Interview: Jenny Colgan on writing the 11th Doctor

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Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull interviews the author of Time Trips story, Into the Nowhere.

jenny-colgan-cyberman-2013We’re into the new year now and the Time Trips series kicked off at the back end of 2013 with A.L. Kennedy’s The Death Pit. Now we’re into January for our second helping, served by the delightful Jenny Colgan (Dark Horizons). I had the pleasure of posing some questions to her about The Day of the Doctor, badgering the BBC and her favourite Eleventh Doctor episode.

The Time Trips venture by BBC Books asked you all to select a favourite Doctor. Was it difficult for any of you picking a Doctor? In terms of nailing their dialogue and your knowledge of that era?

Well I was lucky because I’d written for Matt Smith before, so this time was more confident going in and grabbing his voice out. I would have been equally happy with the Fourth Doctor, the Fifth Doctor, the Ninth Doctor or the Tenth Doctor really, they’re my lot.

Can you tell us which companion you used and why you used them? You are permitted to be coy and mysterious but it doesn’t make as good reading.

I’m writing for Clara.

Doctor-Who-Into-the-Nowhere-300In four words describe your reaction when that email/phone call/text message/video/carrier pigeon (delete as appropriate) came through saying you were writing a Doctor Who e-book. Or if you were in a meeting.

Oh, I am awful, I badger them and badger them and beg and submit pitches and basically won’t take no for an answer. So it’s not very exciting, they just sigh and say, “oh, go on then.”

How much research did you do for your story? Did you find inspiration in a specific story? And do you have a favourite Eleventh Doctor episode?

None, I knew the story I wanted to write, it’s one I’ve known since I was a child. My favourite Eleventh Doctor story is Vincent and the Doctor because it is so beautiful, and I actually love The Eleventh Hour, it is a tremendous, bravura introduction.

Jenny, what was it like writing Clara given that this’ll be her second appearance in prose (we’re not counting Doctor Who Magazine comic strips)?

Well it was tricky as – I think I can say this – it takes place after the 50th anniversary special, which of course I haven’t seen yet, so I know that she’s been in places in a lot of pain, but she doesn’t always know that about herself. So I worked on that angle.

Also because I really put them both through the wringer in this story, it’s really horrible a lot of it, we’ve had a bit of toning down to do, so I thought I’d let her suffer and not always enjoy it. Sometimes I think the Doctor, because he’s having such a good time whenever there is fast moving trouble, puts an onus on his companions to love every second, and you couldn’t, possibly. Well, you couldn’t possibly love every second of what I put them through!

Jenny T. Colgan’s Into the Nowhere is released on Thursday the 16th of January 2014.