Peter David is back in the Star Trek game. The popular author's latest tale, Star Trek: New Frontier: The Returned, Part 1, will be released as a digital-first eNovella on July 6 by Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books. StarTrek.com previewed Part 1 earlier this week, and today we catch up with David -- the writer of dozens of Star Trek novels and comics, most notably pretty much every title in the New Frontier series that he co-created, as well as I, Q, Imzadi and James Doohan's autobiography -- for the first time since he suffered a stroke in December 2012. Here' what he had to say...
A lot of people are excited that you're returning to the Star Trek universe. How excited are you to be back?
DAVID: I'm thrilled. People have been asking me for literally years if and when the New Frontier will be returning. I never intended for Blind Man's Bluff to be the last one. I'm not sure I would have ended it that way if I'd known there would be such a gap between it and the next installment. But I'm just thrilled that Pocket decided to commit to a new New Frontier adventure.
New Frontier: The Returned, Part 1 will kick off a new three-part eNovella trilogy. Let's break that down. What's your take on the fact that they'll be eBooks? That lets the stories be shorter and released one after the other, building up and paying off the anticipation pretty quickly, but some people will miss holding a physical book in their hands and turning the pages...
DAVID: Well, my hope is that the books will sell well enough to inspire Pocket to collect them into a single volume. But that's really going to rest with the fans.
What threads does the series pick up on and what's brand-new about it?
DAVID: We pick up three months after the previous story finished. Calhoun has been wandering Xenex, determined to see if he can find any of his people. He refuses to accept sensor readings that indicate there's no life. But what he's really doing is dealing with his grief and reaching a point where he decides the next step he's going to take. The whole gang is back in this new outing, plus we introduce a new alien race that might either help him against the D'myurj, or wind up being even bigger trouble.
You created Calhoun and he's been in your head for about 18 years now. How would you say he's evolved from when we first met him to now?
DAVID: He's gone from being a warlord, to Starfleet captain to outcast and back to captain again. He wound up developing strong enough feelings about Elizabeth to marry her, and he even has children now. But I'd say he's never going to end up being your typical family man.
How quickly and easily, or not, does Calhoun come to you at this point when you sit down to write?
DAVID: He comes to me very quickly.
The Returned Part 1 and Part 2 are part of a trilogy, and the trilogy is part of a larger universe. How did you go about ending each story in the trilogy? Would you say the stories just stop or did you go with cliffhanger-style endings?
DAVID: Cliffhanger-style, definitely. Of course, if it's read as a single volume, they'll just be chapter endings.
December will be three years since you had your stroke. First, how are you feeling now?
DAVID: I'm fine. People keep asking me about it and they're always surprised when I remind them that it was nearly three years ago.
In what ways are you still dealing with the physical effects of it in terms of vision, walking/talking/using your hands, etc.?
DAVID: The right half of my body is still weaker than my left. It's just something I've had to learn to deal with. It's a good thing I'm left-handed.
In what ways, if any, did it affect your writing? Did you have a "Come to Jesus" moment that's reflected in your work and makes your writing darker or lighter, maybe more morbid or ironic?
DAVID: No. It was just something that happened and that I had to work past. It didn't impact my writing at all.
What else are you working on at the moment?
DAVID: I'm working on two comic series that tie in with Marvel's Secret Wars. One is called Future Imperfect, and the other is Secret Wars 2099. I'm having a great time with those.
As noted, The Returned, Part 1, will go on sale July 6, followed by Part 2 on August 3 and Part 3 on September 7. Visit amazon.com to pre-order, and keep an eye on StarTrek.com for news about other upcoming Star Trek novels from Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.
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