Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Auditory Self-Indulgence, Part 2

I think I've accumulated enough retrospect by now to say that my favourite thing about the Easie Damasco trilogy and their publication is that they ended up as three wonderful Brilliance Audio audiobooks that I then got to listen to.

Because, yes, I listened to the audiobooks of my own novels.  Wouldn't you?  The thing is, if your books get made into audiobooks then, if you close your eyes, (and admittedly this isn't such a good idea in rough parts of town or while driving in heavy traffic), you get to imagine that someone's made a film of them, or at the very least put on an energetic stage adaptation.  You get to experience them in a whole new way, through new eyes, and in a new voice, a voice that makes the weaker bits seem entirely decent and the good bits seem completely brilliant.

At least, that's my experience.  It may have a lot to do with the fact that I was lucky enough to get James Langton reading, and that James Langton is absolutely marvelous at this sort of thing.  By the end of Prince Thief, I was in awe of the range of accents he'd pulled off over the course of three books, (and the fact that not one of them ended up sounding ridiculous), the fact that he put meat on the bones of even minor characters, made major characters seem like real people, and in particular brought scoundrelly, possibly-just-slightly-loveable rogue Easie Damasco to life in a way I'd never have dreamed possible.

I guess what I'm saying, in a roundabout way, is that what James did wasn't just reading but acting; he literally, single-handedly acted out three books and dozens of characters, and that's just plain astonishing.  I'm very glad I got to be the author of those three books, and that I then got to listen to James's take on them; it was a pleasure from the beginning of Giant Thief to the end of Prince Thief, and I'm not sure I'll ever get quite so lucky with a reader again.  Many thanks to James and to the people at Brilliance who made it happen, not to mention the Angry Robot guys for putting the whole thing together in the first place.

Lastly ... I couldn't possibly pick a favourite character from the trilogy, but I think it would be okay to pick a favourite from the audio adaptations.  And if I did it would surely be Malekrin, the sort-of-star of Prince Thief.  There wasn't a single character I felt James got wrong, but Malekrin would have been awfully easy to mess up and James absolutely didn't: he captured all of Malekrin's early, youthful frustration and - let's face it! - total obnoxiousness, and then conveyed his growing pains across the course of the book, ending in a climatic scene that played out just the way it had in my head and got me a little bit emotional. 

Which would have been all well and good had I not been walking down the high street of my grim northern home town.  Still, I'm sure it's not the first time the good folk of Batley have seen a grown man get a little teary over the audiobook performance of a character he wrote.

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