Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our seventy-eighth guest helped design and name the Setnin sector, was a quarter of the original Lightsabre team and a published author – Jonathan Hicks.
Lightsabre – Welcome back to Lightsabre. It’s been over three years since we last saw you here.
JH – Really? Three years? Blimey, that’s flown by. Thanks for having me.
Lightsabre – A lot has changed since you wrote your final Lightsabre story. You’ve married, have a son and released your first short story collection, Those Dark Places. What inspired you to release a short story collection?
JH – It was the natural thing to do, really. I’ve written short stories for the better part of twenty years and there was that much material I had more than enough to release a collection. In fact, I’ve still got enough material to do a second collection! But that won’t happen for a long time, if at all.
Lightsabre – You’re a prolific writer who changes style from story to story. Do you intend continuing being a literary chameleon, or settling on a preferred style?
JH – I always find that my style of writing always changes depending on the type of story I’m telling. My mood changes from story to story, as it should, and I find the style changes also. It’s not a conscious effort to be different, I just tend to adapt to my subject matter. I do, however, tend to enjoy writing dialogue, so you’ll find my work tends to be very ‘talky’.
Lightsabre – Since you were last here Revenge of the Sith has been released and two new shows announced. What was your reaction to the final cinematic episode, and what are your hopes for the series?
JH – I enjoyed the final instalment very much as it was a great cinematic experience – there was so much going on up there on the big screen that you can’t help but be impressed. We got what we wanted – as the older generation of Star Wars fans and fans of the original trilogy – that I found was lacking in the first two movies, and that was something we could get our grown-up teeth into, something whilst great for the kids could be properly appreciated by adults.
As far as the series is concerned I’m hoping they’ll tell some stories concerning other, newer characters and not just concentrate on major characters – although a set of Boba Fett stories in which he pretty much kicks everyone’s arse would be just about the coolest thing ever.
JH – Truth be told, I’ve not sat down and written anything serious since the April of 2006. I was working on a book regarding the Knights Templar (it wasn’t one of these ancient ‘secret society’ books that are popular at the moment but a modern-day action/adventure/horror novel) and I was on the final two chapters of a twenty-eight chapter work, and I met and fell in love with Lisa, now my wife. My life, especially with weddings and children and the like, has been a little hectic!
When my wife found www.lulu.com and we had a look into self-publishing, it seemed the natural thing to do as I had so much material. I had already been published by the British Science Fiction Association and I had written the dialogue and designed the levels for the mobile telephone game of the new ‘Battlestar Galactica’ TV show – and having credentials like that can’t hurt. So from March up until the end of July this year I spent editing and formatting the work. I tell you – it’s not easy!
Lightsabre – Did the requirements of writing for Lightsabre give you the discipline to allow Those Dark Places to come together?
JH – Lightsabre allowed me to experiment with lots of different styles of writing. I wrote many stories for the site and even converted old abandoned novels and it was a great way to concentrate on format and content. I knew the Setnin sector inside out – I’d designed a lot of it! – so I didn’t have to worry about locations, characters or any of that design work. All I had to worry about was the story and the style, and that’s a great way to learn new disciplines. Lightsabre gave me enough leeway me to experiment and grow as a writer.
Lightsabre – Away from your writing, what takes up your time these days?
JH – Other than my family, I still dabble in a little artwork and I’m even considering releasing a roleplaying game I completed a couple of years ago, again through www.lulu.com, but that’s a project for future consideration. I’m getting back into my movies (my extensive DVD collection has been neglected) and I desperately need to catch up with Season 3 of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and get Season 5 of ‘The Shield’. I’m reading a lot again, too, mainly Boris Johnson’s ‘A Dream of Rome’ and some older sci-fi such as Clarke, Asimov and Dick.
Lightsabre – If the opportunity arose to write another Star Wars story, what tale would you like to tell?
JH – Gracious – I’ve not given that any thought. I’d like to go back to Golden Age of the Setnin sector, when Glann Cipple was in charge and the tensions between the ganglords was running high. There was always room for some seriously intense stories there and there was nothing quite so entertaining as writing about Glann losing his temper at someone!
If I wrote a mainstream story, it’d be about Boba Fett kicking everyone’s arse. Of course.
Lightsabre – Your next release, A Soldier of Rome, is a very different beast altogether. Do you see yourself staying in the sci-fi/fantasy genre or branching out into different fields?
JH – A Soldier of Rome is a change of scenery, to be sure, but I probably wouldn’t have considered writing it if it had not been for my interest in ancient Rome. It fascinates me – Rome is pretty much the foundation of modern society, whether we accept that or not, and yet it amazes me how something that was so culturally and politically influential could be underscored by such brutality. It’s an amazing period of history and I thought it would be a challenge to not only write a first-person narrative but to also try to write in the same moral attitude. It’s been hard work but it’s almost finished and I’m looking at a Christmas/New Year release.
I’ve been considering my next ‘big project’ and I’ve been looking at both fantasy and sci-fi. I enjoy writing fantasy but, and I hate to admit this, whenever I write fantasy I always feel like I’m trying to emulate my hero, Tolkien. I’ve written and read so many different forms of sci-fi by so many different authors from so many different periods of time that I feel I have the experience to be more flexible with that, so I guess I’ll stick with the spaceships and the robots and the laserguns and whatnot!
Lightsabre – We ask everyone else so I’ll ask you. What do you think of Lightsabre these days?
JH – You know, it’s nice to see a fan website that is consistent and still delivers updates and information and, of course, great interviews. I think I left just as the story content slowed and the information/news/interviews really took off and, when so many fan-based websites fall to the wayside, Lightsabre is always there and is always being updated. To have the notoriety in Star Wars fandom to raise charity money at the European Celebration says a lot.
Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest on Lightsabre. Just one final question. Goah Galletti, Jan Lomona and Ryath Centaur are sat in Zythlies sharing a drink or six. They try to come up with a pub game that doesn’t give any one of them an unfair advantage. What would that be?
JH – They’d have a game of ‘spot the honest guy’, because, let’s face it, in Zythlie’s place there’s pretty much no such thing and none of them would recognise one, anyway!
Thanks for having me.
Interview originally posted on www.lightsabre.co.uk on 23rd September 2007.