The Sunday Seven.
Jenny Colgan.

Yes, Jenny Colgan!  I know!  I know!

How did you become a writer?

I tried lots of different things; stand up (awful), sketches for the BBC (no interest whatsoever), children's books (hmm). Writing novels was just the first thing that clicked, I failed at everything else.

What was your inspiration for Doctor Who: Dark Horizons?

Well I love the Lewis Chess men - there's some in the National Museum of Scotland and some in the British Museum and I was just fascinated by the fact that nobody knows how they got there. There are theories of course, but truly it's a mystery, so I thought the Doctor might want to find out.

What was the trickiest element to achieve?

This will sound odd, but in the tv shows everything is wrapped up in forty five minutes and they usually play in almost real time whereas the books take place over several days. This presents practical problems to do with meals, night time etc. Those were tricky.

Of everything you've done what have you been most pleased with?

I wrote a series of books about a boarding school under a pseudonym (Jane Beaton). They didn't sell well AT ALL, but I love them, they're kind of like Malory Towers for grown ups and remain the books I would most like to read if I wasn't me, if that makes any sense.

How much did you have to change your writing style to fit in with Doctor Who?

Not much, except it's a bit more adventurous and death defying. But really I feel my job is just to tell a cool story in a cool way, so the process didn't feel madly different. It was a bit odd writing for a character who exists physically though. Every time I see a picture of Matt Smith now I do a massive double take.

Who’s your favourite writer and why?

Ooh, there's so many, and I like different writers for different moods. I love Jon Ronson's general air of pathos; I love John Irving for his cheerful humanity. I love George Eliot for describing the world, and Douglas Adams for building it and James Heriot for being so kind towards it. I could go on and on and on, I really could. With a gun to my head I might suggest Philip Larkin had some kind of short cut to the essence of humanity not necessarily granted to the rest of us.

What stops you from feeling listless?

I never feel listless. I often feel jittery, if that helps. Let me see, I run a lot, I have three young children and I have three books coming out this year so I really don't have the time. If I'm ever in danger of feeling listless, I suppose I just remember how terrified I am of the zombie apocalypse, and that gets me back to jittery in no time.

Doctor Who: Dark Horizons by J.T. Colgan is published by BBC Books on the 5th July.

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