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("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 Sarek.

A.C's newest release is Pirates of the Caribbean: THE PRICE OF FREEDOM



NEW - 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 "Ann Crispin?"

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.

And, of 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 fiction writing?

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 character.

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.

The POTC 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. 

So many 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.)

Readers 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 long run.

IR: What's your next project? Book or non-book related...

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.

AC: 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 goodness!

As for 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?

AC: Warner 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. 

V tie-in novels would be fun to write with the new cast.  I love Elizabeth Mitchell!

IR: What drew you to "V?"

AC: They 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 to name! 

Here are 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 audience.