Dismissive words from Star Trek writer David Gerrold were exactly what author Diane Duane needed to hear.
Duane mentioned wanting to be a writer to Gerrold when she was working with him as an assistant and his response made her see red. “He rolled his eyes and said, ‘Oy, another one,” said Duane. “I got absolutely furious and went off thinking, ‘You just wait, you SOB: I’m going to show you I’m not just some wannabe.'”
The “inspiration” from Gerrold worked. “…after he read my first novel he sent it off to his publisher, and they bought it about two weeks later,” said Duane. “That was the book that got me nominated two years running for the Campbell Award. And about two months later an agent came looking for me – Donald Maass, still my agent after thirty years: both a very gifted writer and a great powerhouse on the agenting and teaching side of our field.”
Gerrold taught Duane other things about the craft of writing. “[I learned] mostly not to be scared of writing as a business and a daily avocation,” said Duane. “If I had any illusions about airy-fairy notions like ‘wooing the muse’ and moping around waiting for creativity to strike, having a chance to watch David work dispensed with those in short order. He just made coffee or got himself a Coke, and then sat down and wrote, and that was the size of it. His straightforward professionalism and no-nonsense attitude were, as we’d say now, very grounding. I watched him and thought, ‘I can do that. I will do that.'”
She has written quite a few Trek books, but one stands out as Duane’s favorite. “Spock’s World is probably my favorite, for all kinds of reasons,” she said. “Yes, it spent eight weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, which admittedly was a trip. But there are other reasons more private. That book scratched a creative itch I’d wanted to deal with for a long time, for I was always a big Spock fan. But also, sometimes it’s the work that gives you the most trouble that you love the best. I lost what should have been the final draft of that book to a disk crash, my backups turned out to be corrupt, and I had to reconstruct the entire book in about two weeks to hit my deadline. This may have been one of those blessing-in-disguise things, in that I think the rewrite/reconstruction was better than the original.”
Duane is currently working on several book projects, including Omnitopia: East Wind and along with husband Peter has a pitch out for a historical drama series.