of a 'fanboy'
As I grew up, and the Doctor changed first to Peter Davison,
and then Colin Baker, I became a typical obsessive teenage
Doctor Who enthusiast (the popular term is fanboy).
I began buying Doctor Who Weekly (the forerunner of Doctor
Who Magazine, DWM) and the Target books.
I began compiling lists the fanboy rite of passage
- and began writing my own Doctor Who adventures. I shudder
to look at these now, but they paved the way for what was
I kept up writing not just Doctor Who throughout
my time at university, and joined several writers groups
when I returned to Bristol.
I am still a member of one of them, Bristol Fiction Writers
(BFW), and I find it invaluable.
Not just for analysis and criticism of each others work,
but for friendship and support during difficult times.
Writing is a lonely business; its just you and your
computer (or typewriter), and it takes more effort and energy
and - especially - discipline than youd think.
And with contract deadlines looming, writing a novel can seem
an impossibly daunting task.
When the notorious writers block looms,
its good to have someone to talk with to help get the
creative juices flowing again.
It was in BFW that I met Paul Leonard, who was working on
his first Doctor Who novel Venusian Lullaby.
His guidance was invaluable as he had been through the process
of submitting proposals and knew the ropes.
I submitted a number of proposals to Virgin (who then had
the Doctor Who licence) with no success.
I learned how to cope with rejection letters - they may daunt
you, depress you, anger you, but they cant stop you!
In 1997, Paul persuaded the editors at Virgin to commission
a story from me, which I would co-write with him.
This was a fantastic break I immediately went from
not having anything professionally published at all, to a
I walked around in a daze for at least a week, hardly believing
I would be able to walk into Waterstones and see my
book on the shelves.
I still do this sometimes to cheer myself up nothing
like it for an ego-boost!
It was Virgins policy to encourage new authors, and
if it were not for them I probably wouldnt be published
today, so I owe them my undying thanks.
The novel, Dry Pilgrimage, was part of Virgins New Adventures
range, a series of novels which featured the Doctor Who book
companion Bernice Summerfield [aka Benny].
up with the goods
Pleased as I was with my success, I wasnt satisfied.
I knew that without the endorsement of an established author,
Virgin would never have accepted Dry Pilgrimage.
I still needed to prove myself. And
so I did.
My first Doctor Who novel Dominion was published in 1999,
and since then Ive barely broken stride, with roughly
a novel a year: The Fall of Yquatine in 2000, Superior Beings
in 2001 and now Reckless Engineering in 2003.
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