There’s nothing more exciting than an expanding universe. The Star Wars franchise has been all about new books lately, adding to its canon in a myriad of delightful ways. The latest? A new YA novel from bestselling author Zoraida Córdova!
Zoraida Córdova is the author of numerous YA books, including Labyrinth Lost, a story about a teen witch in Brooklyn that I couldn’t put down. She joins the Star Wars universe with A Crash of Fate, a Batuu-based adventure perfect for long-time Star Wars fans or people who haven’t watched the films at all.
After a decade away, Izzy returns to her home world of Batuu to deliver a mysterious parcel, ready to finish the job and get back to her own ship—at least, until she runs into Jules, her childhood best friend. He’s everything she remembers and more, but her life is dangerous, and the right thing to do would be to leave him behind. But there’s more happening on Batuu than Izzy expects, and when both she and Jules are forced to go on the run, all of their secrets—and their feelings—will be revealed.
We caught up with Córdova to chat about the pressures of writing in such a beloved universe, intergalactic love stories, her fave romance tropes, and why she loves the Star Wars series.
When did you first fall in love with Star Wars?
ZC: Star Wars has always been part of my life. I don’t have an exact memory of the first time I watched it, though. The movies always seemed to be there in the background. My brother—five years my junior—used to reenact the fight over the sarlacc pit where Luke is like, “Jabba, this is your last chance. Free us or die.” When we were little, my mom’s co-worker gifted us a ton of Star Wars toys, many of which I still have. We used to watch and rewind (YAY VHS TAPES) and play the movies again. So, simply put: I’ve always loved Star Wars. But the thing about this galaxy is that it keeps reinventing itself for a new generation. As the world expands, so does our understanding of it. With each iteration, I find something to fall in love with all over again.
Izzy and Jules are childhood friends, destined to become a princess and a captain, until they’re tragically separated…and delightfully reunited. Tell us more about them!
ZC: When I was brought on for this project I had to give a pitch for the story. I knew it had to be romance and it had to be set on the planet of Batuu. Izzy and Jules took shape right away. Izzy is an aspiring smuggler and Jules is a starry-eyed farmboy. My inspiration was Before Sunrise, where a couple falls in love in a day. Adding the usual Star Wars shenanigans and a series of unfortunate mishaps, plus the backdrop of the First Order and Resistance on the planet, and you’ve got the BEST AND WORST time to realize you’re crushing on your best friend.
For Izzy and Jules, I took some loose inspiration from Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. I hope that parts of their spirit lives on in these characters: Han’s reluctant golden heart and Luke’s kindness. Even though they haven’t seen each over in over a standard decade, and even though they’ve changed a lot, Izzy and Jules want the same thing: a place to belong. The galaxy is always in turmoil. There are always going to be good guys and bad guys. So their journey is not just delivering a parcel (no questions asked), but making the decision to choose each other in a time when there is no guarantee that there is going to be a bright tomorrow.
We’ve got friends to lovers, one of the best romance tropes. What are some of your other favorite romance tropes?
ZC: I also really love enemies to lovers. Forced proximity like “oops, we’re trapped in this supply closet I guess we just have to have a long conversation and fall in love.” The great thing about tropes is that there are infinite possibilities. The force that drives the trope is the kind of characters you’re working with. Writing Izzy, who is actively trying to harden her heart, and Jules who wears his heart on his sleeve, was just so fun. I LOVE MY SPACE BAES.
Star Wars is as known for its zany planets and aliens as it is for the Force. What are some of your favorites? What were your favorite parts of writing about Batuu?
ZC: I love so many parts of the galaxy! Mon Cala because it’s a water planet, Endor (a moon, technically) with all the Ewoks, Yavin because it’s space-Guatemala and where Poe Dameron is from. When I read Leia: Princess of Alderaan, I really wished we got to spend time there. RIP the whole planet.
As for Batuu: it’s the only place where Star Wars fans can go and visit. Black Spire Outpost on Batuu is a lawless place. It’s run by criminals. It’s a place where people are passing through, or hiding, or trying to make a new life. It’s a place that is built upon ancient ruins and petrified trees. The past and present co-exist. My favorite part about writing A Crash of Fate was figuring out who the locals where. What are their allegiances? Why have they decided to stay there and call it home? Who are the ones that are passing through? With the First Order displaying their colors in broad daylight, what happens to those who are hiding from the law? It is a complete world, and Izzy and Jules are right in the thick of it.
You travel a lot, and you bring a Porg with you everywhere you go. Tell us about Leia Porgana! When did that start?
ZC: Leia Porgana is my travel Porg. I think I got her after The Last Jedi came out, since that’s when I believe they were introduced. When I travel, I like to take a trinket or toy along with me. There used to be this account of someone traveling with their little Batman toy. And I thought it was a charming idea so I took my Chewbacca toy with me when I went to Puerto Rico. I’ve retired him though. Follow my Instagram and you can catch up with Leia Porgana. It’s just good fun.
What has been your favorite part about expanding the Star Wars ‘verse?
ZC: I’m really honored and humbled to be one of the authors expanding the galaxy. There are so many parts of the galaxy that are not explored. It’s a big freaking galaxy. The fact that I get to make up my own planets and characters still feels like a dream. Take all the fantastic authors writing for Star Wars right now: Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Rebecca Roanhorse, Delilah Dawson, etc. These are unique voices and perspectives that only they can bring. The only way to keep expanding the galaxy is to bring in many points of views. And, of course, the Star Wars stories are all the about the point of view of the heroes and villains.
What else do you want people to know about A Crash of Fate?
ZC: If you’re coming to A Crash of Fate from reading Labyrinth Lost or my other YA and romance, know that this is still very much me. It’s my voice, my humor (or attempts at it), my style. You don’t have to be a Star Wars trivia expert to enjoy the novels. A Crash of Fate is an action-adventure romance set to the backdrop of a planet all new to the Star Wars galaxy.
Bright suns and welcome to Batuu!
Star Wars: A Crash of Fate is on shelves now.