Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Q&A with Author Christie Golden

Award-winning and seven-time New York Times best-selling author Christie Golden has written over forty novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Among her many projects are over a dozen Star Trek novels, nearly a dozen Blizzard World of Warcraft and StarCraft novels, and three books in the nine-book Star Wars series, Fate of the Jedi, which she co-wrote with authors Aaron Allston and Troy Denning. Her latest book, Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™: Blackbeard: The Lost Journal, hits shelves on March 4, 2014.

We asked Golden questions about her incredibly impressive career thus far, her new Assassin’s Creed® book, and what she sees on the horizon:

1. You launched the TSR Ravenloft line with your first novel, Vampire of the Mists, in 1991. What inspired you to start writing fantasy? How did you break into the publishing world?

I’d been creating stories ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon and started my first serious attempt at writing a fantasy novel in high school. In my mid-twenties, I had been on the editing staff of magazines and gotten on the open audition mailing list of TSR, who gave the world Dungeons & Dragons. I gave it a shot at one point and was not successful. The next chance I got, I tried again—and I was chosen! I’d submitted an outline and a first chapter based on a rough idea they had presented, and next thing I knew, I had to write my first book . . . in three months! Baptism by fire, for sure! 

2. What has been your favorite series or property to work on?

Oh my, oh my, that’s like asking which of my children I love best! I’ve been so fortunate in that I’ve worked in so many different worlds. Each one has had something wonderful to teach me and has been a valuable experience. How about I say why I love a few in particular? I love Ravenloft, because I got to create Jander Sunstar—perhaps my best-loved character by readers. I love Star Trek, because it was the first science fiction show I ever watched when I was a child. I love Star Wars, because it took me by the heart when I was thirteen and didn’t let go. I love Invasion: America, because it gave me the chance to work with Harve Bennett, who paid me the ultimate compliment when he said on a phone call, “You know what you’re doing.” I love all of Blizzard’s properties, because I’ve been with them so long and the blending between game and novel is so fluid, and they’re super to work with. I love Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ because Ubisoft really does their homework on history, and well—who wouldn’t be thrilled to write Blackbeard’s Journal? As for my favorite world to write in . . . I have to say, my own!

3. Where can fans expect to meet you next? Any book signings or appearances in the future?

I am a fixture at Colorado’s StarFest, where I will be selling and signing books on May 2–4 at the Marriott in the Denver Tech Center. I’m hoping to be a guest at Wyrd Con, May 22–26, at the Westin LAX. We’re still waiting on the results of a Kickstarter before I can confirm I’ll be attending. I am also a regular at BlizzCon, but I have no details to share as to when—if it’s happening, which I hope it is!—it will be this year. 

You can follow me on Twitter @ChristieGolden, on Facebook, and at my website at (I am going to try to be better at keeping it updated!) I hope to do more signings this year with two exciting projects out, and my Twitter is where I’ll be posting the latest info.

4. Do you have any advice for gamers who want to write?

It’s nearly impossible to break into any sort of media fiction if you don’t already have publishing credits. That’s because it’s very deadline driven, and the companies and publishers want someone who has already demonstrated they can handle that sort of thing. What you can do to start getting that “track record” is look into getting your own original fiction out there in reputable markets. A great resource is

5. What’s next for you?

My next immediate project is doing a novel for Cryptozoic’s forthcoming HEX MMO trading card game. It’s exciting to be helping create so much of this world, as it is all so new. Then I’m doing another project for Blizzard, and in my copious spare time, I am working on seeing if I can’t get some original works published as well. I’m certainly busy, and I couldn’t be happier about that!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Insight Editions, Legendary Pictures, Toho Co., Ltd., and Warner Bros. Announce Godzilla Partnership

Insight Editions, Legendary Pictures, Toho Co., Ltd., and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have announced a collaboration that will take audiences behind the scenes of Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla, the epic rebirth of one of the world’s most revered monster, set to release in May 2014.

Godzilla, one of the most recognizable characters in history who has become an icon of Japanese cinema since his debut in 1954, will once again take center stage in the new film by acclaimed filmmaker Gareth Edwards (Monsters). Edwards directs from a screenplay by Max Borenstein and story by David Callaham and Max Borenstein, based on the character “Godzilla,” owned and created by TOHO CO., LTD. Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing with Mary Parent and Brian Rogers. Patricia Whitcher and Alex Garcia are serving as executive producers, alongside Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira.

Leading up to the release of the film starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House), David Strathairn (Lincoln), Ken Watanabe (Inception), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and Juliette Binoche (The English Patient), Insight Editions will partner with the three major film companies to bring readers Godzilla: The Art of Destruction by Mark Cotta Vaz. The book is a visually stunning volume that delves into the making of the new Godzilla film, showcases its incredible production art, and includes interviews with its director, key crew members, and cast. Insight Editions, known for their innovative, cutting-edge books Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman and Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters, will once again bring their expertise to this definitive book on one of the most anticipated films of 2014.

About Godzilla:
Toho Co., Ltd.’s Godzilla franchise contains one of the most widely recognized movie monsters worldwide, including more than 25 films, multiple television programs, video games and book series.  Gareth Edwards directs “Godzilla” from a screenplay by Max Borenstein, story by David Callaham and Max Borenstein, based on the character “Godzilla” owned and created by TOHO CO., LTD.  Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing with Mary Parent and Brian Rogers.  Patricia Whitcher and Alex Garcia are serving as executive producers, alongside Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira.  Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures present a Legendary Pictures production, a Gareth Edwards film, Godzilla.  Slated to open beginning May 16, 2014, the film is expected to be presented in 3D, 2D and IMAX® in select theatres and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, except in Japan, where it will be distributed by Toho Co., Ltd.  Legendary Pictures is a division of Legendary Entertainment.

About Insight Editions:
Insight Editions is a publisher focused on creating superlative illustrated books on photography, music, and popular culture. Lavishly produced and visually stimulating, every volume from Insight is dedicated to the skillful interplay of word and image. The books produced are unique works that combine the highest quality print production values with time-honored traditions of publishing and rich subject matter. Elegant and informative, books from Insight showcase the best of art and photography in exquisite presentations of the bookmaker’s craft. For more information, visit

About Legendary Pictures:
Legendary Entertainment is a leading media company with film, television, and comics divisions dedicated to owning, producing, and delivering content to mainstream audiences with a targeted focus on the powerful fandom demographic. Through complete or joint ownership, Legendary has built a library of marquee media properties and has established itself as a trusted brand that consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment, including some of the world’s most popular intellectual property. In aggregate, Legendary Pictures-associated productions have realized grosses of more than $7.2 billion worldwide at the box office. Most recently Legendary has released Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro, and Man of Steel, with partner Warner Bros., and will next release 300: Rise of an Empire.

About Toho Company, Ltd.:
Toho Co., Ltd., engages in the production, distribution, and exhibition of movies. It is also involved in the production and sale of videograms, TV programs, and commercial films; production, presentation, and sale of theatrical works; and talent agency business. Toho Co., Ltd., was founded in 1932 and is based in Tokyo, Japan. The company’s most-famous creation, Godzilla, was created by Tomoyuki Tanaka.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products:
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

GODZILLA is a trademark of Toho Co., Ltd. The GODZILLA character and design are trademarks of and copyrighted by Toho Co., Ltd.  Used with permission. All Rights Reserved.  © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s14)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Five Questions for Animation Expert Jerry Beck

[[Photo caption:]] From left to right: writer Jerry Beck, Peabody voice actor Ty Burrell, 
director Rob Minkoff, and executive producer Tiffany Ward 

Jerry Beck is a world-renowned animation historian and cartoon producer. He writes about classic cartoon characters on Cartoon Research and blogs about the current industry over at Animation Scoop. His fifteen books on the subject include The Animated Movie Guide, Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide, The SpongeBob SquarePants Experience: A Deep Dive into the World of Bikini Bottom, and The 50 Greatest Cartoons. His forthcoming book, The Art of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, is available February 18th in anticipation of the film Mr. Peabody & Sherman, out March 7th. A former studio executive with Nickelodeon and Disney, Beck is currently a consulting producer to Warner Bros., Universal, and Disney for their classic animation DVD compilations and teaches at Woodbury University in Burbank, California.

We asked the bona fide cartoon expert some questions about his career and about working on The Art of Mr. Peabody & Sherman with DreamWorks Animation:

1. What was it like working with DreamWorks? 

This was my third time to go behind the scenes on a DreamWorks film (previously I’d chronicled the making of Madagascar and Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie). The DreamWorks campuses—both in Glendale, California, and upstate at PDI in Redwood City—are incredible, state-of-the-art factories of creativity. Imagine the best artists, writers, directors, and producers, all under one roof, with all the materials needed to create spectacular 3-D animated movies. It’s not unlike the filmmaking factories of classic Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s. You can’t help but have a smile on your face just walking through the halls. Oh, and the commissary food . . . superb! My role was to explain the characters, concepts, and techniques in the book, but the crew made me feel like part of the production team—part of a family that made an incredible family film. 

2. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is based on the beloved 1960s classic cartoon by Jay Ward. Are you a fan of the original animated television show? Does the new film stay true to it? Any major differences? 

I love the original Jay Ward cartoons—Peabody and Sherman in particular. I think I learned more about world history from those original cartoons than I did in elementary school. As a guy who has taken cartoons quite seriously all my life, I’m happy to report that the characters of Mr. Peabody and Sherman are perfectly brought up to date in this new film. The original cartoons—funny as they were—were only five minutes long, and crudely drawn and animated in Mexico. To make a ninety-minute 3-D, CGI, full-length movie, a real story was required—one with emotional beats and spectacular visuals. The finished film is a template on how to update a classic cartoon character—start with a producer, director, writers, and crew that truly love the source material. That comes through here from start to finish.

3. Jay Ward’s daughter, Tiffany Ward, is an executive producer on the film. How important do you think it is to have a family member involved in this kind of project, which uses concepts developed by a singular artist? 

On a project like this, when you plot to revive a classic cartoon character, if you can get the cooperation of the original creator—or someone as close to the creator as Tiffany Ward was to her father—grab them! Her participation was essential to keeping the original integrity of the characters together. It’s important to remember what made these characters fun in the first place. That core knowledge of the characters central appeal is a crucial starting point on adaptations like this. It’s what makes those recent Marvel Comics movies so successful—they understand their classic characters and know who their audience is. Tiffany provided that role on this film and she had learned a lot of “what to do”—and what not to do—in previous revivals of her father’s property. Everyone was glad she was there. 

4. What’s a project you’ve always wanted to work on, but haven’t had a chance to yet? 

One of my goals—which I’m happy to say I’ve achieved—was to write books on cartoon characters I love. The classic ones like Looney Tunes, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Pink Panther, The Flintstones—and now, Mr. Peabody & Sherman. I was incredibly excited by DreamWorks acquisition of Classic Media last year, and I think it opens an opportunity for more revivals of classic cartoons—like Casper, Underdog, Little Lulu, etc. I love them all and I’m crossing my fingers to be involved with new works involving those characters. They shouldn’t just become a distant childhood memory. They should be revived and enjoyed by generations to come. I hope I’ll be part of making that happen. 

5. What animated movie or show on the horizon are you most looking forward to?

There is so much good stuff coming up—and animation is part of all of it. Even in live-action spectaculars like Godzilla, Avatar, and The Hobbit. In animation, I’m curious to see how Disney adapts a Marvel Comics property like Big Hero 6, and likewise I’m anxious to see Genndy Tartakovsky’s take on Popeye. As a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, I’m looking forward to DreamWorks’ Home with Jim Parsons. While working on the Mr. Peabody book, I saw much art from that film on the walls, and it looks hilarious. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Year, New Digs

Update your address book: Insight Editions can now be found at 800 A Street, San Rafael, CA 94901. We’re still adjusting to our new office space, but there is one thing we can all agree on: Spring cleaning came early this year. We’re growing fast—fast enough that we’ve outgrown our offices at 10 Paul Drive. The move is a work in progress that requires constant adaptation, a process we’re all familiar with from the care and attention we lavish on each of our 

If you take a jaunt through our new digs, you’ll overhear warehouse managers stoked about rolling shelves similar to those you’d find in a large library, voices excitedly pointing out skylights above, and most importantly, collaborations happening left and right as editorial, production, design, marketing, and sales settle into their new spaces. Excitement extends into every corner of our office. 

So, while we unpack the boxes we frantically taped shut, take advantage of our high spirits and snag 30% off ALL our titles at from 2/8/14 to 2/14/14 with the Promo Code: 2014DIGS