Saladin Ahmed broke the news on Twitter last Thursday, retweeted by his publisher DAW Books, that Brilliance Audio had purchased the audio rights to his debut novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon (hardcover, Feb 7, 2012):
And a day later, Ahmed posted the first chapter of the novel on his blog. As a fan both of Ahmed’s short fiction (which I’ve enjoyed catching at PodCastle, and which garnered him enough votes to be a finalist for both a Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer) and of Brilliance Audio (who, it must be noted, sends me review copies quite promptly and nicely) I wanted to find out a bit more about Ahmed’s thoughts on an audiobook for his novel. So I asked the him a few questions. And he answered. Hooray!
Q: Not that authors generally get to pick, but is there a “dream narrator” (or two) that come to mind when you think about the right voices and characters for your book?
Well, the novel has several POVs - old people, young people, men, women, quasi-Arabs, quasi-Africans… Later books, which reveal more of the world, will feature quasi-Europeans as well. So ideally I’d love a full cast.
But that pretty much never happens. And whoever narrates is going to have the challenge of doing a convincing job with quasi-Arabic pronunciations. So if I could pick just one ‘dream narrator’…probably Tony Shalhoub. I’ve heard him do imitations of his Lebanese relatives, and they’re pretty close to my own voice for my main character, Adoulla.
Q: When writing (and re-writing, and revising, and editing, and…) Throne of the Crescent Moon, did any of the characters start to develop their own voices in your head, particular accents, etc.?
Absolutely. I’ve always been a ‘funny voices’ guy. When I read my work at conventions I ‘do voices’ and - if I can toot my own horn here - usually get praise for giving an entertaining reading. If audiobook narration didn’t involve a host of skills other than just being a good vocal performer, I’d be begging Brilliance to record the book myself.
Q: From announcing the book’s sale to DAW, to unveiling the cover, to last week’s audiobook announcement, things seem to be going very well. As a debut author, albeit one with a good amount of professional experience, how do you keep your expectations in check… or do you?
I’m a guy who fantasizes. A lot. And not just when I’m writing. Whatever preposterously unlikely ‘making it big’ scenario you can imagine, I’ve lived it in my head a dozen times already. For me it’s a matter of keeping absurd fantasy from becoming serious expectation.
UPDATE, 5 DEC 2011: Publishers Weekly has published a starred review of Throne of the Crescent Moon.