Latest Event Updates
Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce its latest volume of The HAVOC Files, collecting short stories from late 2016 (in print for the first time) and brand-new exclusive material!
The HAVOC Files 3 contains five short stories only previously available in digital format and released late-2016: The Last Duty by Christopher Bryant; Eve of the Fomorians by Robert Mammone; The Wishing Bazaar by Sharon Bidwell; The Feast of Evans by Simon A Forward, and Home for Christmas by the Author Collective. It also contains exclusive brand-new stories, including episode two of the three-part novella, The Lost Skin by Andy Frankham-Allen (episode one of which was published in The HAVOC Files 2).
Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell says: “We always enjoy putting these collections together, but we’re nearing a point where we have less previously-released short stories. Fortunately, this gives us the opportunity to release brand new material, making this latest collection an even more sought after product.”
Talking about her new short story, Lucy Wilson, Sue Hampton says: “I’m old enough now to appreciate the importance of family history, of roots and echoes, and genes at work in lives. For every great black-and-white hero that passed away there’s a living successor, connected by love and spirit but completely herself. In this story we see an old man who wasn’t much good at family, but who recognises a direct line to a curly-haired, fearless little girl hungry for stories of aliens. And we meet Lucy Wilson, who has been denied his name along with the truth about who her beloved grandad used to be. Now, before he dies, Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart needs to make sure Lucy understands both her heritage and her extraordinary future.”
Tim Gambrell is no stranger to the range, having won a competition previously to get a character named after him. He says: “When the Lethbridge-Stewart range was first announced I was really excited. There had been a decline in the volume of Doctor Who novels since 2005 and I welcomed anything else within that universe to help fill the void. I started to follow Andy (Frankham-Allen) and Candy Jar on social media to see if there might be opportunities to become involved somewhere along the line. As I recall Andy put out a Twitter request for any of his followers who would like to put their name to a character in a forthcoming book – Beast of Fang Rock as it turned out. I thought to myself ‘yeah, why not?’ and shoved my moniker in the mix. Some months later Tim Gambrell was in print as a scientist at the Vault. As time went on I realised that I’d been a bit hasty – Candy Jar were encouraging new writers to contribute to the range through their short story initiative; here was I, looking for opportunities and my name was already connected through a fictional character. Tim Gambrell couldn’t be both sides of the pen, could he? Andy was brilliant though. He allowed me to submit a story which, thankfully, he liked enough to ask me to develop further story ideas – one of which became The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen. Aware of the conflict of names, I originally offered to use a pseudonym (which I’ve done in the theatre before) but he came up with another solution.”
Range Editor, Andy Frankham-Allen says: “It was inevitable that Tim would write for us, as he’s already sent us a short story previously and even a novel pitch. So, now that he’s finally being published by us, I find myself in the odd position of a fictional character based on one of our authors. As such, part of The Lost Skin’s objectives is to write the character out of the series. Fortunately, he’s not appeared in the narrative of the novels since last year’s Moon Blink, which makes writing him out relatively easy.”
Talking about his short story, Tim continues; “The germ of The Bald Man of Pengriffen was Andy looking for a Famous Five-type story featuring a young Alistair and the Bledoe Cadets (as mentioned in The Forgotten Son). Conveniently enough I’d recently revisited Enid Blyton’s Adventurous Four books from childhood so I knew the kinds of japes and scrapes to aim for – although I was keen for the story to be less cosy than those of Blyton’s world. We discussed a few story ideas but the Bald Man seemed to tick the most boxes – particularly because Andy likes fougous! And by writing a story about the Brigadier as a small boy, I totally avoid any times and situations that could potentially include my namesake.”
Shaun Collins, one of the trimvurate that form the podcasters Traveling the Vortex, joins the collection with a story focused on Professor Travers. He says: “After prodding Andy for information about Candy Jar’s method for soliciting writers and clumsily inserting myself into said method with a few pitches that he quite rightly shot down, he suggested writing something with Professor Travers returning to Det-Sen. With the professor rapidly becoming one of my favourite supporting characters from the series, how could I say no? It was fun inserting him into the thick of James Bond-style danger, watching as he – just as clumsily as my initial pitch – is ensnared by nefarious villains. When Andy told me my short would form the opening prologue for his next novel, I was beyond ecstatic… And immediately began to worry about the safety of the professor. After all, he’s getting up there in years now, and just what did I set him up for?”
Talking about writing The Lost Skin: Episode Two, Andy says: “Originally it was planned to be a straight-up novella, not a part-work. I’m not sure I’m keen on this way of writing, as I like to edit and polish as I go along. Since episode one was published months ago, I no longer have the luxury of editing the first third of the story. It presents a unique challenge for me, one I’m taking by the horns. As a result some of my original plans for the story have changed, but luckily the characters are happy to help me along and take the story in surprising paths.”
Like the previous volumes, The HAVOC Files 3 is only available direct from the Candy Jar Store for £8.99, and is a strictly limited-print run. Pre-order now to avoid disappointment.
Strange fungoid creatures in Hull, a deserted Scottish village at Hallowe’en, wishes coming true, and a special mission for Samson and Evans in Llanfairfach. Young Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and his friends investigate strange happenings in Pengriffen, and Professor Travers returns to Tibet, only to find he’s being followed by enemy agents. And Sir Alistair rushing to get a very special gift to his grandaughter. Five short stories previously only available in digital format, published in print for the first time. Plus three brand new adventures, and part two of the exclusive three-part novella, The Lost Skin. A collection of short stories from the classic era of Doctor Who, starring Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers, based on the characters and concepts created by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln Includes: The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen by Tim Gambrell The Last Duty by Christopher Bryant Eve of the Fomorians by Robert Mammone The Wishing Bazaar by Sharon Bidwell The Feast of Evans by Simon A Forward Home for Christmas by The Author Collective Slouching Towards Det-Sen by Shaun Collins Lucy Wilson by Sue Hampton and The Lost Skin by Andy Frankham-Allen (part two of a brand-new novella)
The Xmas Files contains two brand new Christmas stories, plus last year’s The Fright Before Christmas.
The Feast of Evans by Simon A Forward sees the return of Private Evans in his home town of Llanfairfach. While Home for Christmas is a unique look into the lives of the regular characters, plus a few special guests, as they come together to celebrate Christmas in 1969. It is written by many of the Lethbridge-Stewart authors who previously wrote for the series in 2016, including John Peel, Andy Frankham-Allen, Sue Hampton, Adrian Sherlock, Sharon Bidwell, Iain McLaughlin, Tom Dexter, Simon A Forward and Sadie Miller.
Talking about The Feast of Evans, Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “My original plans for Evans never really took, and so he was carted off from Edinburgh to the 2nd Battalion at Imber in England. However, his appearances this past year have proven to be quite popular with fans, so I revised my plans and set up his return for 2017. Simon’s Christmas story is a small part of that. It was also an opportunity to bring Samson to the fore, too, and teaming them together is perfect, after their initial not-so auspicious meeting in The Grandfather Infestation.”
Simon A Forward says: “When Andy asked me to do a Christmas story, I was stuck for inspiration. It was September, after all, and I refuse to feel Christmassy before December as a rule. But the idea of it featuring Evans appealed to me, as I’d revisited The Web Of Fear earlier in the year and he’s such a great character. Of course, I imagined he’d been busted out of the army after that, and I think that’s where the idea of a Christmas at home scenario arose. I sort of imagined it as a Christmas episode of his own domestic sitcom.”
Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says: “It’s always fun to do our seasonal stories, and this one is even more fun as it’s set concurrent with our Christmas special from last year. This story shows us what happened elsewhere while Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was dealing with alien spheres in London in last year’s The Fright Before Christmas.”
Talking about Home for Christmas, Andy says; “I also had an idea to write a couple of scenes to show what our other regulars were up to while the Brigadier was enjoying Christmas with Sally. And after writing a couple of scenes, a new thought came to me. Wouldn’t it be fun to get as many of our authors involved as possible? I sent out an email, asking for those free to send me a scene, and many responded. And, with a bit of editorial magic, the various offerings have been medled into a little story of Christmas, and what it means to our characters, and allows Lethbridge-Stewart a moment to relax and reflect and his crazy first year fighting aliens.”
Shaun adds: “It’s quite nice to see the many nods to this past year’s stories. We’re not saying who wrote what, but rather let the fans try and work it out. It’s a gift, within a gift.”
The Xmas Files will be available for free on the Candy Jar website over Christmas. http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/offers.html
Series four will begin Spring 2017 with Night of the Intelligence by Andy Frankham-Allen, celebrating fifty years since the Great Intelligence first appeared in Doctor Who with 1967’s The Abominable Snowmen. Bringing back another fan-favourite character from that debut story!
Bundles of every series can still be ordered, with subscriptions available both for UK and international customers (however, please check if you are eligible for the subscription deal at the Candy Jar website before subscribing).
Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/subscriptions.html for more details.
Candy Jar is also offering a special Christmas promotion for its online customers: Buy Mind of Stone for £8.99 and get Blood of Atlantis for £5. Buy The Forgotten Son and Times Squared for only £8.99. Buy Beast of Fang Rock and Moon Blink for only £8.99. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/offers.html for more details.
Mind of Stone is by Iain McLaughlin, and sees Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart sent to prison for destroying a rural Enlish village! It also brings back fan favourite, Captain Knight, from the 1968 Doctor Who serial The Web of Fear.
Iain McLaughlin is a scottish author well-known for his Doctor Who audios scripts and creating Erimem, the Egyptian pharoah companion for Peter Davision’s Fifth Doctor. His Doctor Who debut came in 2001 with the Big Finish audio drama, The Eye of the Scorpion, which introduced Erimem. He went on to write several audio plays and short stories for Big Finish, as well as a novel called The Coming of the Queen, the origin story of Erimem. In 2015 he launched his own Doctor Who spin-off series of fiction, based on the now amnesiac time travelling Erimem. In 2004 he also co-wrote two scripts in Big Finish’s UNIT series, both of which featured Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “This was a fun story to break. The idea of Lethbridge-Stewart serving time in prison came from Shaun; it was one of the earlier ideas we discussed. I personally wanted to bring back both Captain Knight and Colonel Pemberton, who have both been mentioned several times in the series. Indeed both have appeared in some of our short stories, so it was nice to bring them into the novels properly. I approached Iain after he was recommended by a friend, although I was aware of his work I had forgotten he’d written for the Brigadier back in 2004. Iain was up for it, and took on board the small ‘shopping list’, building a very solid story from the initial ideas.”
Iain says: “Back in 2004 I was lucky enough to write for the older Brigadier in Big Finish’s UNIT series. That was an absolute joy. It was an older, wiser but always resolute Brig. Passing years hadn’t diminished his sense of duty or his willingness to risk everything to do what needed doing and do what was right. Writing those scripts was as big a buzz for me as writing for the Doctor. Hearing Nick be complimentary about how we had handled the Brig was one of the happiest moments of my career. Writing a younger version of the Brigadier was something I had pondered, but I didn’t see how I could do it… until news of the Lethbridge-Stewart books came along. When I had the chance to pitch I jumped at it, just for the chance to spend some time with a character who feels like an old friend.
“I wanted the book to start with a bang – and so we go straight into the Brig being sent to jail. From there… well, life inside Britain’s prison system wasn’t easy. I’d read about Wormwood Scrubs having been used as a military installation during WW2 and that helped me shape the story and plan how it would unfold. Using the Scrubs made me think of TV and films from the 60s and 70s that had a real edge. McVicar, Get Carter, Target, The Long Good Friday… suddenly the Brig in jail had some edge, and it was the kind of situation we’d never seen him in before. But he’s clever and he’s resourceful… the Brigadier isn’t Colonel Blimp. He’s a damned good soldier, and he’s a dangerous man in the right situation. I hope that’s the Brig you see in this book. As an outline it went through a few revisions, as most books do. But through the writing and the rewriting, the joy at the heart of it is the Brigadier having new adventures. Taking this wonderful character, putting him in situations he needs to resolve and writing dialogue people will read in Nick’s wonderful, rich voice… that’s an honour and a pleasure. Nick and the Brigadier? Splendid fellows, both of them.”
Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says: “It was I who came up with the initial idea, of putting Lethbridge-Stewart in prison, so it was a lot of fun to finally read the book (by the time I read them, at the formatting stage, these books are fully written). It was just as I hoped it would be. Iain has done a fantastic job on this book, bringing some much-needed comedy touches to the Brigadier’s time inside.”
Blurb: ‘You will be taken from this court and remanded in custody until your trial.’
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has been remanded to Wormwood Scrubs Prison, and his team have no idea why. Secrecy surrounds his case, but his team barely have a chance to process anything before they are sent on a mission to Egypt.
Why does it seem like Lethbridge-Stewart is going out ofhis way to court trouble from the prison’s most notorious inmates?And what does it have to do with well-known gangster Hugh Godfrey?
In the Ptolemaic Museum of Cairo, Anne Travers and her team aretrying to uncover the mystery surrounding some very unusual stone statues.Statues that resemble those held in a secure military facility in Berkshire.
One thing connects these events; the mysterious cargo transportedby Colonel Pemberton and Captain Knight in August 1968.
The cover of Mind of Stone is by regular cover artist, Colin Howard, who recently produced the cover for the animated Doctor Who DVD, The Power of the Daleks. Colin says: “I really enjoyed bringing Captain Knight to the fore, as I particularly like the performances that actor Ralph Watson brought to bothThe Web of Fear and Horror of Fang Rock, and he deserves such a homage. Andy knows my strength, and gave me a brief that really brings out the best in me.”
Mind of Stone also features a forward by former Doctor Who script editor, and author of the classic Fury from the Deep, Victor Pemberton, close friend of Mervyn Haisman and the man after whom Colonel Pemberton was named.
The book is due to be shipped out mid-December 2016.
Mind of Stone can be pre-ordered individually, or as part of the Series 3 Bundle (both UK and overseas), which includes the previous novels, Times Squared by Rick Cross, andBlood of Atlantis by Simon A Forward, or the subscription deal for those wishing to get six books for the price of five.
Read the prologue HERE for free!
Candy Jar is pleased to announce that the subscription offer is now being extended to international customers. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/subscriptions.html for more details.
Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce its latest brand new free story!
Sharon Bidwell was born in London on New Year’s Eve. She has been writing professionally for many years, with her first short story receiving praise for being “strong on characterisation, and quite literary, in terms of style”.Her work has appeared steadily in both print and electronic publications, such as Midnight Street, Aoife’s Kiss, Night To Dawn, and Radgepacket. She has written several romance novels under the name Sharon Maria Bidwell, including Snow Angel and A Not So Hollow Heart, as well as dark fiction under the name Sharon Kernow. She was propelled into the universe of Steampunk as one of the writers for Space: 1899 & Beyond, winning the approval of series creator and award-winning game designer, Frank Chadwick. She wrote three books in the series, one of which was co-authored with editor (and writer) Andy Frankham-Allen.The Wishing Bazaar is her first piece of Doctor Who related fiction.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “I first met Sharon via the wonderful world of social media back in, I think, 2009. I was very impressed with her work, and soon enlisted her for my Space: 1889 & Beyond series. Her work ethic was proven to me when a novella fell through at the last minute and she agreed to co-author a replacement with me – which we did, in only two weeks! Sharon’s first drafts are often better than a lot of published works out there, and from the off I told her that I would get her writing for the Lethbridge-Stewart series. She resisted for all of five minutes.”
Sharon says: “I’ve written for and with Andy before with great success, so I was not entirely surprised when he got in contact about his latest project. For one thing, he’d been ‘hinting’ for some time that he wanted to rope me in and Andy isn’t someone who understands no as an answer.Whenever I hear from Andy, I never know whether to cheer or groan. All those who write novels for well-known television shows now have my utmost respect. Some find it easy; for others the experience feels difficult and involves a lot of angst. I’m one of those worriers. Despite the responsibility, Andy has dragged me into incredible worlds and stories that are part of history and there’s no way not to be grateful for that.Invariably the experience of writing for Lethbridge-Stewart was, for me, daunting, exciting, fun, and adventurous…a bit like the character himself.”
Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says: “Sharon was an unknown quantity for me, but I knew that Andy had worked with her before, so I was more than happy to see what she’d come up with. Having read her short story, and looked up her other work, I now believe she’s going to be a wonderful addition to our stable of authors on this series.”
This story is set between Times Squared and Blood of Atlantis.
Blurb: Back from New York, Lethbridge-Stewart is investigating one of the strangest cases that has come across his desk yet. Wishes are coming true, and if there’s one thing Lethbridge-Stewart still doesn’t believe in it’s magic. But what if he’s wrong?
The cover of The Wishing Bazaar is by regular cover artist, Richard Young. Richard says:“I adore working with Candy Jar, and their cover briefs are always so specific, but this one was rather ambiguous as there were several elements that I could have used on the cover. I decided to concentrate on the alien of the piece.One passage of the story mentioned its burning eyes. Using a combination of traditional drawing and then colourisation in Photoshop (to really get the blazing eyes right), this is what I came up with.And I’m pleased to say everyone loved it.”
The Wishing Bazaar will be sent out to every person who pre-orders Blood of Atlantis (as a single book, or as part of our bundle/subscription offers).
Blood of Atlantis can be pre-ordered individually, or as part of the Series 3 Bundle (both UK and overseas), which includes the previous novel, Times Squared by Rick Cross, and the forthcoming novel, Mind of Stone by Iain McLaughlin, or the subscription deal for those wishing to get six books for the price of five.
Candy Jar is pleased to announce that the subscription offer is now being extended to international customers. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/subscriptions.html for more details.
Candy Jar is also offering a special promotion for its online customers. Buy Blood of Atlantis for £8.99 and get Times Squared for £5. This promotion also applies to six other Candy Jar titles. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/offers.html for more details.
Blood of Atlantis is the ninth novel in the Lethbridge-Stewart series, which began February 2015, and sees the return of author Simon A Forward to the Doctor Who fictional-verse.
Simon was born in Penzance in 1967, and has, over the years, written a couple of Doctor Who novels for BBC Books, a novella for Telos Publishing, an audio drama or two for Big Finish, plus various short stories. Outside of Doctor Who he written three novelisations of the BBC’s popular Merlin series, and had created his own series of novels, Evil Unlimited.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “I was feilding around for new authors to bring to the range; authors familiar with Doctor Who but who haven’t written in that universe for a while. A couple of people, including Gary Russell, suggested Simon as someone who would ‘get’ the series and is very reliable. So, never one to ignore advice of those I (sometimes) admire, I contacted Simon.”
Simon says: “As Al Pacino says in The Godfather Part III, ‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.’ When I was asked to write for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, I was a little hesitant. I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to writing anything Doctor Who-related. I’d moved on in my writing and – much as this may horrify some – I’d grown a little tired of Doctor Who. It was originally quite a different proposition to the finished book that has since emerged, but that process of development and working with Andy was part of the appeal that drew me in and cemented my commitment to the project. Add to that the fact that my (still ongoing) rewatch of Doctor Who took me through The Web Of Fear and The Invasion while I was right in the heart of writing this early Brigadier adventure, and the whole thing seemed like providence. And here I was, with the opportunity to write Anne Travers too. Bonus!”
As well as dealing with the series regulars, including Lieutenant Bishop and RSM Ware, Simon has created some unique characters, including a previous creation of his. Simon continues: “Captain Bugayev is already part of the Doctor Who book universe and it was a fascinating process to explore and contrast the two different approaches and attitudes of the leading military officers, especially two I knew so well. One (Lethbridge-Stewart) courtesy of having grown up with him as such a presence in my Saturday teatime viewing, one through having created him for my Doctor Who novel, Emotional Chemistry.”
The book also revolves around the mystery of Atlantis. An theme that is no stranger to Doctor Who fiction, having appeared in two separate Doctor Who television adventures (The Underwater Menace and The Time Monster) and having been mentioned in another (The Daemons).
Andy says: “When Simon first suggested Atlantis I wasn entirely convinced, knowing that its fate had been mentioned three times in Doctor Who (which fans often view as contradictory, but aren’t really), and in the latter Lethbridge-Stewart was present – if not at the event, then he certainly heard about it. But Simon set my fears at ease and presented a unique idea about how his Atlantis would fit perfectly, without contradiction or any need to have seen the television stories.”
Simon adds: “The story was initially going to be something else and developed over time and discussions with the editor. One of the things I wanted to do was to take the Fifth Operational Corps somewhere international, as a precursor to UNIT (even though UNIT operated in the UK on our TV screens, they ranged much further in my young imagination) and place them on a wider stage. The Atlantean connection suggested itself from a combination of that aim and from an old story idea of mine that fit the bill well. There was also a sense of, if I was going to write something Who-related, then Atlantis has been as recurring a feature of the show as some returning guest actors. Readers will be sure to spot a liberal sprinkling of homage within the novel and that’s born of the same desire.”
The cover is by Richard Young. Richard says: “Blood Of Atlantis – the difficult second album! I’d had a lot of positive feedback on my first cover, The Showstoppers, but the more I looked at it the less I liked it, and the more I looked at the covers produced by my stable mates, I knew I had to up my game. I was chatting with Simon via Facebook one evening about his ideas for the cover, and he kept coming back to The Sea Devils novelisation cover by Chris Achilleos. I was getting quite excited by the prospect of doing something along those lines.”
Blurb: Could Atlantis really have arisen in the Aegean Sea?
Lethbridge-Stewart’s nephew, Owain Vine, and a group of eco-protestor friends, are attempting to oppose an operation undertaken by Rolph Vorster, a ruthless South African mining magnate with his own private army, who is out to harvest as much Atlantean riches as he can.
Lethbridge-Stewart, along with Anne Travers, is called in to investigate a missing Russian submarine that appears to be connected to Atlantis, recruiting the colourful eccentric archaeologist, Sonia Montilla, along the way. All the while, Captain Bugayev and an undercover Spetsnaz team are investigating the fate of their government’s missing submarine. A complication that could light a major fuse on the Cold War.
Out there somewhere, Atlantis is growing, and its reach is utterly inimical to human life.
Blood of Atlantis can be pre-ordered individually, or as part of the Series 3 Bundle (both UK and overseas), which includes the novels, Times Squared by Rick Cross (available now), and Mind of Stone by Iain McLaughlin (coming December), or the subscription deal for those wishing to get six books for the price of five (UK only, covering the series three titles, plus the series four titles released early 2017)!
Pre-order directly from http://www.candy-jar.co.uk; Blood of Atlantis is due for release at the end of November.
Simon talks about writing Blood of Atlantis:
As Al Pacino says in The Godfather Part III, ‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.’ When I was asked to write for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, I was a little hesitant. I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to writing anything Doctor Who-related. I’d moved on in my writing and – much as this may horrify some – I’d grown a little tired of Doctor Who. Further, I wondered what more I could offer such an established character whose enduring popularity was so rooted in Nicholas Courtney’s excellent performance. But, by curious coincidence, I was asked by someone else at around the same time to write something else for Who and there’s simply no denying some forces. So I agreed to do it. It was originally quite a different proposition to the finished book that has since emerged, but that process of development and working with range editor, Andy Frankham-Allen, was part of the appeal that drew me in and cemented my commitment to the project. Add to that the fact that my (still ongoing) rewatch of Doctor Who took me through The Web of Fear and The Invasion while I was right in the heart of writing this early Brigadier adventure and the whole thing seemed like providence. And here I was, with the opportunity to write Anne Travers too. Bonus!
Ultimately, characters make the story, and this evolved into something whereby I could combine three approaches to character: writing for a well-known favourite, the Brigadier, and doing him justice; writing for existing characters, who were part of the range, hitherto unknown to me and doing my best to be true to them; and creating my own characters, which is one of my favourite things to do. Well, I say creating, but one of the characters, Bugayev, is already part of the Doctor Who book universe and it was a fascinating process to explore and contrast the two different approaches and attitudes of two military officers, especially two I knew so well – one courtesy of having grown up with him as such a presence in my Saturday teatime viewing, one through having created him for my Doctor Who novel, Emotional Chemistry. (Although that, again, isn’t strictly true, since he was created for an unpublished Doctor Who novel called Equilibrium.) My main made-for-this-story character contribution then is Sophia Montilla, crazy cat-lady archaeologist, who was inspired by a lady I met while feeding stray cats in Rhodes. She wasn’t an archaeologist and she was Greek, but Sophia was one of those characters who springs to mind fully formed. So I knew she was Spanish and I knew a great many other things about her that aren’t in the book.
Some of my favourite scenes to write are the ones shared by the Brigadier and these characters of my own invention, where the dialogue flowed so naturally it was like I just happened to be listening in on the conversations. At that point, you’re not so much working as just typing while in the company of friends.
Of course, while characters make the story, you still have to hand them a situation to deal with. So why Atlantis? Well, as I say, the story was initially going to be something else and developed over time and discussions with the editor. One of the things I wanted to do was to take HAVOC somewhere international, as a precursor to UNIT (even though UNIT operated in the UK on our TV screens, they ranged much further in my young imagination) and place them on a wider stage. The Atlantean connection suggested itself from a combination of that aim and from an old story idea of mine that fit the bill well. There was also a sense of, if I was going to write something Who-related, wanting that tie-in to Doctor Who, and Atlantis has been as recurring a feature of the show as some returning guest actors. Readers will be sure to spot a liberal sprinkling of homage within the novel and that’s born of the same desire. A salute or several, if you will, to the reason why we have such things as a Lethbridge-Stewart range of books.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue has always been a guiding principle of mine when writing anything for Doctor Who. In this, a certain blue box is absent, but hopefully I’ve mixed in enough of a hint of Doctor Who to the recipe. This is the Brigadier’s own series, of course, but much as I kid myself I have moved on, the associations with that singular SF adventure series are always there. It’s the natural order of things and, whether you’re a soldier or an author, there’s no sense in fighting that.