The Red Lines Page

June 24, 2009

Flag day

Filed under: Novels,Torchwood,twitter — Peter A @ 10:52 pm

twThe fragrantly lovely James Moran has launched a competition via his Twitter feed. Caption this: You need to tweet your caption by July 1st, using the #jmcap hashtag. The prize is to have a character named after you in the next thing that he gets made or published, and a signed copy of the DVD or book or magazine or whatever.

It’s most unlikely that anyone would namecheck me in anything, because my surname is a bit unusual. I accidentally namechecked someone in my own Torchwood novel Another Life, an Antipodean author who blogged about it when one of her friends drew her attention to it. My novel character was a secretary who met a grisly end. The author sent me a very charming e-mail. Her friend had suggested the namecheck was karmic comeback for a critical review she’d written. Posters on her blog saw a deeper revenge motive. Alas, it was just that I hadn’t checked for such a coincidence. And as I wrote the novel before the first series of Torchwood aired, my book was finished well ahead of any TV reviews, so any revenge would have been prescient at best.

We are careful about names in the novels. I picked some fairly innocent surnames (Bee, Wildman) from boys I was at at school with, though there was no other resemblance. My thoroughly professional editor Steve Tribe did note that one Welsh name I’d used was also the name of an unfortunate child victim in the Aberfan disaster, a 1966 catastrophe so dreadful that it makes me tearful just to think about it. So obviously, we changed that.

The photo that the flagrantly bubbly James Moran invites us to caption shows him standing on the paving flagstone lift inside the Torchwood Hub. This is a classy one up on most of us, who have our photos taken on the equivalent flag outside the Cardiff Millennium Centre in Roald Dahl Plass.

Andy Lane, Dan Abnett and I had our photos taken standing on that flag (the outside one), allegedly as a publicity shot for the trade press. We did it when we visited Cardiff as part of our research for the first set of Torchwood novels. I also took a “flag” photo of Joe Lidster on the slab. Joe was contracted to do the audio adaptations of the three novels, so obviously Andy and Dan and I didn’t get him in our group shot — I mean, we had to have certain standards. (I wonder whatever happened to Joe? Nothing good, I’ll bet.)

Series one of Torchwood hadn’t yet been transmitted, at the time of our photo, so for us it was a private joke. The success of the TV show has now made that slab a bit of a pilgrimage site for fans, and hurrah for that. We three novelists were granted a privileged insight of the whole first series — scripts, a studio tour, and an early viewing, all with appropriate nondisclosure agreements. When I wrote my second Torchwood novel, Pack Animals, I got to see scripts for the second series as preparation. It was very exciting.

The third series of Torchwood is broadcast over five nights on BBC1, starting July 6th. I’ve not seen any advance information about it, and I am even more excited about it — desperately avoiding spoilers, and eagerly anticipating five nights of thrills and shocks and laughs and surprises. The florally jungly James Moran is one of the writers. It’s going to be fantastic. So I thought I should flag this.

1 Comment »

  1. Florally jungly? It’s this new aftershave, “Panther Sweat”.

    I do use names as revenge though, and have killed off several people I didn’t like (er, in stories, not in real life). But it’s also a badge of honour for horror fans, so I’ve gruesomely murdered several good friends too. Some I’ve killed repeatedly, they love it…

    Comment by James Moran — June 25, 2009 @ 10:42 am | Reply

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