31st December? Already? How is that even possible?
Well, as it’s that time of year, I hope you’ll indulge me with a little round-up of the last twelve months.
So, here they are in no particular order – my top 10 moments from 2013.
1. THE NINTH DOCTOR RETURNS
Doctor Who has featured heavily in my work life this year – appropriately enough as it was the 50th Anniversary of the world’s greatest Science Fiction series. 2013 kicked off with me and Mark Wight writing a brand new adventure for the Ninth Doctor as part of the anniversary Destiny of the Doctor audio series. It came out in September and was amazingly the 30th story I’d written with Mark. 30! Here’s to many more!
In April, my first Warhammer 40,000 short story swooped in as an e-book and was swiftly followed by three more and a novella, the latter due to be published next year. I’m currently plotting out a second novella, again featuring those holier-than-thou Space Marines. I also popped along to my first Games Day and really tried not to spend too much money on figures and books. Honest.
I’m not sure what was more exciting. Seeing Who-ology, the Doctor Who miscellany I co-wrote with Mark, promoted after The Name of the Doctor or seeing it become the first ever Doctor Who book to hit the Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller list. Can I choose both? Go on, let me.
4. ALL ABOARD THE LIBERATOR
Mark and I were chuffed to little bits to be invited to write for Big Finish’s first series of full-cast Blake’s 7, but I never expected to be asked to take over producing the series. Work is continuing on brand new stories for the crew of the Liberator and I can’t wait to get back into studio with Blake, Avon and the rest. Ahead, standard by 12!
When I was a kid I was never without a Beano, and yes, I was a paid-up member of the Dennis the Menace Fan Club (D.I.N.G, by the way). OK, I was also a member of the Desperate Dan Pie Eaters Club – don’t tell Gnasher. I still read the Beano today. Well, what’s the point of growing up if you can’t be childish every now and then?
You can imagine how excited I was to fly up to Dundee in October to delve into the Beano archives for some top-secret projects that are coming out next year. Talk about a treasure trove. More on those when I can talk about them. I would tell you now, but Minnie the Minx has a tomato-loaded catapult aimed right at my head. Gulp!
6. DON’T BE GLOOMY
Writing The Gloom Lord last month was nerve-wrecking. A serialised story where the readers choose what happens next? Talking about writing by the seat of your pants. Had a ball though. I wonder if old Gloomy will ever make a comeback?
I’m never too far away from the magical world of Skylands. This year has seen me write another seven Skylanders books including three more in Onk Beakman’s Mask of Power series. In fact, I’m plotting out another right now.
And tell me, did Father Christmas bring the 2014 Skylanders Annual in your stocking? I hope so.
8. FEATHERED FURY
At last! I can finally justify the hours spent flinging furious blackbirds at pilfering pigs. Thanks to Penguin Books playing Angry Birds suddenly became research. Two books are already out, including The World of Angry Birds, with more on their way. Tweet tweet.
9. TIME LORD TALK
One of the most surreal moments was finding myself sitting on the BBC Breakfast red sofa with Sophie Aldred chatting about the fact that Peter Capaldi was going to be the 12th Doctor. And it wasn’t the only time I was asked to wibble on about Doctor Who this year.
In September, I hotfooted it to that London to appear with the wonderful Jenny Colgan and, of course, Mr Wright at Waterstone’s Gower Street and then later teamed up with David Llewellyn, Nick Walters and a rather snazzy fan-made Dalek for a Who-based author talk at the shiny new J3 Library here in Bristol.
And not forgetting all the great schools that invited me to lead monster-based writing workshops over the course of the year. Already looking forward to more author visits in 2014.
10. THE GAME’S AFOOT
Writing a short story for The Encounters of Sherlock Holmes was one of the most daunting moments of the year. I’ve been reading the Great Detective’s cases since I was a kid. Could I do Holmes justice? Thankfully The Demon Slasher of Seven Sisters was remarkably well received. Phew! If you haven’t picked up the anthology ably edited by the great George Mann you should – its a fab collection.
11. THE DOCTOR WHO 50th CELEBRATION IN EXCEL
OK, I know I said 10, but who’s counting? November saw me presenting the Vortex Challenge at the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who event. My very own Doctor Who quiz show! Fantastic. It was even better when Chris Johnson of CBBC arrived to co-host it with me on Sunday 24th (which we soon dubbed ‘The Day After The Doctor’). My two girls were in awe of meeting Chris, never mind all the Doctor Who malarky going on around them.
Plus, I got chased across stage by Cybermen, Silurians and Peg Dolls. What’s not to love?
So, there you are. Of course, now I’m thinking that I should have included interviewing Russell T. Davies, Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner for Doctor Who Magazine, introducing the Peter Cushing Dalek films at the Bath Little Theatre, talking science and squidpunk at Bristolcon, writing Judge Dredd or Counter-Measures and sending Jake and Finn on an adventure or two.
2013 was a bumper year, so thanks to everyone who read my books or listened to my audios. I’ll have loads more to talk about in the new year, including more stories from reluctant readers from Badger Learning, some comic capers and, yes, more trips in the TARDIS.
I hope you have a fantastic 2014. See you on the other side.