The latest Star Trek novel by Dayton Ward, Star Trek: The Original Series: Agents of Influence has been published and Star Trek.com interviewed Ward about writing the novel.
In Agents of Influence, surgically-altered Starfleet Intelligence agents have to be extracted from Qu’onos, but complications arise and they must be rescued before the Klingons get their hands on them.
Ward was asked what the most challenging part of writing Agents of influence was.
“Hitting my deadline,” he joked. “Cop-out answer? Okay.
“As with the other Original Series novels I’ve written or co-written, the big challenge is bringing something new to the table. Writing any Star Trek novel set at a point in time when you know the characters have lots of adventures ahead of them is always a challenge. We can’t really move the needle too far when it comes to developing the known characters. At best, we can hope to introduce a little something you didn’t know about them before you read the latest book, but even those things must abide by what’s been officially established. So, you’re left with telling a story you hope is something new and unique; something the reader hasn’t encountered before either on TV or in some other novel, while at the same time evoking everything they love about the show and those characters. One of the biggest compliments I can receive is that a reader heard William Shatner‘s voice while reading the Kirk dialogue I wrote.
“In particular, ‘the five-year mission’ era from the Original Series is a very, very well-mined period. There are literally hundreds of stories set during that span — episodes, novels, comics, computer games, and so on. I’m not one hundred percent certain, but I think every episode of the original show has had some form of sequel, prequel, follow-up, or tangential tale associated with it somewhere. Even those episodes we might consider ‘subpar’ have likely been revisited in some manner. Then there are the tales which feature the familiar characters and yet are wholly original.
“Even with all of that to consider, I still love that period, when Kirk and the others are in their prime and they’re out there in the deep corners of the final frontier, exploring and seeking out and boldly going. Still, whenever I sit down to develop a new story, I do sometimes find myself asking, ‘What’s left to do? Where can I go? Will anybody care?’ Well, I do, and I know a lot of fans feel the same way. To those readers, I say, ‘I’ve got your back.’ At least, that’s my intention. Whether I do it right is for them to decide.”
Ward was then asked what readers would be surprised to learn in Agents of Influence and would there be Klingon characters in this book that had been seen before.
“I’d like to think readers will like how I’ve managed to tie this story into the larger Star Trek framework, not just of The Original Series, but also other areas of the franchise, from the screen as well as other novels,” he said. “I’ve added a few small new wrinkles to the established lore, but nothing which made my editors or CBS send their ninjas after me (you know…again). Yes, that’s right; they each have their own teams of ninjas they dispatch from time to time. It’s possible I wasn’t supposed to reveal that.
“I introduce a few new Klingon characters, but savvy readers may recognize one or two from other Star Trek novels set in the same timeframe as this book.”
So what’s next for Ward?
“I have two major projects I’m currently working on,” he said. “One’s a novel and the other is very much not a novel. I can’t say much about those just yet, as they’ve not yet been announced by their respective publishers. Aside from those, I’m teaming up with my best friend and frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, to work on a couple of short stories for different anthologies that’ll be out next year.”
More of the interview can be seen at StarTrek.com.