INTERVIEW: David Mack Talks “Star Trek: Discovery” And His Tie-In Novel

This week Pocket Books released Star Trek: Section 31: Control, written by New York Times bestselling author David Mack. On Wednesday we put up the first part of our interview with Mack which focused on that book and how it tied into the Star Trek universe. In this second part of the interview we talk about what’s next for the author, including Desperate Hours, the first tie-in novel for the CBS All Access TV series Star Trek: Discovery, set to debut in early fall.

Shot from Star Trek: Discovery teaser

Writing the first Discovery tie-in novel I understand you recently completed your draft manuscript for the Discovery novel. In order for you to prepare your book, were you given full access to everything available, like the pilot script, show bible, ship and character designs, etc.?

David Mack: The writers’ room and production teams have shared with me as much as they reasonably can. I haven’t seen as much as the people on the show itself, of course, but I have been privy to quite a lot of behind the scenes material. They have also been very responsive to my requests for information, so that I can do my best to make sure the descriptions of people, places, and things in my book Desperate Hours will track with what eventually ends up on the screen for Discovery.

My two most vital contacts in that regard have been my good friends Kirsten Beyer, who is the show’s season one staff writer, and John Van Citters, from CBS Television Entertainment Licensing.

TM: Obviously you cannot give any spoilers, but, speaking just as a Star Trek fan, what’s your reaction to what you have seen so far from Discovery?

DM: Very impressed. The show’s going to look great, and there’s lots of high-octane fun packed into the two-part pilot. Also, from what I hear, everyone in the writers’ room and on the set is having a great time, and they are all keenly aware that they are becoming part of something with a long and venerable history. I think that if longtime Star Trek fans go into this with open minds they’ll find lots to love, and they and newer Star Trek fans alike are in for an amazing ride.

TM: Mike Johnson, who is writing the Discovery comic book tie-ins for IDW, tells TrekMovie that they “will be woven into the show.” Can you say anything about how the first novel will do the same? For example, is is set before, during, or after the pilot episode? Or is it a mix?

DM: I’m still not allowed to reveal anything specific about my book’s content or setting. All I can say, really, is that I developed it based on characters, dialogue, backstory, and situations in the upcoming series’ two-part pilot. If we’ve all done our jobs correctly, it should serve as an excellent companion piece to the two-part premiere.

EDITORS NOTE: Mack previously confirmed with TrekMovie that Desperate Hours will be available shortly after the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery.

Pre-production art showing exterior shots of the USS DIscovery

Glimpse of pre-production art from teaser trailer – Mack has been given access to ‘quite a lot’ to help him write first Star Trek: Discovery novel

What’s next for Mack

TM: What is your next Star Trek book after the Discovery book?

DM: Before I wrote the Discovery novel, I actually had finished a novel for Star Trek Titan. That book is titled Fortune of War, and it is scheduled for publication at the end of November 2017. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that Fortune of War is an action-thriller.

TM: Are there any plans or hopes for Trek books after the Discovery and the Titan books?

DM: I have no more Star Trek work under contract, and I don’t know when that might change. For the foreseeable future, I will be working on the story outlines and manuscripts for books two and three of my Dark Arts series for Tor Books, and preparing for the debut of book one, The Midnight Front, coming in February 2018. If all goes well, book two, The Iron Codex, and book three, Shadow Commission, will follow by the end of 2019.

Mack wrote the upcoming 9th novel in the Star Trek: Titan series, a follow-up to 2015’s Sight Unseen by James Swallow

Wants to return to Kelvin universe, even after previous books were pulled

TM: You and three other authors wrote books tied into the new Kelvin universe movies back in 2009. Those books were then shelved by Bad Robot and Paramount, and eventually four different young adult Starfleet Academy books were released, but nothing new in the last five years. Do you think we will see original adult novels tied into the movie series, and would you be interested in returning to that universe yourself even after that experience?

DM: The most truthful answer to the first part of your question is, “I have no idea.” It could happen. Never say never, after all. That said, I know of no plans for such a project at this time.

As for myself, I enjoyed writing one of the novels that got shelved in 2010. I thought it captured what was unique in tone and content about the Kelvin timeline versions of the characters and their story, and did something fun with them. If the powers that be decide to resurrect that book someday, I might need to tweak it a bit to make it fit with the movies’ continuity, but I still think the core story could work.

If the publisher worked out a deal to publish Kelvin Timeline novels and asked me to write a new one, I’d be glad to take on the gig. After all, that’s why they keep me around. <grin>

Mock cover for David Mack’s tie-in novel to the 2009 “Star Trek” movie , pulled from the schedule in 2010

Interview, part 1: Star Trek Section 31: Control

Check out part 1 of our interview with David Mack about his new book Star Trek Section 31: Control, out now and available at Amazon.

You can find David Mack online at or on Twitter @DavidAlanMack.

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