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The who, what and why of the Doctor
by Nick Walters
Tom Baker and Mary Tamm (Romana) in The Ribos Operation THIS STORY LAST UPDATED:
20 February 2003 1054 GMT

Bristol Doctor Who author Nick Walters's guide to the Doctor - past, present and future and his new book: Reckless Engineering.
Nick's favourite Doctor is that played by the curly-haired, scarf-wearing Tom Baker
Read about Reckless Engineering, and then browse Nick's guide to Doctor Who.
> Introduction
> Guide part 1
> Guide part 2
> Guide part 3
> Guide part 4
> Guide part 5
:: This story
> Internet links:

The BBC's official Doctor Who site

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites

Genesis 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 to come.

Beating writer's block

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; it’s just you and your computer (or typewriter), and it takes more effort and energy and - especially - discipline than you’d think.

And with contract deadlines looming, writing a novel can seem an impossibly daunting task.

When the notorious ‘writer’s block’ looms, it’s good to have someone to talk with to help get the creative juices flowing again.

Breaking the duck

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 can’t stop you!

Joint venture

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 novel.

I walked around in a daze for at least a week, hardly believing I would be able to walk into Waterstone’s 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 Virgin’s policy to encourage new authors, and if it were not for them I probably wouldn’t be published today, so I owe them my undying thanks.

The novel, Dry Pilgrimage, was part of Virgin’s New Adventures range, a series of novels which featured the Doctor Who book companion Bernice Summerfield [aka Benny].

Coming up with the goods

Pleased as I was with my success, I wasn’t satisfied.

I knew that without the endorsement of an established author, Virgin would never have accepted Dry Pilgrimage.

I still needed to prove myself. A
nd so I did.

My first Doctor Who novel Dominion was published in 1999, and since then I’ve 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.

>> Continue Nick's Doctor Who guide

I immediately went from not having anything professionally published at all, to a novel on sale in Waterstone's.
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