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Dennis Pellegrom | Wookieepedia | Fandom

Dennis Pellegrom is a fan interviewer who was active between 2005 [1] and 2023. During that period he conducted 225 interviews [2] of people who worked on Star Wars, and published them on his website: Star Wars Interviews.

(This website discontinued in 2023.)


Dennis Pellegrom:


1-I’d like to start at the very beginning: what got you into writing and how did your career take off?


I made up stories from the time I was very young, before I could read and write. My mother would write them done, usually only five or six sentences about a routine day. My mother was a published poet and her mother had written and published a novel about her marriage to my grandfather. So creative written work was in our family history. I wrote all through the years I was growing up, including poetry. I’ve often said the only thing I learned by writing poetry is that I’m not a poet. When I was twenty-two years old, I decided to aim for becoming a professional writer of prose fiction. I made my first professional sale in 1975, when I was twenty-four, to a British anthology that never had an edition in the United States. My second sale was to a follow-up anthology to that one. My third sale, to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, was my first in the U.S. I was writing and submitting a lot but most of the work was rejected. In 1982, I sold a short story called “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium” to Amazing Stories magazine. It appeared in 1983 and was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards in 1984. It didn’t win any of them, but it raised my level of name recognition. In 1986, I had a story titled “Hong’s Bluff” up for the Hugo and Nebula. Again, it didn’t win, but book editors started asking me if I had a novel to submit. I was working on my first published novel, MasterPlay, and it was published in 1987.



2-When and where was your first encounter with Star Wars? And what did you think of it?


I happened to see the trailer for the original Star Wars several months before the movie came out. I liked what I saw, but I remember that when the trailer ended with the announcer saying it would be released in May, the audience laughed. It seemed so far in the future. I happened to be visiting my parents back in the Kansas City area when the first weekend came along. I planned to see it, but I was in no particular hurry. Then I discovered that everyone I knew in the area had plans of their own. With nothing else of interest to do, I went to see Star Wars alone. It happened to be opening night, at least in that area. I really, really liked it.



3-How did you get the assignment to write a short Star Wars story for the Tales from Jabba’s palace book? Was it editor Kevin J. Anderson who asked you?


Yes, Kevin invited me to submit a story to the anthology. We knew each other through science fiction conventions and through other writers we both knew. He had read some of my earlier short stories.


4-You wrote the story about Gartogg the Gamorrean Guard. Did you choose this character yourself? And if so; what made you pick him?


I created the character of Gartogg. I chose to write about a Gamorrean Guard because I felt they were fun. They look like green pigs and were described as the least intelligent sentient species in this universe. That struck me as an interesting idea to work with. Looking back, I think I should have put more action into the story. Still, I had fun with the concept in “And Then There Were Some: The Gamorrean Guard's Tale.”



5-What was your inspiration to write his story; in which he tries to solve murders in Jabba’s palace?


Because Gartogg is, by definition, not too bright, a story that required a degree of intellect gave him a tough challenge. I’ve always liked reading crime fiction, though I have to say I don’t think it had much influence in this particular case.


6-What did you think of the story and how do you look back at it?


I like the humor in the story. Writing a humorous story is always a challenge because different people prefer different kinds of humor. So I know it doesn’t appeal to everyone. I like the fact that the atmosphere is different. It also has a scene that crosses over with the story written by Deborah J. Ross, under her earlier byline Deborah Wheeler. That was fun to work with, too. More action would probably enhance the story, so if I was writing it now, I’d add some.


7-In 2014 ago Disney declared the Expanded Universe was no longer canon. It became ‘Legends’. What do you think of this, seeing almost all of your Star Wars work suddenly become non-canon?


I’m ignoring moves of this sort by Disney. It’s still canon to me. I’m not a fan of most of Disney’s choices regarding the Star Wars universe. In fairness, I should add that I never thought prequels to the original movie were a good idea. After all, no matter how good a prequel could be, we already knew where it would lead. I wanted to see sequels after Return of the Jedi was released.


8-Even though Disney declared everything non-canon, there’s still a fanatic hardcore group of fans (and I count myself as one of them) who feel that those stories are the best and hold them in high regard. In fact, the Tales from Jabba’s Palace book is among the most popular titles. Were you aware of this and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


I am aware of this and I’m glad. When a movie franchise is extremely successful, the people who are devoted to it have a deep emotional investment in what happens next. When Disney declared so much to be non-canon, I think it was not only insulting to fans but of course disrespectful to all the earlier work. My contribution is very small but I think fans should be respected.



9-For the 80’s Twilight Zone series your short story Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium was adapted. Were you happy with the way it turned out?


Yes, I’m happy with the result. It was adapted by Alan Brennert, who understood the original short story deeply. Alan’s also an old friend and a best-selling author, Emmy, and Nebula winner. He knew what he was doing.


10-For me, the story was about second chances, recovering (lost) emotions and ultimately helping others finding it. What is, in your own words, the meaning of the story? (and why was it important to write about it)





11-You have written many other books. Which one stands out as your personal favorite?



12-Looking at the future: do you have new titles coming up? And what would your ‘dream assignment’ look like? Is there any franchise you’d love to write a book about for instance?

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