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Old July 15 2011, 06:59 AM   #62
Kirsten Beyer
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Location: Los Angeles
Re: Questions for Bring Back Janeway Panel

Again, from Melissa Davis...

Question 2: In the last few years, the three “concurrent” series, TNG, DS9, and VOY, have been intertwined in the novels to the point of being incestuous. These novels have also taken a continuing plot many years past the finales of the television programs, making it difficult for new or casual readers to brave picking up a single novel without worrying about the ones that came before. It also disappoints new readers who may have discovered Star Trek in reruns and want to see those characters in action who have been written out (like Janeway and, to a certain degree, Sisko). Do you think this timeline has become too unwieldy for readers and writers? How would you feel about writing stand alone Voyager books that ignored the other timeline? That is, would you be interested in writing a novel that ignored “Before Dishonor” and established a timeline in which Janeway is not assimilated?
For me, this is one of those "you can't please everybody" things. There have been periods of Trek publishing when all of the stories were stand-alone adventures, and periods when they were more deeply interconnected and every time you move too far in one direction there is outcry that the other direction would be far more interesting and should be explored. We happen, right now, to be in a more interconnected period and given the ease with which the various authors can and do interact with one another as they are crafting their stories, I truly enjoy the process.

Or I did, when I was a part of it. In Voyager's case, the interconnectedness ended with Full Circle. Once we move on to Unworthy and Children of the Storm we are no longer tied to the events in the Alpha Quadrant, which as best I understand it, have now actually progressed a year or more beyond where Voyager stands right now.

You are right that there is always a chance that a casual fan might pick one of these books up, glance at it, feel overwhelmed and lost, and put it back on the shelf. But there is also a chance that the same reader will glance at it, find it fascinating, and try and figure out what else they could read to really get the most out of it. By the same token, the same casual reader might pick up a more stand-alone novel that looks and feels just like an episode of the series and think "been there, done that...why bother."

Because there is no way to please every possible reader out there, we don't try. We choose a course, set the sails and move in a particular direction until it seems prudent to make a new choice. I don't know actual numbers, but my sense is that the population of those who read tie-in books at all tend to be pretty hard core fans of any given series and most of them have access to the internet resources that can easily bring them up to speed on the events of other novels whether they want to take the time to read them or not. It's not that we don't welcome casual readers. But they certainly don't make up the bulk of our audience.

For any reader new to a series who is interested in stories set during the run of the show, there are already dozens of those in existence and though they may not be avaiable on the book shelves, the vast majority are also available from Amazon and other online retailers and private sellers. In short, there really is something out there for everyone, even if it is not the newest books being published right now.

Personally, I don't find the new direction onerously intertwined or unweildy. I think it's cool. But that's me. I love small threads found in one story that are picked up in an entirely different book. I love making connections for myself, even when they aren't obvious. I love the care and attention to detail that is part of the current line.

As to writing parallel stories, no, the idea doesn't particularly appeal to me, but I'm not the only author working in Trek lit and there are probably some out there to whom it might appeal. There is nothing stopping the licensor or editors from exploring those stories, should their interest be piqued.

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