Today, a brand new, original story enters the official canon with Kevin Shinick‘s Star Wars: Force Collector. The YA novel follows new protagonist Karr Nuq Sin, a restless teenager who sets out to discover what connection his mysterious Force powers have to the fabled Jedi and what the Force has in store for him.
We brought you an exclusive early look at Star Wars: Force Collector yesterday, and today, we’re bringing you an interview with Shinick himself. He talked about the story being a part of the official Star Wars canon and what that means to him, teases the familiar faces that may pop up in the telling of Karr’s journey, and when the tale takes place within the timeline. All of that and more follows below, but here’s where you can find Shinick out in the wild promoting the book:
- November 19, 7pm – Barnes and Noble in the Glendale Americana with special guest Ahmed Best (who portrayed Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars films)
- December 15, 2pm – Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego
- December 19, 7pm – Barnes and Noble in the Country Glen Center in Carle Place NY
December 20, FORCE COLLECTOR DAY in Merrick, NY
- Noon-2pm – Signing at his alma mater, Calhoun High School,1786 State St, Merrick, NY
- 3pm – Signing at the N. Merrick Public library,1691 Meadowbrook Rd, North Merrick, NY
- 5:30-9:30pm – Signing at his former employer, the Merrick Cinemas,15 Fisher Ave, Merrick, NY
Our interview follows below:
First of all, congratulations on the new book! How did you end up authoring this particular project?
Kevin Shinick: Thanks so much. This was a thrill to do and an honor to be asked. (I’ve omitted all the parts about me begging.) But truthfully, I had been asked to write the children’s book Chewie and the Porgs a couple of years ago, and since my daughter was 5 years old at the time, I said yes, but also asked if they would consider me for novels as well. When they said yes I felt like I could take on the whole Empire myself.
This title serves as a prelude to the upcoming movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but it takes place before The Force Awakens in the timeline What else can you tease about your main character and setting for interested readers out there?
Shinick: The reason it’s placed a few years before The Force Awakens is that it was important for there to be no known Jedi in the galaxy at the time. Karr’s journey is one of self-discovery, but he’s also setting out to find out who the fabled Jedi were and what they have in common with his mysterious emerging powers. If he had access to Jedi, or even could feel one through the Force, the story might have ended before it began. And since Luke was cut off from the Force at that time it made for an ideal period. But the First Order is definitely on the rise and because Karr’s intuitive abilities are in full force, he’s also able to foresee certain future scenarios. Similarly, I wanted Karr to be inquisitive and smart, so the challenge was to always keep the answers, or at least access to the answers just out of his reach. Which was easier to do pre-Force Awakens.
Since Force Collector is part of the “Journey to Star Wars” initiative, it’s definitely canon, right?
Shinick: Absolutely. Half the fun of writing this was knowing I was contributing to the saga, and now that it’s done and people are saying that Force Collector changes the way they view the movies, I can’t help but feel grateful that I was able to leave my small mark on this fantastic franchise.
Shinick: That was amazing, and oddly enough not something that resonated with me until later. As I was writing the character of Karr, I tried to think of where I was when I was his age, asking similar questions about heritage and ancestry, so when the time came to name his planet, I just went with “Merokia” in honor of the Merokee tribe who settled my hometown of Merrick, NY and from whom it derives its name. It was only later when word got out and people from my hometown started talking about it that I realized its true impact. As a result, Merrick is now holding a FORCE COLLECTOR DAY on 12/20/19 where I’ll be speaking at my old high school, discussing the book at the local library and doing a signing in the lobby of the Merrick Cinemas where I worked as a teen and where The Rise of Skywalker will be premiering that night. It’s going to be a great “full circle” moment for me and a chance to celebrate not just the town’s past but also its future as a permanent part of the Star Wars canon.
Our exclusive excerpt from your title features the Morseerian smuggler Nabrun Leids in a thrilling (and informative) run-in with your hero. Can fans expect more famous names from the movies and TV shows to show up in your adventure?
Shinick: Definitely. One of the things I love doing is shedding light on lesser-known characters so we know that their lives extend beyond their screen or page time. Especially when their exploits add something we didn’t already know about them or when their actions create a ripple effect throughout the galaxy. As is the case with Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas and some others who make an appearance in the book.
You’ve mentioned citing both existing Star Wars mythology as well as Stephen King’s The Dead Zone as inspiration for Karr Nuq Sin’s story. Can you expand a bit on his connection to the Force and how it manifests for him?
Shinick: Karr is a kid who, upon going through puberty, experienced more changes than most. Among those changes is the ability to touch certain objects and see their past. Unfortunately, this manifests itself as massive headaches, but then those headaches give way to visions of mysterious people and places. At first Karr’s family thinks he might have serious health problems, but his grandmother suggests his headaches might be the result of him possessing the Force, and that he just doesn’t know how to use it yet. This is all news to Karr: The Jedi, the Force, all of it. But when he learns that there are no known Jedi left in the galaxy to study from, he takes it upon himself to let life be his master, and to seek out objects the Jedi might have touched in order to educate himself on who they were and how he might become one.
Does Force Collector tie into the past of the Star Wars story? Does it offer any teases as to the future tales we’ve yet to see? Or is it mostly a standalone story in the universe?
Shinick: What I’m most happy about with this book is that I feel it works on a couple of different levels. It’s a standalone tale with original characters that people can relate to, but it also serves as a sort of celebration of the entire Star Wars saga, because when Karr touches the many objects he finds he’s transported back (and possibly forward) to some of the more important moments in Star Wars history. At the same time, Karr is invested in these discoveries because he has a stake in the game. He’s finding out about his future just as we are about to find out about the future of the Skywalker saga this December. Will they collide? You’ll have to wait and see.
Any potential for a follow-up story, either as another book or in some other medium?
Shinick: There is certainly the opportunity to do so and I hope I get the chance. This book sets the stage for a lot of possibilities and I’ve already begun to discuss future journeys, not to mention wanting to visit some of the places I didn’t have the chance to go to in this book.
Would you like to see Karr Nuq Sin transition to the screen in some way? If so, would you prefer TV, movies, or maybe even a video game?
Shinick: The funny thing about writing a Star Wars book, for me anyway, is that I always get the same two questions. The first is, “Is this self-published?” As if I’m trying to do this on the sly without Lucasfilm knowing. The second is, “Will it become a movie?” The answer of course, is I don’t know, but I would love the possibility of seeing these characters come to life in a different form. Personally, I feel there is such great Star Wars work happening in both television and film at the moment, that Karr, Maize, and RZ-7 would have my blessing to be in either.
What are you most looking forward to fans discovering in Force Collector?
Shinick: Besides fans just getting to know these characters and perhaps seeing a bit of themselves on the page, I also want to use Star Wars history to get people excited about their own history. There are so many stories and people in our own galaxy that have been lost to time, and yet like Karr, all we have to do is step outside our door and start asking questions. Why is the street I live on named what it is? What was here before me? Who was here before me? As we’ve learned from the movies and from Force Collector itself, history does repeat itself. And the best way to prepare for it or learn from it is to know what came before and to know our place in this world. To know ourselves.
And what are you most looking forward to with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker later this year?
Shinick: I’m really just curious and excited to see how things are going to wrap up. There was a point in writing my novel that Lucasfilm told me I accidentally wrote a big section of Episode IX, so I have an idea where certain things might go, but really when I sit in that theatre and the lights go down, I’m no longer an author or an actor or a producer. I’m just a big kid. And a fan of everything that’s come before. So I imagine it’ll be an emotional time for all of us as we conclude a saga that started a long time ago in a childhood far, far away.
What’s up next for you and your busy schedule?
Shinick: I like to keep busy because it keeps me from procrastinating, believe it or not. That way if I take a break from one project, at least it means another one is moving forward. Some of those are hush-hush, of course, but I can say that I’ve got a couple of comic book projects comic up and a few TV shows in development. I could tell you more but then I’d have to freeze you in carbonite.
Star Wars: Force Collector is available today!