Published Feb 11, 2020
Una McCormack Ushers in a New Chapter for Jean-Luc Picard
The author of The Last Best Hope sits down with StarTrek.com for a Q&A.
By StarTrek.com Staff
We couldn’t be more excited that Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope is finally here! Every end has a beginning… and this electrifying novel details the events leading into the acclaimed new TV series. Readers will meet brand new characters in the life of Jean-Luc Picard — one of the most popular and recognizable figures in science fiction.
This Season on Star Trek: Picard
It’s been two decades since the dramatic events of Star Trek: Nemesis… but what has transpired during that time — before Picard’s return to the family vineyard on Earth, before he meets the mysterious Dahj, before he decides to embark on a bold new adventure? Discover the answers within the pages of Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope!
What is it like writing a Star Trek novel? New York Times bestselling author Una McCormack shares her insight and experiences in this exclusive Q&A:
StarTrek.com: You’ve written several Star Trek novels. What do you like most about writing Star Trek books?
Una McCormack: Working with well-known and well-established characters and settings: it’s good to be able to give your take on these characters. Also, and this goes for any tie-in novel, working with the creative people who are involved in the show. It’s much more of a team effort than writing your own fiction, and I really enjoy the collaborative aspects. How did you first come to Star Trek?UM: I came to Star Trek in the mid-1980s through the movies, and particularly The Voyage Home. Growing up in the UK, and born in the early 70s, it wasn’t easy to see The Original Series over here at that time. So the movies were my first introduction to the crew, and then I went straight into The Next Generation when I was about 16 or 17. Again, that wasn’t easy to view in the UK — I had to rent episodes, two at a time, on videocassette from Blockbuster! I made up for the delay in receiving episodes by reading the novels.
Do you have a favorite character you like to write?
UM: Garak, the tailor/assassin from Deep Space Nine. He seems to write himself, to be honest. I just let him narrate his exploits and I transcribe. I also love writing Dr. Katherine Pulaski, who gets away with being much ruder and blunter than I would ever dare to be in real life!
What was it like writing Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope? Was there a character you identified with the most?
UM: I felt incredibly proud to be trusted with this first book. Jean-Luc Picard is a character who means a great deal to a great many people, and I wanted to get him right. I got deeply involved in Picard’s attempt to keep on doing the right thing when the people around him are overwhelmed by the task. But then I also identified with [Kirsten] Clancy’s sense that he wasn’t understanding all the challenges that people back on Earth were facing. I’d like to think that I’ve made each one of the characters in the book understandable, even when their goals are not in alignment with others.
What was the most challenging part about writing Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope given that the new series had not even aired yet?
UM: The show was still in production, which meant that I was receiving scripts as they were coming in…. Given that my novel is set more than a decade before the action of the show, I tried to come up with a narrative that didn’t depend too much on how that story unfolded. It’s tricky, but that’s the job you’ve been asked to do!
What is your favorite Star Trek moment?
UM: All of the scenes with Benjamin Sisko and Garak from “In the Pale Moonlight.” I love watching as Garak slowly corrupts this upright Starfleet captain. And I love any scene with Odo and Garak. Rene Auberjonois and Andrew J. Robinson play the parts with such intelligence and integrity.
Do you have any book recommendations for Star Trek fans?
UM: Read anything and everything by Vonda N. McIntyre! Not only did she write fantastic Star Trek novels and novelizations, she was a fantastic SF writer in her own right.
What are you working on next?
UM: I’m putting the final touches to my next Star Trek novel, The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway, which is out in the summer!