Tuesday, November 26, 2019


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

Around three years ago, Scott Claringbold came up with the idea of an anthology starring the Master. I’d worked for Scott before, contributing stories for both Nine Lives and Relics (Red Ted Books) and was keen to be involved again. The Master, for all his and her many TV appearances, still has so much unwritten potential. Unlike any other Doctor Who baddie, the Master’s entire existence is wrapped up in his/her obsession with the Doctor. To remove his old adversary from the equation was a hugely enticing challenge.

What are you most proud of about your story?

Conversion Therapy was my original submission, and I’m still excited by the basic premise I came up with for the Peter Pratt, degenerate Master. I imagined that returning to Gallifrey in search of a new regeneration cycle (The Deadly Assassin) would have been a last, desperate resort. I asked myself the simple question, what if he had tried to find another way to save himself first - anything to avoid returning to the Time Lords for help. Then I thought to myself – Cyber conversion – would he, could he? That’s what the story explores, with a twist at the end. I’m no Steven Moffat, but I do like a good old fashioned twist in the tale.

Viva La Vera came out of a need to write a closing piece for the collection. There is no ongoing arc as such. What links all the stories together is the non-involvement of the Doctor. But I wanted to tie things together, to give a narrative reason behind this otherwise odd omission. I asked Chris McKeon to slightly change the ending to his story (which I’d placed first in the collection) to set up the scenario for the Doctor’s absence. Viva La Vera returns to that moment, and adds… yes, another twist. Again, I’m very happy with the premise behind this story and it was a delight to write a new and, hopefully, unexpected version of the Master.

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

Conversion Therapy tells the origin story of another Cyber-race, one that is of special interest to the decaying and dying Master.

Viva La Vera, set in a post-Brexit England, is a redemption story gone wrong.

How did you find the writing and editing process?

It was honestly a joy to work with so many talented writers and they all rose to the challenge. I had to overcome that sense of inferiority that most writers will identify with. Suggesting edits to writers I hugely admire, many of whom are far more experienced that I am, wasn’t easy. To be fair, it was, for the most part, only little changes in the details, but everyone was gracious and kind about it. I learnt so much about writing from the other writers, and there was a lovely sense of camaraderie that took me back to my first experiences of writing fiction as part of the Seasons of War team.

As for the writing itself – well, my two stories were written three years apart, so coming back to edit the older one was a bit awkward and I probably overwrote it as a result.

Where else we can find your work?

After Vincent, the first novel in Altrix Books' Chronosmith Chronicles, has just completed the editing phase so more news on that to come. I’ve written a couple of Black Archive studies for Obverse Books , a line I’m hugely proud to be associated with. Also out now is Hidden Tiger's celebration of Catweazle - Tis Magic, edited by Alan Hayes, which includes amongst many fine pieces my recollections from childhood of the iconic character.Tis Magic - paperback edition

What’s your favourite Master story?

So many to choose from, but I would have to go for World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls. The perfect, and only logical conclusion to the Master’s story. I know it was also meant to be Capaldi and Moffat’s last, but I’m glad it wasn’t. This was the Master’s moment. Their ending.

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

Well, continuing my thoughts above, do we really need another Master? That was such a perfect send off. Need and want are different things entirely of course, and regardless of the rumours, I don’t doubt for a minute that the Master will be back. If Jodie Whittaker is still the Doctor, and Chibnall still at the reigns, I think their old friend Mark Strong (Broadchurch, Shazam) would be perfect. Sadly, the person I most wanted to see play the Master is no longer with us – Alan Rickman. God, I miss him.


Post a Comment