Confession time: I dread hearing my books read aloud. OK, the odd sentence or two, maybe even a whole paragraph, can sound pretty cool but sooner or later comes the repeated word, the clumsy phrase, the unplanned alliteration that will cause even the most skilled reader to stumble. The reading eye, given as it is to skimming, is remarkably forgiving, skating over the ill-formed prose with barely a hitch. But the ear? Oh my, the ear misses nothing.
It is for precisely this reason that I read my books aloud before I submit them to the editing process. It’s a mammoth task, taking the better part of a week, but it improves the text immeasurably. (For what it’s worth, this is always my default piece of writing advice.) But still the errors slip through. I have to force myself to listen to my audio books. It’s a necessary penance, though, because I know it will push me to do better next time.
And yet, in spite of all this, I find myself looking forward with almost indecent haste to the audio version of The Craftsman. Yesterday, with my editor, Sam Eades, I visited the studio in Clerkenwell where the lovely and talented Nathalie Buscombe was bringing both The Craftsman and Alive to life. She was amazing, with a rich, expressive voice, as you’ll hear from this sneaky piece I was able to steal. Enjoy.
Alive (a free short story) will be available on audio from March 1 and The Craftsman, published on 5 April, can be pre-ordered now.
Follow Nathalie on twitter @NattieBuscombe