Saturday, 23 November 2013

Audiobook legend Simon Vance to record my genealogical crime mystery series.

Jefferson Tayte
Simon Vance

Jefferson Tayte = Simon Vance!

An uncanny resemblance?
Yes, it's true. Ex BBC Radio 4 presenter and multi award winning narrator of many hundreds of audiobooks, Simon Vance, has confirmed that he will be recording my Jefferson Tayte mysteries, which means that my books will soon be joining company with authors such as Hilary Mantel, Stieg Larsson, Neil Gaiman, and classics such as Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker and Anthony Trollope. I could go on and on... Somebody pinch me!

So how did this incredible honour befall me?

I've got to hand it to Amazon Publishing (again) for keeping their writers involved in the publication process. In a recent blog I said that I'd received guide sheets to fill in about my books and characters to help Brilliance Audio select a suitable narrator for them. When I filled those forms in and sent them back, I had thought that was that. So I crossed my fingers and hoped that my input would help Brilliance make a good choice. Then about a week ago I received some recording samples from the second chapter of In the Blood, and was asked for my feedback, which really came down to allowing me to pick my own narrator from the shortlist Brilliance Audio had put together. I thought that was amazing, but I suppose it makes good sense as who could be closer to the characters in a book than the book's author?

I must confess to having been quite nervous when I clicked the play icon on my laptop for the first sample. I listen to audiobooks all the time so I knew what to expect, but there's just something strange and wonderful about listening to a professional recording of your own work for the very first time - and probably every time thereafter.  I was also apprehensive about whether any of the voices Brilliance had sent me would be suitable as I thought it was a big ask to find a British voice actor for the narration and most of the voices, who could also become American genealogist Jefferson Tayte. I listened to all the samples with a fixed grin on my face, and when I'd finished listening, I knew there was a winner in the pack. I hadn't checked any of the names prior to listening, so I had no idea who anyone was. It was only when I wrote back to Amazon Publishing to say who I thought we should go with that I looked at the filenames properly and discovered it was Simon Vance. I found his narration totally engaging, his cadence perfectly matched to my own writing style, and I just know he's going to have a great time with the many and varied characters in my books, whose lives span many centuries and locations. There will be some challenges in there, I'm sure, but I really can't wait to hear Simon breathe life into every one of them. 

Simon contacted me via email before any decision had been reached as to who would 'get the job' as it were. In that email he told me that he was 'eager' to work on my books and I also thought that was a very good sign. We've since exchanged a few emails, and having already established a connection, I'm sure it will lead to the betterment of the finished product. So, the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Crime Mysteries are in very safe hands, and I couldn't have hoped for better. I'm very excited about it.

Simon, if you're reading this, are you also available to record the voices for the Jefferson Tayte action doll? I had this idea that the figure has a detachable battered old briefcase and interchangeable tan linen suits (they're always getting ruined in my books), and when you press his tummy, he speaks one of several phrases such as "I'm a genealogist for Christ's sake! What am I doing here?" and "No smoke without fire..." and "Talk to the family - it's the first rule of genealogy." Not to mention "I need a Hershey's fix!" Although, I guess the JT action doll idea is a way off production yet. :o)

If you're a fan of audiobooks, or would just like to discover more about Simon Vance, please visit his website HERE.


  1. Congratulations! Your adventures and mysteries can be enjoyed by a whole new group of people by a great reader! I still believe they are meant to be films as well!

  2. Thanks Laura. Films... Yes, let's hope so. Simon Vance is also an actor and he lives right there in LA. We're both waiting for that call. Come on Mr Spielberg. :o)

    1. I've got my fingers crossed.
      It would be great to see your charcters on the screen. I hope he has some pull with him. ; )