❉ We’re asking, they’re answering. This week: Writer Cavan Scott. He’s the greatest dancer, apparently.
Cavan Scott has written novels, audio dramas, short stories and comic strips for a number of high-profile series including Doctor Who, Star Wars, Judge Dredd, Warhammer 40,000, Adventure Time, and Disney Infinity. He is also author of Sherlock Holmes: The Patchwork Devil published by Titan Books.
He’s got some amazing books coming up, including more titles in the Ninth Doctor series for Titan Comics’ Doctor Who line and Titan’s Vikings series based on the epic History Channel series.
What were you like at school?
A bit of a joker, I guess. Certainly loud. Very, very loud.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A writer or a Blue Peter presenter.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If you love it, then just love it. Don’t be embarrassed.
What are your best and worst qualities?
Best: I’m a grafter, I like a laugh, I am one of the best dancers in the world.
Worst: I find it hard to switch off from work, I make too make smart-alec comments and I always lie about my dancing.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Washing up at McDonalds. Especially after breakfast. Rivers of grease.
Who were your pop culture heroes growing up?
Tom Baker. Leonard Nimoy. Roger Moore. David Bowie.
What do you consider to be the single greatest piece of television ever?
“Two Boats and a Helicopter”. ‘The Leftovers’ Season 1, Ep 3.
Monty Python: Is it funny?
Most of the time, yes.
What was the last film that you watched?
What film could you watch every day?
What’s your favourite film soundtrack?
Aaaaargh! Too difficult to choose. ‘Empire Strikes Back’ probably.
Which four actors would you like to see in a film together and which genre?
Can I invent a time machine? If so – Alan Rickman, Patrick Troughton, Mads Mikkesen and Cate Blanchett in a film noir.
Which film, book or album last disappointed you the most?
I’m not going to say. I have a policy that if I don’t like something I don’t tweet or whatever about it. Online, I try to follow the maxim that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.
Which album would you recommend and lend to a friend?
‘Hunky Dory’ by David Bowie.
Which record wouldn’t you let out of your sight?
My ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ single. My favourite song of all time. I even want it played at my funeral!
Which book would you save if your house was on fire?
‘The Annotated Complete Sherlock Holmes’
What’s your definition of what makes something cult?
A show with a community, that goes beyond the programme itself and brings fans together.
Who are your favourite authors?
Fleming, Gaiman, King, Conan Doyle
When did you first decide to become a writer?
When I was a kid and started a magazine for my family. The poor souls had me wandering around after them, interviewing them about their days.
Doctor Who fans first became aware of you through the Big Finish audios you wrote with Mark Wright – how did that partnership come about, and what’s it like working in collaboration with other writers?
We were introduced by a friend, Steve O’Brien, and hit it off immediately. Within weeks we had pitched our first Doctor Who story, which wasn’t an audio but a novel that unfortunately never came to fruition. While we haven’t written together in over a year, we still talk to each other every day. Mark was and is more than a writing partner, he’s one of my best mates.
Every writer you collaborate brings something new to the partnership, so it’s impossible to compare. Recently I’ve worked on a couple of projects with George Mann, which to be honest was an extension of the fact that we use each other as a sounding board for each other’s solo projects anyway, bouncing ideas off each other.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
That’s a really hard question to answer. I think, and hope, that I’ve a better idea of story structure than when I started out. But I’m still learning and hopefully always will!
What’s the best bit of advice anyone has given you?
Don’t judge yourself against what other people are doing. Concentrate on your career, not other people’s.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career, and how has that person changed your work/life?
My wife, Clare. She has supported me every step of the way, especially when I made the decision to quit my day job as a magazine editor and become a full time writer. I couldn’t have done it without her.
Do you think it’s true that you should never meet your heroes?
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Keep writing, even if it’s all nonsense and you’ll throw it away. The only way to get through a funk is to work through it. Keep working and something good will come.
What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
The final book, audio or comic arriving in my hands. The thought that ‘we did that’. Because it is a ‘we’ no matter what you work on. Obviously audio projects and comics are team efforts, but even novels have more people than the author involved, from editors and agents to the trusted friends you discuss your book with. Every project comes bundled with memories of how and when they were created, and who was involved.
What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career so far – and why?
I think it’s been the Ninth Doctor comics from this last year. Comics were my first love as a kid, and I always dreamt of having my own ongoing US-style comic. I’ve loved pulling together the story arcs for this current run, dropping in clues and story points and seeing what people have responded to. Best of all everyone keeps saying that it’s in the spirit of the Christopher Eccleston season of Doctor Who back in 2005, which has been the aim of the entire team, from our incredible artists Adriana Melo and Cris Bolson to editor Andrew James.
You’re currently responsible for Titan’s ‘Vikings’ line of comics, based on the History Channel series. What’s it like, can you tell us a little about it?
It’s bloody and brutal. The current mini-series – Uprising – deals with the less celebrated side of Viking life, that the Vikings were slave traders. It’s set just after Ragnar’s defeat at Paris and sees him starting to lose his grip on both his sanity and his kingdom. Meanwhile, Lagertha deals with the slave uprising that is raging through the countryside.
What are you working on at the minute? Do you have any upcoming projects?
I can’t talk about most of the things I’m working on at the moment, which is annoying as they are very exciting. My next book in the ‘Star Wars: Adventures In Wild Space’ – ‘The Cold’ – is out in March, I’ve been working on a series of Twelfth Doctor audio books with George Mann, I have a new Sherlock Holmes novel – ‘Cry of the Innocents’ – out in June, and, of course, there’s more Ninth Doctor on the way. If you want to see how the Ninth Doctor’s current run of comics started, check out ‘Doctor Who: Doctormania’ which is out in January from Titan Comics.
How can our readers discover more about you and your work?
Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us!
❉ Click here to visit Cavan Scott’s Amazon author page. Pre-order ‘Star Wars – Adventures in Wild Space: The Cold’ via the following link: