Writer's Blog

A place where I write about the writing life and writing projects in progress

May 10, 2012

  • Podcasting!
  • The weekend of our Ottawa launch was a busy one and spent mostly talking in front of a microphone (or a microphone on my laptop). On the Friday, both Robert and I were interviewed on CBC Radio Ottawa’s afternoon drive-time show, All in a Day. It was fun (Robert has been interviewed by host Alan Neal a couple of times for his zombie math stuff) but a little nerve-wracking. What was great was that Alan pretty much ignored his producer’s notes and had a really nerdy conversation and then took to reading from entries in the book! Sadly the CBC in their infinite wisdom did not choose to podcast this (they chose instead to podcast the guest who was on before us!)

    But that warmed me up for my next audio occurrence. I was asked to come on to Radio Free Skaro ostensibly to speak about 1960s Doctor Who script editor Dennis Spooner for the Radio Free Skaro “miniscope” segments (which discuss the career of a particular writer or director). It was a lot of fun because I got to sit in on the whole taping of that week’s show and comment on other things, effectively being a guest host. This was probably the most awesome privilege bestowed on me this year, honestly. It was a real thrill to say “and this is Graeme, from Ottawa” in the opening… You can listen to the whole episode here.

    And then on Saturday morning, Robert miraculously got himself out of bed and made it to my house by 11 to have an in-depth interview on the Doctor Who Book Club podcast. Erik and Sean really took the time to read our book and had all sorts of questions for us. It was a wonderful interview, and my thanks to them for all their enthusiasm for the book!

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    May 06, 2012

  • We Have (Ottawa) Launch!
  • We held the Ottawa launch for Who is the Doctor at the Heart and Crown in the Byward Market area of Ottawa. We figured if we were lucky we’d get 20 of our friends out. But we managed to get nearly 50 people out, many of whom were strangers to us! A few had seen it advertised in various ways; others heard us interviewed on CBC Radio the day before.

    There were two definite highlights, both involving kids. The first was signing for an 8 year-old and discovering that I owned more Doctor Who toys than they did! The other was when we signed 3 books for an excited 11 year-old girl (she had her buy them so she could give them to two of her friends!). We loved talking to these kids. First of all, they were so articulate. (We asked them what their favourite story was and they clearly knew their Who. The 11 year-old girl was versed in classic and new varieties!) Secondly, both Robert and I can remember being (almost) that young and reading our first Doctor Who reference books (in our cases the Jean-Marc Lofficier’s The Programme Guide and Peter Haining’s A Celebration). It’s cool to be doing that for today’s young fans.

    A couple of photos:


    We had a prop this time! My colleague Jennifer and her husband Michael owned a TARDIS they made for a pantomime in Ghana. They’re moving to New York and needed to divest themselves of it, so it now resides in Robert’s backyard!


    Robert and I fielding questions, many of which were from my perspicacious mother-in-law!

    We had a great time. We met a lot of friendly fans and we hope they’ll get in touch with us (use the e-mail address in the acknowledgments in the back of the book!) about a semi-regular fan gathering in Ottawa in future. Thanks to ECW Press and my wife Julie for putting on this wonderful event!

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    May 02, 2012

  • Who is the Doctor Ottawa Launch Event
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    Our book tour for Who is the Doctor comes to Robert and my own adopted hometown of Ottawa this weekend. It’s at the Heart and Crown pub, 67 Clarence Street in the Byward Market on Saturday, May 5 at 2 pm.

    Details are on our Facebook event page.

    If you’re in Ottawa and the surrounding area (or just want to visit), and if you’re a fan of Doctor Who come celebrate the launch of what I believe is an amazing book about Doctor Who the new series. Trust us, you’ll have a great time—we know a Doctor.

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    May 01, 2012

  • Catching Up
  • So let’s see what’s been going on since my last posting in…early April, hoo boy. The problem has been that I’ve been very sick. I came to Toronto with debilitating neck pain, went to Wizard World Toronto and then got hit with several weeks worth of bad cold / flu / ugly virus that eventually became a sinus infection. Consequently, I’ve been mostly working off emergency systems.

    And yet, I’ve been busy as well. Wizard World Toronto Comic Con was an incredible experience. The the Doctor Who Society of Canada were simply amazing, managing to convince Wizard World to let us sell and sign copies of Who is the Doctor from their fan table and pulling out all the stops to be nice to me. The DWSC were given the Doctor Who panel at Toronto Comic Con and they made it a Q and A with me. I figured we’d get 20, 40 people max. At 5 pm I went downstairs with the lovely Cindy (one of the founders of DWSC) and the fabulous Mike (also of DWSC, he acted as moderator) to find a massive line-up outside the door for the panel room. “Is there a Twilight panel after this?” I thought. No, they were all waiting for the Doctor Who panel!

    And so inside I sat at the front staring at a hall full of people, probably by my count 175-200 at least.


    This was just mildly freaky. I felt a fraud. A crowd that size deserved David Tennant, or at least a good David Tennant impersonator. But Mike asked me questions about the book, and then asked me questions of Doctor Who. And if there’s one thing I’m good at in the world, one thing at all, it’s talking about Doctor Who.

    I soon felt comfortable, and the crowd seemed to enjoy chatting about Doctor Who with me. Eventually a Dalek stopped by, which made it all the stranger. But it was a great hour. People were interested and friendly, though I wish, after being asked by a kid what my favourite funny moment in Who was, I had come up with something that made him laugh (of course later I thought: “‘You have headaches?’ from The Highlanders”. Dammit!)


    Anyway, you don’t have to take my word for it. The Book Guys website sat in the crowd, recorded it and put the panel on their website as a podcast. So if you want to hear me opinionate, dabble in rumour and just witter on about Doctor Who, enjoy yourself.

    I was pulled aside afterward to answer questions about what classic stories to see and about Eccleston’s departure. And then the lovely Cindy came over saying, “You better get upstairs. There’s a huge lineup for your signing. We’re not sure if we have enough books.”

    Holy socks!

    So I went upstairs, signed autographs, doodled TARDISes and Daleks and other things, talked with a lot of nice people. Here’s a picture of me doing that, only for some reason I appear to have sucked a kilo of alum at the same time…


    By the end of it we almost sold out of the massive consignment of books the DWSC picked up from ECW Press and Bakka Phoenix. I came in the next day (I wasn’t planning to), did an additional signing and sold the rest. That’s right—we sold out every copy of Who is the Doctor. Oh did I mention I almost told Cindy she was crazy for getting a consignment that large?

    Yeah, that was definitely cool.

    Critics at Large had an amazing write up of the con and said some really nice things about me as well, the most flattering of which was, “With no sexy celebrity guests…. and armed with only a sincere and thoughtful enthusiasm for the series that was shared by everyone in attendance, Burk and the [Doctor Who ]Society were the epitome of what made Wizard World so enjoyable.”

    All I can say is thanks to the Cindy, Mike, Caroline, Dalek Auric and all the amazing people at the Doctor Who Society of Canada whose faith in me was astonishing.

    Other cool thing that happened in Toronto. I found a copy of Who is the Doctor at the World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto, where I bought most of my Doctor Who books as a teenager and adult. That was awesome.


    Reviews have been starting to crop up. Here, here, here and here. I’ll talk about the surrealness of that experience soon.

    Meanwhile, I’ve done a podcast interview for the Doctor Who Podcast which should appear later in May. This weekend I’m making another Radio Free Skaro appearance (not to talk about the book, but to help out on their Miniscope feature on writer Dennis Spooner) and Robert and I will be on the Doctor Who Book Club Podcast in the next week or so as well.

    This book launch stuff is a bit wild and weird but it’s awful fun too. Maybe next time I can be in better health to enjoy it!

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