Now it’s the weekend and I’m marginally more alert, time to explore my Doctor Who authors evening further. All four authors (Robert Shearman, Mark Michalowski, Mark Morris and Simon Guerrier) were pleasant chaps, though I guess if you’re not, you don’t get invited (or allowed?) to do these kind of events. They all came across as long-standing fans, genuine enthusiasts, and in fact when I asked how they got their Doctor Who opportunities, the common theme was that people knew they were big fans, liked their existing novels/plays/TV scripts and asked if they’d like to join in. Joining in does seem the right phrase; they made it sound like all the current writers, be it for the BBC TV series, Big Finish audio releases or either company’s novels, knew each other and regularly met up for publicity events or just for an evening in the pub. That’s probably not a wholly accurate representation but I can imagine that if they’re mainly fans then any who do meet will at least have some common ground.
Believe it or not, it was quite an educational experience. For instance I found out that Doctor Who authors sometimes have to go into schools to do what in some circles would be known as outreach events – not an occupational hazard I’d considered when I started daydreaming about being one someday. They also get told which monsters they can or can’t use and, however loosely, when and where to set the story. I can see how some people would find that frustrating, but that would focus my efforts – if I have complete free rein my mind runs in too many directions at once. Which is where OneMonkey comes in; he’s good at narrowing my vision by suggesting a particular direction (I might then go in the opposite direction, but at least he’s helped me get there).
If you want to see a photo of the evening (sadly not including much of Morley Town Hall’s overblown Victorian interior, all dark wood and stained glass) try this blog. Looks like it was taken by the guy across the aisle from me, and yes he did ask a good question, but I won’t spoil his fun by telling you what it was.