FINALLY, IT CAN BE TOLD.
For a while now, those of you who read my little toy-filled corner of the internet have been reading about an “Untitled tie-in novel” that’s one of my current works-in-progress. Indeed, my monthly writing wrap-up posts usually had something annoyingly vague like this to say about the book:
“There have been some rumors and such about what this is, but I can’t really say much as nothing’s been formally confirmed or announced. I can say that the placeholder title I’ve seen bandied about is not accurate. It’s what they stuck into my contract at the time, before I’d even written an outline. Suffice it to say there’s a different title on the pages I’m looking at right now.”
Then there were the mysterious listings on Simon & Schuster’s website, which offered little in the way of actual info, because a delay in publication (see below) meant they weren’t yet ready to share any details about the book until the time was right. For example, curious knowledge seekers checking out the latest happenings in Star Trek publishing land might’ve come across a listing with a cover image like the one shown here.
This along with what was essentially “template data” is what fed out to the various book retailer sites. Meanwhile, I didn’t say much, instead waiting for the publisher and Paramount to approve the public release of any promo info about the book, which is my cue to start yammering about it.
So, yammer I shall!
As of today, I can officially announce that my next novel will be Somewhere to Belong, a Star Trek: Discovery novel set between the show’s third and fourth seasons. What’s it about, you ask? Well, allow me:
Captain Michael Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery are finding that each day is a critical adjustment to their new lives and new missions in an Alpha Quadrant more than nine hundred years in the future. It’s here that Discovery is reconnecting with various worlds where the cataclysmic event known as “the Burn” has decimated Starfleet and, with it, the United Federation of Planets. There’s been precious little time for the crew to truly come to terms with their present reality, as their devotion to duty hides the emotional stress that could impact their effectiveness, and even threaten themselves or others.
After a successful journey to yet another planet cut off from the Federation, Discovery picks up a distress signal located in a nearby star system—a plea that harbors roots from their past lives in the 23rd century, and which may now lead to an entirely new crisis, plunging them all into mortal danger….
And there you go.
I actually delivered the manuscript back in April, but supply chain issues affecting the availability of paper and thereby forcing printer scheduling issues saw to it this book – originally slated for release in late 2022, was instead pushed into next year. Naturally, this affected the timetable of various things baked into the book’s development life cycle, including everything from when it was sent to a copyeditor to when I received galley (typeset) pages to when a cover might be commissioned. Also impacted by the rescheduling was the timeframe when I could actually announce and begin soft-promoting the thing. As it happens, today’s the day!
When I was asked to write the book and while talking with my editor as well as friend Kirsten Beyer, as my story ideas started to take shape I realized I wanted to spend at least some time with the characters in the aftermath of the Season Three events. Basically, Discovery and its crew arrived in the 32nd century and hit the ground running, with almost no time to acclimate to their new “home” let alone contemplate their place in it.
Once I learned there would be a time gap between those events and the start of Season Four, I started thinking about the crew’s reactions to the decision they made to jump with Michael Burnham to the future. How are they adjusting? Are they adjusting? Anybody having second thoughts, regrets, wondering if they made a terrible mistake or they simply feel homesick? Plus, there were a few interesting threads left dangling at the end of Season Three that lent themselves to playing in this space.
Along with this, I also just wanted to put these characters through something closer to a “traditional” Star Trek adventure. No crazy galactic crises or threats of war, but instead maybe a first contact situation and a chance to see how Burnham and her people can adapt to the way things like this are handled in the here and now of the year 3189 vs. 2258. Unlike Drastic Measures, which I wrote as a prequel set ten years before the events of Discovery‘s first season, here I was writing within a more strict set of parameters. As this story is set in that narrow gap between seasons, I had to work within the constraints that implies, but hey! Welcome to writing tie-in fiction for a show that is currently in active production. 🙂
As I write this, the book is scheduled for publication on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 and is currently up for pre-order from all the usual places. It’ll be available as a trade paperback and an eBook, as well as an unabridged audiobook. I encourage folks to patronize and support their local independent booksellers if at all possible, but if that’s not an option you can also find links here: Star Trek: Discovery – Somewhere to Belong.
Let’s fly, y’all!
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