Riley Silverman discusses STAR WARS novelty books, Balancing Life and Port Saga
There’s nothing like diving into the huge world of star wars. And no one knows that better than the incredibly talented Riley Silverman. In addition to participating in Spellbreaker and Rassilon’s game TTRPG, acting in the Port Saga scripted podcast and working on personal projects, she has written three novelty books as part of the star wars universe! Riley took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about the novels, what it’s like to balance her busy life, and the excitement of being nominated for NJ’s Best Supporting Performance. Web Fest in a narrative fiction podcast!
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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Julia Roth: We heard about your TTRPG story in your Tavern Talk Thursday column, so let’s dive straight 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 Filter Drugs for a movie fight marathon. During this time, 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 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 finishing on that, my editor came back and told me they had three more books they were looking to pitch me. I ended up working on two of them, so within about six months I had written three star wars novelty books.
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JR: It’s a super fast turnaround. Now, with the novelty books, did they have all the ideas ironed out or were you able to present some of your own ideas?
RS: They were introduced to me. The first, Explore Tatooine, is part of a larger book series that Insight Editions has been working on. They sent me a copy of their Explore Gotham book, so I had an idea of what they were looking for. It was a similar idea for the Star Wars: The Day of Life Pop-Up Book and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Treasures of Batuu. They already had the ideas; I just have to be the lucky author to bring them to life.
JR: Speaking of Galaxy’s Edge, I guess 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 spent a lot of time exploring the book. I want to see the Disney World one but they both opened almost right before COVID and were closed for a while. And travel is still not very pleasant right now, and I haven’t been too happy to visit Florida recently. Both parks are very similar, so it would be fair to say that I have been to Batuu East and possibly to do the Galactic Starcruiser.
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JR: The Galactic Starcruiser is at the top of my bucket list, and maybe one day I’ll win the lottery and be able to go. Now you’re a big fan of star wars, and these books are your first step in writing about this world. Do you plan to write more?
RS: I wish I could say yes, but I have nothing on my plate right now. I like star wars and would like to continue writing within the franchise. And I would love the chance to do more narrative writing like I did for bits of the The edge of the galaxy book. I was lucky enough to write a letter from Vi Moradi to Princess Leia. As I was writing this I had kind of a brain blast because this was my first narrative piece for star wars, and I was writing a letter to Princess Leia. It was pretty cool.
JR: Sounds pretty cool. Now Insight Editions works with more than star wars IP. Are there others where you would like to work? Would a Marvel or DC book suit you?
RS: I would be open to writing books in any of these. I haven’t told my editors much about it, but if they were on the table, I would. I love to write and I would even like to write more books outside of Insight Editions. Plus, I really liked writing new, cheesy books and I’ve been doing stuff like that for years. SyFy thread. I love to dive deep into my favorite fandoms and would love the chance to do so in book form.
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JR: If you had to choose between storytelling and novelty, what would you choose?
RS: I would like to do both. I like to write fictional stuff, and would love to do more of it, but I will say shorter books are more ADHD friendly. I have less trouble working on scripts for TV episodes and comics than on much longer projects. However, I don’t want to run away from them either. I recently wrote a film script alongside a friend and realized that working on these kinds of plays is best done collaboratively. Having a partner to write with helps calm my nerves and helps my brain focus better.
JR: It’s great that you know what works best for you and that you’ve had so much success so far. You mentioned being open to writing for other publishers, but have you ever thought about self-publishing or looking for new opportunities?
RS: I am always looking for people to work with me. The literary world is huge, and most publishers want me to have a finished novel, even with the other books published in my name, which is fine. I understand that point of view because they can’t really market me just for IP stuff. I also have an idea for a children’s book that I started and the scenario that I mentioned. I have a lot to think about and to work on.
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JR: It’s great to always be working towards something. So I’m going to change gears a bit. How did you get involved in Port Saga, and how does it feel to be nominated for the New Jersey Web Fest?
RS: Again, it’s one of those crazy things that happens because of other things I’ve done. I advise anyone who wants to get into things to branch out and do as much as possible and find fun and weird avenues to participate. Port Saga was created, written and produced by Rachel J. Wilkinson. When she was looking for voice talent, she contacted Ryan Omegawho I had worked with, and he thought I would be a ready choice for the role.
He sent a snippet of my audio to Rachel, who loved it and offered me the role of Zelda. We’ve done all of my check-ins online since she’s been based in Texas, but her system was great. We recorded my parts for the first season in one session. I would record a few takes, then move on to the next line. A year later, we repeated the process for season two. The first season has been created and the second is ready to go. What aired for the first season was what we were nominated for with the New Jersey Web Fest.
It was crazy because I didn’t think it was 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 it Port Saga named, but I was too! I couldn’t understand how wild it was.
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JR: It’s so exciting! As a resident of NJ, you have my vote! Between Port Sagayour star wars books and all the TTRPGs you’re involved in, how do you balance life in addition to a full-time job?
RS: I think of TTRPGs like other show business activities; it’s hard to make a full-time living out of it. Some people do, but usually it’s because of combinations of things or other investments. I used to do stand-up after working all day, and I feel like I traded that in with TTRPGs and writing. And it becomes a bit of your social life when you spend a lot of your free evenings playing with people. It can also get a bit taxing on your personal life. But it is a labor of love and passion.
I love collaborative storytelling and don’t mind spending my time in games. It’s amazing to be able to tell a story with other people and see how your choices impact the events unfolding around you. I try to balance my time, so I don’t worry about feeling exhausted. I am currently actively performing in two live shows and have time set aside for recording, preparation and meetings. Additionally, I also play non-streaming games to remind myself that TTRPGs are not just a job for me, but a fun pastime with friends.
JR: Riley, thank you so much for talking with us! I would like to tie things up looking to the future. So what’s the next step?
RS: Thanks! My star wars the books are out in the wild, and I still have my TTRPGs to check out. The best way to keep up to date with what’s going on is to follow social media. I hope I can soon share more exciting projects with everyone!
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