As regular readers of this blog will know, I am gradually – very gradually – creating audiobooks of the Sam series. I am doing it through a website called ACX – owned by Audible, which is in turn part of Amazon – and the basic deal is that the narrator and I share any profits fifty-fifty. The narrator I found for “Fatal Forgery”, Guy Hanson – in essence, he’s the voice of Sam – has kindly agreed to stay fit and healthy so that he can narrate all seven books, and he’s now working on “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”. He uploads chapters to ACX and I listen to them and ask for any changes. Sometimes there will be a wrong word or a mispronunciation or a misplacing of stress, but Guy is so completely Sam-ish that my requests are few.
However, as I listen to my words read aloud, I do sometimes think, “Hmm, that’s a bit clumsily written”, or “I’ve used that word three times already this chapter – I should have thought of another”. And sometimes Guy’s words do not exactly match the text but actually improve on it, making it smoother. I have read the advice that authors should read their books aloud before publishing, to catch just such instances, but I’ve never done it. I wonder whether I should from now on…
On the positive side, there is a quite a bit of Martha in “Canary”, and it is really helpful for me to reacquaint myself with her as I launch into “Plank 5”, which will focus more on her. For instance, I have just heard her say this when spotting a fortune teller at the Bartholomew Fair: “Who would want to know their future? If it’s bad, you’ll waste your life worrying, and if it’s good, it will be a lovely surprise.” In “Plank 5”, I intend to have her rethink this position, giving Sam cause for great concern.