“It is all true, or it ought to be; and more and better besides.” ―Winston S. Churchill, on King Arthur
It started when I was 3, with the ‘Little Miss’ collections and continued on to University, where I dived into the decadence of Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, and the very visceral poems of The Earl of Rochester.
The obsession with books continued into adulthood — I jumped on the magic realism boat and laughed out loud at the comedy and beauty of authors like Jeanette Winterson and Angela Carter — and has now manifested itself in a DEEP obsession with music biogs.
Doin’ it for the kids
Some years ago, knee-deep and in love with radio, I started teaching media skills and for a while, unexpectedly found myself in the children’s literature sector, working with some of the UK’s most prolific publishers and authors — including Michael Morpurgo, Dick King Smith, Jeremy Strong, Jamila Gavin and many more.
I’m lucky I did. I learned so much about the reading and writing for children and young people, as well as the importance of a good story. If there’s just one single thing that you do for your kids, read to them EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Lost in legends
Now that I’m a voice actor, with two beautiful boys of my own, stories are BIG in our house. So much so, that my eldest is obsessed (and I mean completely) with Greek, Roman, Viking and Arthurian myths. “If I ever do an audiobook”, I once muttered, “it will have to be a children’s fantasy novel about some kind of long lost myth — just so my boys will beam with pride”.
As if by magic
And so it was, that I was contacted by the Texan author, C.A. Gray, to narrate ‘Invincible-’— her Young Adult (YA) book on Arthurian legends. It’s the second book in the ‘Piercing the Veil’ trilogy, and details the daring story of Peter, searching for the philosopher’s stone. If you’re a fan of JK Rowling, I can promise you, this is right up your alley.
I spoke to the author about her book, and what it was like hearing it brought to life:
1. How did you first become interested in Arthurian legends? Actually, I started researching them for this story — I was looking for a familiar set of legends that everyone could be familiar with, and one that was old enough, and possibly interconnected with real history enough, that I could co-opt it for my purposes. Arthurian legends just made sense, since I set the story in England. So I started researching!
2. Tell us a bit about the story and it’s inception? Piercing the Veil is set in Norwich, England, because that’s where I studied abroad when I was a junior in college. That experience changed my life, and in many ways I left my heart there. Of course much of it is also set in Carlion, the fantasy world of the former Camelot, too. Also, I think all of my main characters have aspects of me in them, because I imagine how I would react in a given situation or how I might say something, and I put that in their heads or their mouths. But I suspect I’m pulling all of my characters from experience, whether it be myself, others, or fictional archetypes. You write what you know.
3. How long did it take you to write Invincible? Once I create a world, the sequels are easier to crank out… it’s the first book that takes longer. It took me about four years from concept to finished product for Intangible, but I finished Invincible in a year (and that was mostly because there was a MASSIVE rewrite after my editor got hold of it!) I think I cranked out Impossible, the third in the series, in about six months.
4. What is it like hearing your book brought to life by a professional voice actor? So much fun!! It makes me feel like I’m rediscovering it for the first time, especially because I hadn’t actually read these books in years and couldn’t remember what happened in many cases!
So, if journeys in exotic worlds fraught with danger and mystery is your thing, here’s my teaser for the book:
If you’re new to Audible, you can get a free copy of the book (while codes last) by using these links:
This Autumn, as the nights draw in and the fire crackles, I’d love to read your bedtime story.