to be left out simply because there wasn’t much text about them. There were others, however, who had sufficient material, but “there were just not enough pages in the book.” Even though Ratcliffe wanted to include her, Shara Bey was one of those characters.
The most important message we gathered from the book, regardless of who was included and who wasn’t, is that these characters have the power to influence our lives and the decisions we make.
For Ratcliffe, Ahsoka and Leia are her inspirations, but what about outside of Star Wars? She gears more toward characters who “do what is right and not necessarily what is easy,” like one of the characters from her favorite fantasy series, Wheel of Time written by James Oliver Rigney Jr., and Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Lastly, when asked if writing fiction was in her future, she shook her head and said the idea of writing fiction scares her. She is, however, interested in non-fiction. “I love the resource books, I love the behind-the-scenes books. Anything that’s like the non-fiction in the fiction world.”
Ratcliffe is a natural born writer, so there’s no doubt we’ll see more of her non-fiction writing in the future. For now, you can find Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy over at Chronicle Books. Also, be sure to pick up the Women of the Galaxy Notebook Collection.
Other topics touched upon in the interview include the design of the book, the kind of music she listened to while writing, and advice she had for others looking to put their voices out there.
Listen to the full 16-minute interview below.
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