There is nothing like diving into the massive world of Star Wars. And no one knows that more than the incredibly talented Riley Silverman. On top of taking part in Hexbreakers and The Game of Rassilon TTRPGs, acting in the Port Saga scripted podcast and working on some personal projects, she has written three novelty books set within the Star Wars universe! Riley took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about the novels, what it’s like balancing her busy life and the excitement behind being nominated for NJ Web Fest‘s Best Supporting Performance in a Narrative Fiction Podcast!
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Julia Roth: We heard all about your TTRPG back story in your Tavern Talk Thursday column, so let’s dive right into your backstory with Star Wars.
Riley Silverman: It was one of those situations where one gig leads to another and leads to another. Years ago, I appeared as a guest on Screen Junkies for a movie fight marathon. During that, my current editor followed me on Twitter and kept track of me and what I was doing. And then, last year, he reached out and said that maybe it was time to bring me into the Star Wars writing fold for Insight Editions.
I was asked to do a book on Tatooine which took me a little over three months. When I was wrapping up on that, my editor came back and shared that they had three other books they were looking to pitch to me. I ended up working on two of them, so in the span of about six months, I had written three Star Wars novelty books.
JR: That is a super quick turnaround. Now with the novelty books, did they have all the ideas ironed out or were you able to pitch some of your own ideas?
RS: They were pitched to me. The first one, Exploring Tatooine, is a part of a larger book series that Insight Editions have been working on. They sent me a copy of their Exploring Gotham book, so I had an idea of what they were looking for. This was a similar idea for the Star Wars: The Life Day Pop-Up Book and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Treasures From Batuu. They already had the ideas; I just got to be the lucky author to bring them to life.
JR: Speaking of Galaxy’s Edge, I assume you spent a lot of time exploring it for the book. Did you visit both parks or just Disney Land?
RS: I only visited Galaxy’s Edge in Disney Land, but I did spend a lot of time exploring for the book. I want to see the one in Disney World, but they both opened almost right before COVID and were closed for a while. And travel still doesn’t feel great at this time, and I haven’t been too stoked about visiting Florida recently. The two parks are very similar, though, so it would just be to say that I have been to Batuu East and maybe to do the Galactic Starcruiser.
JR: The Galactic Starcruiser is high on my list of things to do, and maybe one day, I’ll win the lottery and get to go. Now, you are a big fan of Star Wars, and these books are your first step into writing about this world. Do you have plans to write more?
RS: I wish I could say yes, but I don’t have anything on my plate at the moment. I love Star Wars and would love to continue writing within the franchise. And I would love the chance to do more narrative writing like I did for bits of the Galaxy’s Edge book. I had the chance to write a letter from Vi Moradi to Princess Leia. As I was writing this, I had a bit of a brain explosion because this was my first narrative piece for Star Wars, and I was writing a letter to Princess Leia. It was pretty freaking cool.
JR: That does sound pretty freaking cool. Now, Insight Editions works with more than just the Star Wars IP. Are there any other ones you would like to work within? Would a Marvel or DC book be up your alley?
RS: I would be open to writing books in any of those. I haven’t spoken much to my editors about it, but if they were on the table, I’d do it. I love writing and would even love to write more books outside of Insight Editions. Plus, I really enjoyed writing novelty, nerdy books and have been doing stuff like that for years through SyFy Wire. I love taking a deep dive into my favorite fandoms and would love the chance to do that in book form.
JR: If you had to pick between narrative and novelty, what would you go for?
RS: I’d love to do both. I like writing fictionary stuff, and I would love to do more of it, but I will say that the shorter form books are friendlier for my ADHD. I struggle less working on TV episode scripts and comic books than on much longer projects. However, I don’t want to shy away from them either. I recently wrote a film script alongside a friend and realized that working on those types of pieces is best done in collaboration. Having a partner to write with helps calm my nerves and helps my brain focus better.
JR: It’s terrific that you know what works best for you and have been so successful thus far. You mentioned being open to writing for other publishers, but have you ever thought about self-publishing or seeking out new opportunities?
RS: I am always on the hunt for people to work with me. The literary world is enormous, and most publishers want me to have a finished novel, even with the other published books to my name, which is totally fair. I understand that point of view since they can’t really market me for IP stuff only. I also have an idea for a kid’s book that I have been kicking around and the script I mentioned. I’ve got a lot to think about and work towards.
JR: That’s great to always be working towards something. So, I am going to shift gears a bit. How did you get involved with Port Saga, and what is it like to be nominated for New Jersey Web Fest?
RS: Again, this is one of those wild things that happen because of other things I have done. I advise anybody who wants to get into stuff to diversify and do as much as possible and find fun, weird avenues to participate in. So Port Saga was created, written and produced by Rachel J. Wilkinson. When she was looking for voice talent, she reached out to Ryan Omega, who I had worked alongside, and he thought I would be an out of the box choice for the role.
He sent a clip of my audio to Rachel, who loved it and offered me the role of Zelda. We did all my recordings online since she is based in Texas, but her system was terrific. We recorded my parts for the first season in one session. I would record a few takes and then move on to the next line. A year later we repeated the process for season two. The first season has premiered, and the second is ready to go. What aired for the first season was what we were nominated for with New Jersey Web Fest.
It was wild because I didn’t think of it as something that would happen to me. I had been tagged on Twitter, and I knew the show had been submitted. But I didn’t realize that we could be nominated individually. When I first saw the Tweet, I didn’t think much of it. But then I went back and saw that not only was Port Saga nominated, but I was too! I couldn’t get over how wild it was.
JR: That is so exciting! As an NJ resident, you have my vote! Between Port Saga, your Star Wars books and all of the TTRPGs you take part in, how do you balance life on top of working a full-time job?
RS: I think of TTRPGs like other show business pursuits; it’s tough to actually make a full-time living off of them. Some people do it, but usually, it’s because of combinations of things or other investments. I used to do stand-up comedy after working all day, and I feel like I swapped out that with TTRPGs and writing. And it does become a bit of your social life when you’re spending a lot of your free evenings in games with people. It can also become a bit taxing on your personal life as well. But is a labor of love and passion.
I love collaborative storytelling, and I don’t mind spending my time in games. It’s incredible being able to tell a story with other people and watch how your choices impact the events happening around you. I try to balance my time, so I don’t worry about feeling burned out. I am currently playing actively in two live shows, and I have time set aside for recording, prep and meetings. Plus, I also play games that aren’t streamed to help remind me that TTRPGs isn’t just a job for me but a fun pastime with friends.
JR: Riley, thank you so much for chatting with us! I’d love to tie things up by looking at the future. So, what’s next?
RS: Thank you! My Star Wars books are out in the wild, and I still have my TTRPGs to check out. The best way to keep up on what’s happening is to follow on social media. Hopefully, soon I can share some more exciting projects with everyone!
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