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Arthur Slade on audiobooks

How does an author react when hearing his words interpreted by a narrator? I’m always curious to know the impact that the audiobook recording makes on the person who spent blood, sweat, and years writing those words. I just finished listening to The Dark Deeps, and love Jayne Entwistle’s narration of book two in the steampunk series just as much as that of book one, The Hunchback Assignments (as you can tell from my starred review). When I learned that author Arthur Slade was celebrating the release of The Dark Deeps with a blog tour, I asked him to stop by and share with us his audiobook experience.

So, Art, what was your reaction to the announcement that Listening Library would be producing your book as an audiobook?

Hearing that my novel, The Hunchback Assignments, was going to be turned into an audiobook was the equivalent of hearing it was about to become a movie. Ever since I bought my first iPod several years ago I’ve been making audiobooks a steady part of my diet, so to have my own book available to listeners meant a great deal to me. And, I began to worry. What if the narrator mangles my prose? I’d bought a few audiobooks that I couldn’t listen to because I just didn’t jive with the narrator and I feared the same fate for my story.

Did you have a voice in your head as you wrote?

The Hunchback Assignments is set in a Victorian period  and the whole time I was writing it I could hear a deep-voiced British lord narrating the story. So when the producers were in the studio recording the audiobook, I answered a few questions via e-mail about character names and came to find out that a woman was going to be narrating my novel! A woman! Zounds! I had not expected a female narrator and, because I had heard this Male British Lord Voice for so many years, I just couldn’t hear a female narrator in my mind’s ear.

I’m dying to know what you thought when you finally heard the finished audiobook!

Once I got over my initial shock at the choice of a female narrator, I looked to see that it was an actor named Jayne Entwistle. She had done one other audiobook, so she had some experience. That was good. I patiently waited for the release date to arrive. When it did, I dutifully paid for a copy off of iTunes (I do receive free author CD copies but I couldn’t wait for them to arrive) and clicked the play button.  It took about thirty seconds for me to realize that Entwistle was perfect for the book. She had captured the mood of the story and did a bang up job on the voices of the characters and, being British, she had the British accent down pat. Now, I can’t imagine any other voice narrating the book (or its sequel, The Dark Deeps). In fact, if I had the money, I’d hire her to do my readings.

Any other author or audiobook insights you’d like to share with readers?

Well, I admit that I’m currently listening to The Dark Deeps myself. Because I’m in the middle of editing the third book in the series it’s very helpful to listen to the previous books to remind me where the characters have been. My own work aside, my favorite audiobook of all time is the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, Narrated by Simon Jones. I was honestly on the edge of my seat through all three of the audiobooks and would prolong my jogging (ouch) just to get to the end of a chapter. In fact, I’ve listened to them twice.

Thanks for stopping by Audiobooker, Arthur, and giving us an inside look at the author/audiobook connection!

Stop by Art’s Hunchback Assignment website to listen to clips from both audiobooks, plus an awesome bunch of book trailers, videos, study guides and more.  And if you’d like to read more of Art’s The Dark Deeps blog tour, check out the links on his blog.



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

2 Comments on "Arthur Slade on audiobooks"

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  1.' Tracy-Ann says:

    Dear audiobooker,

    As a fellow librarian I do need your help. I’ve recently been given the added duty of managing our audiovisual collection which needs major updating. I have search online for a core collection of audiovisual titles for the academic library but cannot find any information on specific titles.

    We want to purchase dvds, and audio cd’s…


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