Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Tale of Today

The search for wonderful books to read can be endless, but it's never been more fun or more critical than these days when so many of us are staying indoors and tired of watching television. It's a good time to pick up a new book or find a new author, and the best thing about living in this time is that our choices are endless. We can now get books right off the internet, and not only books to read to but enjoy through listening  on audio.  My guest today is bringing us a taste of the international sort. He comes from the other side of the globe. Stephen B. King is an author from Australia (not to be confused with that other guy from Maine) . His new book is a tale made for these days when we are all practically living our lives online.  

 Stephen, tell us about your newest book. 

Thanks for inviting me on the chat about my latest audio book release, Domin8, a psychological thriller/police procedural/whodunit, narrated by the incredibly gifted Geoffrey Boyes. Getting Domin8 from its first draft four years ago, to audio now has been a journey and a half and a total labor of love, in equal proportion to angst.

 I love the storyline, it is edgy, and gives the reader/listener a protagonist who while being a likable man, has a less than likeable lifestyle. He is selfish and hedonistic; not thinking beyond his own needs and wants with catastrophic consequences. Can he survive the ordeal, and find redemption? Should he even be entitled to the chance to? One by one, his lovers are murdered and he is the prime suspect. He has to face his family for his choices, and live with the guilt of the consequences of his selfishness.

I left Perth, Western Australia to go East and find fame and fortune in the music business as a long-haired rock guitarist many moons ago. I wrote poems and music, and my band used to open for some pretty big groups in my wild days. I gave it all up for love and got married (as you do when the right one comes along). Then, real life took over, children came along and I threatened to write a book for so many years my long-suffering wife eventually pushed me into it by buying me a laptop and said: "No more excuses, do it." And so began this amazing journey. 

I sometimes think she regrets that decision as I have now published ten books and am deep into writing books eleven and twelve.

What do you like about audio books? 

As a listener I am drawn to audio books primarily because of time constraints. I work long hours managing a Kia Dealership, and have a long commute. The radio stations bore me; too much bad news and repetitive songs, and the ads? Don’t get me started.

I also passionately believe authors MUST read books, not to copy ideas, but to be reminded how good writing can transport the reader to another time and place; help them forget their daily woes. That said any free time I get I want to write, not read, so audio fit’s beautifully into my lifestyle. I love a good narrator too, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard a terrible one. For sure some are better than others, they seem to care for the story, or maybe that’s just my overactive imagination.

Do you listen to them?

I get through around three a month. I sometimes listen to fellow authors in my group with The Wild Rose Press, and always review (I know how important they are) but my prime taste in in psychological thrillers. Currently Im wading through every book Michael Robotham has ever written, and I will be near suicidal when I get to the last one. In particular the Joseph O’Loughlin series, OMG I wish I could write that well. I wrote to him recently, he is a fellow Australian, through his website, and told him how much I enjoyed his work, but hated him too for leaving me dangling. I said never have I felt so in awe of an author’s ability to make me smile, fear, worry, fret and damn near cry for a fictional character. I didn’t think he would reply, or if he did it would be a form response from his assistant. But within twenty-four hours he wrote back personally. I treasure that email because it reminds me, that while I am not in the same league, if I ever get to be, to stay humble and remember a personal reply to someone who loved my work enough to write to me, is important.

What are the challenges of writing with audio in mind?

This is an interesting question due to a debate I had with my editor over thought tags. When your character has a direct thought, the author is to use italics to show the reader, it is a thought, not dialogue. Because it’s in italics, Melanie assures me there is no need to put: He/she/Dave thought because it was self evident. But, because I listen to so many audio books, it is painfully obvious to me; it isn’t always clear to the listener if it’s a thought or spoken line. She agreed, so we reached a compromise, I had to cut half of them LOL. Other than that, Im not aware of any real challenges, the story should dictate all in my opinion.

Does it change the way you write your story.

Not for me, no. My passion is to tell a story about ordinary people facing extraordinary situations – sometimes dire. I write primarily for my enjoyment, and I am a ‘panster’ which means I don’t plan anything, just let the story take me where it wants to go. I don’t plan endings, or think about what format it will be in, I just get lost in the tale. I want to draw the reader/listener in to my world, get then to care for the characters then take them on a roller-coaster ride.

Does it change how you structure your stories now that you know it's a possibility?

I am very fortunate. Not only to be with a caring publisher who has wonderful editors, marketing and cover designers, but to have forged a bond with a narrator. Geoffrey Boyes, is an Australian, who has lived in America for many years, who is a similar age to me. Six books ago, for my first audio, Thirty-Three Days he auditioned. Back then, there were quite a few narrators who were willing to do a royalty share arrangement and we had four apply. Geoff was the stand out and got the gig. I will never forget the first time I listened to him perform my book. OMG I got goosebumps, and still do. I can only imagine how good it must be to write a book and have it turned into a film, but that wouldn’t be as wonderful (I don’t think) as listening to my book in audio. The difference as I see it is that a film would have a scriptwriter and director, turning the story into their vision. A narrator is performing the words as written.

Geoff and I have become staunch friends, and he wants to do all of my books – he loves them and can’t wait for the next one. He frequently emails and asks me how far away the next one is. So, all my future books will go to audio, and I have an amazing narrator willing to preform them, like I sad I am very lucky and he does an amazing job because he loves the story.

As an aside, Geoff flew from the US a few months back to here in Perth, Western Australia for a visit. He wanted to see some of the places I wrote about, in particular the Karingily Caves in Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths, based on the real life caves near Bussleton,,and a place where I wrote about some murders called Lake Monger. He agreed with me, if ever there was a place name that deserved some gruesome murders it was Lake Monger. A very pretty place on the outskirts of our fair capital city, Perth I featured in Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer.

My editor Mel, loved this story and helped over a period of more than a year turn it from its first outing as a self published work to the story it always promised to be, and I love her for sticking with me. Here is the blurb:

After his wife loses interest in him, fifty-year-old Dave Barndon turns to the dark side of the Internet and sex chat rooms. There he finds willing partners who are happy to fulfill his needs with no strings attached. But they aren't the only ones looking to play. When a woman he had an affair with is murdered he becomes the prime suspect. He thinks his alibi is solid until a second woman is murdered, and then a third. He fights for his freedom and redemption while the body count rises. He must figure out who is framing him and why before the killer strikes again.

Here is an excerpt:

A constable opened the door and informed me my lawyer was waiting. I had pulled myself together by then, found some determination and I wanted to fight. No more tears, I determined. I had replaced grief with rage to somehow get even with the killer and protect my kids; I couldn’t do that from inside prison. I had no idea of the time as they had taken my watch from me. I was led to a room where Tom sat. He stood to his feet as I entered.

“Thanks for coming, Tom. I appreciate it very much. I didn’t know who else to turn to.”

He shook my hand shaking his head and said, “Dave, I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. This is nonsense; I’m convinced of that, but I’m not a criminal lawyer; I’m corporate, as you know. I can help today and see what they have on you and depending on how that goes, I know someone I can recommend. Now, sit down; we have about forty minutes before your interview. I’ve told them they have to wait until we have spoken. Tell me what the hell has happened.”

He placed a recorder on the desk and turned it on, to save taking notes I supposed, and I told him every sordid detail of what I had been doing.

“Dave, why didn’t you contact me after the first murder when the police spoke to you?”

“Because I was innocent, and once I told them everything, they seemed to believe me. Apparently, the timing was wrong. There was no way I could have done it, and gotten to the casino to meet my brother, without a drop of blood on me.”

“And after the second homicide, why not call me then?” He tapped the end of his biro on the table, and I sensed a touch of annoyance.

“Same story; the pen incriminated me, but it disappeared earlier in the day. A guy called in at work 
while I wasn’t there on the pretense of leaving a note on my desk, and I’m sure he stole it. Therefore, he must be the murderer. I convinced the cops it couldn’t possibly have been me. They called Dianne to confirm what time I arrived home, and again there was not enough time for me to have done it and get home without being covered in blood. I couldn’t have beaten both victims to death without being splattered with it; it was messy and gory, apparently. Yet I was home in twenty minutes or so, and clean.”

“Hmmm, you do realize the police tell lies, don’t you? They may well have evidence they have not disclosed to you leading them to think you are guilty, even though they appear to believe you.”

“Tom, there is nothing, because I didn’t do it. You’ve known me twelve years. Do you think I could have murdered three women in six days, including my wife of twenty-six years? Is it not more plausible someone has it in for me and has set me up? What I can’t understand is why? I have no idea.”

“Please understand it doesn’t matter what I think. Of course, I think you’re innocent, but that’s not the point. It only matters what they think they can prove. There are three things they look at: they are means, motive and opportunity.”

 As you can see, Dave is in a lot of trouble……

Well, thanks for having me chat about my audio book life. I would urge every author to go down this route. Trust me; you too will feel those goosebumps when you hear your work performed.

How can readers get in touch with you and get your book?
twitter: @stephenBKing1
Facebook: @stephenbkingauthor

Thank you, Stephen, for being my guest today.  Any comments or questions for Stephen?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for having me aboard, Rebecca. I had fun prattling on and hope I didn't bore anyone


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