Femme Friday : Pippa Jay talks Whovian Heroines

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Hi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. I’ve been a devoted Whovian all my life (both my parents were fans), and the long-running, iconic British TV series has been a huge inspiration for my writing. But most of all, I’ve been inspired by the female companions throughout.I think I was lucky in some ways.

pippasylvester

Me, aged eighteen, with the then 7th Doctor, Sylvester McCoy.

My earliest memory of a Doctor Who episode was Planet of the Spiders, Jon Pertwee’s final adventure (3rd regeneration). But what I remember most is his companion at the time: feisty journalist Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen). She might have done her fair share of screaming (who wouldn’t faced with some of those oh-so-dodgy rubber aliens and jerky budget special effects of the 70s and 80s, lol) but she didn’t take a lot of nonsense from the Doctor even if he was from a supposedly superior race of Timelords forced to endure the company of an annoying human female. She stood her ground, often threw herself into the fray, and took her turn rescuing the Doctor rather than always having to wait for him to rescue her. By the end of her term as companion, the Doctor was clearly as devoted to her as she was to him.

It was Sarah Jane as much as the Doctor that kept me hooked for the next few years, and when she left I cried. Later she returned in a highly successful spin off—The Sarah Jane Adventures—inspiring a younger generation of fans (my daughter included) until her untimely death.

Happily Sarah Jan was the first of many in an era of strong female sidekicks, and SJ was replaced by fiery Amazonian Sevateem warrior Leela (Louise Jameson), always ready with her knife and paralyzing Janis thorn to defend the Doctor. Despite her savage ways, Leela had a good heart, was fiercely loyal, and the Doctor expanded her perceptions beyond the ‘stab first, think later’ philosophy of her upbringing. Leela finally departed after finding love on Gallifrey (the Doctor’s home planet) with a Citadel guard worthy of her high standards.

The next companion was played by two actresses: Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward. Why two? Well, the fourth Doctor was matched by a fellow Gallifreyan who shared his ability to regenerate. And this time he was overwhelmed by someone his intellectual equal (possibly his superior, even. Romana has since only been challenged in my approval ratings by the recent River Song). Romana might have been slightly naïve about the universe in general, having lived a sheltered life on the Time Lord home world, but she took no nonsense from the Doctor and often mocked his childish ways. For the first time we got a hint that maybe the Doctor wasn’t as smart as we might believe, but more the college student who skipped lectures to learn in the school of life (ie the rest of the Universe).

These four no-nonsense, headstrong women, each from very different backgrounds, had as much influence on me as over thirty years of watching Doctor Who overall. The very first novel I ever completed was a Doctor Who story (never published) and in it I had my own feisty female companion, inspired by those that I’d grown up with. That ‘companion’ went on to become my debut heroine Quin, even though she’s more often been compared to the Doctor himself. I often wonder how my books might have turned out if not for the likes of Sarah Jane in the TARDIS…


kier

Book One of Redemption

A demon waiting to die…

An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary ‘Blue Demon of Adalucien’ waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.

Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can’t explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

Book One of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe. A science fiction romance novel previously released by Lyrical Press Inc. 7th May 2012, Keir is a Readers Favorite Contest Awards Finalist 2012​, HOD RWA Aspen Gold finalist (3rd place)The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist, and a 2012 SFR Galaxy Award Best May to December Romance winner. Book Two – Keir’s Fall – released 7th December 2015, with a companion side story – Reunion at Kasha-Asor – releasing in May 2016.

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Image 1-13-16 at 17.38 (1)Pippa Jay writes scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. A lifelong Whovian, a Scaper and Sith-in-Training, she abides in the historical market town of Colchester with her husband of 22 years and three redhaired monsters while roaming the rest of the universe in her head. Her titles cross a multitude of speculative fiction, and she’s one of eight authors in Tales from the SFR Brigade, an anthology of romances from the stars. You can find her at her blog or website, but Twitter is her favourite place to hang out and chat.

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