Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Master Switches - An Interview with Greg Maughan

We talk to writer Greg Maughan about his era-crossing Master Switches story 'Night of the Glaring'. There is nothing glaringly obvious about this one... 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself ?

I live in the North East of England and have been thinking up stories for most of my life. Over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to start getting them published by the lovely people at Obverse Books, Arcbeatle Press and Pencil Tip Publishing, amongst others. I’ve even got a website now, which took me much longer to design than looking at it would suggest! You can find that at noonereadthis.wordpress.com and I’m always up for talking to people about writing projects, collaborations or anything else you might want to ask.

What made you want to write a story for Master Switches?

I really enjoyed the first volume – Master Pieces – and was gutted I hadn’t spotted the submission call when it was produced. So, when I heard about Master Switches I knew I had to put something forward for it. Doctor Who has been a fairly major personal obsession for all of my conscious life and its always great fun writing for characters that feel like old friends – or enemies. To be asked to write something for those characters and to get to share it with other people who have a similar relationship with them always feels like a real privilege.

How would you describe your story in a nutshell?

Sometimes the best laid plans can be thrown out of sync with the smallest of miscalculations. What if the Doctor we meet isn’t ready for the trap the Master has laid?

What made you decide which Master and Doctor combo to go with?

I think the most interesting pairings should reveal something about each character that you wouldn’t necessarily see when they interact with each other ‘in order’. It also gives you a chance to compare and contrast different eras of the show and draw out points about the respective ideals, preoccupations and priorities of them. Honestly, I think my pairing is probably the most obvious one to go for in a lot of ways, but I felt like there was something worth exploring there. Also, there was a natural intersection in the timeline of the show where I felt the story could fit. Canon is definitely secondary to story and character in my book, but it’s always an added bonus when everything seems to line up neatly for you.

How did you find the writing process?

I think, probably like all the other contributors to the book, I got the commission in early 2020 and had an idea that I’d be able to get on top of it and get a first draft written as soon as possible as I was really excited about the project. Then, the first lockdown happened and priorities sort of... changed. I’m classed as an ‘essential worker’ and have a pre-school age daughter, so life just became a kind of vague blur for quite a few months. Life’s still nowhere near back to normal and a lot of my other hobbies and interests are still out of reach for a while yet. But, being able to get back on top of my writing was an important part of adapting to what we’ve all been through over the last year. Once that started to happen for me, the story all came quite quickly and it was a pleasure to write.

What aspect of your story are you most proud of?

Definitely thinking up a use for the Tissue Compression Eliminator, as a device it’s the perfect combination of being very silly and utterly horrifying to me. So, I was pleased for it to find an effective place in my story.

What’s your favourite line from your story?

Won’t everyone just answer this with ‘You will obey me!’? I’m pretty sure a big part of the appeal of writing for a character like the Master is being able to lean into that slightly schlocky dialogue. So, yeah, like the first time I wrote a story where I was able to have something appear with a ‘wheezing groaning sound’, getting to unironically type the line ‘You will obey me!’ was a great pleasure. Sometimes, the old ones are the best.


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