As a teacher I also loved telling stories. It is not surprising that I chose History as my subject. I loved stories of people and events from the past, especially those amazing coincidences that happened that changed the world – Martin Luther putting his 95 complaints on a door and creating a new religion even though that was never his intention. Gavrilo Princip choosing to get a coffee and sandwich at the same time as the driver took Franz Ferdinand the wrong way and the two meeting on that corner changing the world nearly one hundred years ago.
I’d also tell stories about my own family to illustrate various things – especially the effects of poverty in the early twentieth century. The effects of early death, illegitimacy, having no contraception, suicide and infant mortality all affected my family They say that the past is another country but for me the past has always been endlessly fascinating.
Anyway, as usual I digress because that is a habit of mine. So I told lots of stories about things that had happened to myself and my family over the years and to other people I knew. The students said I had a story for every occasion, which was largely true and if I didn’t have one, I could make one up!
That brings me to the writing and what made me start. On 9th July, 2009 at around 9.45 pm someone died. This was not a real person; his name was Ianto Jones and he was one of the leading characters in Torchwood, a BBC science-fiction programme created as a spinoff to Doctor Who. The main character was Captain Jack Harkness who I’d fallen in love with from the moment he uttered the words ‘excellent bottom’. Jack and Ianto were lovers. You’ve got to understand that this was a programme on BBC1 at 9pm, the top slot, and the story wasn’t about them being gay, it was about the Earth being attacked by aliens.
I loved Jack and Ianto and then they killed him, just like that. I wasn’t one of those people who complained to the BBC, I decided to write instead. You see I’d discovered fanfiction for the first time and thought I can do that. So I wrote my first story, what became known as a CoE fix-it story. My story was called Consequences. I put it on fanfiction.net and people read it. I wrote two follow up stories – The Gift and The Returning. I found I couldn’t stop. Now I’ve written somewhere between fifty and sixty Torchwood stories. I started to post on livejournal and began to make online friends amongst the other writers. These people encouraged my writing for which I will be eternally grateful. I also discovered other forums at this time and made more online friends who became very important to me, as they are today. Then I decided to try my hand at writing original stuff. I began writing a story in my spare time that I called Sporting Chance. It took me three years to finish it and now it is going to be published which is very exciting. Writing has now become my full time job – sometimes it’s a joy and sometimes it’s very hard work but it is totally addictive. So thank you Russell T. Davies – I wouldn’t have said that at the time but killing Ianto Jones led me to here. Now, if you ever fancy making a drama about a gay rugby player who falls for a teacher I know a good story you could adapt!