Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens VBT

Doctor How’s famous megalomaniac brother Doctor Who sold his fictional life story to the BBC half a century ago, painting himself as a lone hero. Disillusioned, their four cousins dropped out. For fifty years, Doctor How has held the line against the forces of darkness and stupidity. And he’s not that happy, since you ask.

Illegal aliens try to hack How’s Spectrel (TARDIS is a very rude word where he comes from), just as he suspects his estranged cousin Where has been compromised. When reports come in of mysterious attacks by alien creatures, Doctor How has to rely on his new companion Kevin, a petty criminal from south London, and Trinity, a morphing super-predator, as he counters this threat to humanity’s existence. Bungling agents from MI16, long desperate to capture the Time Keeper’s technology, hamper How’s efforts to combat the alien menace. Can Doctor How keep ahead of MI16, save Where and combat the alien threat?

Kevin lowered his window and said, “Come on, Doc. We haven’t got all night.”

Where honked lightly twice, and Kevin laughed.

Doctor How smiled and took a couple of steps towards the cab.

There was a crash from inside the house, and the sound of splintering wood. The Doctor whipped around to see the sofa burst through the front window and tumble into the garden. It came to a stop upside down against the wall. He took a couple of steps back, pulled out his Ultraknife and held it towards the house.

“Get in the bleedin’ cab and let’s go!” yelled Where.

“I want to know what it is. Kill the headlights.”

“Kill the headlights? You’ll kill us all. Get inside!” Nevertheless, Where turned off the headlights.

“Get in, Doctor!” shouted Kevin.

The wall beneath the living room window collapsed outward in a cloud of dust, and the radiator that sat underneath it fell with a resonating clang onto the rubble. Water gushed out of a piece of broken central heating pipe.

A pair of black antennae waved through the dust. They were followed by two interlocking pairs of black mandibles two feet wide that scythed back and forth in the night air.

“Oh, you absolute beauty,” said the Doctor, lowering his Ultraknife a fraction.

“Oi, nutter! Get in the bleedin’ cab, will ya?” Where turned the headlights back on, lighting up the rest of the creature. It was six feet wide and six feet tall, with a rounded shiny black body.

“I wish you hadn’t done that,” said Kevin. “Get in, Doc. Let’s go!”

“It’s after you, cousin,” said Doctor How. Or your Spectrel. Or your cab. Or all three.”

“Well, I don’t want to stick around and find out which, do I? Get in, you bleedin’ maniac!”

The Doctor opened the door and got in the front beside his cousin, who jammed the vehicle into reverse just as the creature edged forward a few feet, to where the cab had been two seconds before.

“Wait!” said the Doctor. He slammed the cab into neutral and jerked the handbrake.

What kind of writer am I?
I’m a reading and writing omnivore. That is to say that I’m not confined to a particular genre, or even a particular format of writing. Over the years I’ve written screenplays, sketches, a solo comedy show, a factual comedy book on religion, poems, business journalism, tabloid journalism – you name a form, and I’ve probably tried it.

I like to think of writing as splitting into two broad categories – short-form and long-form. Into short-form I’d put stand-up, journalism and sketches. They’re the fast-food of writing – designed to be gobbled up in seconds, never to be appreciated again. Very tasty at the time, but usually pretty ephemeral. Some classic sketches or pieces of journalism can live on, but if you consider the countless millions produced each year, then the odds of survival are minimal.

Long-form would be novels and movie scripts. These are soul-food, and continue to nourish on a second or third experience. I tried writing my first novel when I was six or seven, and then completed my first full-length manuscript at the age of fifteen, so long-form feels like my home. When I was on my MA in Creative Writing I was easily the most experienced in the class in writing in that form, and finished about a year ahead of the others. I began experimenting with short-form for a bit of a change, and found the near-instant feedback very satisfying. I was lucky enough to be sitting in the front row of a BBC radio recording when one of my lines was used to close the show – I’d had no inkling it would be used. It was an extraordinary experience. As a novelist you’re used to waiting months or years for feedback.

After three or four years concentrating on short-form I began to miss long-form quite badly. I wanted something to really get my teeth into. I didn’t want to do another screenplay, because in many respects what you’re doing is stringing a series of sketches together.

I realised that my heart ached for writing another novel. I’d abandoned one four years earlier after 30,000 words because I realised I simply didn’t believe the characters within the context of the story. For some authors, it would have worked – but for me I didn’t feel I was being true to them because there were elements of comedy, or even pure farce, in what was supposed to be a straight story. I had some notes on my Doctor How idea, and he just demanded to be written about, because his story is so strong. The afternoon I started my intensive work I realised that it would have to be a five-volume series. There was no hesitation in committing to telling those stories. Truly, it felt like coming home.

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Author Bio and Links:
Mark Speed has been writing novels since he was fifteen. His comedy writing has appeared in newspapers as diverse as the London Evening Standard and The Sun, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. He performed his solo comedy, The End of the World Show, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011 and 2012. He is currently working on the five-volume Doctor How series.

Amongst other postgraduate and professional qualifications, he has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from City University, London. In 1995 a chiropractor told him he’d never run again. Sensibly, he gave up chiropractors, runs every day and has completed several marathons and a couple of Olympic-length triathlons.

NLP founder Dr Richard Bandler called him a ‘polarity responder’.

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  1. Hi Everyone! Thanks for hosting me today on Sharing Links and Wisdom. I'm in London so do make allowances for the time difference (we're still in the 1990s here). I've just released this book trailer too:

    1. No problem, when I saw the title, I knew I needed to share this book with my followers :)

  2. Great interview. How wonderful for you that you realized your career path so very early in life. Good luck w/this new release.

  3. Thanks Elise-Maria. I think the key is not just to realise it, but also to take action.

  4. I enjoyed your post and learning more about you.

  5. It's always interesting to hear a writer's path...I'm glad it worked out!


  6. Thanks for your kind comments, Rita and Vitajex. Writing is a journey that never ends - something always sends you off in directions you never foresee.

  7. I'm in London, so I'm four hours ahead - which means I'm off to bed. Thanks for hosting me today, and thanks to Goddess Fish for promoting! Good luck in the giveaway everyone!

  8. Books sound like a lot of fun. Should I win, I would like a Amazon GC.
    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

  9. Love the cover and the book sounds like a lot of fun.

    kareninnc at gmail dot com