Monday, August 9, 2021

Master Switches - An Interview with Kara Dennison


In our penultimate Master Switches interview, Altrix co-founder Kara Dennison takes us to "The One Place" both the Doctor and the Master are trying not to go...

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I've got one foot in journalism and the other in fiction, and it's a bit weird. There's one half of my life's Venn Diagram that knows me for my work at Crunchyroll, Otaku USA, and Sci-Fi Magazine. There's another half that's familiar with my fiction and essays. So I ride this line of way too much anime knowledge and very odd choices in story themes.

Oh, and I'm co-owner of Altrix. I feel like that might be important.

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

I'm always a fan of examining the dichotomy of the Doctor and the Master, for one. For two, Master Pieces was a lot of fun to work on, and the brief for this one was even cooler — the Doctor inadvertently helping the Master. Of course, I'll always work with Paul whenever he asks.

How would you describe your story in a nutshell?

The Master spent a lot of time on the hunt for more lives, and "The One Place" sees him encountering the Doctor right at a time when the two of them have that looming mortality in common. The TVM Master (the "Bruce" Master?) lures the Eleventh Doctor to an experimental spaceship where there was a serum in development that could potentially refresh their regeneration cycles.

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

I've always been interested in the Doctor and Master's common ground. At their best, they both complement and conflict with each other. So I wanted to find another of those links. The Eleventh Doctor is, as far as he knows, at the end of his rope life-wise. Putting him opposite the TVM Master was an interesting prospect, since they're both in a similar position but approaching it differently. I also wanted to see what I could do with this Master and if I could make him sufficiently threatening — I'll leave that to the readers to decide.

How did you find the writing process?

I've only written for the Eleventh Doctor once before, in Ginger Hoesly's fanzine A Pile of Good Things, so I'm not as used to him as others. And I'd never written for Eric Roberts's Master before. It was a challenge, but they're both characters you can get a rhythm down for eventually — especially the Doctor. Once you can imagine Matt Smith going off on a verbal marathon, you just follow along as best you can.

Which aspects of your story are you most proud of?

I think I achieved what I was going for: this examination of the similarities between the Doctor and the Master, which they alternately do and don't want to acknowledge. I've also managed to wedge a Die Hard reference in, which seems right and proper for this Master.

What’s your favourite line from your story?

My actual favorite line is too wrapped up in the ending to isolate. An alternate one I like is the Master having had about enough of the Doctor bragging about his TARDIS: “Yeah, yeah, I know. Your girlfriend’s SO great.”


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