Thursday, November 14, 2019


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!


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