Sunday 8 January 2012

Sarah Shaw is David Mack

So here's a cool little story that surfaced on the TrekBBS about a month ago, and I just found out about. It turns out David Mack was signed up for two of the novels in the first two Mirror Universe anthologies, so wrote one of them, Saturn's Children, under a pseudonym, Sarah Shaw. Here's the story in the words of Mr Mack:
It was a simple miscommunication between the editors, Marco Palmieri and Margaret Clark, during the planning of the first two anthologies. Margaret was editing and acquiring stories for Glass Empires, and Marco was in charge of Obsidian Alliances.

Marco contacted me first and offered me the chance to write the DS9 story in Obsidian Alliances, and I accepted immediately. Not long afterward, I was contacted by Margaret, who asked me to write the rise and fall of Spock's reign for Glass Empires. In need of paying work, I accepted that offer, as well.

It was only after I'd committed to both gigs, and my agent had brokered the deals, that the editors conferred and realized what they'd done. I won't say which one had dibs and which one messed up, but they were concerned about having my name on stories in both anthologies for a couple of reasons:

1. They were worried that other writers would be ticked off that i got two bites at the apple when some of them didn't get to play; and

2. They were concerned the fans might be upset at a lack of authorial variety.

At the same time, they couldn't just rescind an offer that had already been made to my agent, so it was decided to have me write one of the two stories under pseudonym. I was given the choice of which story I wanted to write as David Mack and which under pseudonym. I am proud of both stories, and was bummed I couldn't immediately accept credit (or blame) for both, but I eventually decided that The Sorrows of Empire was a bit closer to my heart.

Funny thing about writing under a pseudonym. It freed me up, in a sense, to approach Saturn's Children with a different style. I wrote it much more quickly than I normally do, and by imagining I was a different author I ended up working from a different mindset. It was an intriguing experience.

After the books came out, I had to stay mum about the pseudonym because both editors were still acquiring stories for Star Trek. Now that Marco and Margaret have both moved on (against their will, but that's neither here nor there), I saw no reason to maintain the pretense.
Which means David Mack has a story in every book of the Mirror Universe series, plus writing Warpath, which kicked off the mirror universe arc in the DS9 novels.

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