Forstchen Speaks OutLeHah interviewed William Forstchen (although I'll take credit for some of the questions)... and here's the result -- a very honest look at his feelings for the Wing Commander series.
What are your current projects?
Currently I'm working on another Lost Regiment novel and the development of a couple of projects in the area of historical fiction and mainstream history.
Would you be interested in/do you forsee writing further Wing Commander novels?
To be honest, no. Have disagreed with some of the directions taken in Wing Commander and also the issue of payment which is no longer sufficient. THis is regretful since I did have a grand time writing the books, especially the stand alone ones such as Fleet Action and End Run. I've worked in several other "worlds" such as Wizard's Magic, Star Trek NG and a co authored book with Ray Feist set in his Rift War. In general, (except for Feist) the experience has been extremely frustrating. You don't own the copyright on what is in fact your work, at times you'll see less creative people without an original thought then take your ideas and distort them or claim them as their own or jerk you around with demands that you deliver "A" but then at the last minute changing it to "Z" The work with Ray, in contrast, was a wonderful shared experience and in the future I just intend to work on my own material or collaborate with a single professional like Ray, rather than a company effort like WC
Why did you turn down the offer to write the Wing Commander movie novel?
LOL Two reasons. Money, the payment offered was abysmal and insulting, I made more on my very first novel, and secondly I was, to put it mildly, digusted by the screenplay. It was frustrating since there were so many potentially good stories within the Wing Commander world to build a movie around. When I first received the screenplay for review I was, to say the least, stunned and even if I had been offered an honest sum to write it, rather than the slave wages suggested, I would have turned it down.
Did you see the Wing Commander movie or play Wing Commander Prophecy. If so, what are your thoughts thereon?
I was trapped on a flight to England a year or so ago and the Wing Commander movie was playing. I listened in for about ten minutes, then turned off the sound and pulled on some eye shades so I didn't have to watch. Honestly! I am not prone to air sickness but I did fear for my stomach.
Yet again, given some of the great stories within Wing Commander, why they had to cook up that screenplay is a mystery. For example, the betrayal and court martial of Towlyn would have made a grand flick. I should add that I was always very partial to the Tolwyn character, seeing in him the genius, and flawed personality of a MacArthur. I had worked on the character early on into the series when he was still just a foil for the main characters and wanted to see him evolve as a complex military genius, unfortunately hewas pushed in other directions by the powers that be and I did have objections to the final turn out, perferring to see him as a MacArthur/Patton/Cromwell type instead. Its why I did write in the scene involving his suicide (a story line I could not change) the part where his medals are laid out on the bunk. It's why I used him as the main POV for the book that goes back to the origins of the Kilrathi war.
Were you aware of Andrew Keith's interest in writing further Wing Commander novels? Is there any possibility of you picking up his work in his honor ala Spielberg to Kubrick?
I have tremendous respect for Andrew's work but unfortunately some one else will have to pick that mantle up.
Origin provided you with a copy of the WC2 era 'bible' for the series -- would you be willing to allow the Origin Museum (http://www.originmuseum.com) to archive this document online for posterity?
Frankly, I'm not sure if I can even locate it now. I started working on the project while still in grad school in Indiana and the bible got boxed up in a move to NC. Also, you'd have to get it cleared with the original owners since I remember there was a confidentiality statement attached to it.
Who the heck is Lyford Beverge and why does his name keep showing up in your work?
Ahh, Lyford, A very dear friend who I worked with while teaching High School in Maine. many of the characters in my different novels are named after friends, such as Mina, Beverage, Ferguson, Kindred. I also will use the names of favorite students as a little way of saluting their efforts.