G & T Show SL – Best Selling Author David Mack
G & T Show SL – Best Selling Author David Mack is now available for downloading. Check it out here. This week, Nick and Mike and the pleasure to sit down with New York Times Best Selling Author: David Mack to discuss his career, his writing, his latest books, as well as a few projects he’s got on the horizon.
During introductions, Nick revealed that Terry was unable to join them this week. David Mack is staying busy, rolling from one manuscript into another.
Dave wishes he would get paid as quickly as he writes. He talks about the publishing industry and how contracts are laid out and payments are doled out. The first payment is issued upon signing of the contract. In original fiction, the second payment is usually upon manuscript acceptance by the editor; the third and final payment is most often made upon publication. In tie-in fiction, the second payment is sometimes (though not always) made upon approval of the outline, and the third and final payment tends to be made upon manuscript acceptance (though this payment schedule can and does vary from one publisher to another, and from one license to another, depending upon a wide variety of contractual details). Manuscript Acceptance isn’t always clear Usually, its after an editor has read it, and returned a long list of items that they and everyone involved in the process wants changed. After the changes have been made and are satisfied, it is only at that point that the manuscript is accepted and passed on to production.
He talks about the original trilogy he’s working on. It was a great deal on paper, but since it took him nearly a year to write the first book, he may not see the rest of his money until early 2017 and he still has two more books to write for the trilogy.
He only has one Trek novel on his schedule and he’s working on it now for it to be released in time for Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary. Star Trek: Legacies, which is due out in 2016. The rest of year will be spent researching and writing the other two books in his original trilogy. A lot of historical research is required since the stories take place in 1953 and 1963 respectively. Although he’ll be writing all of next year, he won’t have any real income. This is how writers have to live. Nick jokes that this is the reason why writers drink. Dave admits that he’s gotten to the point where he’s had to start applying for day jobs.
Nick recommends The Calling and admits to purchasing multiple copies and giving them out as Christmas gifts every year. The new series is called Dark Arts. The first book in the Dark Arts series is Midnight Front. It is currently with his Beta Readers, his agent, and editor, Marco Palmieri. Dave is pleased to be working with Marco once again, since they haven’t worked together since Marco moved on to Tor Books. The other books in the series are tentatively called the Iron Circle and the Shadow Commission.
Mike prompts Dave to reveal some of the details about this upcoming series. Dave shares that the new series is historical fantasy. It’s secret history, not alternate history. The first book, The Midnight Front, take place during World War II and spans the entire length of the war. It’s the longest manuscript he has written, clocking in at over 200,000 words. The Nazis were said to have an obsession with the occult; the book’s premise is that the Nazis were aided by a Renaissance-era black magician and his army of amateur sorcerers (aka “dabblers”), the Thule Society.
The Thule Society really existed, but Dave fictionalizes them for his story. He describes them as dabblers, amateur black magicians with a little ability and training, but far from the heavy hitters, who the story focuses on. The Thule Society is a small army for the these heavy hitters. The main character, Cade Martin, is an American studying at Oxford at the outbreak of the war. After trying and failing to enlist in the British army, he is recruited into a top-secret magickal warfare program called The Midnight Front, an initiative established by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The first book is the origin story for Cade and sets up the other two books. The future books will also focus on the seeds of fascism that were planted in the US after the war along with the continuing battles of these sorcerers. The tagline of the series is that the war never ends and that you can never become complacent — the best that can be expected is to just hold the line.
The first book is expected to be due out in early 2017. Marco is going over the first book and should have the first round of notes by November the latest. Depending on how extensive the notes are will determine how long it will take him to rewrite. They were hoping to have the book out by the fall of 2016, but with the length of the manuscript, they didn’t want to push it, if it needed a lot of work. Dave talks about the length and how there is probably little they can do to cut it down, since Dave is pretty tight in his plotting and cut out a lot during the writing process.
Mike asked if this was Dave’s first foray into Fantasy. It was not. The Calling was a fantasy story that he had hoped to launch into a series, but it didn’t work. There were a lot of things that went wrong with the book. Marco leaving for Tor Books with the economic meltdown in 2008, and leaving the book without an acquiring editor, who champions the book throughout the production and publication. His replacement was going to focus on the books she acquired rather than focusing on the efforts of her predecessor. Borders Books shut down around the same time, which also hit the industry hard. They have since recovered, but at the time it was the killing blow for the book series. He’s tried to pitch a couple of sequels, but they weren’t interested at the time. He’s even tried to get the rights back for the book, but has as of yet, been unsuccessful. Dave goes on to say, that if you’ve read The Calling, and are an eagle-eyed reader, you may notice some similarities between that book and the new Dark Arts trilogy. He even goes on to suggest that they could very well take place within the same universe, but he is unable to confirm or deny it at this time. Nick intends to re-read it again prior to the release of the new series.
Dave explains that The Calling has been optioned for television twice, but it never made it to pilot. The first time a smaller producer that was passionate about it wasn’t able to pull the project together. The second time, Millar Gough (Smallville) couldn’t convince Sony to finance a pilot. Nick asks some casting questions. Dave offers a few suggestions. Dave mentions that he wrote a feature-film screenplay adaptation of it.
Nick mentions Vanguard. They talk about it for a few minutes. They had a great time working on the story. Marco had asked him to write the first book but also to flesh out the series bible. Dave was impressed that Marco had trusted him, a writer he had not worked with at the time, to undertake such a monumental task. Mike mentions that some of their listeners are currently reading Vanguard. Dave shares that people are still emailing him about some of his older books, and talks about an email he received regarding Declassified. He was gratified to hear about readers that get emotionally attached to something he’s written. Since then, Dave, Dayton, and Kevin have gotten the band back together for Seekers.
The third book in the series, his second installment, Seekers 4: Long Shot is currently available and Dayton’s book, Seekers 4: All That’s Left, will be out by the end of October. They had plotted out 6 story seeds, but with his current story commitments and with Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, he doesn’t know when the next Seeker story will be written. Right now, Simon and Schuster will be releasing mostly TOS stories in honor of the anniversary, rather than focus on spin off works, such as Seekers. Because his Star Trek contract specifies one more unnamed Star Trek novel, they decided to have him work on the higher priority Legacies trilogy, since he helped Greg Cox and Dayton Ward put together the pitch for the series, rather than write another Section 31 or Seekers book. He hopes to return to Star Trek with another Seekers, Section 31, and other books that would once again shake up the universe once he’s completed his work on Dark Arts. He praises the other authors that are working on Star Trek novels, including: John Jackson Miller, Kirsten Beyer, Jeffrey Lang, James Swallow, David R. George, Bill Leisner, Dayton, and so many others.
Nick asks about Dave’s latest book 24: Rogue. Dave shares the story of how the novel came about. Tor wanted the book by September and after some negotiations with some heavy financial incentives he rushed through the process and got the book written in time for the September delivery. However, they took their time by that point to approve the story. He had fun with the book, which take place between Season 8 and Live Another Day. He provides a quick run down of the story.
Mike asks about his tie-in bucket list. 24 was on that list. Dave would love to write for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and James Bond. Nick asks what era the Indiana Jones story would take place. It could be pre-Raiders or post-Raiders and before the Last Crusade. A World War II story would be interesting. They talk about some options for the Indiana Jones book.
Nick asks about some of Dave’s upcoming convention appearances. He will have two appearances at New York conventions, where he hopes to be signing for both Simon and Schuester as well as Tor Books. Then, he will be making an appearance at World Fantasy Con. He will be in one panel and sitting in on others. He’s hoping to network with people in that community. Nick mentions Janice and thanks Dave for showing her a good time. They are all pleased that Shore Leave and STLV will not be conflicting with each other, nor with San Diego Comic Con. Dave is hoping to attend two or all three of the conventions. He’s hoping to make a lot of convention appearances next year.
Mike’s final question is in regards to Legacies. He knows that there’s probably not a lot that he can reveal about the series, since Dave’s book is in the center of the trilogy, but he still asks if there is anything he can reveal about the series. Legacies is a three book series. The first book will be written by Greg Cox (Captain to Captain), Dave jumps in with book two (Best Defense), and Kevin and Dayton will conclude the series with Purgatory’s Key. They are standalone stories with a thread running through them all. He compares it loosely to Cold Equations. It’s paying homage to The Original Series and its genesis. It will feature the original crew, but will also feature some of their Enterprise predecessors. It will have easter eggs and nods to other episodes in the series, the animated series, and other Star Trek novels originally published in the 80s. But, it’s focus will be very specific. He thinks it will be a fun adventure that captures the spirit of Star Trek.
Nick has a pair of questions. The first question is which character Dave would like to write if he could write for any comic book Super hero, since Dave has written for Wolverine once before. He considers his options, but in the ends takes a pass.
Then, Nick preempts his next question by stating that it could cross any genre he wishes and posses the question that Dave is putting together a five man team for a Suicide Squad. Who would he select? Dave chooses Superman, Wolverine, Kirk, Bond, and Indiana Jones. Nick shares his five people, which included the villain Hans Grubber from Die Hard. Dave agrees that having a villain in the mix would be good and includes Lex Luther. Dave pokes at Nick’s choice of Hans Grubber.
Nick finally asks if there is anything Dave would like to add. Anyone looking to know what Dave is up, they can follow him on his website. The website has been revamped. Nick loves the header image. Dave tells us about the image, including the fun fact that it was originally meant to represent a scene from The Midnight Front, but actually never appeared in the story. He may commission new header images created for the second and third books of the trilogy. Nick mentions jumping into Normandy for the anniversary and talks about it briefly. It was one of his fondest memories of doing it with his grandfather’s patch.
Dave will be appearing next at New York Comic Con. Dave is too focused on writing and making sure he gets paid and doesn’t pay attention to various sporting events. Dave mentions once again that he may need to find a day job. Nick finds it interesting and something that aspiring writers should be aware of. Dave explains that there are perhaps a dozen writers in the science fiction and fantasy field that are able to completely sustain themselves with their writing careers. It’s a rare thing. The rest of them struggle to keep writing.
Mike and Nick thank him for taking the time to sit down with them and hopes that money finds him soon. Dave jokes that he’s pretty easy to find and hopes that money is looking for him. They talk about Terry and their hope that he will be able to attend Las Vegas. They hope Creation is listening and will bring David Mack to the convention. Nick wants Mack and Cox. With that, they conclude this week’s interview with David Mack.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.