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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

Dark.. Darker.. and Cheese... And Dr. Who

I came across an interview with Paul Arvidson about his novel Dark about 9 months ago. The idea of a planet, and a people, that have no sense of sight piqued my interest. I reached out to him to see if he had thought about doing it as an audiobook. In our back & forth emails, he told me that indeed he had thought about it. I told him how he could get it on audible & that I’d love to partner with him on it.

Then, he opened it up for auditions. I initially thought, “Dangit! This was my idea!” But ultimately, it’s his idea and story, so I can’t really blame him for wanting to make sure he got the right person for the job. Long and short of it – He did ultimately select me as the narrator, despite my not being able to get to it for about 5 months due to previous contracts. But anticipation is always kind of fun. It’s part of what makes Christmas so exciting. So then he & I waited. I read his book & still was excited to do it, which is always a good thing as a narrator. It’s no fun if you sign a contract, read the book & think, “Oh, Dang, what have I signed up for.” (Fortunately a very seldom occurrence with me – I won’t get into specifics).

I loved Paul’s very visceral writing. If you’re going to write a book about people who can’t see, you can’t really reference things in a sight based way. But naturally, as a sight gifted race ourselves, we can’t help but form mental visual pictures in our heads of the way he, and the characters of Dark describe things. Kind of like he’s given us infrared goggles into this unique world. As a narrator, It also was a unique challenge for some of the interactions with characters. Removing sight entirely from the equation, we are forced to rely on other senses. And for an audiobook, that’s going to mean sound more than anything else. Though maybe an Olfactory book should be in order for Dark as well. Come up with that for me, Jeff Bezos… Maybe a Braille edition should be printed too. Then the folk could appreciate it in 3 ways at least. But until those editions are made available, we sighted folk will have to be content with print, ebook, and now audiobook. I hope my interpretations of Paul’s abundant onomatopoeia bring at least one unique flavor of this book to life.

Through the book, you gradually discover more & more about the “folk.” Some reviewers have described them as “Hobbits in Space,” and in a way, that’s not too far off the mark. One of my favorite moments in the whole book is when the one character who you eventually find out is NOT “folk” says, “Sound off, Chipmunks.” That’s about as many spoilers as I’m going to give in this quasi-review/interview.

I loved voicing the characters throughout this book & am now thoroughly enjoying returning to them again for the sequel. When I voice a sequel, one thing I do is go back to listen to my performance of the original. I did so for Dark and, not to toot my own horn (though I did that in this book for the first time in an audiobook. More spoilers. Oops.) I think we created a pretty cool thing together. Since I’m a little too familiar with the narrator, I’ll refrain from ranking his performance – though, it is kind of cool to say that I enjoyed it. To rank Paul’s writing – It was very engaging. There were elements that I don’t necessarily want to draw attention to that seemed redundant to me. In recording aloud an entire book, there aren’t many that I’ve come across that I don’t think that a time or two. So, Story wise – I’d rank it 4.5 stars, and writing wise, 4. This being Paul’s first novel, I think that’s a pretty good initial showing. And as I’ve been recording Darker – I think he’s moved from 4 to 4.5.

Now – when Paul let me know that he was going to do an audiobook blog tour – I knew I wanted to participate. But I wanted mine to be unique. You’ll find a lot of carbon copies of our interview questions on some of the other participants, and I certainly appreciate the exposure. But for me, I wanted to pick his brain in real time & offer you & those on the fence about whether to listen to Dark a preview of what you’re in store for. Plus, I wanted to actually talk to him. We’ve done lots of email back and forth in 9 months, but him being in England & me in Idaho, we had never connected.

So, without further ado, Please enjoy my first self-produced video interview of one of my authors. If this doesn't make you want to check out the book, I don't know what would.

I think we're pretty funny. But if you really want to get a kick out of it, watch it at double speed. I won't get offended. Your time is precious. :)

BTW Paul… I may appropriate your unique accent & mannerisms for future characters. So’s ya know. It was great talking with you.

For more info on Dark, Click here.

For More reviews & Interviews with both Paul & Me about our experience with Dark & more, check out the other participants in the Dark Audiobook tour Here:

That's all for now, Chipmunks.


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