Monday, November 25, 2019


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

I was intrigued by the idea behind the collection. What does a villain do when no one's looking? With the Master, the answer to that question could be literally anything. The concept fired up my imagination. Then, once I was thinking about the Master I started to wonder what would make him happy or whether he ever could, truly be content with anything. I came up with one story synopsis, which turned out to be too similar to another story that was already in the collection, so then I took the same themes and created a different plot, which was accepted.

What are you most proud of about your story?

I hope I've captured the two sides of Delgado's characterisation: he seems a perfect gentleman, a true friend, the greatest chap you can think of and then - bam! - you see the contempt, the sheer loathing that seethes beneath that avuncular, charming veneer. I've always loved that about his portrayal; how the character can transform in an instant. I think, I pray, I've put that part of his nature down on the printed page in a faithful and true manner. 

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

A few jokes, some heartbreak, a sense of the scale the Master operates on. Others plan to conquer nations. For the Master, entire planets are trifles fit only to be exploited as part of his greater quest.

How did you find the writing process?

The story planning stage was the trickiest. Coming up with an idea sufficiently different from everyone else's is a challenge in itself. But once the synopsis was approved, it was very easy to transform that detailed story map into the finished tale. I'd already imagined the story in my mind; from that point on, it was a process of finding the words to transfer those mental images onto the page. I knew the readers would already know the Master is capable of great evil, so I concentrated on having him be as charming as possible, really dialing  that side of him up, so everyone reading it would be mentally screaming, "No! Don't trust him! He'll turn on you!" Which he does, of course, because he's the Master and he can't help himself. There's something delicious in that moment of betrayal, though. And it's very Master-ish. The suspense in the story lies not in whether the Master will show his true colours, which we know he will, but rather in what precisely he's up to. The answer to that mystery provides the chilling resolution. It's something so grand in scale, the TV programme couldn't have afforded it in the 70s. Luckily, books have unlimited SFX budgets.

Where else we can find your work?

One of my recent sales was for NewCon Press's Best of British Science Fiction 2018, still on sale through all major sites, including Amazon. For updates on my published work, please take a gander at my site, or follow me on Twitter under @CultTVMike. You can also glance through my Amazon page.

I've had more than 20 short stories published professionally, plus a couple of comic scripts with the British comic Futurequake. At the moment I'm working with a publisher to put together a collection of my short stories, which I hope will be released in the next few months. I also have a handful of other stories already accepted for future publication where I'm just waiting to hear back on release dates.

What’s your favourite Master story?

I'm not sure it's the best story he's in, but The Sea Devils has some the greatest Master moments. Delgado clearly relishes his lines in that one.

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

Charles Dance, if only so it would make years of fan rumours come true.

Get your copy of Master Pieces now from Altrix Books!


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