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In the terrifying gap between submitting the first draft of “Plank 4” for beta reading and receiving the resulting comments, I am distracting myself by listening to the audio version of “Fatal Forgery”. I explained a while ago about the marvellous ACX – which puts authors and voice actors together and enables them to undertake projects on the basis of a 50/50 profit split – and how I found my perfect “audio Sam”, Guy Hanson.  Guy is now reading “FF” aloud, chapter by chapter, and sending it to me for approval.

It is a really weird experience, hearing your own words read aloud to you – it somehow makes them seem more official and approved.  And Guy is (to my ear) 100% perfect as Sam: mature, warm, slightly wry, a bit rough at times.  It is also fascinating to hear him tackle the other characters.  As he explained at the outset, he is not trying to mimic anyone, to sound like an impersonator doing a series of skits, but rather intends to give the impression of each person.  And although I think of my cast list as being quite small, there are in fact dozens of roles to tackle, from a fourteen-year old prostitute to senior presiding judges.  Most of them are spot on – a particular favourite is the self-satisfied Foster at the Bank of England – but I wasn’t happy with my first encounter with Martha, as she sound too posh and a bit affected.  Guy had another go, having understood perfectly what I meant, as by then he had read the whole book and had much more the measure of Martha, and now she’s just right.

We’ve nearly finished the audio editing, so my next distraction project will be to research the marketing of audio books.  And lurking at the back of my mind is the worst duty of all: the writing of the back cover blurb for “Plank 4”.  But thankfully I can procrastinate on that one, reasoning that the beta reading might demand so many plot alterations that any blurb I write now would be irrelevant.  I’m not sure which thought scares me more: the blurb or the re-writes!