("V" novel author)
A.C. Crispin's most famous
genre work was writing the 1984 novelization of the
television miniseries V. She
went on to collaborate on two more books in the V
series, East Coast Crisis with
Howard Weinstein, and Death Tide
with Deborah Marshall.
A.C. Crispin is the author
of the bestselling Star Wars novels The Paradise
Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and
Rebel Dawn. She's also written four
top-selling Star Trek novels: Yesterday's Son,
Time for Yesterday,
The Eyes of the Beholders and
A.C's newest release is
Pirates of the Caribbean: THE PRICE OF
GO GET IT NOW!
JUNE 24, 2011 -
Exclusive Interview with A.C. Crispin, author of several "V" novels!
IR: What's the "C" stand for in A.C. Crispin?
Why did you choose to use "A.C. Crispin" as your pen name instead of
AC: The “C”
stands for “Carol,” my middle name. I chose to use my initials as part
of my writing name as an homage to two of my favorite writers in my
genre: C.J. Cherryh and C.L. Moore. I wasn’t trying to hide that I’m a
woman, though that’s what people tend to presume. I just liked using my
initials because it reminded me of the work of those two authors I’d
enjoyed so much.
IR: You studied English, English Lit, Drama and Anthropology at the
University of MD. Which of the four subjects interested you the MOST at
the time, and why? Have you done any anthropology digs? If so, where and
what is one story you'd like to share regarding a dig?
AC: Anything I
studied, I studied because I was very interested in it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the scientific/math background to study
archeology/anthropology as a primary subject, just as potential minor,
but I really enjoyed those courses. I have been to several “digs” and
watched as they worked. I researched archeology for a s.f. murder
mystery I wrote titled Serpent’s Gift, and the archeologists down at St.
Mary’s City, in Southern MD were very helpful to me in helping me
extrapolate about archeology on alien planets in the future.
My time in
the theater department helped me a lot in being able to address
audiences, and do dramatic readings from my own books over the years.
course, studying the way classics were written and “put together” as
stories helped me greatly when I began writing my own books.
IR: You married Michael Capobianco in 2001. Where did you meet and how
did you know he was the one for you? Were you previously married?
AC: I met
Michael at a Balticon on April 18, 1992. We were both Officers of the
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, so we talked about the
organization. I had been married previously to my son’s dad, but that
marriage was ending. After my divorce, Michael and I started seeing
each other, and in 2001, we got married. He’d been married before, too,
so I guess we were both pretty cautious about taking that big step
again. But it turned out to be the right step.
IR: You have a son. How does he handle a famous mom?
AC: Well, I’m
not “famous” by any means. But I think my son enjoyed growing up with a
mom who took as much interest in going to see Star Wars and The Lord of
the Rings and other genre films as he did. I’ve traveled quite a bit in
the course of going to science fiction and fantasy conventions, and I
took my son with me after he was old enough to enjoy the experience. He
got to meet a lot of the Star Trek actors, such as Patrick Stewart. He
went to a lot of Dragon*Cons, and met celebrities there, too. I don’t
know if he ever met any of the actors from V, but he certainly watched
and enjoyed the miniseries when he was old enough to see it.
IR: What's your first memory of writing something ... ANYTHING?
AC: When I was
really little, maybe second grade or third grade, I wrote and
illustrated a book titled “Judy and the Wild Horses” about a girl who
captures and tames a wild horse out West. I used to write for my own
amusement long before I ever thought about writing for publication.
IR: How did you get involved in science
AC: I read
science fiction from the time I was eight or nine years old, and when I
was in my teens, I tried my hand at writing some of it. I wrote a
book-length Star Trek story. Thank goodness it’s long lost, because it
was understandably terrible. But I had so much fun writing it that I
kept finding excuses to write other stories, and they tended to have
some kind of science fiction or fantasy element in them.
When I was
in my late 20’s, I decided to write a Star Trek novel for real this
time. I read all the books in the series, and decided I could do one.
So I started writing. I finished the book in 1979, and three years
later, Pocket Books made me an offer to publish it. It was called
Yesterday’s Son. I had worked on a number of other books by then, but
my next published book after Yesterday’s Son came out was the
novelization of V. That was in 1984.
IR: You are the most amazing writer. When I read your books, I am GLUED
to the pages. What sets your books apart from others?
AC: If I have a strength that not every
published writer shares, it’s that I am a good mimic. I can listen to a
character from a popular television series or film and, if I work at it,
I can write dialogue for that character that sounds authentic to the
As for other writing skills, I try my best
to be a “transparent” writer – one who stands out of the way and lets
the story just roll. I try to keep the “fancy stuff” to a minimum, and
just let the reader’s imagination take over, and start creating a film
in their head, as they read what I’ve written. When a writer can do
that, she’s really a storyteller, which is what I aspire to be. It’s a
time-honored and honorable profession.
IR: Your latest book, The Price of Freedom, was just released. What
structure do you go through to write your books? ie outline, research
... you use characters created by others. Do you talk to the characters'
creators to get a feel for the character? How do you make the character
identical to the TV/movie .
AC: I was
selected to write the prequel to Pirates of the Caribbean because the
editors at Disney Editions thought I’d done a good job with another
“loveable rogue” – Han Solo. So they wanted me to write Captain Jack
Sparrow’s “backstory.” I loved the POTC films, so I was glad to get
that task. I had to do the most research I’ve ever done on any project,
even more than what I do on my own original novels. This was because
Disney instructed me, where it didn’t conflict with Pirates of the
Caribbean “canon” to be historically and nautically accurate.
films are NOT historically or nautically accurate, by any means, but I
had to do major research into a number of subjects to write Pirates of
the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom. I had to research (1) how to sail
a square rigger, (2) what life was like on land and sea in the early 18th
century, (3) ancient Egypt and Kush, and how the Two Lands interacted in
ancient times, (4) slavery and the slave trade, and the West Coast of
Africa in the early 1700’s (5) pirates, and how they lived and died.
subjects – there was only ONE scene in the book that I wrote that I
didn’t have to look at least one thing up. (That was a scene involving
Jack and a horse, and I’ve had horses most of my life.)
who want to sample The Price of Freedom can do so by going to my website
and reading the excerpts there.
I hope people who read the book and like it will let their friends know
about it. Word of mouth is the best way to publicize a book, in the
IR: What's your next project? Book or non-book
AC: I’m in the
early stages of working on a Young Adult science fiction novel. I’ve
been having to spend a lot of time promoting The Price of Freedom, so I
haven’t written much on it yet. I’m still working on the world-building
for the new book. When I’m ready to talk about it, I’ll post about it
on my blog:
click the link to “ACCess,” my blog.
IR: How easy or difficult is it to
collaborate with other authors, as you did in some previous novels? Why
DID you collaborate? Tell us about your working with Howard Weinstein
and Deb Marshall.
Collaboration isn’t too difficult, as long as each author gives 110% of
their effort to the project. I wrote V: East Coast Crisis with Howard
Weinstein because the deadline to turn in my second V book was so short,
and I was still doing promotion for the first V…the novelization of the
miniseries. Also, the East Coast Crisis book was supposed to feature
how the Visitors suborned the US Government in Washington, DC, AND how
they took over at the UN in New York. I live in the Washington, DC
area, so I could handle much of the DC stuff, but I’m not a native New
Yorker, and Howard Weinstein was. I knew Howie could handle plotting
and locations in New York City, as I could not. So I asked him if he’d
like to collaborate with me, and he said “sure!”
It took us
about three days to plot the book and then we both worked on writing it,
draft by draft. I think we did about four drafts to get everything
right. It was a fun project, and we finished it on time, thank
Death Tide, I knew they wanted another V novel from me, and when I was
in LA for the World Science Fiction convention, my friend Debby Marshall
and I were traveling around, going to the World Science Fiction
Convention, and seeing some of Los Angeles. We also decided to visit
Catalina Island. While we were there, we took a boat tour around the
island, and heard the biologist talking about the kelp beds there. We
thought that was a fascinating topic, and it was such a delicately
balanced ecology. Debby and I discussed the possibility of trying to
write a teleplay based on the Visitors messing with the ecology of the
kelp beds, but then we decided it would work better as a novel, so we
pitched it, and the book was accepted. We really had a good time
writing it. It was also fun to link characters between Death Tide and
East Coast Crisis.
IR: What can "V" fans do to get a new book
series created? How can we request you as author?
owns the rights to V, as far as I know. I suppose you’d have to find
out who is in charge of the franchise department for Warner, and pitch
the idea of books to him or her. I haven’t investigated any of this,
because I’ve been so busy promoting The Price of Freedom. But I’d
certainly be open to the idea of writing some books based on the new V.
If (tragedy!) we don’t get a third season, I’m sure I could write a
good-sized novel that would resolve the story satisfactorily for the
fans. But I hope it doesn’t come to that.
novels would be fun to write with the new cast. I love Elizabeth
IR: What drew you to "V?"
needed a writer…I needed a project. I had enjoyed seeing the first
miniseries, and I knew I could handle the work.
IR: Who are YOUR favorite authors and why?
AC: Too many
some of the top ones: Lois McMaster Bujold, who writes the BEST space
opera, with her Miles Vorkosigan series. Charles Dickens, because he
wrote A Tale of Two Cities, one of my all time favorite books. Jane
Austen, because I love ALL her books. She’s so clever with dialogue.
Ursula K. LeGuin. I have read most of her books. She can create such
amazing worlds. Terry Pratchett. Every time I need to cheer myself up
I read a Discworld book, and they make me laugh. George R.R. Martin.
His “Song of Fire and Ice” is like The Lord of the Rings for an Adult