There are voices in my head now, but they don’t frighten me, oh no.
Well, all right. Some of them frighten me a bit. They want me to do the bad things, like ringing your doorbell and running away, or posting cat memes to Facebook. Vile, evil things.
But not the new ones. The new voices are good voices. Book voices. I listen to audio books now. Audio books are cool.
I did not know that this was the case. Until very recently audio books were things that my father listened to. While this is not in itself a damning indictment of audio books, it did not endow them with an aura of sparkly coolness. I didn’t get it. Reading words on a page isn’t difficult. It’s not some onerous chore that I needed to pay a person to do for me.
Except sometimes it turns out that it is. Despite my best intentions, this has been another terrible year for reading. The moments that I used to squeeze reading into just didn’t seem to happen anymore. Too little time in the day. Too tired from dayjobbery. Netflix being a thing that swallows you whole until nothing exists but the pretty things on the flickering screen.
Until mid-May I’d only read four books. I was dying.
Unless you know me, that probably sounds a bit dramatic. It’s not though. Books are important to me. Like, really important. They keep me alive and switched on. Only reading four books in nearly half a year is like only eating four meals in the same period.
Nobody’s idea of a good time.
In floundering desperation, I subscribed to audible.co.uk and downloaded my first audio book (Wool by Hugh Howey, read by Susannah Harker) and started listening to it on my dayjobbery commute.
And oh my word, why didn’t I do this sooner? I feel like a drowning man who’s snatched hold of some drifting flotsam – there is hope! A new story unfolding around me, and it’s no trouble at all to fit into my day! Not only that, but when traffic is terrible and the short journey takes twice as long as it should, I celebrate! More book! More story! Life is awesome now.
And the best thing, a side effect…somehow more story moments have started to appear elsewhere. I’m like an alcoholic after a sip of wine. GIVE ME ALL THE WINE NOW! Except books, obviously, not wine, and there’s time to read after all, and it was always there just waiting for me to EMBRACE MY WEAKNESS.
Lovely, lovely book weakness.
Audio books are cool.
Discovering this has given me a new appreciation of my own audio book of Craven Place, narrated and produced by Kathy Bell Denton. Since it was born a couple of years ago, I’ve never known what to do with it. As I wasn’t the market for such a thing, I never quite trusted it. I’ve probably done the book a bit of a disservice, just letting it exist without pointing at it much. Let me point at it now, on Amazon UK, Amazon US, iTunes, and Audible (it’s on the other Amazons too). Kathy grabs the book’s strange seventies tone and has enormous fun with it, finding its tongue-in-cheek Hammeresque qualities and transforming it into something both familiar and new. Give it a whirl!
Now that I know what the deal is with audio books are as a consumer, I’m also keen to see my other novels follow suit, and through the magic power of Audible.com I’ve put them all out to tender. If you’re a producer/narrator of such things, or aspire to be, I’d welcome your bids. If you’re not familiar with the Audible thing, you need the kit to produce a clean reading, and the right voice for the book. In return you join me in an equal royalty share on sales of the finished product. Here are the links, and roughly what I’m looking for.
Thy Fearful Symmetry – perhaps a Scottish narrator? I don’t really mind though.
The Flesh Market – Scottish or Irish? Again, I’ll put this aside if a reading is good.
Cuckoo – Not at all fussy, but I’m more likely to warm to a British narrator than anything else. If I can’t find the right person then I might narrate this one myself.
Male and female narrators are welcome, and if you’re good I don’t care if this is your first time. Come and play – we can put stories in people heads!