Monday, 19 May 2014

Back from the Edge - with some exciting news . . .

An Announcement
Blimey, it's been a while. But after an unwelcome hiatus, the blog is up and running again. And just in time for a really exciting announcement.
ABIDE WITH ME is in the process of being recorded as an AUDIO BOOK.

When I wrote AWM, I had the narrator's voice - John - in my head every step of the way. Basically, this disincarnate voice narrated his story to me, and I just wrote it down. In my head his voice was as clear as if he were sitting in a pub with me, telling his tale. So clear, it became something of a hindrance when I ever dared think AWM might be turned into an audio book at some stage. Lots of readers have said to me AWM would make a fantastic film, or Channel Four drama, or audio book, but it always made me uncomfortable when things like this were suggested. 

I mean, this is the inside of my head they're talking about - that place where only I can see and only I can hear. It's mine, you know.

So when my publisher - Darren Laws, from the brilliant Caffeine Nights - said that he was auditioning actors to record the book, my heart immediately fell. The first step to diluting the essence of the book. I mean, who could really understand every pause, every nuance, every tear in the throat and the ache of a broken heart? I'm going to open the recorded file he sent me, I though, and out will jump some Dick Van Dyke sort torturing every word and understanding not a one of them.

But how wrong I was.

What I heard broke my heart the same way as writing the book did. It was the most surreal experience I have ever had. My words - John's words - spoken by, well, John. But he wasn't inside my head anymore, he was talking to me out of my computer. And that's when I realised all along I'd written the book to be read aloud, not merely to be read in silence. 

For those of you that have read the book, the chapter concerned was chapter three - when John goes to Kenny's for tea. It was a traumatic chapter to write, and an even more traumatic one to listen to. It was like the scene had suddenly come to life and was being played out right before my eyes. I could see John sitting on the seat in Kenny's front room, terrified of waking Kenny's dad dozing in the armchair. I could feel the fear in Kenny's mum's voice, and in everything thing she did, and I could see Kenny crawling around on the floor picking up bits of plate and jam sandwich, and see the blood and tears smeared over his mum's face. By the end of the reading, I felt drained. My fifteen year old daughter, Mollie, listened to the chapter. I asked her what she felt like afterwards. She said 'helpless'. 

I have no idea when the audio book will be available, but hopefully in the not too distant future.

Hopefully I can put a snatch of it on the blog, if I ask my publisher nicely . . .;)

In other news, later this week I'm hoping to announce some dates on which I will be appearing at the Dagenham ReadFest later this year - plus update you on the progress - such as it is - of APRIL SKIES - the sequel to AWM.

Until then, take care all,

Speak to you soon,


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