Mondy (him on the left, tormenting Rob Shearman) has written Dr Who stories featuring the Dr and Bernice Summerfield for Big Finish Productions. He’s been Tuckerised in Kate Orman’s novel Blue Box.What else do you need to know? Is that not enough to elevate him to the position of demi-god in the Nerdverse? I thought so. He also has opinons. Lots of them. About everything. And he shares here. I say this not to mock, but to genuinely point you in his direction for his opinions are informed, intelligent and nicely articulated. So much so that he was nominated for a William Atheling Jnr award for criticism – and you don’t get that just for telling someone their ass looks big in those pants.
1. What was your first experience of Dr Who?
You know what really annoys me? Doctor Who fans who can pinpoint that first time when they first saw the show or read their first Doctor Who novelisation. I mean, I have this vague memory of being shit scared by the rubbery fake spiders in Planet of Spiders (which was being repeated on the ABC in 1977 when I was three years old) and I know Genesis of the Daleks frightened me to the point where I actually lived the cliché by hiding behind my parent’s couch, but there’s no way I could put a hand on my heart and say either of those events was my first Doctor Who experience.
That said, I do distinctly remember the first Target Doctor Who book I bought: It was Nightmare of Eden (I was drawn to the novel by that crappy monster on the cover (a Mandrel) and the dour look on Tom Baker’s face). But the cover that excited me the most when I was about seven years of age (and not longer after I bought Nightmare of Eden) was Death to the Daleks. I mean just look at it – an explodey Dalek all the colours of the rainbow. I mean, what seven year old kid wouldn’t be excited?!
2. How did you end up writing Dr Who books for Big Finish?
Basically, it’s all Rob Shearman’s fault. But then, what isn’t these days. Anywho, on a visit to the UK in 2003, Rob introduced me to Ian Farrington one of the editors on the range of the Short Trips Doctor Who anthologies. We get on so well that on that very night, between our fourth and fifth pint (and by Christ was I sloshed so it’s a miracle I remember what was said) he offered me the opportunity to write him a story for his new Doctor Who anthology. The great thing was that it was more than just the chance to pitch. He wanted a story, and he didn’t care if my first few ideas were non-starters.
In the end I wrote eight Doctor Who short stories (the first two with Danny Oz, who was lovely to work with). I even wrote a glorious (but genuinely awful) bit of fanwank that featured both the 7th and 8th Doctors. Writing that scene where the two Doctors bitch at each other was a moment pure of fangasm, even if I knew it had no artistic merit at all.
Probably my favourite story out of the bunch was called Direct Action, where a time travelling film director is given the task of filming a less than famous advisor during the war at Gallipoli. It not only gave me the chance to write for Tom Baker’s Doctor (my all time fave… yeah, I know… cliché) but it also gave me an excuse to actually research what the ANZACs faced at Gallipoli. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.
3. You get to be Dr Who for the day: who do you choose as your companion and where do you go in the whole of time and space?
Well, I’d like to go with my son and visit every single major Australian sporting event. I mean, how cool would it be to sit in the crowd with Joshi, watching Don Bradman and the Invincibles beat the Poms for the Ashes in 1948. Or being one of the 121,000 people at the MCG to watch the Carlton Football Club come from 44 points down at half time to trounce Collingwood in the 1970s AFL Grand Final. And how awesome would it be to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Bob Hawke when Australia II won the America’s Cup!?!?
Come on people, stop rolling your eyes. Sport is GREAT!!!!
4. If I didn’t write, I would …
Probably play more computer games.
Actually, without getting all self confessional here, but the thing is I don’t have the desire to write that much fiction these days. I get the odd idea from time to time, but mostly I’m interested in writing reviews (and the odd critical essay) on my LiveJournal (http://mondyboy.livejournal.com). I was overjoyed when it was nominated for the William Atheling Jnr award for criticism. And it was at that point that I realised that I really do like telling the world (or at least the 140 people that read my LJ) my opinions.
That said, I probably will get back to writing fiction one of these days. It’s just not my focus anymore and I’m cool with that.
5. Donuts or danishes?
Everyone in my family has said Danish. I think they’re all crazy. The answer, of course, is Donut. There’s nothing like a just out of the oven ponchka absolutely bursting with jam. Especially when you squirt that jam everywhere!