So, what's a STAR TREK writer doing dabbling in historical fiction?
Pretty good question. I've asked myself, and myself says there's a 3-part answer. PART 1: I'm best known (if I'm known at all) as a STAR TREK writer. The original TV show is what inspired me to try writing in the first place. When I sold a script to NBC's animated Saturday morning revival in 1974 (when I was a 19-year-old college junior), I reached my goal of becoming a professional writer (and, as far as I know, I was the youngest person to sell a script to any TV version of STAR TREK).
That led me into writing 7 STAR TREK novels, 65 STAR TREK comic books, and other science fiction. I like science fiction, and STAR TREK in particular hooked me when I was 12 with its optimistic view of the future. In a time of 1960s turmoil, the show offered hope that humans could learn from mistakes and become better. But now, 50 years later, I'm no longer that optimist. For all our technological advances, it seems to me human behavior actually regressed rather than improved. Examples: We're further away from Middle East peace than ever. And those who disregard science in a short-sighted scramble to boost corporate profits may be ruining the only home planet we have. PART 2: Several years ago, I stumbled across the Encore Western Channel on cable TV. Born in 1954, I grew up watching westerns long before STAR TREK came along. So I started re-watching old Westerns I barely remembered seeing as a kid, especially two of
the best -- MAVERICK and HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL. And I found I still enjoy Westerns. (That's me in cowboy gear, age 6.)
PART 3: I've always had an interest in history, both real and fictionalized. I love the PBS documentary series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and the many history documentaries from director Ken Burns. If there's a period drama on TV or in the movies, I'm there. So I got to thinking: If I'm no longer optimistic about the future (and can't bear the bleak thought of writing about a dystopian future), why not tell stories set in the past? Instead of extrapolating about the unknowable, why not look back for clues about how we got from then to now? And that's how I decided to try historical fiction. As I started researching mid-19th century life, I was struck by how little people have changed in 150 years. That was both a little depressing, and a little exciting -- I realized historical fiction opened the door to commenting on life today by exploring the past. That felt like it would be both fascinating and fun. So, here I am, with what I hope will be the first of several historical novels -- GALLOWAY'S GAMBLE, coming out from historical-fiction specialist FIVE STAR PUBLISHING in September 2017. More to come...