- "Every time I brought Darth on-stage, I heard the voice. And the march music. Dum-dum..."
- ―Steve Perry
Perry is a transplanted Louisiana bayou boy, who hails from Baton Rouge. Before he started writing professionally, he worked for five years as a physician's assistant. He dropped out of college at Louisiana State and moved to California to live as a hippie. As he neared 30, Perry thought he'd try writing in his spare time. In less than six months, he'd sold his first sci-fi story. "I was one of those people who said 'some day when I have time, I'll write,'" Perry recalls. "Then I realized I wasn't going to have time anymore. So I started writing on my lunch hour, Saturdays, late at night when everyone was asleep. I started writing short fiction first. Non-fiction for me was easier to do because all you had to do was get the information down right and put it into some kind of coherent manner and it was done. In fiction, I had to put it all together from scratch. It took more work."
He jumped into the growing sci-fi paperback trade of the late 1970s. His first book, Tu-laremia Gambit, came out in 1981. Perry calls it, "A bug novel. It's about a nasty bacteria that kills everybody. It got some nice reviews but didn't sell all that well. But it got me going. From that point I haven't looked back."
Perry was busy with several projects when Bantam senior editor Tom Dupree called him in late 1994. Dupree had been Perry's editor when he wrote the novelization to The Mask the year before. He wanted to know if Perry was interested in taking a crack at a Star Wars book. "I never thought about doing a Star Wars novel before, because I thought they'd be real hard to get and you'd have to know a whole bunch about the universe to write one," he says. "But Tom said, 'here's the deal, it's going to take place between Empire and Return of the Jedi, and no one else has gotten to play in there.' I thought that was terrific, because I like the characters. It would be fun to do. I wouldn't have to know all the stuff that happened after Jedi. At this point, Darth and the Emperor are still alive. And I've got the usual gang, everyone except Han."
The job would be formidable, because the Shadows of the Empire project would cross over with many Lucasfilm licensees. Perry was told this right away. "Before I started working on the novel, I went to Skywalker Ranch," he says. "It was delightful, it's an amazing place. Someone said to me it looks like a giant Methodist Youth Camp, and it does. It's like a bunch of Victorian buildings in the middle of nowhere." This November 1994 meeting laid the groundwork for the entire Lucasfilm Shadows publishing plan. "It was a lot of fun," Perry recalls. "I didn't meet George Lucas, but I did meet with the people who head up Lucasfilm Publishing. Howard Roffman, Lucy Wilson, Allan Kausch, and Sue Rostoni. Several of the artists were there. About 12 or 15 of us sat around a big conference table and talked about what we wanted to see in this book. They had come up with a one-page springboard. Just a general idea, some character names, and a feel for what they wanted to do."
Perry is a member of various organizations, including Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; The Animation Guild, Local #839 (IATSE); Writers Guild of America, West; and the TriCounty Gun Club. He is a student of the Indonesian martial art Penjak Silat, under Maha Guru Stevan Plinck, of Vancouver, Washington, and was a player in the largest guitar band ever assembled, according the Guinness Book of World Records. He is also a practitioner of the martial art Silat, on which he based Teräs Käsi.
- Books co-written with Michael Reaves
- Short stories
- "From the President of the Star Wars Fan Club: The Force Is Back!"—Star Wars Insider 24
- "Around the Galaxy"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 2
- "Into the Shadows: A Profile of Author Steve Perry"—Star Wars Insider 29
- "Shadows of the Empire"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 7
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- Shadows of the Empire Planets Guide
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Limited Collector's Edition