I've had two Deadline Days in as many weeks (which was weird) but I've kept the second project pretty hush-hush - that is until now, as my editor has said I'm now free to tell the world about Doctor Who: Terrible Lizards!
A few years ago now I was delighted to receive a commission for my first Doctor Who book, a gamebook featuring the Tenth Doctor (as portrayed by David Tennant) entitled The Horror of Howling Hill. Well, three years on I was given the opportunity to write for the Eleventh Doctor (Matt's Smith's incarnation). But this time, it wasn't a gamebook, rather a chapter book - in other words a short novel for younger readers.
The brief for this new range of books asked that the subject matter be particularly appealing to boys. As I sat down with my jotter I started off by asking myself the question, 'What won't they be able to do on telly, due to budgetary restraints?' I came up with, filming in the Caribbean on an actual sailing ship, and dinosaurs - lots of dinosaurs. (The image of a million TARDISes also popped into my head but I couldn't work out how to fit that one into the story, so I'm putting that idea on the back-burner for now.)
So I sat down and wrote my pitch. It featured pirates, specifically Blackbeard, and a search for the Fountain of Youth in the Florida Everglades. Two topics appealing to boys. Pirates of the Caribbean meets Jurassic Park. How could it fail?
Imagine my surprise when my editor got back to me to say that they loved the idea but the pirates clashed too much with something they were doing for Series 6. Since then, of course, I've seen the pictures of the filming of a pirate epic in St Austell. Fortunately dinosaurs still seemed to be fair game.
Anyway, a nip here, a tuck there, a change of period and a few other details, and Time and Tide became Terrible Lizards. I sent off the finished manuscript last week and now anxiously await my editor's comments.
Do you like this?
And, of course, him?
Then you'll love the forthcoming Terrible Lizards!
Doctor Who: Terrible Lizards will be published this September, back-to-back with The Web in Space. And I, for one, can't wait!