A significant book birthday to mark… my first novel, STRAIGHT TO YOU, was published 25 years ago yesterday. That’s literally half my life ago! It’s crazy to look back at how pretty much everything has changed since that first release. Back then, in the analogue world of 1996, the book’s publication came after months of queries, submissions, and rejections, followed by many more months of long-winded edits and approvals, all done by post. All that work could be carried out in a fraction of the time now, without moving from my desk.
And I’m equally unrecognisable from the inexperienced dweeb who wrote that first book. I’ve written before about how I changed, and how that eventually resulted in me completely re-writing the novel in 2014. And I can’t stress this enough – if you’re going to read STRAIGHT TO YOU, please stick to the newer version!
But the one thing that has remained constant throughout – and forgive me here for being a little corny and pretentious – is the absolute buzz of writing. A quarter of a century further down the line, and it remains an incredibly rewarding job/hobby/thrill/passion. Thank you for reading my grim nonsense all these years!
If you’ve not read STRAIGHT TO YOU, it’s available as an ebook and paperback from all the usual retailers. An audiobook version is available here. And if you’ve the stomach for reading the original, a handful of hardback copies remain available from the original print run.
Today’s the day. THE BLEED: ARMAGEDDON, by CHRIS PHILBROOK, MARK TUFO, and I has hit the shelves. The book brings the wild ride of THE BLEED trilogy to a close, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. Print, eBook, and an Audible exclusive audiobook versions are available.
I hope by now that you’ve had chance to listen to the audiobook version of AUTUMN: DAWN. I think it’s my favourite audio adaptation of any of my novels, and the reason for that is my brilliant narrator, AUBREY PARSONS. He’s done an absolutely stunning job of bringing the mass of characters that inhabit my dystopian AUTUMN world to life.
I thought it would be fun to ask Aubrey a few questions about his narration, to offer a glimpse into the huge amount of work that goes into producing audiobooks. It’s definitely not just a case of sitting down in front of a microphone and reading a novel out from cover to cover! First of all, I asked Aubrey how he got into the world of audiobook narration.
AP: I was a professional singer for 20 years. I spent a lot of that time working away and travelling the globe. It meant that I didn’t get to see much of my family and I had absolutely no social life. I did get to see a lot of the world and meet a lot of wonderful people but the toll it took on my social life and family eventually got to me. So, I decided to try something different. Since I already have my own small recording studio at home, I decided that maybe voiceover work was the way forward. I searched the Internet and found a couple of different courses and trained myself up to become a voice actor. I’ve always loved listening to audiobooks so it seemed to be the natural progression to work on them myself.
Obviously one of the most prolific suppliers of audio books in the world is AUDIBLE so I looked at their website and found out how I could become a producer for them. it took around three years for me to get myself trained and build a database of authors that I could work with to make things worthwhile. Then COVID came along which in a weird kind of way gave me the perfect opportunity to concentrate fully on my voiceover work. Everything happens for a reason I guess!
I asked Aubrey how he approaches narration. Does he read the book first, or just dive straight in?
September. How did that happen? 2021 is disappearing in a flash (though not quickly enough, some might say). A quick post to remind you that this month sees the release of the final book in THE BLEED series, THE BLEED: ARMAGEDDON, written by CHRIS PHILBROOK, MARK TUFO and I. It’s a breathless race to the end and if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series, I know you’ll enjoy this one. It hits the shelves on 21 September as an ebook, paperback (links to follow), and Audible exclusive audiobook.
Reality after reality is being destroyed by THE BLEED. With their options narrowing by the second, and with their group scattered far and wide across the multiverse, it’s down to less than 10 people to try and save the lives of billions upon billions of others.
If they fail, THE BLEED will rule. Nothing and no one else will survive.
IT ALWAYS BLEEDS THROUGH. THREE WORLDS. THREE AUTHORS. THE ULTIMATE APOCALYPSE.
I don’t tend to mark that many book anniversaries, but I noticed that the US release of AUTUMN: PURIFICATION is ten years old today. It’s frightening how fast the time passes. Even more frightening to think that the original Infected Books edition of the novel was released seven years earlier still. It feels like just five minutes ago.
I have a lot to thank PURIFICATION for. I learnt so much about writing while I was working on that book. The initial success of AUTUMN and then AUTUMN: THE CITY caught me off guard, and PURIFICATION was the first novel I wrote with the pressure of knowing that people were waiting for its release. It was the book where I realised just how much fun I could have with the living dead (I know how wrong that sounds), the book where I earned my chops and started to think big in terms of where I wanted the AUTUMN series to go.
On a personal level, much of the writing was done in my final year working in banking. I found myself managing a team of around 100 staff who’d all been given (myself included) around a year’s notice of redundancy – our jobs went overseas, and we didn’t. As the work volumes dwindled and the personnel issues mounted up, I used PURIFICATION as therapy. Their names were changed, of course, but quite a few members of my team ended up as featured zombies. When I got home from the office at night, I found there was something very cathartic about plotting imaginary fates for the folks who’d made my days such a challenge!
And here I am in 2021, writing even more AUTUMN books. AUTUMN: DAWN has gone down an absolute storm, and I’m making good progress on AUTUMN: INFERNO. But the fact is, if I hadn’t had such a positive experience with PURIFICATION, I doubt the series would have made it past book three.
There’s a vast amount of information about the entire AUTUMN series over at www.lastoftheliving.net. AUTUMN: INFERNO updates incoming shortly.