Entering a fan writing contest back in 1997 lead to a professional writing career for Dayton Ward.
In 1997, Ward entered the first Strange New Worlds writing contest. His story was good enough to be chosen for inclusion in not only that first volume of Strange New Worlds, but the next two volumes as well.
Authors were only allowed to have stories be placed in Strange New Worlds three times. Ward then turned to writing full-length novels including the Star Trek: Vanguard series.
“I love the entire Vanguard series, and David Mack is quite simply one of the most talented writers working today,” said Ward, “so working alongside him to develop the ongoing Vanguard storyline is just too much fun.”
Ward explained how the series began and how the writing duties have been doled out. “David Mack co-created the Vanguard series with Marco Palmieri, who at the time was an editor for Pocket’s various Star Trek lines. David wrote a rather large and very detailed “writer’s guide” for the series, and also wrote the first book. The writer’s guide laid out in very broad terms the main plotlines that would guide the series, including the use of characters and other little plot points that Kevin [Dilmore] and I had introduced in some of our other Star Trek stories. Based on that, Marco asked Kevin and me if we wanted to write the second book of the series, which became Summon the Thunder. Along the way, Kevin and I also wrote a novella for the Star Trek: S.C.E. (later renamed Star Trek: Corps of Engineers) series, Distant Early Warning, which acts as something of a prequel to the entire Vanguard storyline. Once we were finished with Thunder, Marco decided that Kevin and I would alternate writing duties on the series with David, and so far that’s how things have gone.
One of the things I love most about writing for Vanguard is that we’re able to play within the defined 23rd century Star Trek setting (again, my favorite), while at the same time doing things that we likely wouldn’t be able to get away with using the established or ‘canon’ characters, ships, and so on.”
And what are future plans for Vanguard? “David, Kevin, and I are already in the early stages of developing the outlines for what will be the next books in the Vanguard series,” said Ward. “I can’t offer any details or even teasing hints at this time, but stay tuned!”