Daniel José Older's contributions to the Star Wars: The High Republic publishing initiative have spanned age demographics. He penned the junior novel Race to Crashpoint Tower and YA novel Midnight Horizon. He's also written for IDW Publishing Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures all-ages comic book series, including the Galactic Bake-Off Spectacular. He's also writing Marvel Comics' Trail of Shadows miniseries, a murder mystery set during the High Republic. Given these contributions, Older seemed like the perfect person to ask about writing for different age ranges and whether one is more challenging than another.
Older considered the question during his appearance on the Comic Book Nation podcast. More than anything, he seems to enjoy being able to do it all.
"I don't think there's a clear answer to that for me," Older says. "They both have their challenges and they're very different challenges, for sure, because they are such different stories. I'm more just excited by the challenge of having the opportunity to display such a range of storytelling. It's so cool that these two comics will both come out in the same month and there'll be one where it's like hugs and pastries and the other is like monsters and hallucinations and evil, singing nursemaids. That's range and it's a range that I have in the material that I consume too. I love Avatar: The Last Airbender and I love The Godfather and Alien, Narcos, and so all those different influences, when you're an artist you take in things and you put things back out into the world, sometimes based on what you take in, so it's a really cool opportunity to get to put all those influences and inspirations into play across the board in the same story. And that's what's really fun too, to have those little tiny crossover moments like when we were doing the Jedi rumble race and we get to see some of the characters from Trail of Shadows and back and forth. To me, it's just great. It's just fun to be in conversation with myself as well as being in conversation with the wider writing initiative."
During the same interview, Older discussed writing for the intended audience. Specifically, he shared his philosophy regarding writing for the YA reader.
"I always think about that in terms of my audience," he says. "I'm always writing to the kid that's going through. And I'm always aware that the kid that's going through it isn't defined by going through. Kids that are going through it also have joy and fall in love and have everyday things going on and deal with lots of worldly problems. Both are true and that's one balance I really wanted to strike going into this and every time I write young adult fiction is let the kids be kids but also have the kids have to grow up to some level because ultimately that's what every YA is about, is about stepping into adulthood actively, somehow, and sometimes feeling like you're forced to do it, but then actively taking the step to do it so that you can win. That's what's always going on. We see that across the board for all the characters, and that's really what I set out to do."
Older's latest High Republic novel, Midnight Horizon, is on sale now. The High Republic's second phase begins in October.0comments