In Doctor Who’s anniversary year, it’s the best possible time to look back on those cherished memories of everyone’s favourite show. But WhovianNet, the lovingly-crafted site that looks at all things Who, decided to take this one step further.
The Doctor & I perfectly captures the reason Doctor Who has such incredible staying power: that wonderful juxtaposition of very personal experiences, shared by a whole community of dedicated fans. The Doctor & I features over 80 memories that are both unique and relateable, written by the fans for the fans. It’s a wonderful achievement, topped off by an introduction from Vincent and the Doctor writer, Richard Curtis.
Kasterborous spoke to WhovianNet about their debut book.
Where did the idea first come from?
I always knew I wanted to do something original and unique to mark Doctor Who‘s momentous 50th anniversary. Thanks to WhovianNet I’m in the fortunate position to have a growing audience of Whovians at my fingertips (so to speak!) so I wanted to take advantage of that and create something as far-reaching and special as possible.
I started brainstorming ideas in late May/early June of this year and decided that a book full of Whovian memoirs would be the best way forward. After all, what better way to commemorate half a century of Doctor Who than in the form of a book about the fans themselves? So The Doctor & I is unique in the sense that it’s made by the fans FOR the fans. I was completely overwhelmed by the response it had and I couldn’t have asked for more enthusiasm and support.
How did you decide which entries made the cut?
This was definitely the most difficult part of the editing process. I obviously wanted to include as many of the entries as I could, however publishing a book is quite a costly process so I was limited in terms of the overall space and budget I had. My main priority was always to include entries that were as original and diverse as possible. A variety of different ages and geographical locations was important to create an overall picture of the worldwide Whovian fandom. I also wanted to include entries that people could relate to. If you’re not included in the book and you’re reading through the stories, I hope that at least one of them mirrors your own experience with Doctor Who. That was my intention, anyway!
And how did you tackle the weighty task of editing down people’s memories?
I didn’t include a word limit on submissions which of course meant I received some that could have easily filled up a whole book on their own! It was a case of reading through each essay and picking out the most original and interesting bits, the moments that were most personal to each fan and defined their own individual relationship with the series. Every story was unique and special so it was heart-warming and inspiring to read them. I must say I felt very privileged to read some of them.
How did you get the brilliant Richard Curtis to do a foreword – and did you have to edit anything out?
After I signed off the initial concept with the publisher, we began discussing the idea of having some sort of celebrity endorsement behind the book. I began asking around and emailing pitches to various faces related to Doctor Who and I was over the moon when Richard Curtis’ lovely agent replied to say he had been really excited by the invitation. I sent him over the general idea of what I was looking for and he got his contribution back to me a few days later, which was really kind of him. I didn’t have to edit anything out, no. I would never say I was in the position to edit a piece of writing by Richard Curtis!
How did you come up with the distinctly-Gallifreyan design?
The design of the book is all down to Garry Vaux at GJB Publishing. As a Doctor Who fan himself, he knew what would stand out to give it that distinct Doctor Who feel without breaking any of those indomitable copyright laws. He did a wonderful job!
Any favourite entries?
Tough question! I’ll remain diplomatic and say that I love them all. They’re all brilliant and special in their own way. I suppose I particularly enjoyed all the stories from the older fans who have been following the series since its inception. It was really interesting to get an insight into what it was like to be a Doctor Who fan back when it all began. They were Whovians before the term ‘Whovian’ was even invented!
What’s your The Doctor & I story?
My Doctor & I story isn’t as interesting or glamorous as some that are featured in the book. I stumbled upon that mysterious Time Lord by accident one Saturday night during David Tennant’s first series and I haven’t looked back since! It was the emotional turmoil of Doomsday that inspired me to create a Doctor Who website. I wanted to scream and shout about how much I loved the show and had no one to share it with. The obvious way around this, in my mind, was to create a website about it. The rest, as they say, is history!
I watched The Day of the Doctor in the cinema. It was fantastic to experience the episode in 3D and also to be surrounded by hundreds of Whovians. Some were dressed up and it’s always interesting to see how much care and detail goes into their costumes. I wonder what all of their Doctor & I stories are…?
What was it like, holding the finished book in your hands?
I certainly felt a genuine sense of pride and achievement. The process of creating it was generally an enjoyable experience but it was sometimes difficult to juggle it with my “real life” commitments. It was all worth it when I held the finished book in my hands, though. When I started WhovianNet back in 2007, I never imagined that it would become what it is today, so I definitely didn’t imagine that one day it would enable me to release a book! I suppose I’m just honoured and humbled to be in the position where I can contribute to my favourite series in such a unique and special way.
And finally, looking to the future… What would you like to see in the 100th anniversary special?!
Every single Doctor, companion and monster coming together for a huge timey-wimey, spacey-wacey extravaganzathon. That’s achievable, right?
The Doctor & I is a real labour of love, filled with beautiful, funny and memorable experiences from that amazing creation we call ‘fandom.’
With an RRP of £8.99, you can pick the book up from Amazon UK for £8.86 (paperback) or £5.99 (eBook) or from Amazon.com for 2.592.3.29 (paperback) or as an eBook for $9.72. (Prices subject to change.)