With only Sixteen days till this years Cleckheaton Literature Festival we thought we would share an event from last year.
Mark Wright (who is returning this year – see details below) came to talk all things Doctor Who and his book Who-ology.
Mark is a freelance writer from Greetland who writes short stories, audio plays and is a sub editor. His main focus is Doctor Who which he writes for in both the Doctor Who magazine and audio stories.
The event was packed and even a couple of people came dressed as their favourite Doctor. One lad even knew as much as Mark when he did a quiz at the end of the event.
Mark told us his journey of Doctor Who which inspired him to become a reader and writer. This started in 1974 when Tom Baker became the Doctor. Mark was only three years old at the time and it has been in his life ever since.
Although when he was younger, there were only three channels so had to watch it when it was on. Video was too expensive and repeats at the time were expensive. Because of this Mark turned to reading the Doctor Who books. His Mum would take him to Fred Wade bookshop in Halifax and he would get the Target books usually written by the script writers and editors.
Terence Dicks wrote most of the early books and is Marks’ literary hero. He moved onto over books including Sherlock Holmes and Enid Blyton.
In the late seventies (1979) there was also Doctor Who weekly which Mark got and was only twelve pence. It had comic strips/features on the programme.
Now Doctor Who magazine is monthly with the same mix of features and Mark writes for it. Which is great for him as he gets to visit the sets and meet the cast. Mark writes a strip for the magazine.
We then found out how Mark made his journey to becoming a writer.
He started writing Doctor Who stories when he was around ten. “The Last Dalek” being one of his first. He wanted to become an actor so he could play the Doctor. Both David Tennant and Peter Capaldi became actors to play the Doctor also. Peter Capaldi was also a huge fan who wrote letters to Radio Times.
Mark met David Tennant two months before he became the Doctor and said he wanted to play him.
Meanwhile Marks journey to become the Doctor wasn’t successful and included getting laughed out of Coronation Street as an extra and working on Granada Studio tours. He ended up in a call centre.
At this time Doctor Who was off the screen but books were still being released. Virgin books had an open submission policy.
He went to Bath and ended up working for Future Publishing magazine on T3. At this time he wrote his first Doctor Who book “Fires of Chaos”, set in Pompei with the Sixth Doctor.
With Doctor Who off the air Big Finish went to the BBC and asked to make new Doctor Who audio stories. In 1999 “Sirens of Time” was released. Mark and his friend (and fellow Who-ology writer ) Cavan Scott pitched a vampire story to Gary Russell who ran Big Finish. The Sixth Doctor story “Project Twilight” was released in 2001 and that was the start of his Doctor Who writing.
Mark also worked for Sci-fi magazine SFX. Thanks to this he has met Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy.
Five years ago Mark moved back to Halifax and became a freelance writer. The BBC approached Mark and Cavan to write Who-ology.
Mark then shared some Doctor Who trivia with us. Which is open to interpretation.
- 840 episodes since 1963.
- 25 appearances of the Dalek.
- Been 39 Companions.
- Hugh Grant turned down Doctor Who twice.
He also gave some writing tips –
- Try to write something everyday even if it’s just for ten minutes.
- Push forward.
- Get three to four people you trust to read your work.
- Take feedback on board.
- Be prepared to re-draft.
- Writing is an uphill struggle but rewarding.
- When works ready compile a list of agents.
- Keep reading.
- Write what you like.
Mark has written other than Doctor Who, some Blake 7 stories and also stories for Fiction Express which are E-books for schools.
He also writes adventure stories for Badger publishing. Also a short play which turned into a film with Jose Lawrence. He doesn’t see Cavan much but stills writes with him using Skype.
The event was enjoyed by all including the fun quiz and was very informative on both Doctor Who and writing in general.
Mark returns to Cleckheaton Literature Festival on
Saturday 23rd April 1pm till 3pm.
Get your tickets at – http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/cleckheatonliteraturefestival