Double Trouble Author Interview: Dayton Ward

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 Dayton Ward, who is pairing two characters from 1940s comics: Captain Battle and Blackout.

Dayton Ward is a New York Times best-selling author or co-author of more than forty novels and novellas, often working with his best friend, Kevin Dilmore. His short fiction has appeared in more than twenty anthologies, and he’s written for magazines such as NCO JournalKansas City VoicesFamous Monsters of FilmlandStar Trek, and Star Trek Communicator as well as the websites,, and

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

When I started researching Public Domain characters so I could pitch to the anthology’s editors, I wanted to do something set during or shortly after World War I. I’d just gotten off a binge-watch of HBO’s Perry Mason reboot series and in that show Mason is a veteran of the Great War. I happened across Captain Battle during my research, who was described as such a veteran, wounded during that conflict and who later decides he’s going to do whatever he can to stop further wars. In the original comics in which he first appears—published before the attack on Pearl Harbor—he’s trying to avert another world war. The comics depict him fighting the Nazis, so I wondered what he might do once the war in Europe was over. Researching Captain Battle brought me to Blackout, a character who obtains superpowers after an accident. Despite appearing in two different issues of Captain Battle, Blackout and Battle never meet, so I figured now’s as good a time as any.

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

Most of the time, it’s like getting another chance to dig back into my childhood toybox. When I was a kid, I made up stories while pitting my various action figures against one another. I basically do the same thing now, only I use words instead of action figures to create my stories.

(Okay, I might still do the action figure thing every so often.)

Basically, writing a tie-in is an opportunity to run around on someone else’s playground, and if you’re lucky you get to stitch a new square into that property’s ever-expanding quilt of stories that fans love the same way they enjoy their favorite TV episodes or films.

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

I’ve been a Trekkie my entire life, and I’ve been very fortunate to write a good number of Star Trek stories, so it’s easily my favorite. That said, I was absolutely giddy when I got the chance to write story tying into Planet of the Apes. That’s another series of films and TV shows that contributed to my 1970s childhood jam, along with Space: 1999 and The Six Million Dollar Man, two other properties for which I’d love to write if opportunity ever presented itself.

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

My most recent publication is Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook from Insight Editions. It’s a collaboration with food stylist Elena P. Craig. She wrote all the recipes while I wrote all the background and “flavor text” about the Jurassic World resort and dinosaurs from an in-world perspective. It was a change of pace for me, but a great deal of fun.

Follow Dayton online: