Category Archives: Writing

News Update

2015-05-04 13.53.28
Nash Point Lighthouse

It’s been a little while since my last post, so a quick update.

I have just finished watching season seven of Doctor Who, so I’ll be adding new entries for both seasons six and seven soon. The entries have been delayed by work on my next Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Beast of Fang Rock, which, much like Horror of Fang Rock back in the ’70s, has come about due a lost (manu)script and is, thus, a last minute replacement. All this means a shift of focus for me, and a quick turnaround.

As such I’ve been heavily involved in the writing of Beast, with 17,978 words written in the first week. Which is not bad going, considering the amount of research needed to get this book right. Research which includes reading up a lot on lighthouses, visiting them, and watching all kinds of documentaries.  All this plus the usual research for a book that takes place in the late ’60s.

Brig FangI can’t tell you too much about it at the moment, except that it is not only a sequel to Horror of Fang Rock, but also serves as a prequel, revolving as it does around the legend of Fang Rock as told by Reuben in the Doctor Who serial. The mysterious Beast that prowled the rocks in the 1820s, claiming the lives of two keepers and driving a third out of his mind.  I can also tell you that I have the ear of Terrance Dicks during the writing, with him passing comment on its development. His role in the book is not as big as we’d hoped, however, due to his other commitments. We also have the cover all ready to go, which Terrance has called ‘powerful stuff’. The cover is by a Doctor Who artist of some repute, and we look forward to sharing it with you very soon. (A very minor piece of it is displayed above, and the ‘title card’ is below. Hints are always fun!) And as I like to do, I can share with you the names of the cast (as it currently stands):

  • Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart
  • Anne Travers
  • Lance Corporal William Bishop
  • Daren Woodward
  • Mr Slant
  • Corporal Sally Wright
  • Harold Chorley
  • Stephen Worman
  • Owain Vine
  • Dr Gautum Jhaveri
  • Jim Saunders
  • Mark Powell
  • Jennie Rudge
  • Reuben Whormby
  • Vince Hawkins
  • Lord Henry Palmerdale
  • Ivan Richards
  • Tim Gambrell
  • Archibald Goff
  • Jacob Travers
  • Charlie Crane
  • Alfred Scott

For now I’ll leave those names with you, let you make of them what you will…

Fang Title

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Schizoid Earth details revealed!

It’s with great pleasure we can finally unveil the cover for the next book in the Lethbridge-Stewart series; The Schizoid Earth by David A McIntee…

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“Lethbridge-Stewart was supposed to be in the mountains of the east. Things didn’t quite go according to plan.

On the eve of war, something appeared in the sky; a presence that blotted out the moon. Now it has returned, and no battle plan can survive first contact with this enemy.

Plagued by nightmares of being trapped in a past that never happened, Lethbridge-Stewart must unravel the mystery of a man ten years out of his time; a man who cannot possibly still exist.

Why do the ghosts of fallen soldiers still fight long-forgotten battles against living men? What is the secret of the rural English town of Deepdene? Lethbridge-Stewart has good reason to doubt his own sanity, but is he suffering illness or injury, or is something more sinister going on?”

David A McIntee has written novels for Star Trek, Final Destination and Space: 1999 and over fifteen books and audio dramas for Doctor Who since 1993, including the Brigadier-centric novel, The Face of the Enemy. David said: “To be honest it (the series) is something I’m amazed hasn’t been done before – it’s just such a natural and obvious thing. The form it’s taking is also cool because it has the flexibility to move between styles and genres – thriller, SF, horror, etc – while maintaining a definite identity. As for the Brig himself, he’s one of those characters where the casting was so perfect that it just made the character so memorable, and who (usually) feels so right.”

The cover art is by Nathan Hudson, who works for Cosgrove Hall as a background artist. Cosgrove Hall is the animation company who produced the animated episodes for the DVD release of the 1969 Doctor Who adventure The Invasion, which featured Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and the first appearance of UNIT. Nathan has worked previously with Candy Jar Books as the cover artist for the runaway time travel hit Tommy Parker: Destiny Will Find You and the acclaimed See You in September.

The Schizoid Earth also features an exclusive foreword written by Amanda Haisman, daughter of Lethbridge-Stewart creator Mervyn Haisman, in which she publicly talks about her father and the legend he created for Doctor Who.

The next in the series (due out in September) is Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen and Terrance Dicks, followed by Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters.

Andy Frankham-Allen has been a Doctor Who fan since his childhood. Andy is the former line editor of Untreed Reads Publishing’s series Space: 1889 & Beyond, and has penned several Doctor Who Short Trip stories for Big Finish and Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son, as well as Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants. He said: “There’s been such a warm reception to the first book, I must thank everybody for all their kind words. My next book is a dream come true. It’s an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head since 1998, so it’s great privilege to be able to make it a reality, and even more so due to Terrance Dicks’ involvement with it.”

Nick Walters has written five novels for Doctor Who since 1998. Nick said: “After the Doctor himself the Brigadier is the best-loved character in Doctor Who. I met Nick Courtney a number of times and he really is a splendid fellow. He brought a real humanity and vulnerability to the role without compromising the essential toughness of the character. Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is the chap you’d want on your side in a fight – any fight – and it is a real privilege to be exploring what made him into the character we came to know and love.”

The story of Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is fully licensed by the Executor of the Haisman Literary Estate, Mervyn Haisman’s granddaughter Hannah Haisman, and endorsed by Henry Lincoln.

The Schizoid Earth can now be pre-ordered directly from Candy Jar, on it’s own or as part of two different bundles…

Deleted Scenes – From Me to You

Well, it’s a lovely sunny Spring Saturday (ah, alliteration!), so I decided to offer you wonderful people who’ve been saying such nice things about my book a little insight into what might have been…

Candy_Jar_LS_Front_BFormat_classic_SmallThree scenes deleted from the final manuscript of The Forgotten Son. Two underwent massive rewrites, while the third was completely excised, although it still fits in the book continuity so it can be considered canon if you like.  🙂

Hope you all enjoy, but be warned, if you haven’t read the book, there will be SPOILERS within.

Download Forgotten_Son_Deleted_Scenes here!

A Brief History… FREE

We all like a little bit of free reading material, right? Well, that’s good as I have something free to give to whoever wants it.

tve14908-98-19680210-0A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts is a little work of fiction, an excerpt from a larger fictional book by everybody’s favourite irritating journalist, Harold Chorley!  It’s ‘in-universe’, which means officially part of the Lethbridge-Stewart canon and gives a few hints at the larger picture of the series.

Alas, it’s only available in pdf… A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts.

Origin of the Ancestry

The Forgotten Son has been out almost three weeks (or more, if you pre-ordered it) and it has garnered a lot of positive feedback, with mostly four-star reviews. People seem to really love it, which bodes well for the series as a whole.

But there is one point raised by a few readers which I want to address here. In The Forgotten Son I establish that Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart was born in Cornwall. This has confused some readers, who tell me ‘but he’s Scottish’. Which leaves me to wonder; is he? From where did you get this information?

1301aMy first source of reference is, and always will be, the television series. I have watched every story featuring the Brigadier many times, not only since 1988 when I was first introduced to the character, but also for research purposes. The only story which even suggests his origins is Terror of the Zygons, the season thirteen opener which is set in Scotland. In the early moments of the episode the Doctor, Sarah and Harry arrive at the Fox Inn to find the Brigadier in a kilt. What follows is this conversation:

SARAH: Anyway, it’s nice to see you again, Brigadier.

BRIGADIER: And you, Miss Smith.

SARAH: Though I didn’t expect to see you in a kilt.

BRIGADIER: My dear Miss Smith, as you remember, my name is Lethbridge-Stewart. The Clan Stewart.

SARAH: Oh, sorry. I thought you were doing a Doctor.

BRIGADIER: What an absurd idea.

At the end of the story, the Duke of Forgil questions the Brigadier for not taking back the Doctor and Sarah’s return tickets to British Rail and getting a refund; ‘I thought you were a Scotsman,’ he says, and receives a bemused smirk from the Brigadier.

From these two exchanges it would appear that many have drawn the conclusion that the Brigadier is Scottish. Which is, on the surface, fair enough. (Of course, that he was originally in the Scots Guards could be used to back up this conclusion, except not every officer in the Scots Guards is Scottish.) However, a few points seem to be ignored when drawing this conclusion. The Brigadier does not sound Scottish in the slightest, which at least suggests he was not raised in Scotland or the north of England, and, most importantly, his name.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREI looked it up, trying to discover where ‘Lethbridge’ originates, and it would appear to have come from a place name in Devon that no longer exists. The family name was derived from this place and has, over the centuries, been altered to the current form of ‘Lethbridge’. Indeed, to this day, the Lethbridge Baronets are a large and distinguished part of Devon heritage. From this it is clear that at least half of the Brigadier’s ancestry is English, while the other half is, as stated in Terror of the Zygons, Scottish as a once-part of the Clan Stewart.

None of which suggests he was necessarily born in Scotland – granted, beyond his accent, there’s nothing to suggest he wasn’t born in Scotland either. So, taking my cue from other Doctor Who media beyond the TV, I decided that the Brigadier wasn’t born in Scotland at all, as his accent suggests – an accent refined by schooling, no doubt. I went for Cornwall simply because of its proximity to Devon and the fact that the Brigadier always seems so at home whenever we see in villages on television.

stewart-clan-crestAs an interesting addition, in Lance Parkin’s The Dying Days, published in 1997, we learn about William Lethbridge-Stewart who was a friend of King James VI. Seeing no reason to contradict this, I have merged this information with soon-to-be established information, as seen in this excerpt from a yet-to-be released document called A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts:

‘The first recorded Lethbridge-Stewart was William Stewart, born in 1567. He was of the Clan Stewart, a relative of the Stuart Kings of Scotland.  He grew up to be friends with James VI, and was with him when the young king claimed the English throne after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. By this time William had already met and married Mary Lethbridge, the daughter of the influential Lethbridge family in England – a marriage that was only approved on the condition that the Lethbridge name be maintained in conjunction with the Stewart name.’

And thus the ancestry of the Brigadier is explained in a way that does not contradict what’s been established on television, and successfully extrapolates information given and real life fact.

As an aside, William Lethbridge-Stewart was, one imagines, named after Nicholas Courtney himself, whose full name was William Nicholas Stone Courtney. Naming fictional characters after the real life people who inspired them is a fine tradition of authors all over the world, and one I like to keep alive. Indeed, in the Lethbridge-Stewart series I have named several characters after real people, or people that are connected to those who inspire the characters. Like Colonel Pemberton, a character referenced in the television story, The Web of Fear, who was named by writer Mervyn Haisman after his good friend Victor Pemberton, Doctor Who author and script editor. As a tribute to Pemberton’s life-partner I christened the character with the full name of Spencer David Pemberton (Victor’s partner was actor/producer David Spenser, who died in July 2013). There are other characters inspired by real people in The Forgotten Son – whoever can name the most, will receive a special prize from me (responses in the comments below, or email me: andy@candyjarbooks.co.uk).

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART LAUNCHES

LSbanThe day is here. After almost eight months, Lethbridge-Stewart the series officially begins today. Pre-orders have been shipping the past week, but today is the day that sees the first book in the series available to the public at large. It’s been quite a long journey, but worth every second, although now the book is out there I’m in a position of waiting to see how well I, and the rest of the team at Candy Jar Books, have done my job. Reviews have started coming in, and here are a select few from pre-order readers:

It felt like I was watching it on television, picturing it clearly in my mind’s eye as I was reading, hearing the characters’ voices as I watched the events unfold.  Much like The Sarah Jane Adventures offered a deeper look into one of the Doctor’s best loved companions; Lethbridge-Stewart offers a deeper understanding of one of his greatest human allies. – Katt at Nerdversity

A very good launch to a new series of books looking at Lethbridge-Stewart’s history between The Web of Fear and The Invasion. Very well written, if you know your Who you’ll probably be one step ahead of Alistair, if you don’t you’ll enjoy it just the same. Well recommended. – Goodreads’ reader.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 15.35.50I did have a worry that like some of the New Adventures – which I think I read somewhere was an inspiration to the author – this story wouldn’t fit in with the fictional universe of Doctor Who in the 1960s – by being too modern in its approach. But this achieves the aim of presenting something broader and deeper (to coin a phrase from the NA series) than ‘60s Who without compromising its style and principles. I almost felt this was the novelisation of a spin off series broadcast just after the watershed on a Sunday in 1968 – faithful to its time but still doing something a little different than the parent series. – Reviewer on GallifreyBase Forum

With a number of mysterious layers to intrigue and entice, the puzzle over the colonel’s background and the disappearance of a dead soldier to keep you guessing, The Forgotten Son is a superb opener to the series, mixing recognisable Who lore, suppositions by cast members, tear-jerking dedications, a foreword by the great Terrance Dicks, and the familiar smile of the man we came to know as the Brigadier. – Kasterborous

10947198_10152633322626190_5616946692644792625_n… Which do rather suggest that it’s not a bad book. I certainly hope so. In many ways this is the culmination of my journey as a writer thus far, where my professional career smashes head first into the most important fictional escapism I had growing up. And, of course, from a fan point of view, I am aware of how many people are invested in the lead character and the responsibility resting on The Forgotten Son as the first book in the series.

The book can picked up from any book shop (although they’ll probably need to order it in), with digital editions available from all good eBook stockists. You can buy the paperback online direct from Candy Jar Books, or various retailers via Amazon, and places like the Book Depository.

Alternatively, if you can wait until Saturday, you can drop by The Who Shop in London and buy a copy there, and get it signed by not only me, but Terrance Dicks, Ralph Watson (who played Captain Knight in The Web of Fear), Hannah Haisman and, if you time it right, maybe even get a scribble from David A McIntee and Nick Walters. We’ll be there from 13:30 to 15:00.

Lethbridge-Stewart – News Round-Up

slider_lethbridgestewartBeen a busy old week or so for Lethbridge-Stewart. Lots of good things happening, although I can’t comment on all of them. So, this post will talk about some of the highlights which I can comment on.

First of all, as mentioned in the previous post, I’ve been interviewed on two podcasts in the last week. By the fine folks at Kasterborous, where I was joined by Hannah Haisman and Shaun Russell, and we talked exclusively about the series and a bit of the background. Secondly I was interviewed by the insane people at Nerdversity, in which I talked about almost everything, including the new series of books, plus my work on Space: 1889 & Beyond and other assorted work over the years, as well as touching on various other subjects such as Supernatural, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Star Trek and loads of other stuff.

Kasterborous podKast…

Nerdversity 101 podcast…

Speaking of interviews. Shaun and I were also recently interviewed by both Doctor Who Magazine and SFX Magazine, and will feature in the next issues, both released at the beginning of February. Without saying what, I can tell you that there’s an exciting little surprise for fans also featured in the next issue of DWM, so be sure to pick up an issue!

The Forgotten Son, and thus the series, will be launched in person on February 28th at The Who Shop in London, under the banner of UNIT Day. We’ll be joined by various UNIT alumni, covering all eras of the organisation — hopefully including actors, writers and, maybe, even the script editor responsible for most of the UNIT stories of the 1970s. See below for more information; flyer designed by the wonderful Sam Hunt of The Who Shop.

The book itself is going through it’s final stage of edits right now (literally as I type this I can see Shaun working on it), which means the book goes to print next week. Exciting stuff!

I can also reveal the final front cover for The Forgotten Son below, as well as an exclusive scene featuring Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in action…

PodKast – Talking about Lethbridge-Stewart

So… Something fun has happened in the last couple of days. I’ve been interviewed on two podcasts. Curiously they’re being aired in reverse, so the one recorded first is being released second, while the one recorded second is being released first. And the first one is with the Kasterborites Christian Cawley, James McLean and Brian Terranova!

But it’s not only me. Shaun Russell, editor-in-chief of Candy Jar Books is there too, as well as Hannah Haisman… The topic of discussion? Why, Lethbridge-Stewart, of course!

http://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/35967/36616961

The Year That Was… 2014

So, that was 2014, eh? What a year it’s been. Turbulent. In turns awful, in turns amazing. Personal failures that led to new bouts of personal strength, and the end of one of my favourite publishing jobs which came about just in time for what is almost certainly going to be my most favourite publishing job yet!

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Personally life has been an odd one. Started off in a great place, hopelessly in love, certain I’d found my soul mate, but that soured throughout the year until it totally collapsed in August. Which was fun. I still feel I had found my soul mate, my ‘one’, alas it seems he was only the ‘one’ for the best part of two years. Of course, as one would expect, the ending of it was terrible, with all kinds of emotional fallout, leading to distractions of the worst kind. But I came through it, and I now sit here able to look back and realise that for all the pain, I have grown once again. Probably became harder as a result, less forgiving of people. (Which explains my rather cold response to a family member who sunk into what I can only call alcoholism, to the point where she absolutely failed to take the advice and help offered to her. And also explains the dissolution of long-term friendship with someone who crossed a line I could no longer ‘go along with’.) I think I am now at a place where I’m actually looking to where my next ‘one’ is — I’m sure he’s out there somewhere. Only this time it’ll be someone who isn’t so far removed from my own age — not that I believe in the idea of an age-gap. After all, a number is just that, but the practicalities of a relationship with a large age-gap are something to be considered. And heeded. What’s the point in going through a bad experience if you’re not willing to learn and do better the next time?

horizons2mediumProfessionally life has also been an odd one. I started the year in the same role I’d inhabited for the last four years, that of range editor for Space: 1889 & Beyond, only I could already see the end in sight. Things were falling apart behind the scenes — my relationship with my publisher was souring drastically. Was this connected to what was going on in my personal life? It’s entirely possible. At least, the two things did not help each other.  I still intend, one day, to tell of my experiences and view on how the series failed, but for now all I can say is I was personally disenfranchised by the whole experience, and was determined to see it end, so that it could be reborn in a stronger manner. So, mid-way through the year as Space: 1889 & Beyond limped its way to the final gate, I found myself in the position of being commissioned to oversee an exciting new project. And all because of a simple Facebook status I wrote! Of course, anybody who has read this blog (and many more besides) are aware of the project now — Lethbridge-Stewart, a new series of novel based on the legendary character from Doctor Who. The series still hasn’t begun,  but I have been working hard on it since the beginning on July, pretty much every day since the license was agreed. It has been a crazy six months, working alongside authors who I have always counted among some of my favourites, writers responsible for some of the best Doctor Who prose during the 1990s. The thrill of announcing the series at the start of December cannot be described — the news spread like fire. It seemed everybody was talking about. Including Digital Spy! Insane, I tell ya. My publisher totally didn’t see it coming, but I think I did, as he remarked to me. Because I had been working on for quite a while, I think I started to get a feel for just how big a deal it was, whereas Shaun was busy on other projects for Candy Jar Books. But when the news was out there, well, then Shaun learned just how big this was, too!

Candy_Jar_LS2_Front_BFormat_smallAnd so here I am. The end of 2014, with what may well be my biggest book yet on the verge of being released into the hands of the public (the verge, in this case, being late February), single, but pretty content with how things are. Sure, they could be a lot better, but when I consider all that happened in the last six months I realise I’m a very lucky chap indeed. I’m the controlling element of a series which is going to bring a hell of a lot of readers excitement and fun, and I get to establish the official story of one of the biggest television characters of the last fifty years. I have some amazing people to work with over the next few years — hell, just the following year will see me work alongside some of the best authors out there, and this is only the beginning. So, yes, it’s been an interesting year. At times hard, at times the most fun ever.

So, big thanks to all who have helped to make it such a great and odd year. And I mean to all, even the lost love. Time for my annual sharing of this song, and the words are truly what I believe…