Behind the Mask: Author of Mando'a, official language of Mandalorians
Karen Traviss, a U.K. based author, is a recent member to the longline of Star Wars storytellers. Before contributing to the lore of a galaxy far, far away, Ms. Traviss earned acclaim for her novel "City of Pearl." The first work that Ms. Traviss contributed to the Star Wars universe was a tie-in novel to the popular X-Box video game, Star Wars Republic Commando.
The novel called "Star Wars Republic Commando-Hard Contact" introduced readers to four clones who had each been part of a squad where the other members had been killed in battle. This group made up of the groups leader, Niner, Darman, the squads demolition expert, Fi, the sniper and Atin, who was the most battle scarred of the group, both emotionally and physically.
The groups first mission together is to go Qiilura, a rural mostly agricultural planet and stop a group of Separtist scientists who have been commissioned to create a deadly virus designed only to target and destroy the Republic's clone soldiers. However, early on an accident with the squads transport separates Darman from the other members of the group. Darman later meets up with a Jedi padawan named Etain Tur-mukan who recently lost her teacher, Master Fulier who had been captured and killed by a Mandalorian named Ghez Hokan.
The first time Darman and Etain meet one another, the padawan is a less than perfect Jedi, whose skills with the Force are far inferior to many of her peers in the Jedi Order. However, with Darman's help Etain is finally able to greatly improve her grasp of the Force and the two form a close bond while traveling across the countryside with one another. Eventually, Darman along with Etain are able to rejoin with the other members of Omega Squad and stop the Separatists from unleashing the deadly Clone Virus.
Karen would later follow up her "Republic Commando" novel with several short stories and articles in Star Wars Insider, the official magazine for the Star Wars films and expanded universe.
Some of these stories included a follow up adventure with Omega Squad that had them doing a rescue mission within Coruscant. Ms. Traviss also wrote an article that gave detailed information on the various types of clones, including specific training and duties, along with the names of those recognized for their individual abilities and contributions to the Clone Wars. Karen's latest contribution to the Star Wars Insider magazine is a story called "Two-Edged Sword," that introduces not only clones of a Dark Jedi but also the clones and original genetic donor that composed Vader's 501st Legion.
Currently, or as of the writing of this profile, Ms. Traviss is in the process of releasing a sequel novel to "Hard Contact" called "Triple Zero." The title is in reference to Coruscant whose coordinates are 000, or the center of the Galaxy. Also in the works is the first of a series of novels called "Star Wars Bloodlines," that deals with Boba Fett.
In the short time that Karen has been working in the Star Wars universe, she has earned a reputation for writing characters who are hidden behind armor. I was fortunate enough in late 2005 to interview Ms. Traviss and get her feedback on several topics ranging from her thoughts on Boba, writing Clones and even the process that went into creating Mando'a, an official language of the Mandalorians.
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