We continue our weekly creator spotlight with Episode Nine: Beautiful Little Nothings, written by Dillon O'Hara and illustrated by Aralis.
Writer: Dillon O'Hara
How did you come to Doctor Who? What’s your journey with the show?
So back in 2011, when I was 16 years old, I was on a school trip, and we were let loose in a store. I knew a lot of my internet friends were into Doctor Who, and I had €25 euro left, so I bought the only boxset I could afford, the then-newest Series 5. I only realised afterwards that I had no money left for food. This set my priorities for the next decade. From there, I got very into the Eleventh Doctor, which led me to Sherlock and eventually to the RTD era. From Series 7 onward, I've been watching live, more or less. During my time as a student in NUI Galway, I spent a few years on the committee of the Time Lord Society, designing posters and balancing books and getting a reputation as the local Clara stan. The Thirteenth Doctor led me to the Eruditorum circle of leftist queer Who fandom, and I've been happy here ever since. Apart from TUA, I have also co-written a canon Who story, 'Rebel Rebel' in Cwej: Down the Middle - so I've arrived! The nerd dream has come true.
What is your favourite thing about the show?
My favourite thing about the show is how malleable it is. You really can do anything with it. I also like when the Doctor make a funny with their mouth.
What’s it like working on TUA? What are you most excited for?
I was a late addition to the Untold Adventures team due to a gas leak. As I said, I have my canon story in Cwej, so maybe you'd expect that to be a much bigger deal to me than a fanfic project. But Who has been all fanfic for a long time now. I've admired TUA since I heard about it years ago, long before I knew any of the people involved. Honestly, I was vaguely envious; I had also wanted to write about the continuing adventures of Clara Oswald, but I didn't make the time to do the hard work. Conveniently, that work has now been done for me by smarter people, and I get to ride the wave. Neato!
I'm most excited for the last two stories. The cover of She Who Remains is wicked, and Ruth has said that it's influenced by The Witcher and Slavic mythology. I know that's something she has a really deep love and rich understanding of, so I'm excited to see how she adapts it to Who's diegesis. I'm also obviously stoked for the finale, because Ruth and Caitlin are being very mysterious about it.
What can you tell us about your episode? Where did you look for inspiration: Doctor Who itself, other places, bit of both?
My story, Beautiful Little Nothings, is the one where Clara hangs out with Jane Austen and they kiss a little. I am stoked to have landed this brief because I know this is why everyone's here. It's a genre pastiche and therefore a bit of a breather in pacing terms. No exploding spaceships in this one - although someone might want to tell Clara that...
Sum up your episode in 3 words!
Smoochin’ Jane Austen.
What’s your journey with Doctor Who? Did it inspire your art?
I started watching through reruns from BBC Latin America. I caught bits and pieces from the Tenth Doctor’s era but the first episode I saw complete was The Eleventh Hour and I was fascinated. From then on, I started watching religiously every week, revisiting episodes from the Ninth and Tenth Doctors later on. The Twelfth Doctor’s era, with its acerbic charm and endearing companions, was a big one for me.
Doctor Who has definitely influenced my art; the show is a source of inspiration on so many different levels. It has got arresting visuals, evocative stories, beautiful music, and genuine characters. On top of that, there is a fantastic community of creative people that are equally fascinated by it, just continually building new universes of inspiring work! It is truly amazing.
What are you most excited about when it comes to doing art for this series? What do you think are/will be the greatest challenges?
For me, it was love at first sight with the episode I’m illustrating; from the moment I read the synopsis I was hooked. I just feel so fortunate to be working on a story that I like so much.
I think that the greatest challenge will be to do it justice - and maybe backgrounds, backgrounds are always a struggle.
Can you give us some non-spoilery teases about the look of the episode and the art you’re going to provide for it?
I am aiming for an old-school illustration look, very nostalgic. I tend to gravitate towards the quiet moments, both in my work and as a fan. Hopefully, it will be a charming companion to Dillon's story.