Louise Candlish is the author of twelve novels, including the thriller Our House, winner of the British Book Awards 2019 Crime & Thriller Book of the Year and a #1 bestseller in paperback, ebook and audiobook. Twitter @louise_candlish Instagram @louisecandlish
Audiobooks tend to have more personality than their print and ebook cousins. This is pretty obvious when you think about it – after all, they are read aloud by talented professional actors, not voiced silently inside your own head.
Unsurprisingly, audiobook fans tell me they are as likely to choose their next novel based on the narrator as they are the author (I’m guessing this will be the case for quite a few discoverers of my new release Those People, narrated by the brilliant Dickensian and Sense8 star Tuppence Middleton). But none of this occurred to me properly until I wrote my property thriller Our House.
A big chunk of the main character Fi Lawson’s narrative is presented as a transcribed interview from a true-crime podcast, which means print readers not only need to imagine it as being spoken but also, ideally, to keep that in mind throughout (it’s important plot-wise, that’s all I’ll say!). The audiobook, of course, does it naturally. In fact, Deni Francis as Fi – alongside Paul Panting as Fi’s ex-husband Bram – have done such a convincing job that the production has been shortlisted for the 2019 Audible Sounds of Crime Award.
One of the reasons I featured podcast material in Our House was because I was immersed in audio myself, hooked on that direct, intimate connection between speaker and listener. As well as audiobooks and podcasts, I was listening to a lot of dramatised classics on Radio 4 Extra, things like Trollope’s Barchester Towers. I started to notice that lines were blurring between ‘performed’ audiobooks, dramatised novels, original radio plays and even non-fiction podcasts (I managed to listen to an entire six-part crime investigation without realising it was in fact fiction).
It’s not always easy to know what to call audio work, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last fifteen years as a novelist it’s that consumers don’t always use or recognise the same labels we do inside the industry – they just know a good story when they read/hear one. Quite right.