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Hitting shelves today, The Rise of Skywalker adaptation shines a light on aspects of the story not seen on screen, diving into areas of the final battle against Emperor Palpatine in a way that only books can and Rae Carson discussed that with StarWars.com.

StarWars.com: How did your previous experience as a writer prepare you for this project?

Rae Carson: Writing for Star Wars often means writing to incredibly tight deadlines. I’m happy to say that all those years of procrastinating on other projects — and then writing really fast to hit my deadline — really paid off for me. Hat tip to Procrastination.

I’m only half-joking. I had to be very disciplined while writing The Rise of Skywalker. I didn’t touch my Xbox for three months — a personal record. But I found that I had the tools and experience I needed to draft clean prose under duress.

StarWars.com: How did previous Star Wars novelizations affect your work?

Rae Carson: Two novelizations were especially influential. Jason Fry’s work on The Last Jedi was outstanding. He was able to bring out wonderful character moments that enhanced the film beautifully, and I knew I wanted to follow his lead.

The other novelization that influenced me was James Kahn’s Return of the Jedi. It’s a fast, efficient morsel of a book (only 194 pages!), but it still feels epic and detailed, and — forgive me for being a writer-nerd — it’s a marvel of scene breaking and paragraphing perfection. That book reads as smooth as butter, and I wanted to emulate that kind of pacing.

I was also deeply inspired by Return of the Jedi in a personal way. It was the first novelization I ever read, and I read it because my family couldn’t afford to go to the movie theater, but I had to know how the story would end. Tiny 10-year-old Rae, living in a run-down apartment and dressed in her Princess Leia costume (an old bed sheet) while reading Return of the Jedi would not believe you if you told her she’d write her own Skywalker saga novelization one day. Whenever things got hard because I was exhausted, or my neck hurt from writing all day, I would remember Tiny Rae and find the energy and gratitude I needed to keep going.