“I was 12 years old and already a “lifelong” fan of Captain Kirk’s adventures when Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiered in theaters. That was also when I read the Pocket Books novelization for the first time. As a kid in 1979, the idea that I might one day be talking to people about my own Star Trek writing wasn’t even a glimmer of a dream in my eye.”But the dream did eventually take hold, with Dayton making several stumbling forays into fan fiction before screwing up enough courage to enter the first Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contest in 1997.
“You can thank my friend Deb Simpson for that. If not for her, I doubt I would have tried to enter the contest on my own. At least, not at that point in time.”
Success with the first contest was soon followed with stories being selected for the second and third anthologies before John Ordover offered him the chance to write a full-length Star Trek novel.
“It took me a long time, maybe two whole heartbeats, to accept the offer.”
The result was In the Name of Honor, an Original Series tale that immerses Captain Kirk in a Klingon Empire that finds itself in the midst of change on both political and ethical levels.
“Readers have really responded positively to the book, more so than I had any right to expect or even hope for. It’s been a huge confidence boost for me, as I tend to be extremely critical of anything I do, especially when it comes to my writing. Getting the chance to write a Star Trek novel is the dream of many fans, so I felt obligated to treat the project with the respect and work ethic that I’d like to think any other dedicated fan would bring to a similar opportunity.”
Dayton has also contributed to the growing line of Star Trek: S.C.E. adventures with co-writer Kevin Dilmore. So far the pair have written the 2-part Interphase and are currently working on the 3-part Foundations, which traces the current incarnation of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers back to its roots in the era of the Original Series. In addition to other S.C.E. tales, Dayton and Kevin are also planning other writing ventures even as Dayton himself continues to pursue solo projects. He asks readers to be on the lookout for The Last World War, an original science fiction tale and Dayton’s second novel, sometime in 2003. But will he be writing more Star Trek novels?
“Absolutely, if the opportunity comes along. People ask me if I’d consider writing a Deep Space Nine novel or a Voyager book and I always answer ‘Sure, if I had a story I wanted to tell and I thought it would be told best with those particular characters.’ Though the Original Series is still my favorite, I see the entire Star Trek universe as a vast tapestry, with countless opportunities for storytelling. Additionally, Star Trek’s fans are among the most vocal, loyal, and ultimately supportive sects of fandom I’ve ever experienced. That seems to go double for the readers of Star Trek books. To be responsible for something they enjoy reading brings me a satisfaction I’ve not found anywhere else.”