SOHP Episode 11: Britt

Hey, hey everyone! I’m glad to be back again with another episode of the “Spark of Hope Podcast!” On this episode, I interviewed my very good friend and fellow prequel lover, Britt! We chat about Star Wars (of course), our love of tea, our Star Wars Celebration adventures, and mental health. Britt is an avid film buff and photography student up in Canada! We first met virtually in 2015 and got to meet in person at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. She has been an amazing and supportive friend throughout the years and I’m so glad Twitter brought us together! I hope you enjoy our episode!

You can find Britt on Twitter @brittbarnim and Instagram @brittbarnim. Her website is That Film Girl, Britt!

SOHP Episode 10: David

WHOA, when did 2021 arrive? Over 2 months ago??  I’m a bit in shock that we’re in March already!  But a new year means a new episode (finally)!

On this episode, I interview a new “virtual” friend of mine, David Ian Lee!  We connected in January because our mutual friend Rachel (who you’ll remember from my last episode) put together a Zoom reading of the sequel trilogy.  It was a fantastic time and it led to David being on this episode, which I’m incredibly thankful for.  We had an amazing chat about David’s life and how Star Wars impacted him throughout the years through theatre, teaching, and so much more!  I learned so much from David and I hope you do too.  Check out his bio and pictures below! 

Thank you for listening and as always, I hope you enjoy this episode!

**Here are some of my favorite David quotes from this episode which I found incredibly inspiring:
~”So often we’re focused on pursuing the things that we want and this is the year for being grateful for the things that we have.”

~”There’s something to be taught about community and sacrifice and service and that we each have a responsibility to carry the torch when that is our time.”

~”But it was this moment of this thing brings me absolute joy.  In a world that really wants you to feel as little joy as possible it seems, why deprive yourself of the things that bring you joy.”  

~”In our time of crisis, Grogu will set us free.”

David Ian Lee is a freelance actor and director who has worked in New York for companies including The Pearl, Manhattan Theatre Source, Boomerang, and Flux Ensemble, for regional theatres including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Rep., and Nashville’s Pipeline-Collective (where he serves as a Producing Artistic Director), and classical companies including New York Classical, Arkansas Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare, and Utah Shakespeare. He is an internationally produced playwright, with productions of his work in Canada, South Africa, Scotland, and Greece.  

A graduate of the William Esper Studio, David received his MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. He serves on the faculty of the Theatre & Dance Program in the Department of Communications at Tennessee State University, one of several institutions where he has offered his master lecture “Theatre, Criticism, and Star Wars”; he has also offered this content as a semester-long special topics course at universities and as a weeks-long enrichment course for gifted young learners.

In 2019 he was proud to direct a benefit production of A Very Special Live Staged Reading of the Star Wars Holiday Special: Live, on Stage… and Special!with all proceeds going to the 501st Legion Make-a-Wish Endowment Fund.

Favorite credit: Father to Beckett Harrison Lee, on which he collaborated with his wife, Karen.  For more information visit and

SOHP Episode 9: Rachel

After a little haitus… Spark of Hope Podcast is back!! On Episode 9, I chat with my friend Rachel. We know each other through our local community theatre, but we also connected through our love to Star Wars! During this episode we chat about theatre, Star Wars, and most importantly, VOTING!

Thank you for listening and as always, I hope you enjoy this episode!

You can find Rachel on social media through the links below:

SOHP Episode 7: We Are Thankful

Hello, everyone!  Welcome to the 7th Episode of the Spark of Hope Podcast.  In this episode, I sent a call for help!  As the last movie of the sequel trilogy and the end of 2019 arrives, I wanted to do a collaboration with other Star Wars fans to express how we are thankful for Star Wars!

A huge shout out to Sandra, Kay, Eve, Andrew, Barb, Steve, Vani, Ally, Carl, Jessie, and Rachel for participating in this episode!

Click here to download Episode 7!

SOHP Episode 6: Megan

I’m back!  I know it’s been a while, but sometimes life just gets in the way.  I wanted to take a moment to actually talk about the biggest challenge I’ve gone through in my life, being diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago.  So here’s a solo episode about my journey and of course there is talk of STar Wars!

P.S. The outro music is a special version of my theme music…

Click below and enjoy!

Click here to download


SOHP Review: Queen’s Shadow

One of the great things about Star Wars is that we get to experience it in many different formats: movies, TV shows, comics, music, and books.  It provides the galaxy far, far away with the ability to expand on what a two and a half hour movie doesn’t have the time to show.

When The Phantom Menace debuted in 1999, I was in high school and a very new Star Wars fan. I’d just seen the Original Trilogy for the first time two years earlier and having a new movie so soon was such a huge deal for me.  Not only was it expanding on the saga, but it was giving us new characters and worlds and droids and ships. The moment Queen Amidala graced the screen, she became my new favorite character next to Han and Leia. I had to buy the version of the novelization with her on the cover!


Now here we are twenty years later and Queen’s Shadow, written by E.K. Johnston, is the book many of us have been waiting for all these years!  It primarily follows Padmé as she gets her footing as a new Senator in the Galactic Republic but also follows Sabé as she finds her own footing in the galaxy.

At the beginning, we find that Padmé has finished her two terms as Queen.  She and her handmaidens now have to move on to the next step of their lives. I thought it was really beautiful how Johnston expressed the close relationships between Padmé and her handmaidens.  While they were excited to move on to new things, there was sadness that this part of their lives was ending.

We didn’t truly get a sense of who each handmaiden was in The Phantom Menace, but the author makes a point to make sure the reader understands that Sabé, Rabé, Eirtaé, Saché, and Yané are each their own unique person.   I really enjoyed getting to know each of them , but it took me a little time to properly associate their characteristics. So I was slightly disappointed that when I finally had that information correct in my mind, and new handmaidens were introduced while the others were then in the background. Ultimately, it had to happen for the story to continue, and I was happy to see that the original handmaidens showed up later in the book.

At times information seemed to come up abruptly.  For example, we suddenly learn that Saché was up for election into the planetary legislation assembly right as we find out she actually was elected.  In another instance, we find out that Padmé had met Senator Clovis prior to his first appearance in the book, but we do not read about it. Often, this made me feel like I had missed something and sometimes that was disconcerting.  

What I really liked about Queen’s Shadow was that it truly is an introspective look at a time in Padmé’s life when everything is changing and the stakes are incredibly high.  We see exactly how she navigates the galaxy both as Padmé and Senator Amidala. From what she wears to how her makeup is applied to how her hair is styled, Amidala is like an armor for her, literally and figuratively.

We also see what Sabé is up to and how important she is to Padmé and to her legacy. Their friendship is so beautiful. The author was able to show how two women can have a friendship incredibly deep and loving while still being strong and independent people.  It actually makes Padmé’s eventual death that more heartbreaking.

Even though Queen’s Shadow mostly follows Padmé and Sabé, some amazing new characters are introduced, like Captain Panaka!  No, not THAT Captain Panaka. His wife, Mariek Panaka! We also meet Captain Tonra, who spends most of his time with Sabé.  We are also reintroduced to some familiar faces. Bail Organa makes a strong appearance and of course Chancellor Palpatine shows up from time to time, like a looming shadow.  There are also a plethora of Clone Wars era characters that make an appearance.  Bringing characters that we know or kind of know from other medias within Star Wars Universe is one of my favorite things to see.

Overall I enjoyed the story line.  There were some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting. Padmé came across as a very strong, independent young woman who wholeheartedly stuck to her convictions.  She was not afraid to stand up for herself and others while still being able to play the game of politics.  She continuously learned from her errors and grew from her weaknesses. But my biggest take away from Queen’s Shadow is the value of friendship and love, which to me, is the heart of Star Wars.

Queen’s Shadow is now available everywhere books are sold!



SOHP Episode 5: Eve Strikes Back!

Episode 5 is live!  And Eve is striking back!  In this episode we chat about every day struggles.  Lately, I have personally been dealing with a lot of fatigue, not feeling motivated, and working on my relationship with food.  Eve and I dig deep into these issues and how we deal with them.  Plus, we chat about the upcoming Star Wars Celebration in Chicago and positive opinions about three Star Wars topics!

Click below and enjoy!

Click here to download episode!

Here is a little bit more information about Eve:              Eve pic                       
“Eve, the co-host whose name isn’t really Eve, loves long twitter threads, silly memes and inside jokes. The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are her absolute favorites. When she’s not geeking out on the internet, Eve writes and takes photographs professionally in a cozy Pennsylvanian suburb.”

You can find Eve on Twitter @skywalker_eve.  You can listen to her on the Unmistakably Star Wars Podcast.  Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @UnmistakablySW! She also has started her own podcast!  Follow the Iron Sea Podcast @ironseacast on Twitter.

Theme song arranged and performed by Megan Cullinan (that’s me!) and mixed by Steve Resler.  Original music composed by John Williams.

SOHP Episode 4: Neil

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2019 has finally arrived and so has Episode 4 of the “Spark Of Hope Podcast!” On this episode, I interviewed Neil Lowery. Neil is from England and has been a Star Wars fan since he first saw it in London in 1978. He is active on Twitter as “neil positive” and that is where I first met him. On this episode, we discuss how he has dealt with his learning disability and recent health issues as well as his love of Star Wars and how it gets him through those challenges.

Neil is a positive force in the online Star Wars community and I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Click here to DOWNLOAD Episode 4

You can find Neil on Twitter @LoweryNeil, on Facebook as Neil Lowery, and on Instagram @positivity_one. His podcast is called “Cloud Car Co-Pilot” and you can find it on iTunes and Anchor.


SOHP Episode 3: Sandra

Episode 3 has finally arrived!  On this episode, I interviewed Sandra.  Sandra is an educator and the social media manager for the Fangirls Going Rogue podcast!  We chat about how she became a Star Wars fan, how she uses Star Wars in the classroom, how she has dealt with the passing of her mother two years ago, and how Star Wars connects us all!  So, sit back and enjoy the show!



Here is a little bit more information about Sandra:

Manage Fangirls Going Rogue and Geeky Friends using several social media outlets.

Through social media, we reach approximately 2600 on Facebook, 4200 on Twitter, and 850 on Instagram. Provide and share engaging content, lead discussions on Star Wars television shows and movies, offer constructive interaction with users, and create a positive, safe place for all fans.


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SOHP Episode 2: Michelle

And now, presenting the second episode of the “Spark of Hope” Podcast!  On this episode I chatted with my friend Michelle, who is incredibly inspirational.  She has gone through so much in her young life.  She talks about being born in Tokyo, Japan and moving to the states, dealing with the death of her father, finding a new career, accepting what has happened to her, and so much more. You’ll also find out how she really feels about Boba Fett and Return of the Jedi!
#NeverTooOld  #ListenToThePositive  #DoGood


Here is a little bit more information about Michelle:  Michelle

Michelle loves books, naps, puppies, pizza, and gifs of puppies eating pizza. She founded the @travelingbooknerds bookstagram, where she shares creative bookish photos to over 10K followers. She has contributed creative non-fiction to Rebelle Society, and is currently workshopping her first novel at the Writing Pad. She lives, writes, and photographs her book collection in West Los Angeles with her two chihuahuas-mix rescues, Halston Rose and Kennedy Eastwood, who is actually half porg, half Yoda.

You can find Michelle on Twitter and Instagram @tediously_brief. You can listen to her on the Tumbling Saber Podcast.  Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @TumblingSaber!

Theme song and vocal tag arranged and performed by Megan Cullinan (that’s me!) and mixed by Steve Resler.  Original music composed by John Williams.