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Published on February 10th, 2012 | by Andrew Reynolds

Childhood Scraps Fuel Hollow Earth

Where most fierce sibling rivalries usually end with both parties trying to pull each other to the ground in a pub car park at the end of a wedding reception John and Carole E. Barrowman have instead channelled their early childhood squabbling into a lucrative young adult novel about the power of imagination.

Hollow Earth – the third collaboration between the twin headed Barrow-beast is just the next step in what the Daily Record amusingly calls John’s: ‘Increasingly diverse media domination plan’ (which I like to think they read in bold type on a Manila folder that fell from Barrowman’s jacket.)

Is no medium or art form safe?

“I can’t write music.”

Song-writing, at ease.

“I also know I can’t sit down and write like this. I’m not the writer, Carole is.

“The way we work is that we brainstorm the ideas, come up with plot lines and talk about characters, while she takes notes.

“Once we have done that, she goes and writes them down and hands me a chunk of pages, which I will either say are perfect or we will work on changes.

“It’s a true collaboration.”

From a testy childhood that on one occasion found Carole trying to choke her younger brother with three bags of crisps, to their wayward, giggly writing sessions the pair have found a certain chemistry in conflict:

“We were always hitting each other – that’s what kids do. Carole was the big sister so, because of the age gap, we didn’t hang out as much. But as we have got older, we have really gotten closer and now kind of relive the childhood that the age gap didn’t allow for back then. But now we get to have a bevvy while we are doing it.”

The pair are already working on a sequel to Hollow Earth (with rumours of a possible TV and film deal to come) as well as a return to more familiar ground with a Torchwood novel that John is a little bit pleased with:

“We’re very excited about what we’ve got planned for Captain Jack. Sorry but I have to swear here, because it’s going to be f****** awesome.”

It’s kind of sad.

Mere months ago we were talking: ‘Big Hollywood production values!’ ‘A List actors!’ ‘USA! USA!’ Torchwood was going places and the sky was indeed the limit and now,  we have Barrowman dropping the f-bomb in order to muster some excitement about a spin off novel.

That’s no slight against spin off novels when you’ve got an interesting and rich universe to explore like say Doctor Who, but can anyone name anything they’d like to see elaborated upon in the Torchwood universe apart from Jack’s immortality?

How many times can one man stumble into massive alien conspiracies with potential doomsday scenarios that relate to a previously unexplored yet oddly prescient incident in his past before even the paper thin credibility of Torchwood is broken?

The only carrot that Barrowman can dangle in front of you (unless you’re Eve Myles) to forget about how jaded you feel about the whole venture is ‘Jack does something awesome’.

A movie? A TV series seems like a lifetime away at this stage.

Hollow Earth is available to buy now from Amazon for £4.09.


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

2 Responses to Childhood Scraps Fuel Hollow Earth

  1. avatar Bryan Simcott says:

    Well with 3 new Audio adventures on the way for Torchwood, I dont see why the STAR of the show cant have a go at writing/producing a novel based on a character he knows far batter than away of the writers.

    and the reviews of Hollow Earth seem to suggest its a hit with John giving the ideas and Carole doing the writing. I WILL buy a Torchwood Novel by John Barrowman. I loved the Three tie in novels to the recent Miracle Day. which were very clever and used “torchwood” in a differing way.

    Heres to More Torchwood as soon as possible be it in Books, Radio plays, Audio readings, TV or FILM

  2. avatar Dee says:

    What on earth is sad about a published novel he is clearly excited about? (One that has been in the works for a few years, if I remember correctly, not just post-MD).

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