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?
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.
I think perhaps the main reason I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction is the way it strips away all the divisions of society and (generally) puts us all in the same boat. It doesn’t matter what your background or beliefs are, how smart or rich or loud or quiet or well-connected you might be, when the shit really hits the fan, we’ll all likely have as good (or as bad) a chance of survival as the person next to us.
This is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to recently, not least because we’re in the middle (or possibly the tail end, or maybe still the opening act) of a global pandemic which has had a profound and long-lasting impact on the entire planet, even those who continue to claim it’s a hoax. Far more trivially, I’ve also been thinking about the same themes as I’ve been working on the new AUTUMN books. Book one, AUTUMN: DAWN, was very much a straight-forward survival horror story in the style of the previous books in the series. AUTUMN: INFERNO and AUTUMN: EXODUS, however, will be altogether different. It’s not so much about picking up the pieces after an apocalypse; more about seeing if there are any pieces left to be picked up.
I’ve been catching up with some post-apocalyptic reading, and the novel I’ve just finished – SURVIVORS by TERRY NATION – makes this point very effectively. Unfortunately, it also drives home my earlier assertion that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, in the event of a global catastrophe, we’re all equally fucked. Grim, eh?!
I’m sure many of you will have heard of SURVIVORS – the two BBC TV series, if not the novel. The story, first published in the 1970’s, deals with the aftermath of a global pandemic. A disease with a 95% mortality rate spreads around the world in a matter of days, and the book documents the struggles of some of the remaining 5%. It’s sobering stuff.
When I started work on the new AUTUMN trilogy, and particularly throughout the writing of the recently released AUTUMN: DAWN, I gorged on zombie movies. Nothing unusual in that, you might think, but given the fact I’ve been writing about the undead for a long time, I think I probably watch these films through a slightly different filter than most folks.
If you’ve read my comments on ARMY OF THE DEAD from last weekend, you’ll no doubt have picked up on the fact that I hated pretty much every second of it. In hindsight that may have been, in part, because the zombie movie I’d watched prior to ARMY had a very similar set up and premise, but was infinitely more enjoyable. That film was TRAIN TO BUSAN PRESENTS: PENINSULA. Crappy title – passable film.
I wrote about TRAIN TO BUSAN here in 2017, commenting that it was a ‘top quality action flick that just happened to feature zombies’. This second movie is not a sequel as such, but another standalone story set in the same world as TRAIN TO BUSAN, albeit four years later. Here’s the synopsis and trailer.
It’s four years since the outbreak of a zombie virus in South Korea. The infection has spread throughout the country and it has been sealed off from the rest of the world. On the promise of a better life, four Korean refugees in Hong Kong agree to sail through the blockade to the port of Incheon to recover $20 million US dollars sitting in the back of a truck.
Today sees the release of the first new AUTUMN novel since 2012. AUTUMN: DAWN – book one of the London trilogy – is available from all the usual locations (links below). I’m thrilled with how the book turned out, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s a great blurb from the brilliant CRAIG DILOUIE:
“David Moody’s AUTUMN: DAWN breathes new life into my favourite undead series. Moody brings his trademark approach to a zombie world: interesting and realistic characters, organic conflict, and always, always, the dramatic and horrifying struggle to survive in a world overrun by the dead.” –Craig DiLouie, author of THE CHILDREN OF RED PEAK
I wanted to thank everyone who ordered the limited edition of the book. All orders have now been despatched around the world. I’d hoped to have got them out sooner, but last minute delays with the printers scuppered that. Hopefully they should start being received in the next couple of days.
If you missed out, there are a handful of copies remaining, as well as signed paperbacks. Order them from www.infectedbooks.co.uk.
Thrilled to see reviews appearing too. BookNest said: “AUTUMN: DAWN is an unabated, unforgiving onslaught of intensity that takes aim at both the light and dark side of humanity. Like a punch to the gut, it knocks the wind out of you on the opening page and keeps you gasping for air until the very end.”
Very happy with that! I can’t wait for AUTUMN: DAWN – and the rest of the LONDON TRILOGY – to stagger and lurch out into the open soon.
In the weeks leading up to the release of AUTUMN: DAWN on 31 May, I’ll be sharing more details about the new books. Today I wanted to whet your appetite by talking about two of the major differences between THE LONDON TRILOGY and the original series. The new books are still unequivocally AUTUMN, but I don’t want you to think this is just a ‘money for old rope’ rehash of the same things I was writing a decade ago, or a trendy new reboot/reimagining. Sure, there are plenty of similarities, but there are some major shifts too.
Before I go on, I need to plug the limited-edition hardcover again because it’s selling fast. Three-quarters of the print run have sold already, so if you’re thinking about ordering, please get in quick. As a reminder, if you pre-order the hardcover you also get:
Well, we have. That might sound like an empty comment, but in the decades since I began writing the AUTUMN books, society has changed dramatically. Don’t worry – the new novels aren’t a heavy-going sociological deconstruction of the last twenty-or-so years, they’re a dystopian adventure with a cast of typical Moody characters: ordinary folks like us, who just happen to find themselves in godawful situations. But there are a couple of differences the books touch on.
A couple of bits of AUTUMN news to share. First, an update on the new books. The new trilogy is totally separate from the previous books – they just happen to take place in the same undead world. To make them easier to discern, I’m calling the new novels THE LONDON TRILOGY (you can’t fault the logic – three books, all based in London). The really important news is that book one is just about finished. The edits are being wrapped, and the cover art is in the process of being put together… it won’t be long before it’s unleashed. It’s looking like AUTUMN: DAWN will now hit the shelves in May. Pre-orders will be announced in April, including a strictly limited hardcover edition.
To bring new readers up to speed, and to give old-time AUTUMN readers a blast of nostalgia, I’ve relaunched the AUTUMN website – www.lastoftheliving.net. For now it’s focused on the previous books, but stacks of information about the new trilogy will be added over the course of the next 18 months.
I hope you enjoy all of this, and that my grim AUTUMN stories can still strike a chord in this strange old virus-riddled world of ours. After the events of the last 12 months, it’s been strangely cathartic diving back into AUTUMN. If you have any thoughts, images, or artwork you’d like to see added to www.lastoftheliving.net – AUTUMN or pandemic-related, I really don’t mind – then please drop me a line.