Celebrating 40 years of Star Wars has been a year-long festivity, and October keeps the anniversary commemoration going with the release of From a Certain Point of View. Made of 40 stories by 43 writers and out today from Del Rey, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View looks at the classic A New Hope story with fresh eyes — through the points of view of many of the supporting and background characters of the film — and even some that weren’t seen in the film, but are connected to the events of the movie. With the proceeds of the book going to First Book, a nonprofit that provides books and educational resources to children in need, From a Certain Point of View is more than a story anthology, it’s a force for good. Two weeks ago, Del Rey and the contributing authors began a social media campaign teasing each author’s story and the character whose perspective is seen. StarWars.com recently e-mailed with the collection’s editor, Elizabeth Schaefer from Del Rey, who provided us with a new point of view: from behind the scenes of the making of this book.
StarWars.com: How does the role of editor on an anthology like From a Certain Point of View differ from working on a traditional novel?
Elizabeth Schaefer: Haha! That’s an easy one: it’s so much harder! For this anthology, I got to work with 43 different contributors. Coordinating all of the e-mails, and contracts, and copy edits, and proof passes, and everything that needed to go to each author was its own logistical Olympics. Fortunately, I have the best team in the business here at Del Rey to help me out.
StarWars.com: There are a lot of great authors contributing to this book — how was it working with acclaimed authors who may be coming to tell their first Star Wars story?
Elizabeth Schaefer: At the very start of this project, I sat down in front a blank Excel sheet and proceeded to fill in the names of all of my favorite authors. It was a dream list of people I’ve always wanted to work with. The craziest thing was how many of them said yes. The first-timers were universally invested in getting the lore right. Everyone wanted recommended reading lists — I think Sabaa Tahir went out and bought Star Wars: Kenobi on the spot to make sure her Tusken Raider story felt authentic!
StarWars.com: How did the selection of characters to include in this book come about? What about those characters not present or mentioned in the film, like Yoda or Qui-Gon Jinn?
Elizabeth Schaefer: Whenever I reached out to an author about the project, I sent them a list of about 30 example points of view to give them a sense of the kinds of stories we were envisioning. But for the most part, each of the authors came up with their own point of view or pitched a twist on one of the suggestions. One of the great joys of the project was all the unexpected character requests. Who would have thought that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction were huge Muftak fans? Or that Tom Angleberger would choose the point of view of the Whills themselves?
StarWars.com: Was there any attempt to link some of the stories together?
Elizabeth Schaefer: It was really important to me that the unique writing style of each author shone through in their short story. So for the most part I didn’t try to force anyone to mold their story to match someone else’s. That said, authors are a wily bunch and a few of them hid references to other stories or Star Wars novels in their contribution! Be sure to look for the Easter egg that Daniel José Older, Ben Acker, and Ben Blacker conspired to add to their stories.
StarWars.com: What are some of the highlights from working on a project like this?
Elizabeth Schaefer: The social media moments have been really fun to watch. Earlier this year, my colleague Tom Hoeler came up with the #OperationBlueMilk plan to announce all of the authors. Seeing fans freak out as author after author chimed in was like being in our own version of “All wings report in” from A New Hope. “John Jackson Miller, standing by! Glen Weldon, standing by! Elizabeth Wein, standing by!”
StarWars.com: Tell us about First Book and how this book will benefit them.
Elizabeth Schaefer: First Book is a fantastic organization whose mission is to provide equal access to quality education. In honor of the project, Penguin Random House has donated $100,000 to First Book, and Disney/Lucasfilm has donated 100,000 children’s books. But the real stars are the authors who all generously donated their time, energy, and all their proceeds from the anthology to First Book. You can read more about this amazing organization on their website: firstbook.org.
See below for a special gallery collecting all of Del Rey’s From a Certain Point of View social media cards.
Ben Acker and Ben Blacker are the creators and writer/producers of the Thrilling Adventure Hour and authors of the Join the Resistance series.
Reneé Ahdieh is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger.
Tom Angleberger is the author of the New York Times bestselling Origami Yoda series and Star Wars: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
Jeffrey Brown is the author and illustrator of the bestselling series including Darth Vader and Son, Vader’s Little Princess and the first three books in the Jedi Academy series.
Pierce Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising, Golden Son, and Morning Star.
Meg Cabot is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series with over 25 million copies of her books sold worldwide.
Rae Carson is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Girl of Fire and Thorn series.
Adam Christopher is a novelist and comic writer whose debut novel, Empire State, was SciFiNow’s Book of the Year for 2012.
Zoraida Córdova is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series.
Delilah S. Dawson is the writer of the Blud series, Servants of the Storm, and Star Wars: Phasma.
Kelly Sue DeConnick is a comics writer whose work includes the Eisner-nominated mythological western, Pretty Deadly, and the rebranding of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. Her husband, Matt Fraction, is a New York Times bestselling and Eisner, Harvey, and Eagle award-winning comics writer whose work includes the Eisner-winning Sex Criminals.
Paul Dini is a multiple Emmy and Eisner award-winning writer and producer behind Batman Beyond and Justice League Unlimited, co-creator of the character Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series, and writer of several episodes of the Ewoks cartoon.
Ian Doescher is the author of the New York Times bestselling William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series.
Ashley Eckstein is the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars Forces of Destiny and founder of Her Universe, a fangirl fashion company and lifestyle brand.
E. K. Johnston is the author of Star Wars: Ahsoka, A Thousand Nights, and That Inevitable Victorian Thing.
Alexander Freed is the author of Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company and Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Lost Suns.
Jason Fry is the author of The Clone Wars: The Visual Guide, the Servants of the Empire series, the upcoming novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as well as the Jupiter Pirates series.
Kieron Gillen is the comic writer for Star Wars: Darth Vader and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra and co-creator of the award-winning The Wicked + The Divine.
Christie Golden is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of over 50 novels including Star Wars: Dark Disciple, Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad, and the Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi novels Omen, Allies, and Ascension.
Claudia Gray is the author of Star Wars: Bloodline, Star Wars: Lost Stars and Star Wars: Leia, Princess of Alderaan as well as Defy the Stars, the Firebird series, and the Evernight series.
Pablo Hidalgo is a creative executive within the Lucasfilm Story Group and writer of numerous Star Wars guides including the bestselling Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary.
Paul S. Kemp is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Crosscurrent, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived, and Star Wars: Riptide as well as The Hammer and the Blade and A Discourse in Steel.
Mur Lafferty is a writer and podcast producer, host of the award winning I Should Be Writing podcast and winner of the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Ken Liu is one of the most lauded authors in American literature with his debut novel, The Grace of Kings was a finalist for the Nebula Award and recipient of the Locus Award for Best First Novel, while his short story “The Paper Menagerie” is the first work of fiction to simultaneously win the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards.
Griffin McElroy is a writer, co-founder of the video game site Polygon, and co-host of the podcasts My Brother, My Brother and Me and The Adventure Zone.
John Jackson Miller is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith, and the Star Wars: The Old Republic comics.
Nnedi Okorafor is a professor of creative writing and author of many award winning short stories and young adult books. Her World Fantasy award-winning Who Fears Death is currently being adapted into a television series for HBO.
Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba novels and the young adult novel Shadowshaper, named a New York Times Best Book of the Year.
Daniel M. Lavery is Slate’s “Dear Prudence,” writer for Gawker, New York magazine, The Hairpin, and The Atlantic, and co-creator of the website The Toast.
Beth Revis is the author of the New York Times bestselling series Across the Universe and Star Wars: Rebel Rising.
Madeleine Roux is the New York Times bestselling author of the Asylum series and the creator of the experimental fiction blog Allison Hewitt is Trapped.
Greg Rucka is the New York Times bestselling author of almost two dozen novels including Star Wars: Before the Awakening and Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills and has won multiple Eisner Awards for his graphic novels.
Gary D. Schmidt is a professor of English who has received a Newberry Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and a Newberry Honor for The Wednesday Wars.
Cavan Scott is an author and comic writer who work has included the Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space series, and the Star Wars Adventures comics from IDW, as well as comics Doctor Who, Adventure Time, and Judge Dredd.
Charles Soule is a New York Times bestselling comic writer best known for Daredevil and Death of Wolverine as well as Star Wars: Lando, Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin, and Star Wars: Poe Dameron comics.
Sabaa Tahir is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night.
Elizabeth Wein is the author of the award winnings books Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire, and Black Dove, White Raven.
Glen Weldon reviews books and comics for NPR, is a panelist on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and his work as appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and other places.
Chuck Wendig is the author of many novels including the Star Wars: Aftermath series, Blackbirds, Zer0es, and is co-writer of the short film Pandemic.
Wil Wheaton is an actor (Stand By Me, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Leverage), creator and host of the webseries TableTop, and author of many acclaimed books which grew from his blog.
Gary Whitta is the co-writer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and award-winning screenwriter of The Book of Eli.
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View contains illustrations by Chris Trevas and is available on now in hardcover and ebook from Del Rey and as an audiobook for download and on CD from Random House Audio. For more information about the all-star cast of the audiobook including John Hamm, Ashley Eckstein, and Neil Patrick Harris, check out the StarWars.com interview producers Aaron Blank and Nick Martorelli.
There will also be a New York Comic Con exclusive version of From a Certain Point of View, with exclusive cover, endpapers, and stamped case, available at the Del Rey Star Wars booth, #2014, at NYCC over October 5-8, 2017. For more information on how to purchase a copy at the convention or about the sold-out From a Certain Point of View panel hosted by Pablo Hidalgo, visit the Penguin Random House blog, Unbound Worlds.
James Floyd is a writer, photographer, and organizer of puzzle adventures. He’s a bit tall for a Jawa. His current project is Wear Star Wars Every Day, a fundraising effort for a refugee aid organization. You can follow him on Twitter at @jamesjawa or check out his articles on Club Jade and Big Shiny Robot.