Double Trouble Author Interview: David Mack

Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups, edited by Jonathan Maberry & Keith R.A. DeCandido, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, is now funding on Kickstarter. The anthology features more than a dozen great tie-in writers teaming classic characters up.

We’ve already done several interviews

Here’s an interview with David Mack, who has paired two characters from classic literature: Prospero, the magician from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Don Quixote de la Mancha, the mad adventurer from the eponymous novel by Miguel Cervantes.

David Mack is the New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty-six novels of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure. His writing credits span several media, including television, games, and comic books. In June of 2022 the IAMTW honored him as a Grandmaster with its Faust Award.

What led you to choose the characters you’re using for your Double Trouble story?

My editors stressed the importance of being absolutely certain that the characters we chose for our stories were firmly in the public domain, not just in the United States but worldwide. I reasoned that characters from the early 17th century were probably safe to use everywhere.

As for why I chose these characters specifically? I’ve long been a fan of Miguel de Cervantes’s novel and character Don Quixote de la Mancha. As an example, in the Star Trek: Vanguard literary series I co-created, I named my down-on-his-luck, quixotic adventurer Cervantes Quinn, and I described his little smuggling vessel as a “Mancharan Starhopper.”

When I wondered who would be an interesting character for the bumbling knight Don Quixote to meet, I thought, “A classic fantasy pairs a knight and a wizard.” Then I remembered that Cervantes and Shakespeare were contemporaries, both writing in the first two decades of the 17th century. I’ve also long been a fan of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, so I quickly settled upon the notion of the magician Prospero, in need of aid, summoning help — and receiving Don Quixote as the hero he both needs and deserves.

What do you enjoy most about writing tie-in fiction?

The unfettered, raw power, and the breathless respect it engenders in every mortal soul.

I hope it was obvious that the preceding sentence was an utter lie.

One aspect of writing officially licensed media tie-ins that I find gratifying is being able to weave new stories for characters whose previous tales have entertained and/or inspired me. After vicariously sharing in their creators’ adventures, I get to take those fun imaginary friends on a journey of my own devising.

Best of all, sometimes these new odysseys help me learn something new about the characters by requiring me to spend more time imagining their respective points of view. When that happens, I find myself feeling closer to and more invested in the characters after I finish writing a story than I did before I began.

What’s your favorite licensed universe that you’ve written in during your career as a tie-in writer?

I’ve enjoyed all of the various properties for which I’ve been lucky enough to work during the past twenty-two years, including WolverineThe 4400Farscape, and especially 24.

That said, I’ve never made any secret of the fact that my first love in media has always been Star Trek — as one might surmise based on the fact that December 2022 will see the publication of my 30th full-length Star Trek novel.

While I aspire to write novels for a number of other well-known media properties — including Star WarsIndiana Jones007 James Bond, and Mission: Impossible — I hope to remain involved with writing Star Trek novels for the duration of my career.

What do you have that’s now out or coming out soon?

My most recently published work is Star Trek: Coda, Book III – Oblivion’s Gate, which was released last year, in November 2021.

Next up for me is another original Star Trek adventure, an Original Series/Vanguard crossover titled Harm’s Way. It will be released on December 13, 2022.

Harm’s Way is set in July 2266, which fits into the Original Series’s continuity about a month after the events of “Amok Time,” between the season-two episodes “The Doomsday Machine” and “Wolf in the Fold.” In relation to the Star Trek: Vanguard literary saga, it falls roughly in the middle of book five, Precipice.

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