This is an edited version of an email Q&A, with questions submitted by readers.
It was recently confirmed that the planned “Zar trilogy” – which would have been the third, fourth, and fifth books of The Yesterday Saga, after Yesterday’s Son and Time for Yesterday – would not be going ahead. Are you able to say how much work had been done on them?
The first book is finished, and is titled Return to Yesterday. I’ve let some friends read it. They told me it was good, very much in keeping with the first two Zar books.
Is there anything more you can tell us about Books Three to Five now that they’ve been cancelled? Such as the reason for said cancellation?
During late 2002, 2003, and 2004, I was quite ill. My editor, John Ordover, knew that I was not feeling well and was falling behind, and granted me an extension. When my health improved, I started in on Return to Yesterday, which I wrote, completed, and submitted. However, by the time the completed book was submitted, my extension had run out. Return to Yesterday was turned in a couple months late. John Ordover had left by that time. The new editor I was assigned did not like the book I submitted. I offered to make revisions, but they said it could not be revised enough to be acceptable. So they rejected the book, and then cancelled the trilogy.
Do you have any plans to return to Star Trek in the future? If not, would you be interested in doing so?
As far as I know, I would not be permitted to submit any books to Pocket Books or Simon & Schuster in the future.
[After this Q&A was originally posted online, Pocket Books editor Marco Palmieri responded to Ann’s account of the trilogy cancellation with the following comments: “Although I consider the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of Ann’s trilogy a private matter, I’d like to caution everyone against accepting this account as accurate. Pocket does not maintain a blacklist. The very notion is absurd.”]
Would you ever consider a follow-up to Sarek?
I actually wrote a sequel to Sarek as a graphic novel entitled Enter the Wolves. It’s available via Amazon.com. I wrote it with Howard Weinstein, a longtime friend and experienced comic book writer. Sarek the book is easily available, and has recently been reprinted along with Spock’s World in a volume called Sand and Stars.
Do you feel that the two books being packaged together in Sand and Stars will add to the story of either book?
I think it’s just a way to get more sales. I hope people who have old, beat up copies of Spock’s World and Sarek will take the opportunity to get a nice, new copy of the book. [smile]
How long did it take to write Sarek? Was there a lot of pressure?
I don’t remember how long it took. It was a long time ago. Probably close to a year. It’s a fairly long book. I was nervous because Paramount and Pocket decided that Amanda should die in my book. I didn’t know if fans would be mad at me for killing her off, but nobody ever seemed to feel that way. I did my best to write feelingly about her death.
Did you have any meetings with Mark Lenard while writing Sarek?
I knew Mark Lenard for many years, and I discussed Sarek with him, before and during the writing of the book.
What was the most interesting part of developing Sarek’s character?
Reconciling the Sarek we saw in the television episode with the Sarek we saw in the films. Showing a character’s growth and change over a period of many years is a challenge.
Even after he was featured in the Original Series episode Operation: Annihilate, we still didn’t have a feel for Peter Kirk’s character. Did you find this a positive or a negative when writing for him?
It left me free to create the character without any canon guidelines. It was fun.
What did Valdyr say to Peter when they were kissing? What do you say to a Klingon when you make love?!
I think I looked up the phrase in the Klingon Dictionary for “Don’t stop!”. But it was so long ago, I’m not sure.
What inspired you to make humorous references to things like, for example, Balance of Terror‘s Romulan commander in Sarek?
I know from experience that Star Trek fans love it when authors do “retroactive canon” – that is, explaining something in Star Trek that seems to violate established canon. If you can invent something clever and creative to explain one of the show’s seeming “boo boos”, fans think that’s great.
Sarek certainly wove together many episodes and movies: Journey to Babel, Operation: Annihilate, The Undiscovered Country, Unification, Yesteryear, etc. Did this present any special writing challenges?
Sarek was a complicated book to plot and write. It was the most difficult Star Trek book that I wrote, as I recall.
Where did you get the ideas for all of the Vulcan customs and traditions that appear in Sarek – were any of thembased on old Earth traditions, or are they completely new?
I spent a lot of time thinking about Vulcan, making notes and imagining how the Vulcan history went. I incorporated some of that into Sarek. Much more of it went into Return to Yesterday.
Do you enjoy writing about Vulcans more than other cultures?
Yes, I loved writing about Vulcans. I was a Spock fan from the very first time I saw Star Trek. (The first episode I watched was What Are Little Girls Made Of?)
What fascinates you most about them?
I love the fact that Vulcans are logical and controlled 99% of the time. It’s that 1% of the time that we sense simmering beneath the surface that is really fun to try and hint at in a book.
Did you rewatch the Animated Series episode Yesteryear before writing the Yesterday books?
Oh, yes. More than once.
Have you watched the recent Vulcan storyline on Enterprise? Given that the new Yesterday trilogy was supposed to involve Surak and early Vulcan history, would it have conflicted much with what’s now been established?
I don’t know, I didn’t see those episodes, and it’s a moot point, now.
What about the show’s recent development of Vulcans and, more specifically, T’Pau?
I haven’t watched Enterprise since the first season. I was utterly disgusted by how the Vulcans were portrayed on the show, as lying, petty, emotional people who seemed determine to keep humans down. ICK!
Do you enjoy writing the Star Wars books, and how different is it to write about those than Trek books?
I did enjoy writing the Han Solo trilogy. It’s more complicated to write the Star Wars books, in some ways, because the Star Wars books are treated like canon, and you can’t violate canon that another author has created.
I might return to Star Wars at some point after the second film trilogy is completed. The Star Wars department liked my work and was interested in having me possibly write Princess Leia’s backstory. Time will tell…
I will have a new book out in 2005. It’s called Storms of Destiny, and is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy published by HarperCollins.
Sand and Stars was released by Pocket Books in December 2004.