Editor James Wylder interviews SIGNET creator James Hornby about the series’ first instalment, Night of the Yssgaroth.
Q: SIGNET is a brand new series to the worlds of Doctor Who. What can you tell us about it?
A: SIGNET is a series exploring the darker aspects of the Doctor Who universe. It follows a group of investigators trying to do what’s right in a surreal and dangerous world. But, unlike most organisations we’ve seen in this universe who want to kill or capture anything that isn’t human, SIGNET has a heart. They look at the story behind the phenomenon, and try to find a solution that doesn’t involve bloodshed.
Q: How does SIGNET differ from other organisations in the Doctor Who universe?
A: I’ve already mentioned SIGNET’s motive in this world, but that’s not all that makes them different. Every other organisation we’ve seen in Doctor Who to date has been backed by something greater: a government or world power. SIGNET is privately funded, by a man who prioritises morality over dedicating his time to cases which make a profit. This results in something rather unique, and allows for new possibilities in storytelling.
Q: Where is SIGNET set?
A: SIGNET is based on the outskirts of York. I live in Yorkshire, and it’s an area of England that hasn’t really been explored in the Doctor Who universe up until now. Most aliens we’ve seen seem to focus on other cities like London and Cardiff, but I reckon there’s a good few species out there in the universe who prefer the countryside. I think I’m one of them.
Q: What connections to the Doctor Who universe can we expect to see?
A: Not just the Yssgaroth, I assure you! For the past few years, I’ve been working with a number of names in the creative world of Doctor Who. Lance Parkin, Steve Lyons, and Dan Freeman have been kind enough to let me use their concepts. A special mention here goes out to David A. McIntee, who has been a great help while I’ve been setting up this project — he’s even created Jae-Sun, one of the members of the team. You can expect to see his concepts arriving in the future, but exactly which ones are a tightly kept secret for now.
Q: How did you find the writing process?
A: I’ll be honest with you, it was overwhelming at first. SIGNET is a huge project, and came with a large shopping list of elements I wanted to include. However, with each successive chapter, pieces of the jigsaw started falling into place, and I'm incredibly proud of the result.
Q: What should readers expect from Night of the Yssgaroth?
A: Readers should expect a very character-focused story that mixes the genres of science fiction and horror. The Yssgaroth are Doctor Who monsters that are very integral to the series’ lore, and with Night of the Yssgaroth I wanted to explore the almost universe-shattering power it possesses from the perspective of ordinary people… and aliens.
Q: What are you most proud of about your story?
A: I’m very proud about forging a new corner of the Doctor Who universe, with its own unique quirks, but after that, it has to be Xana, the book's main character. She's a very flawed character from the offset, and Night of the Yssgaroth very much throws her through the wringer. I feel her reactions to the story are very genuine, and I’m keen for readers to see how she develops over the course of the series.
Q: This has been a passion project for you for some time, what drew you to creating SIGNET?
A: The simple desire to create something new in a world I love. SIGNET is set in a largely unexplored region of the Doctor Who universe, and isn’t bogged down by previous continuity. Sure, we’re using pre existing concepts, but our new setup allows readers to experience them with a fresh perspective.
Q: Where else can we find your work?
A: I’ve done a lot of work for Arcbeatle Press, most of which can be found in current and upcoming instalments of Cwej: The Series. Beyond Arcbeatle, I’ve written some Doctor Who charity stories for Altrix Books, Pencil Tip Publishing, and a UNIT short story for Candy Jar Books.
Q: What can we expect to see from SIGNET in the future?
A: Exciting things! We’re currently editing the second book in the series, which is authored by none other than legendary Doctor Who writer John Peel. He’s written a very gripping story that sees SIGNET battle a threat on a global scale. Beyond that, David McIntee is writing his own tale, and discussions for an anthology have begun, but more on that later.
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