- "I only write science fiction, and even when I write Star Wars I still treat it as SF and not fantasy. I think you can write Star Wars either way, and that's the good thing about it: it's a big enough universe to allow a very wide range of interpretations."
- ―Karen Traviss, from an interview on SithClan.net
Karen Traviss is the author of multiple Star Wars novels, including Republic Commando: Hard Contact and its sequels, Republic Commando: Triple Zero, Republic Commando: True Colors and Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel, and Imperial Commando: 501st, as well as the Legacy of the Force novels Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines, Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice and Legacy of the Force: Revelation. She is also one of the two authors of the five The Clone Wars novels which are based on the The Clone Wars movie and the following The Clone Wars TV series (the second author being Karen Miller). She wrote the first book in the series entitled Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the third book entitled The Clone Wars: No Prisoners. Traviss was also planning on writing a sequel to Imperial Commando: 501st, but the novel was reassigned to another author due to Traviss having issues with the publisher and Star Wars canon. Traviss also canceled a planned untitled Boba Fett novel that had been planned to be released after Imperial Commando 2. Traviss was originally planning on writing The Essential Guide to Warfare, known at the time as The Essential Guide to the Star Wars Military, but passed it on to another author. She also wrote for the defense in the book Star Wars on Trial, arguing that her work on Star Wars novels improved her non-Star Wars writing.
She has been among the most active authors in the community, posting regularly on the StarWars.com forums, 501st Legion forums, and elsewhere. She is also an honorary member of the 501st Legion, inducted on July 22, 2006 and has her own set of Republic Commando Omega Squad armor, donated by the members of Clonetroopers.net. Karen also became an honorary member of the Mandalorian Mercs Costime Club on July 27th, 2008 presented by Talon Clan.
Traviss is from the Portsmouth area in England. Before becoming a full-time novelist, she held various jobs, including defense correspondent, advertising copywriter, journalism lecturer, media liaison officer, and public relations manager, but for the most part she has worked as a journalist. She has also served in the Territorial Army as well as the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service.
Karen Traviss is known to give plenty of attention to her fans, going through the trouble of answering most of the messages she receives.
Currently, Karen Traviss lives in Wiltshire, England.
- "My tie-ins are aimed at an adult audience, but they still have to be suitable for young adult readers, so I couldn’t fall back on my usual soldierly dialogue of profanity. But I maintained a lot of solid science, and dealt with issues like rape, atrocities, shooting prisoners, and all the other ugly areas of war."
- ―Karen Traviss
Her novelist career began in 2000 when she attended the Clarion Workshop at Michigan State University. On her official website, Traviss acknowledges that it was very helpful in starting her career, but warns that it now focuses exclusively on short fiction, which is unlikely to be a workable career.
Traviss published her first Star Wars novel, Republic Commando: Hard Contact, in 2004. Her work for Star Wars usually involves clone troopers, Mandalorians, or related characters such as Boba Fett. She is amongst other things known for developing the Mandalorian language, Mando'a, into a working language.
On August 8, 2009, she announced that the second Imperial Commando novel would be her last Star Wars novel. However, Traviss later withdrew from the project over various issues, including continuity changes introduced by The Clone Wars TV series.
Several of Karen Traviss' works have stirred considerable controversy, namely, the "3 Million Clones" debate. Books by her give the Grand Army of the Republic's numbers at 3 million clones; this was seen as both impossibly low to protect the Republic's membership of just under 1.3 million planets (meaning 2.3 clones per planet) as well as less than the hundred million men required to fight World War II on a single planet (16 million used by the United States of America alone). These debates broke out between Karen Traviss (sometimes alongside fellow Fandalorians) and the opposed fans she often referred to as "Talifans." The debates were usually held on online forums, eventually including StarWars.com.
It is not entirely clear what exactly happened in all of these debates, particularly on StarWars.com, since many posts were deleted by moderators, and Traviss herself deleted the entire contents of her StarWars.com blog. Many of the posts were screen-shot before their removal, but these screen-shots, while providing new insight into the incidents that occurred, may be showing aspects of the debates out of proper context.
- Official website
- Karen Traviss on Wikipedia
- "You mean I'm not getting paid to write this?", Karen Traviss' LiveJournal blog (No longer retrievable at original address, reposted on her main website.)
- Karen Traviss' web-blog
- Karen Traviss' Yahoo Group!