Kirsten Beyer penned ”Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum,” episode eight of Star Trek: Discovery. To celebrate the occasion, StarTrek.com is pleased to share Getting to Know Kirsten Beyer.
Beyer was best known, before Discovery, as the keeper of the Star Trek: Voyager novel series. It’s going on a full decade that she’s written Voyager tales, starting with a short story and then such novels as Full Circle, Children of the Storm, Protectors, Atonement and the upcoming Architects of Infinity and To Lose the Earth.
Beyer actually started out as an actor. She earned a Masters of Fine Arts and Acting from UCLA, which is also where she met her husband.
Star Trek: Discovery
Beyer’s first big Discovery episode centered on Saru (Doug Jones), but the character she hears most vividly in her head is… Tilly (Mary Wiseman). According to Beyer, Tilly is a Starfleet officer unlike anything we’ve seen before, partially because of her inexperience. “We're building from that notion that canon tells us both Kirk and Spock served these cadet years,” Beyer told StarTrek.com. “We don't know what they were exactly. We don't know a lot about that, but we just ... It's there in history for us. So, we've imagined Tilly actually doing the same thing on our ship. I didn't hear her voice, though, until we cast Mary, and until I started to hear Mary. The minute she opened her mouth at the first table read, I was like, "Oh, my God." She just has her own rhythms, her own sensibilities. You're never going to mistake Mary for anybody else. And for me, that marriage between those two is perfect. Any time I get to write her, I'm just tickled.”
By Grabthar's Hammer!
Her favorite movie is… Galaxy Quest.
In addition to her duties as a Discovery staff writer, Beyer serves as the liaison between the show and the complementary spokes, namely the Discovery novels and comic books, working with those writers and editors to make those stories are part of an integrated whole.
Television vs. Novels
Based on her experience so far, Beyer feels that writing for television and writing books are two completely distinct jobs and skills. “Not even just the part where beforehand you're coming up with ideas, where it was always just me and my editor, maybe,” she told us. “So (with Discovery), at first, having to share that process with nine different people broke my brain. I literally didn't understand how to follow somebody else's ideas through to a logical end and add my own to that mix. But, like anything, you do it long enough and it starts to make sense to you.”
If she could put her advice to aspiring authors in one sentence, it’d be: “Don't be afraid to write a sh--ty first draft.”
Star Trek: Discovery airs Sunday nights on CBS All Access in the U.S. and Space Channel in Canada. The series airs on Mondays on Netflix in the rest of the world.