If it's Saturday, it must be Sheffield ... by Debbie Bennett

This is Sheffield on a cold but sunny Saturday in November. Galaxy 4 is a shop specialising in Dr Who merchandise, and those people are queuing to buy a DVD and/or books. I am sitting just inside the window behind a table with a black cloth and a name placard with a pen and ready to sign purchases! Yes, those people are queuing to see me!

Well, OK - they are more likely to be queuing to meet Damaris Hayman, tv actress who starred in the early 1970s Dr Who story The Daemons. She's also just starred in White Witch of Devil's End - a follow-on from the original story. Part monologue, part drama, this is a sequence of six short episodes where Olive Hawthorne talks about her life as protector of Devil's End. White Witch launched in November - and I wrote one of the episodes.

So I now have my first IMDb credit as a scriptwriter and I get to sign DVD sleeves alongside Damaris and some of the other writers. Plus there is the book too - a novelisation and expansion of the stories - in two editions. I adapted my episode and that's a whole new blog post in itself: most times the story comes first and the script out of the story. This was about-face, with the script being the starting point to create a deeper novelette ...

Standing: David J Hose, Sam Stone, me, Andrew Mark Thompson
Seated: Damaris Hayman, Keith Barnfather
It's weird being a part of all this. I could get used to it! Unfortunately I missed the first launch in Forbidden Planet. I had an attack of vertigo - the first major attack I've had in ten years, but it's really not funny when the floor won't keep still! I didn't dare get onto a train where the doors wouldn't open again for at least an hour ... I'm not entirely comfortable with the swaying movements of those trains on a good day.

But we move on. It's Sunday (two weeks later) and we're in Manchester, doing a talk, Q&A and signing in Waterstones in the Arndale Centre. Last time I was here was as a punter meeting crime-thriller queen Kim Chambers (and somehow ending up in the pub with her later ...). Now I'm several rungs higher on the literary ladder to be attending as one of the signers, rather than a signee!

So I'm standing up and waffling to an audience consisting of a few die-hard fans who've turned up, plus assorted family, random onlookers and people drinking coffee who had no choice but to listen. And it all went rather well. I'm getting better at speaking in public, although it's still not something I find easy.

Next stop for me is Birmingham Waterstones in January, where we are appearing at a ticketed evening event, no less, followed by Derby in early Feb as a guest of the Whoovers.

Yes, I could definitely get used to this - the life of a proper writer. It's just a shame I have to come back to housework and the prospect of being up at 7am tomorrow for the day job!



Umberto Tosi said…
Congratulations, Debbie! Sounds like a great adventure and tour, well earned.
Bill Kirton said…
Excellent, Debbie. Many congrats. Living the dream, eh?
Susan Price said…
Well done, Debbie! - And them's impressive heels you're sporting!
Chris Longmuir said…
Brilliant, Debbie. Go girl go.
Jan Needle said…
Good on yer, Debbie. Keep it up....
How fantastic - it sounds like a great experience.

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