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Starcraft: Dark Templar Trilogy - Book One: Firstborn Q&A with Christie Golden

Blizzard Entertainment and Pocket Star Books – a division of Simon & Schuster, inc., A Viacom Company – bring you Starcraft: The Dark Templar, a trilogy novel series written by Award-winning Christie Golden.  She has a track record of over a million books in print sold, fascinating sci-fi and fantasy readers.  Among her outstanding twenty-five novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror are Steven Spielberg’s novelization of Invasion America, TSR Ravenloft line (1991) with her first novel, the highly successful Vampire of the Mists; Star Trek novels: “The Murdered Sun”, “Marooned”, “Seven of Nine”, and “The Dark Matters Trilogy,” “Cloak and Dagger”, “Ghost Dance”, “Shadow of Heaven” and “VOYAGER: HOMECOMING” among others.

In the Blizzard Entertainment universes, Christie Golden has given us Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde … novels that have influenced canon content in the MMORPG.

The questions of this interview have mostly been provided by fans of the Starcraft Community.  Find out more about Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy—which immerses fans into the Protoss history, showing us a glimpse of what to expect in the Starcraft 2 storyline.

Will we see protoss characters we have been previously introduced to, such as Raszagal, Zeratul, Adun, Tassadar and Artanis? Will there be terrans such as Raynor, General Edmund Duke, Arcturus Mengsk, Dan Liberty or other characters from previous novels or from the game? What role will they play?

Christie: Yes, you will see all kinds of familiar faces throughout the series. Since this is set after Brood War, though, no Duke I’m afraid. Don’t want to give too much away, but this is a very big and important series and many of the main players in the game will make appearances. Some of them have very significant roles indeed! It’s been very exciting to be able to use well-established characters in addition to creating my own. I hope the readers enjoy it!

What timeframe is the Starcraft: The Dark Templar novel trilogy based on?

Christie: Post Brood War, about four years on. Many things have changed …and some things remain the same.

Will the novel trilogy fathom into when, where, and why the templars broke away from the other protoss, becoming the dark templar and Adun’s involvement? How much of the protoss history and culture will be covered?

Christie: You’re going to get to see a lot of protoss history revealed in this series and you’ll meet some major historical figures. Some of the most important moments in their development will be portrayed. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll learn some things that will, I hope, be exciting and fresh. It was very fun for me to be able to address these moments in history and be the author who got to bring them to life. I find the protoss fascinating and I’ve really enjoyed getting to go in depth with them, their culture, and their history.

Will we read about the Xel’naga, hybrid experiments, abandoned temples and such?

Christie: The Dark Templar Trilogy is going to touch on many, many things that have been mentioned, hinted at, or left unexplored. While on the one hand it is a very intimate story, focusing on three primary characters, it’s also rather universal in scale as well. Big things are happening in the StarCraft world, and this series will reflect it. There is indeed a temple, with something unique inside it that our main character will discover.

What locations and planets will the story take place in throughout the trilogy?

Christie: Hmm … well, there are few backwater planets that many events occur on. But we’ll also travel to places that have great meaning to the protoss, like Aiur and Shakuras. As I haven’t yet started Book 3 … who knows where else we’ll go?

How much will Firstborn vary from the plot of the game and the manual?

Christie: Since it’s not a direct novelization of any segment of the game, hopefully it won’t vary at all! I want to keep the flavor of the game—dark and gritty and rough around the edges — and augment it at the same time. My hope is that this will be a great addition to the game.

What is the basic plot of the trilogy? Who is Jake Ramsey, what Terran faction he works for, and what is his role?

Christie: Ah, my poor Jacob Jefferson Ramsey. He’s no superhero, just a rather ordinary guy with a few extraordinary traits who’s gotten caught up in the whirlwind of a desperate moment in the galaxy’s history. Jake is an archeologist, a very good one…known for some rather outrageous theories and for having a mind that has a knack for puzzle-solving. He’s been given the task of getting inside one of the Xel’naga temples by a benefactor known as Mr. V. Eventually, of course, he figures it out … but what he finds there is completely unexpected and changes his life—and those of everyone he touches—irrevocably. He’s our main point-of-view character, a sort of Everyman who is much more special and unique than he first appears. He’s a wonderful character to explore this storyline with.

Where is this Xel’naga temple located at? Is it the same temple from StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel’Naga book?

Christie: No. It seems as though new temples are, more and more, coming to light….

Did you play Starcraft and its expansion: Broodwar to research info about the dark templars for the creation of this trilogy?

Christie: My husband played it through while we were abroad for six months. I watched over his shoulder and got a pretty good understanding of it, as well as the chance to see all the cut scenes. I understand why StarCraft fans are so die-hard in their admiration of the game.

Did Chris Metzen give you an outline of how the trilogy should start and end, and most of its plot? How much freedom do you have when writing Starcraft: The Dark Templar? Have you been given specific guidelines in terms of story elements and/or characters and then your job is to flesh things out, or can you come up with pretty much anything you want and hope that Blizzard thinks it’s a good idea and goes with it?

Christie: When I wrote Lord of the Clans, I definitely worked from a very well fleshed out outline. For Rise of the Horde of course, it covered a part of history that was already pretty well established. With this series there were a few things that Chris really wanted to see addressed, and we did a lot of back and forth about where we wanted to take the story. I also consulted with Andy Chambers and Evelyn Fredericksen, who have ended up being my chief points of contact. All are wonderful and creative people who are very excited about the game and the trilogy.

Since it is a trilogy, it is obvious you have a lot of time to get back and forth with Chris Metzen over the phone and email. How often do you both discuss details of the book? Does he check each chapter as they are written?

Christie: Chris, Andy and Evelyn are very “hands on” and accessible when I have questions, which is rare and wonderful in the world of tie-in fiction. Most of what we need to do is handled by email. Because of a time crunch for Book Two, “Shadow Hunters,” they did start perusing the manuscript before it was finished, but they certainly don’t look at it chapter by chapter.

Is the trilogy canon enough to impact, influence or carry-on into future StarCraft projects such as your Rise of the Horde did in World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade?

Christie: A good question. Rise of the Horde was truly a unique and wonderful experience. I was inspired by the story and the anticipation of the expansion, and Chris and the designers in turn were excited by some of the things I was developing. It was such a thrill to be invited to play-test and actually see some of the thing I had created come to life in the game. I’m currently grinding warbeads for a talbuk—hey, I gotta ride the thing I created, don’t I? Considering the nature of some of the events that are portrayed, I can safely say that yes, Starcraft: The Dark Templar series is going to be considered canon.

How much of StarCraft Ghost: Nova plot will affect the trilogy?

Christie: To the best of my knowledge, the plot of StarCraft Ghost: Nova has been pretty completely novelized by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Some of the information about how things work in the government, though, particularly the structure of the ghost program, have found their way into the series.

I know writers are given freedom to an extent to write material of their own, specially in a trilogy. Lot of ground to fill in. Since you have played World of Warcraft and interact with the roleplaying community, I got to ask. Have you had contact with the starcraft community for feedback, read fanfic at starcraft.org, or heard community petitions that might be useful in your book to satisfy what fans want to read?

Christie: Actually, I did not, other than to understand that people were very hungry for more protoss. Other stories are being developed to tackle specific things Blizzard knows the readers want. This is more of an epic storyline that encompasses much of what it is to be protoss…oh, and a leeetle secret of galactic proportions.

Do you listen to the voice-acting in the game to learn the personality of the characters?

Christie: It’s nice to be able to do so! Yes, I did. Blizzard always does a great job with the voices.

The book description says Jake Ramsey finds the remains of a dark templar and its spirit merges with Jake. This brings up an interesting thought. Tassadar learned to wield dark templar energies. Do you think Tassadar’s spirit could be lingering on somewhere?

Christie: As you say, that is an interesting thought. Actually the being Jake finds is known as a preserver, a protoss who has all the memories of all protoss who have ever lived. And as I said…you’re going to learn some things about key moments in protoss history. To say more might spoil things.

Will you write new Starcraft, Diablo or World of Warcraft novels after Starcraft: The Dark Templar? We hope you do =)

Christie: Why thank you! I hope so too. As many of you already know I am an avid fan of World of Warcraft, and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing both the books set in that game. I’d be thrilled to do more.

If Blizzard gave you the freedom to let you choose a timeframe or event set in the protoss or terran history for a new book or trilogy, which would it be and why?

Christie: Wow, excellent question…I think I’d love to get really in depth with more of protoss history. In this series, it’s a subplot, though a major one. Doing it that way seemed to whet my appetite for exploring their past more thoroughly. They’re a fascinating people.

Thank you, Christie for answering the community-submited questions.  And thanks to Chris Metzen and the folks over at Blizzard Entertainment.  The local bookstore confirmed the first novel in the trilogy is on stock. Go grab your copy or order online Here.

Now that the Q&A is out, and you know what the novel trilogy is about, feel free to submit further questions.  Christie is open and excited to discuss more details of the trilogy with the Starcraft Community.  Visit the official Starcraft 2 website for features, screenshots, gameplay video and teaser trailer.

Post a Comment at our Starcraft 2 Forums.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Archeologist Jacob Ramsey has spent the last two years on a fruitless excavation. It seems like a miracle when he gets an invitation to join an elite group of archeologists in the excavation of one of the Xel’Naga artifacts that are suddenly appearing on various worlds. When Jake stumbles across a dying Protoss and attempts to revive him, the alien psychically and violently begins to “upload” its memories, essentially rewriting and rewiring Jake’s human brain. Jake soon learns a terrible secret—one so important that the dying alien was willing to pass it on to an enemy in order to ensure that the knowledge survives. And what Jakes decides to do with the information will seal the fate of worlds throughout the galaxy.

The marketing info provided by the catalog says the novel will be showcased at BlizzCon 2007. Hopefully that means Christie Golden will be at the Pocket Books booth, book signing.

ALTERNATE DESCRIPTION

“Jake Ramsey—an unassuming, yet talented archaeologist—has been given the chance of a lifetime. Hired to investigate a recently unearthed Xel’Naga temple, he knows this latest assignment will open up whole new possibilities for his career. Yet, when Jake discovers the remains of a long-dead protoss mystic, his hopes and dreams are irrevocably drowned in a flood of alien memories. Bonded to the spirit of the dead protoss, Jake has become the sole inheritor of the protoss’s total history—every event, every thought—every feeling.

Struggling to maintain his own fragile identity amidst the raging psychic storm in his mind, Jake soon realizes that he has stumbled upon a secret so cataclysmic in magnitude—that it will shake the very foundations of the universe.”

FIRSTBORN

An original tale of space warfare based on the bestselling computer game series from Blizzard Entertainment.

Contributors: Kimera757, Artanis,  Livewyr7 @ USEast, arschneider, iMAniaC, cassius987@Uswest, Medievaldragon and Darktemplar.


Starcraft: Dark Templar, book one: Firstborn

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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