If you’re near Rockville, Maryland tomorrow evening, come on over to the Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County Campus, where I’ll be speaking about George Lucas at 7 p.m. as part of the Gaithersburg Book Festival. (Yeah, I’m back in my old neck of the woods — and I also know I’m competing with one of my old employers, since the Montgomery County Council is holding a Town Hall meeting at the same time down in Silver Spring. Choose the event that best suits your particular wants and needs…)
I’ve spoken at the GBF before — back in 2014, I talked Jim Henson — and I’m looking forward to getting back again. If you’re thinking of attending, doors open at 6:30 p.m. at Gilchrist Hall Auditorium on the JHU MC campus at 9601 Medical Center Drive in Rockville.
Come on out! It’ll be fun! Really!
George Lucas: A Life finally comes out this Tuesday — and I can’t wait for this one to get into your hands and hear what you think. So far, those who’ve had an early look at it seem to like it. Kirkus Reviews — as reported back here — gave it one of their coveted starred reviews, as did Booklist. I was also thrilled to learn that Kirkus named it one of their Best Books of 2016 — you can see Lucas and Threepio anchoring the front cover of Kirkus‘s December issue over there at right. All in all, pretty nice.
Oh, and it’s also been nicely reviewed in The Washington Post and BookPage, selected as a Book of the Month by Amazon, spotlighted in USA Today, Parade, the San Francisco Chronicle, the London Daily Mail, and featured on websites like Bustle and Cultured Vultures. Thanks for the kind words, folks.
Lots more to follow in the coming days — I’ll be at the Louisville Free Library on December 13, and having fun on podcasts like Channel Star Wars, Star Wars 7×7, and Coffee With Kenobi, for instance — and I’ll do my best to keep you posted. Thanks for your enthusiasm so far. I appreciate it.
. . . until publication of George Lucas: A Life. I got mine from my editor the other week (and it’s a beaut); there’s still plenty of time for you to pre-order yours. (Click here to order from the bookseller of your choice.)
Many Bothans died to bring you this message.
The November issue of Booklist will review George Lucas: A Life — and I was thrilled to get a peek at their starred review. Here’s a quick look:
“Maestro biographer Jones tackles another brilliant entertainer. The world knows George Lucas as the filmmaker who brought us Star Wars, one of the most iconic Hollywood franchises in history, but as Jones’ in-depth, fascinating, and even gripping exploration reveals, Lucas is much more than a gifted storyteller . . . Jones digs deep to limn the highs and lows of Lucas’ career and life, capturing his drive and innovation in crisp, sparkling prose. Masterful and essential for film and pop culture enthusiasts.”
That’s an awfully nice review. And if I walk around the rest of the day looking like this, you’ll know why:
The full review can be seen here.
Fellow nerd (and mega bestseller) Brad Meltzer
Brad Meltzer — yeah, that Brad Meltzer, the author of tons of bestsellers (The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate), cool comics (the Eisner Award-winning Identity Crisis), gorgeous, inspirational kids’ books like the upcoming I Am Jim Henson, and a card carrying fellow nerd — was given an advance copy of George Lucas: A Life, and had this to say about it:
“Like the famous opening shot of the very first Star Wars, George Lucas: A Life is sweeping, humbling, and instantly transports you into the world of the mad dreamer. Fellow nerds unite! Finally, we get a book that examines the history of a titan who really changed our lives. Beautifully obsessive and relishes every detail. Just like us.”
I’m so flattered and appreciative of his kind words — especially since I’m a big fan of him and his work (I once waited in line nearly an hour to have him sign my copy of Identity Crisis…). But then, you’re probably a fan, too — and you should definitely go visit his website and see all the neat stuff at www.bradmeltzer.com.
As someone who’s had the Kirkus Reviews bottle smashed over his head — then been rolled gleefully in the broken glass — I always hold my breath when I hear their review is coming down. This time, I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that George Lucas: A Life was not only well-reviewed, but received a starred review, no less — my first one ever.
The review will appear in the October 1 magazine, but it’s available on the website starting today, so I can quote you a bit of it:
“A sweeping, perceptive biography . . . extensively researched . . . [Jones] lays out in luscious detail the path Lucas took to become one of film’s most successful directors . . . This in-depth portrait of the ‘modest and audacious’ Lucas, a ‘brilliant’ and ‘enigmatic’ technological wizard, and those who were crucial to his success . . . is never less than fascinating. Masterful and engaging: just what Lucas’ fans and buffs, who love the nitty-gritty of filmmaking, have been waiting for.”
If you want to read the review in its entirety, you can see it on the Kirkus website.
You bet you do. And now, thanks to the fine folks at Little, Brown and Goodreads, you can. Go here to enter the giveaway over on Goodreads, for a chance to win one of twenty advance copies. The contest is open until October 1, and they’ll be giving away copies from August 22 until October 2.
A box of these showed up on our doorstep this morning — it’s advance reading copies of George Lucas: A Life. And boy do I still love that cover.
Since turning in the first draft of George Lucas back in March, the manuscript has been through the hands of my editor at Little, Brown, John Parsley, vetted by the legal department, and then given a rigorous copyediting. Now it’s landed back on my desk, where I’ve got until next week to finish it all up, answer any questions my editors might have, add any new material (Lucas Pulls His Museum From Chicago!), make sure the endnotes are correct, and generally make any necessary tweaks and revisions before sending it off to production.
There’s a lot going on in the margins of an edited manuscript; the document is edited with Word’s ‘Track Changes’ function on so you can see every change to the draft and — one of my favorite parts — read the comments from the various editors where they ask whether a suggested edit works, seek clarification, or even just maintain a friendly running commentary, like a less sarcastic MST3K. And, of course, I can’t resist making my own comments as I go through it, either.
And seriously, guys: editors and copyeditors are amazing. They not only edit for clarity, for instance, but they also fact-check things, remind you when you’ve used a quote twice, or somehow manage to clean up and make better sense of hundreds and hundreds of endnotes. I’m always impressed.
Wanna see what the Table of Contents for George Lucas looks like on my computer screen as it’s being edited with the ‘Track Changes’ function on? Have a look:
And now, back to it. I’ve gotta get this done, if you’re gonna have it in your hands on December 6.
Apparently, this has been up on the Hachette Books page for a bit, but I checked anyway to make certain it was okay for me to share this with you. I’ve actually had it for several months now, and I’ve been dying to show it to you, I think it’s so terrific.
I should also offer the caveat that there may still be some minor tweaks made to the cover as we get closer to the publication date — which as of this morning is now Friday, December 16, 2016.
It’s not available to pre-order just yet, but should be soon. I’ll let you know the moment I hear.