S.D. Perry has been writing novelizations and media tie ins for about 7 years. Thanks to her experience in that field, she was brought onboard as one of the new Deep Space Nine writers. She has been tasked to pick up where the series left off in order to take the storyline (and us) in a brand new direction.
Danelle is the author of the short story Sins of the Mother and Allegro Ouroboros in D minor found in the anthology book The Lives of Dax. Avatar will be Danelle’s first (and second) Star Trek book. She will also be writing the Original Series Section 31 book due out June of 2001.
I would like to (again) thank Danelle for the opportunity to conduct this interview. As a DS9 fan, I am really excited and await with great anticipation the continuation of the Deep Space Nine saga, even if it is only in print…
LCARSComNet: First, give us a little background about yourself and your feelings about Star Trek.
S. D. Perry: I’m 30 and married with two dogs, your typical GenX type, and I’ve written full time – media tie ins and novelizations, mostly – for about 7 years. Except for a few months of inventory service in there somewhere… I got into writing because my father’s a writer (and a durn good one), and he threw me some work, and I’ve been doing it ever since. My feelings about Star Trek? I respect it, as an integral part of our society. It’s an entertainment phenomena, like the Beatles, or Star Wars, and there’s an amazing amount of talent associated with every form the show has taken. I also have warm childhood memories of Kirk and Spock.
LCN: Which is your favorite Trek series?
SDP: The original, all the way – although working in the DS9 arena has been fun. There’s a lot more dimension, as far as running plot lines… though that’s as a writer, rather than as a viewer. As a viewer, nothing beats Kirk and Spock and McCoy, for me. There were a lot of big names doing scripts, and they were so original for television, for their time. There’s a camp appeal, definitely, but also some very clean, very risky writing.
LCN: And your favorite character?
SDP: Hmm. To write for, one of the new characters – who shall remain nameless at this juncture of my career, I’m supposed to keep hush. To watch for acting, a three way tie, Garak, Quark, and Weyoun. Most interesting, probably Garak – has his (Andrew Robinson’s) book come out yet? I got to see an early copy, and it’s total genius, seriously, and no ghost writer. He adds new dimension to a very unusual character. For pure animal magnetism, Mr. Spock. No, I’m not kidding, but you can’t blackmail me ’cause my husband already knows. Mr. Spock was a hottie.
LCN: Are you a DS9 fan?
SDP: Yes. I didn’t start watching ’til about year four, but I got caught up pretty fast on reruns. Thank heavens my local UPN station ran the hell out of ’em. Several of the second season episodes have continued to elude me, though.
LCN: How long have you been one?
SDP: Since I started watching regularly. Three, three and a half years?
LCN: How were you brought onboard for the writing of the two DS9 Avatar books?
SDP: A brilliant editor – aka Madman Marco Palmieri – at Pocketbooks liked me when I did a series of video game novelizations for them. When he started editing DS9, he asked me to try out writing a short story for the Dax anthology. I did, he liked, and we started talking about books.
LCN: What is the premise of Avatar, books one and two?
SDP: Since I’m currently in the midst of rewrites, I’m also currently too insane to comment. There’s lots of stuff going on, a lot of character development and positioning, and what I hope will be a couple of surprises. Trust me, if I can pull it off, it’s going to be a nice, complex read (wish me luck! If I don’t pull it off, then I’ve just made a total ass of myself). It reestablishes DS9 characters in the aftermath of the Dominion War, and according to my editor, it also sets up a new creative direction for the novels. Since mine are the first to pick up where the series left off, I don’t think I’m qualified to comment on direction… but from what I hear, the writers of the next several are kicking butt. How’s all that for side-stepping?
LCN: According to Websters, the definition of “Avatar” is “Incarnation; manifestation as an object of worship or admiration.” How does this apply to the two books?
SDP: The definition I was using from my dictionary was something like ‘any incarnation or embodiment.’ Though everyone knows that Kas (Kasady Yates) is pregnant, right? That’s a total hint.
LCN: Can you give us any tidbits about the background on the character of Commander Elias Vaughn? And what does it mean by “One hundred years of intrigue and battle almost destroyed him” (as seen on the promotional image of the new captain of the USS Defiant)?
SDP: Wow, them’s some strong words, I don’t know that I would have said destroyed… emotionally, maybe. Let me say that Vaughn’s been around for awhile, and he’s been working for Starfleet for much of his adult life. Since humans live to be about 150 in this era of ST, a man in his late 90s, early 100s might make a very smart, very experienced character, with a lot of interesting, classified memories. When we meet him in Avatar, he’s at something of a crossroad in his life and his career. He grows.
LCN: Can you tell us anything about the three other new characters?
SDP: Actually, no. I’m pretty much a dork about stuff like book promoting and leaking info and spoilers, but “Don’t talk about the new characters,” is pretty clear. I think Pocket is hoping to lure some people in by being a little mysterious, but I think they’ll be worth it. Hope so, anyway; that’s up to the readers to decide.
LCN: Who came up with the new characters?
SDP: Don’t know. There’s a lot of collaborative stuff going on with Star Trek that’s totally out of my sphere, though I’m pretty sure my editor had something to do with them. Marco’s a total Star Trek guy, very sharp, very much a director-with-a-vision.
LCN: Where do you see the DS9 book series going (storyline wise)?
SDP: Don’t know that, either. Going up and out, I hope. I know that one of the selling points for me was that Pocket has urged more freedom to take risks. I have a couple of my scenes in mind that are definitely new territory … I don’t know if they’ll be approved, but the fact that I was even asked to do them at all suggests a future of risk-taking.
LCN: Was the subject of Sisko coming back brought up?
SDP: I won’t tell, you’ll never take me alive, man overboard. Can’t say.
LCN: How about Bajor’s entrance into the Federation?
SDP: I think it’s inevitable, and I think Marco’s planning for it somewhere down the line.
LCN: Wasn’t Avatar (books one and two) originally supposed to come out as a hardback?
SDP: No, it was always planned as two paperbacks.
LCN: After Avatar, do you have any more Trek books in the works?
SDP: Yeah, I’m actually moving straight from these into an original series, stand alone novel called Cloak. Marco planned a book for each crew revolving around the Section 31 guys, the alleged dark Federation underbelly, and I was lucky enough to get the original bunch. I’m psyched. We’ve also talked a little about future projects, but I think a lot depends on the fans’ reactions to Avatar. Star Trek fans are a seriously discriminating group, and although I’m not the sharpest neat-tech-stuff writer, I really want to do justice to the characters as emotional, real people, and I hope that translates.
LCN: I’m sure it will. Thank you again for this interview. I, along with the other DS9 fans appreciate these insights and look forward to Avatar’s coming out in May.
Avatar Book I Back of the Book Description:
Return to the Edge of the Final Frontier.
In the aftermath of a war that brought the Alpha Quadrant to the brink of destruction, Starbase Deep Space 9–the galaxy’s nexus of scientific and military intrigue–is once more the flashpoint of impending Armageddon as a surprise attack cripples the station, killing hundreds and threatening the fragile new peace.
Colonel Kira Nerys and the survivors–together with several controversial new officers–are all who stand against the outbreak of a new war and a terrible doom tied to the unborn child of Captain Benjamin Sisko.
Elsewhere, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise make a startling discovery–one that will affect the destiny of an entire civilization and forever change the lives of those aboard Deep Space 9.
A bold new beginning for one of the most compelling Star Trek sagas of all.
Avatar Book II Back of the Book Description:
Return to the Edge of the Final Frontier.
As the Federation prepares to launch a counterstrike against the Dominion, Colonel Kira Nerys searches for a way to prevent another galactic holocaust. But when a newly discovered prophecy propels Jake Sisko on an impossible quest and threatens to plunge all of Bajor into chaos, Kira is forced to choose between being true to her faith… and being true to her herself.
Meanwhile, as the combined crews of Deep Space 9 and the Starship Enterprise struggle to stop a terrorist plot to destroy the station and the ship, lives change, new friendships are forged, and the shocking truth behind a grisly murder is revealed.
The astonishing renewal of the epic adventure.