Today on Meet the Authors I wish to introduce you to a fanfiction rarity - an author with a Y-chromosome! Many thanks to Howlcastle for taking the time to tell us why Doctor Who is his favorite show to write for, the virtues of one Charley Pollard, and why he is such a fanboy when it comes to Stephen Fry. And let me state for the record that I agree with him that wearing pyjamas all the time would be very cool indeed!

Penname: Howlcastle

  • How long have you been writing?

    About five years.

  • What first got you interested in writing fanfiction?

    I enjoy speculating about unsaid and uncovered moments. I figured others might as well.

  • Are there any fanfic authors that have influenced your own writing? If so, who are they and what do they write?

    I certainly enjoy and admire many other writers of fanfic, but as they are mostly female writers, I feel like I have my own voice.

  • What are your favorite shows to write fiction for? What about these shows lend themselves to the creative exercise of fanfiction?

    I began writing stories under the penname of Howl to canvas Harry Potter missing moments. It was a good learning curve and I think I wrote a few goodies that people seemed to enjoy. However, there is only so much story to fill and I soon ran out of inspiration.

    Then I thought, why not try and write for my hero? Doctor Who is a show I grew up with and have always been very fond of. Even though I've always been a steadfast fan, it is just impossible to grow tired or know it all back-to-front. It is too vast, both in its history and potential. It has enormous potential both in where the story can be set, how far you can let your imagination or historical curiosity off the hook and, most importantly, the slightly mysterious and mercurial Doctor himself. Doctor Who also works well in other media, such as books, comics and the amazing, (often better than the tv version), Big Finish plays, so for me, fanfic seemed a natural extension. Doctor Who is also very flexible for changing point of views by seeing the Doctor through the eyes of a great variety of companions. It can also be funny, or exciting, or frightening or angsty. Whatever you want, this show delivers. Genius. As is the Doctor!

  • Which of your stories is your personal favorite? Why?

    Really tough question. I think the most fun story to write was my mad Doctor Who - Animated story. Writing dialogue for Jamie and the second Doctor is endlessly amusing and coupling that with a more modern Doctor and companion team was great fun. But I think my most successful story might be the deceptively simple Eight to the Dozen.

  • Who is your all time favorite character to write for? Why?

    Charley Pollard. I love Charley Pollard. I think she is the woman to whom all others should aspire! She is brave, smart, very stubborn and rather witty. She is also compassionate and open-minded, fiery at times and unignorable. She isn't afraid to chide the Doctor and she is not the kind of companion that will allow herself to get left behind. Her voice - both in India Fisher who plays her - and in the quality of her scripts, is distinct and unforgetable and is a pleasure to write for.

  • What do you view as your strengths as a writer? Your weaknesses?

    My weakness defidefinitely in my sometimes sadly misplaced punctuation and also my bad habit of subssubstitution. I'll write a story and re-read it later and roll my eyes at all of the words where I've subbed something that sounds similar, but isn't right. I've actually done it twice in this sentence alone: happy for habit and fight for right.

    My strengths. I really feel for these characters, and I also have a good handle on the Doctor's gazillion mile long history. I think I bring this emotion and knowledge to the party.

  • It is an old adage that the best writers are also readers. What types of books do you read, and who are some of your favorite authors?

    For me it is absolutely true. I'll basically read anything not nailed down, but I tend to prefer the stories of a bygone age, such as Dickens or Austin or Hardy for example. My favourite author of all time is HG Wells, but I also love Neil Gaiman, PG Wodehouse, Stephen Fry, Evelyn Waugh, Agatha Christie, Mervyn Peake, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Rob Shearman...well, I really could go on.

  • Have you tried your hand at original fiction? Do you have any aspirations with regards to original fiction?

    I also do a bit of drawing on the side and have created original characters but never get so far as constructing a real premise to pin them in. I enjoy playing with other peoples toys too much! When you can drive an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, why would you settle for a bicycle?

  • How do you conquer the problem of writer's block?

    Writing late at night. For some reason, after midnight the creative side of my brain amps things up to eleven. I'll often brew on a story for a few weeks in my mind and then let it all out late one night. I plan only in my head, so it is a very organic process for me.

  • Have you discovered any tips or tricks that help with your writing that you would like to share with our readers?

    I really enjoy reading and writing stories with good dialogue. Sometimes this can be difficult to find. When it doesn't gel right, you notice it. When two characters speak and you don't notice the "saids" and such, then there is a good flow going. For me, reading lots of Christie and Waugh have helped with more natural dialogue. Obviously, being familiar with who you are writing for is essential as well.

    Another thing I learned early on is don't change your Point of View. If you are writing a Doctor and Lucie story, than you choose to be omnipotent, or the Doctor, or Lucie. It doesn't work well to flip flop with POVs. It is distracting and sometimes confusing for your reader.

  • If you could meet any one person from history or fiction, who would it be and why?

    Easy. Stephen Fry. Comedian, novelist, documentarian, quiz master, BAFTA host, screenwriter, audiobook reader, blogger, actor, director, journalist, playwrite and friend to the British arts elite. Is famous both for leaving a restaurant because his friend was being too rude to a waiter and yet holds the the record for saying f*&$ the most number of times on a live British broadcast. He is also a lifelong Doctor who fan and was in attendance as a writer for the new series two, but apparently the budget couldn't support his story. Have I gushed enough? Methinks, yes.

  • Which has the greatest coolest factor - Ninjas, pirates, or zombies? Why?

    Zombies certainly take the "terrify" prize, but I would have to go with ninjas. Don't get me wrong, Pirates are great, but they can also come off as a little comic or desperate. Ninjas are stoic and cool. I also respect the training that goes into making a Ninja. And they get to wear pyjamas 24/7. 'Nuff said.

Have you read Howlcastle's stories? What did you think of them? Do you have a comment on any of his answers? Let us know!

Category: Author Interviews