Wednesday, November 20, 2019

MASTER PIECES AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Jon Arnold



Why did you decide to pitch a story for Master Pieces?

I loved the idea of centring an anthology about the Master, seeing what Moriarty gets up to without Holmes around, plus there was the chance to play with my childhood toys again. And what’s more fun than letting a villain off the leash?


What are you most proud of about your story?

Getting inside the head of a one note character and (hopefully) making him work as a literary character. And finding a way to tell a story about his obsession without breaking the anthology’s rules.


Can you give us a little taster of what the readers can expect from your piece?

It’s fundamentally about what motivates this incarnation of the Master, and reconciling that with what the Delgado version apparently wanted. It’s got this Master up to his usual tricks, but with a companion of his own you might be familiar with from the series... 


How did you find the writing process?

Challenging. After choosing which Master go write about, I needed to work out what motivated him, an angle into the character. There’s really not that much on TV to translate to the page past a villain with almost cartoonish motivations. So the big decision was whether to play into that broad character or whether to find a way to tell a story about his onscreen motivations within the guidelines.


What were the biggest challenges?

Working out how to tell that second type of story. Oddly I found the solution in an old DWM poster, but that might just be my brain working in the strange way it does. 


Where else we can find your work?

Currently working on my first novel, Art of History, for The Chronosmith Chronicles. Otherwise, I’ve written three Black Archives for Obverse, available from the Obverse Books site and my most recent short story came out in Sea Terrors from Other Side Books.


What’s your favourite Master story?

For purely sentimental reasons, Logopolis will always have a place in my heart - it’s the story that turned me into a fan. It’s the Master as the ultimate comic book villain, the maniac bent upon universal domination and destruction. I have to go with World Enough and Time though - the two Masters, their relationship and the way that explores the Master’s character is gloriously done and an intrinsic part of one of the show’s true *ahem* masterpieces.


Who do you think should play the next Master and why?

I doubt she’d do it, so a Master in the vein of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. A villain with so much trauma bubbling Just under the surface and who could draw the audience onto their side as Ian Richardson once did as Francis Urqhart. Use the character’s charming nature properly.

Get your copy of Master Pieces now from Altrix Books!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

MASTER PIECES AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Sami Kelsh


Why did you decide to pitch a story for Master Pieces?

When the Master issues you a polite request to write a story about them, how could you possibly say no?


What are you most proud of about your story?

There's a wee little Easter egg in there for people from the bit of Canada I'm from.


Can you give us a little taster of what the readers can expect from your piece?

When the Master finds himself at a disadvantage, he enlists the help of an exceptionally qualified new friend. Expect sass, snacks, and some confusion about who is whose companion here.


How did you find the writing process?

It was a fun challenge to put myself into the head of this version of the Master, whom I haven't watched in a while, and is just as much of a delight as I remember. I loved writing the interplay between the two leads, and it was nice to get inside this Master's head a little, and explore some things he's been keeping beneath the surface.


Where else we can find your work?

I recently put out a new book called Stopping for Coffee and Cake, which is both a graphic novel and a cookbook, and which you can find, among other things, on my website, www.samikelsh.com. I'm currently at work on a follow-up book due out next year, because my creative impulse control is terrible.


What’s your favourite Master story?

I'll always have the biggest soft spot for The Mind of Evil, but I'm also awfully fond of the bit at the end of Dark Water where Missy reveals herself. I saw it coming, but I still got chills.


Who do you think should play the next Master and why?

Me. Am I allowed to say me? I still say me, even if I'm not. The Master would thumb her nose at the rules, and that's as close as I get to method acting.


Get your copy of Master Pieces now from Altrix Books!

Monday, November 18, 2019

ANNOUNCEMENT: Chronosmith Chronicles Logo, Titles, and Authors for Year 1



The Chronosmiths are on their way!

We're pleased to bring you the very first look at the upcoming Chronosmith Chronicles, the first novel series from Altrix Books. Headed up by Paul Driscoll and Kara Dennison, the series's first year will consist of six novels, introducing readers to the new universe into which our characters have arrived.

The Chronosmiths — the scholar Tor Fasa, the engineer Mordicai, the politician Kendo, and the soldier-poet Savalia — have been swept away from their home planet of Percusia into an entirely new universe. Here, time travel is heavily regulated: world-saving capers are given out on commission, and rogue adventurers carry bounties on their heads. If the Chronosmiths want to continue their mission to set history right and complete Tor Fasa's all-knowing Altrix, they'll either have to play by the rules or prepare to run. But the most fearsome part of this new universe may well be what's followed them from the old one...

The series will introduce a whole new world of people, places, and alien races. The Chronosmiths will work with (and occasionally in spite of) the offices of Aliens for Hire, face off against the revenge-driven Time Riders, and cross paths with rogue trans-temporal freelancer Tati Rhys. Their adventures will take them across time and space. From the darkest days of Vincent Van Gogh to a political utopia awaiting its own downfall; from stories of fairy tale princesses to machinations of vengeful spirits. The Chronosmiths have come to fix history in their own very particular way: by finding the truth of this universe's story.

The first run of Chronosmith Chronicles will consist of six books:

After Vincent by Paul Driscoll
Eleanor's Tears by Kara Dennison
Art of History by Jon Arnold
The Importance of Glass Slippers by M.H. Norris
Sceptre of the Innocents by Paul Driscoll
The Hummingbird Conspiracy by Kara Dennison

Driscoll and Dennison will oversee the line. Cover art and design (including the logo seen above) will be handled by Ginger Hoesly, who has provided the cover art and design for Seasons of War: Gallifrey, Unearthed, and Master Pieces.

Jon Arnold (Art of History) is the author of three Black Archives for Obverse, co-edited the Me and the Starman anthology and regularly contributes to the We Are Cult website. His latest short story can be found in the Master Pieces anthology. He's also asked that we mention he's been "fried by a dragon for entertainment."

M.H. Norris (The Importance of Glass Slippers) is an experienced mystery writer. Her award-winning series, All The Petty Myths combines forensics and mythology; the first full-length novel is upcoming in Spring 2020.  Norris can also be found as co-host and co-producer on The Raconteur Roundtable, a popular podcast focused on in-depth, intimate interviews with authors, actors, and other creators.

Keep an eye on this blog, our Facebook, and our Twitter for further announcements and release dates!

Friday, November 15, 2019

MASTER PIECES AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Rachel Redhead



Why did you decide to pitch a story for Master Pieces?


Way back in the deeply deep echoes of time way before I was a member of Outpost Gallifrey, I was a member of a yahoo group and we started a loose collective of fan fic writers, me being one to diversify myself I was soon creating my own interpretation of existing characters, one of which was a version of the Master that I based very loosely on Al Pacino in Scarface, who travelled with a human companion (he was going through a phase) and her name was Judy Collins.  I’ve since developed Judy into an original sci-fantasy universe of her own, but when I heard about this collection I felt it was time to bring the band back together again, this is Judy Collins almost day one, dazzled by crime and science.  I wanted to write a heist story which isn’t something I’d normally do, so I hope I’ve done the genre justice.


 

What are you most proud of about your story?


I wanted to write a story where the Master is at his best when he’s being his worst.  I also wanted to give him a win, too often he loses and I wanted to redress the balance.

 


Can you give us a little taster of what the readers can expect from your piece?


It’s a heist, with a vastly over-budget marketing department, and a body count. 

 


How did you find the writing process?


The writing was fun and it was good to work with a strong editorial team, to bring the very best out of my story.  I think we found the perfect pitch for it, that mixes my love of comedy asides with the scalpel sharpness needed to do the Master full justice.

 


Where else we can find your work?

All my books are published through lulu. I’m also on Amazon.

I’ve just released a collection of stories, The Adventures of Penny Dreadful, which features cameos by the second iteration of Judy Collins and that book leads into Judy Collins: Social Justice Twister which introduces the new iteration of Judy (she’s a lot more political and less stabby), I’m on editing that book atm.  I’ve also written half of the first draft of Anna Sinclair: The Evil Dad.  Finally, I’m preparing to write a collection of short stories for NaNoWriMo in November.


 

What’s your favourite Master story?


I’m going to go with World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls, as we see the Master literally in two minds, Round-Face and Lady-Version are at their best and worst together as they play, plot and scheme and backstab (literally at one point) with each other and the Doctor, though in the end the Master brings out the worst in themselves, their selfishness and nastiness being their undoings.
  


Who do you think should play the next Master and why?


I’d like to see someone with serious acting chops play a nasty brutal version of the Master, with less of the crazy and more of the crime, but still that half-sneer of inhumanity that the greatest crime lord of them should wear, when things are going their way.  Claire Foy maybe, or Idris Elba, someone with a powerful physicality.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

MASTER PIECES AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Nathan Mullins



Why did you decide to pitch a story for Master Pieces?

I was really excited when I heard about this anthology. The idea that the story would revolve entirely around the Master and follow his/her adventures intrigued me. Not having the Doctor feature, as well, interested me as you don’t have a moral compass guiding the story but a complete monster, who’s out to get precisely what she wants, however she chooses to go about it, whether that be double crossing her allies or taking the Time Lords hostage, as we see in this story. I really just wanted to tell an exciting story with the Master. Since his first appearance in Terror of the Autons, you had a villain as intelligent and sophisticated as the Doctor, who posed a threat as great as the Daleks and the Cybermen, and a challenge because, like the Doctor, he too is a TIme Lord. And over the years, we’ve discovered much more about the character, that he and the Doctor were once friends, and this gives the character a lot more depth. When the Doctor’s isn’t doing battle with his nemesis, who knows what he/she’s busy getting up to, which is what really appealed to me.


What are you most proud of about your story?

That I got to write for Missy. She was my first choice and I’ve always enjoyed this version of the character. She can be flirtatious, even friendly, but also terribly cruel and she can turn against you when you least expect her to, just as she does in this!  


Can you give us a little taster of what the readers can expect from your piece?

This is an action adventure story that’s set on the planet Adamentem. There, a war is being fought. Missy shows up, with little interest in saving the lives of those asking for her help, and with one objective - to secure for herself the diamond of the gods. My favourite line is probably the first thing uttered by Missy, her introduction to the story that reads: "Hello," came her sultry voice. "My name is Missy, but don’t let that stop you calling me the most evil bitch on the planet. I suppose you’re wondering what it is you’re doing here and why you’ve been selected?" The authority and sassiness she possesses is abundantly clear. This is Missy on a mission, determined and fearless.
 

How did you find the writing process?

I thoroughly enjoyed writing the story. The brief was to put the Master front and centre. I knew from the outset that Missy was searching for a lost treasure, that it was going to be found on a planet that wasn’t Earth, but it wasn’t going to be as simple as going there and collecting it. So then I built on that and had two other alien races at war with each other over it, which gave Missy a dilemma. Who does she side with? Who does she betray? And we really begin to see her greed come to the fore, what she has to do to get what she wants and at what cost. And then we have what’s going on with the Time Lords, but that’s a part of the story I shan't go into. All I’ll say is if we know anything about the Time Lords, it’s that they’re ‘forbidden to interfere in the affairs of others’, but when has that ever stopped them?

I wanted to make Missy as wicked as I possibly could, which was something I enjoyed immensely. I tried to make her pretty badass - despised by both sides and by the Time Lords to boot. I thought; what situations can I put her in that will highlight her villainy? When you write for the Doctor, it’s very different because he’s usually saving someone, or showing them the universe, but where Missy’s concerned, you have a character who doesn’t care about anyone but herself. All she wants to do is have her own way. She uses people, ruins their friendships, and this is who she is. I wanted her to have just as much freedom as the Doctor but where she and him differ enormously is their reasons for travelling to other worlds, and in this instance, it’s not to save civilisations but to seize control of one of the most powerful treasures in the galaxy, highlighting Missy’s greed for power and might over all.


What were the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenges were remembering to get the spellings right of the planet and the two opposing sides, whenever I left the story and came back to it a week or two later. I’ve always wanted to come up with imaginative names of alien species and planets, and try to get away from familiar territory like setting the story on Earth and re-using old foes. Having a completely blank canvas to start with nudged me in this direction, and I’ve tried to make this adventure as broad and as exciting as I possibly could.


Where else we can find your work?

I’ve previously had fiction published in ‘Nine Lives’ - a Shalka Doctor Anthology, ‘Unbound: Adventures in Time and Space’ and I am associated with ‘Whoblique Strategies’, all raising money for charity. I’ve had a short story published in the Oxford Doctor Who Society publication ‘The Tides of Time’ (issue 40), and in fanzines Cosmic Masque (Issue 8 onwards), The Terrible Zodin (Issue 21 onwards), and online via ‘Inferno Fiction’.


What are you working on now, if you can share it?

I’m currently working on contributions towards books on British Television and another on British Film, and continue to write short fiction for anthologies and fanzines.


What’s your favourite Master story?

My favourite Master story is The Sea Devils. I love that in the beginning he’s doing time behind bars, but he’s really in control of those who’ve imprisoned him and communicating with the Sea Devils. It’s a terrific adventure that has some truly exciting moments, from the sword and dagger fight with the Doctor, to the invasion of the naval base, to the Master exercising his authority over Trenchard, and the Doctor not coming back up from exploring the seabed. I just think it’s superbly made, cast and crew must have had an absolute ball making it, and I wish the Sea Devils were brought back for modern who in as epic style as they made their first appearance in this!


Who do you think should play the next Master and why?

As ever, I’m always interested in who could or has played the Master. Until I saw Capaldi’s Dark Water/ Death in Heaven, I’d no idea who Missy was until it was revealed, and I thought that it was brilliant casting. Michelle Gomez is a wonderful actress. She really had a feel for the character! And all those who came before her were brilliant additions to the series, as it has developed over time. If Michelle doesn’t return to the show, then perhaps someone like Imelda Staunton - who is a terrific actress, and could certainly follow in Missy’s footsteps!


Pick up your copy of Master Pieces now from Altrix!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

MASTER PIECES AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Daniel Wealands



Why did you decide to pitch a story for Master Pieces?
Partially because I was curious to see if I could do an entire story about the master that didn't feature the Doctor, partially to support an amazing charity

What are you most proud of about your story?
Finding the voice and character of this incarnation of the Master, once I found him he was a joy to write for.

Can you give us a little taster of what the readers can expect from your piece?
It's hard to say without giving anything away really. But you will be in much the same boat as the Master, as he has no clue what is going on around him either for much of the story. Though you will see a side of him we rarely see, though I'm sure he'd deny it all.

How did you find the writing process?
Honestly, finding the story was like pulling teeth. I had a basic premise, the germ of an idea, but it just wouldn't be coaxed out. It took multiple goes and many long nights of looking at things from every possible angle to get to a point where there was more than just a concept, and that's when it started to write itself really. The Master just took off and I just had to keep up with him.

Where else we can find your work?
If they are still available I've got stories in Seasons of War, A Timelord for Change, Whoblique Strategies and The unofficial Doctor Who Limerick Book. I'm also embarking on my first stab at Nanowrimo this month, with a non-Who related project I promised my friend and muse, Declan May, that I'd get written, which he planted the seeds for and gave his blessing for me to run with.

What’s your favourite Master story?
Sea Devils or The Daemons. I'm a sucker for Delgado

Who do you think should play the next Master and why?
I'd like to see Derek Jacobi back and have a full on screen run with his Master. His Big Finish work was exemplary and I think he'd make a perfect foil for Jodie Whittaker's Doctor.

Get your copy of Master Pieces from Altrix!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

MASTER PIECES AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Richard Gurl




Why did you decide to pitch for Master Pieces?

Pitching a Master story was an opportunity that I didn't want to miss! My pitch was around when the Master Pieces book was in the hands of Scott Claringbold, so it has gestated like some horrible alien during this time - hopefully emerging as something much more pleasant! Writing a Time Lord tale for someone other than the Doctor was a great way to explore different facets of the Master's character. That said, the way he's presented here is somewhat different from the norm, so writing him as out-and-out evil wasn't really accomplished. The title of my story refers both to his situation, and to his personality. So if the Master isn't the villain of the piece, then someone... something else had to be! Baddies and monsters - we love 'em!

What are you most proud of about your story?

The fact that it presents us with new sides to the Master, and that it segues nicely into established continuity. Oh, and the baddies are nasty critters, too!


What can the reader expect from your piece?

The unfamiliar is familiar, or vice versa. Expect the unexpected (as Tiger Ninestein said). And there are big guns involved, as well as big changes! The Master finds himself on a new world. One that he seemingly recognises! It's different, though. He is, too. His health deteriorates, whilst something else's improves. Danger abounds! The genre is military/base-under-siege/action (with the obvious, necessary sci-fi bits!). Favourite quote: "I am the Master...!" (Sorry!)


How did you find the writing process?

The process of coming up with the story was easy, luckily. The refinement and editing was testing, but I'm grateful for the help. The character in my story necessitated a rethink - his dilemma created fresh insights, all the while drawing on what made him so bad in the first place. All in all, I enjoyed creating this small slice of the Whoniverse, In this case though, the Masterverse, surely? (He wouldn't have it any other way!) As the Master himself faces a challenge or two in the tale, the only one I faced (considerably smaller and less dangerous than his) was trying something new within the onscreen continuity. On TV, the War Doctor came along, fitting in between stories, and this was fun to slot in, too (although I'm not meaning to compare the two, oh no!). To think, I originally envisioned an Inferno-type story, but decided to go down a slightly different route, and I'm glad I did!


Where else can we find your work?

I also penned a story for Altrix's Unearthed anthology; a Doctor Who story for Unbound, another recent anthology; I contributed to Scott Claringbold's Relics book; wrote The Ghost of Big Ben (a Fourth Doctor story set in World War 2, but now unavailable), and have some UNIT-related work coming out in the near future!


What is your favourite Master story?

That's difficult to pinpoint, but I will go for Roger Delgado's first story; Terror of the Autons, as he was, in my mind, the best Master. Also, the reveal in Utopia is a great moment! So many wonderful portrayals! Of course, who can forget Eric Roberts in the TV movie?


Who would you like to see cast as the next Master?

Charles Dance gets my vote! Apparently, he very nearly took on the role. Maybe he still could? Another choice, perhaps slightly left-field: Sean Pertwee! Now, that would be fantastic!


Get your cope of Master Pieces now from Altrix Books!