This month sees the release of the much anticipated Vulcan Travel Guide and ahead of it's release, Ian Kimmins got in touch with author Dayton Ward to discuss his latest work - and more!
"I was approached by the publisher, Insight Editions, after being recommended by John Van Citters at CBS Consumer Products." explained Dayton in regards to the upcoming guide; "They asked if it was something I’d be interested in doing, and of course I said yes. Insight has been producing some truly beautiful books that tie into all sorts of film, TV, and gaming properties, and it seemed like one of those opportunities I really couldn’t pass up."
But this isn't the only travel guide that's coming from the publisher - and the followups won't necessarily be using the Star Trek universe either; "Insight is using the Hidden Universe Travel Guide label as sort of an umbrella for travel guides for different properties." said Dayton; " There’s one coming later this year titled The Complete Marvel Cosmos, as written by the Guardians of the Galaxy from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That one definitely looks fun. If Vulcan does well, then there could be others in this vein. I hope they let me do one for Risa. Do I really need to explain why?"
Travelling back a few years, Star Trek fans might remember that the Elusive Salvation author actually got his break through the Strange New Worlds competition back in 1998 and this has recently had another run to find the next big writer. So how did one of it's major success stories - a writer who had work published in the first three editions no less - feel about the return of such a prestigious event?
"I was thrilled to see the contest return, and I hope it becomes an annual thing again. I guess we’ll have to see how this first one is received and how it does, sales-wise.
"The contest definitely had an impact on me, as it launched my writing career. Everything I’ve done can be traced back to that first Strange New Worlds sale. Fans have always been an integral part of Star Trek’s longevity, and a contest like this is a fantastic way for fans to play in the sandbox. For those whose stories are selected there’s that sense of recognition that they contributed even some small way to the larger Star Trek tapestry."
Looking through Dayton Ward's back catalogue of Star Trek titles there are a lot of memorable adventures in The Next Generation, through Typhon Pact and Mirror Universe but one that captured a lot of interest was From History's Shadow. So much so that it led to the recent release of Elusive Salvation which is effectively its sequel.
"I don’t know if my book in particular had any real impact or brought a lot of new readers to the fold." recalled the author, "I’d like to think it’s something a casual or new reader could pick up and enjoy, without having to be too steeped in the mythology, or feel the need to read a number of the other books.
"That said, regular readers of the Star Trek novels tend to be dedicated fans, so it’s nice to be able to provide something that catches their interest. I got a lot of nice responses to From History’s Shadow and I had a tremendous amount of fun writing it thanks to the blending of Star Trek history and real history. The same is true for Elusive Salvation. When I wrote From History's Shadow, it wasn’t with any expectations of doing a sequel, but the response was good enough that my editors weren’t opposed to the notion.
"Will there be a third book in this sequence? I guess there probably should be, given the way the second book ends. Here’s hoping!"
As we noted, Dayton Ward has a great back catalogue that we would encourage any Star Trek fan to dive into. Alongside his time-travelling adventures, another one that has struck a chord and spun off to the recent four book Seekers series was Vanguard.
"The Star Trek Vanguard series (which he co-wrote with Kevin Dilmore and series co-creator David Mack) is one of those dream jobs you love to get and I enjoyed every minute working on that series." he said, "There hadn’t been anything like it, and it may be a while before see something like it again. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish with those books, and how our editors and CBS let us push things the way we did, taking a few of Star Trek’s core tenets and deconstructing them a little bit while endeavoring to remain true to them."
So that covers the past but what about upcoming events for the always entertaining Star Trek scribe? Well there's a new The Next Generation story up in January 2017 entitled Headlong Flight.
"It’s another story with Picard and the Enterprise-E, several years after the events of Star Trek Nemesis as well as a whole bunch of stuff that’s happened in the novels in recent years. The Enterprise is exploring a largely uncharted region of space called the Odyssean Pass, which I introduced in Armageddon’s Arrow, a novel I wrote and which was published last year. (title image from Dayton's superb blog The Fog of Ward)
"This time, they find a rogue planet, with people on the surface who basically tell the Enterprise to go away for their own safety. Naturally, Picard sends people to investigate, and while that’s happening the entire planet disappears. And then things get really weird."
Sounds like another big winner from Dayton Ward if you ask us! And what else might we be expecting for the remainder of 2016 - after all there's a 50th anniversary bubbling away and Mr Ward is a man of many talents...?
"On the writing front and in addition to the Vulcan Travel Guide, I’ve got two novels coming out in August. The first is Trial By Fire, a novel based on the television series 24. It’s a prequel, featuring Jack Bauer several years before the events of the TV show and before he joined the Counter Terrorist Unit, when he’s just starting with the CIA.
Coming out a week later is Purgatory’s Key, the novel I co-wrote with my writing partner, Kevin Dilmore and which is the third book in the Star Trek: Legacies trilogy that is celebrating the original Star Trek series’ 50th anniversary. The first book in the trilogy, Captain to Captain by Greg Cox, just came out at the end of June, and the second book, Best Defense by David Mack, will be out at the end of July. We follow in late August. I’m also developing a concept for an original science fiction novel I hope to shop around in the coming months, and there’s always something else brewing somewhere.
"I try to stay busy! Somewhere in and around all of that, I look forward to sleeping every once in a while. I’m not getting my hopes up, though."
MASSIVE thanks to Dayton Ward for taking time out to reply to our questions. Make sure you're looking out to get a copy of his Vulcan Travel Guide soon!