Tim Walker appears regularly here on Linda’s Book Bag, always with something slightly different and today we’re celebrating the brand new audio version of Tim’s Thames Valley Tales. I asked Tim a few questions about his experience of introducing an audio book to his repertoire.
Before I share those with you, let me just remind you of the other occasions Tim has been on the blog. Last time we were sharing an extract from his Guardians at the Wall that you’ll find here.
We stayed in together to chat all about his book, Arthur Rex Brittonum, in a post you can read here.
Tim also introduced PERVERSE – a collection of short prose and verse, sharing a poem with us in a post you can see here.
It was my pleasure to share an extract from Arthur Dux Bellorum here and Tim has introduced his book Uther’s Destiny in a post you can see here, as well as previously writing a fabulous guest post about fiction and fear when the second book in his A Light in the Dark Ages series, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, was published, and you can read that post here.
Let’s find about Tim’s latest venture as his Thames Valley Tales are available in audio from today 20th March 2023.
Thames Valley Tales, second edition, is available in audiobook, Kindle e-book and paperback from Amazon worldwide, and can also be found on Kindle Unlimited.
Thames Valley Tales
Thames Valley Tales is a light-hearted yet thought-provoking collection of nine stories by Tim Walker. These tales are based on the author’s experience of living in Thames Valley towns, and combine contemporary themes with the rich history and legends associated with an area stretching from the heart of rural England to London.
The collection includes The Goldfish Bowl, in which an unlikely friendship is struck between a pop star and an arms dealer in Goring-on-Thames; Maidenhead Thicket, where the ghost of legendary highwayman, Dick Turpin surprises a Council surveyor; The White Horse intrigue surrounding the dating of the famous chalk carving on the Berkshire Downs; Murder at Henley Regatta, a beguiling whodunit, and The Colnbrook Caper, a pacey crime thriller. Thames Valley Tales starts with The Grey Lady, a ghost story from the English Civil War, and features The Merry Women of Windsor in a whimsical updating of Shakespeare’s classic play. The Author’s Note explains the context and reasoning behind each story.
Thames Valley Tales oscillates from light-hearted to dark historical and at times humorous stories ideally suited to bedtime or holiday reading that will amuse, delight and, hopefully, inform the reader about the rich history of the Thames Valley as it winds 215 miles from the Gloucestershire countryside, past many towns and villages to London and out to the North Sea. The book also has a factual chapter and map of the Thames Valley showing the towns through which the 184-mile Thames Path passes. It’s a walk-through history and the natural beauty of England that will inspire and captivate.
On Audio Books
I asked Tim the following:
Did having an audio book make you see your own writing differently?
The biggest challenge was how my stories would work when voiced by an actor, and would the dialogue sound convincing. I chose nine stories that I felt had strong visual appeal, as I feel audio is halfway between written word and visual storytelling on television or film. It’s important that the story comes alive in the mind of the listener. I read my stories aloud and made adjustments to the dialogue between characters so that it was less formal. Also, I encouraged my narrator to tweak the dialogue to make it more realistic, and he also included some regional idioms with the accents he employed. A fascinating exercise!
How tricky was it to find the right voice?
I didn’t want to narrate my own audiobook and my first thought was to ask Richard James if he would do it. I know him as an author and he lives locally. We met for a pint and agreed a fee for the job. He is primarily a stage actor who has also written plays and a Victorian crime book series, Bowman of the Yard. I went to his book launch in 2019 (see picture). His voice is perfect, easily understood, and he has an array of regional accents to draw upon from his acting experience.
How easy or difficult would you find it to narrate your own writing?
Very. My voice is very deep and monotonous, and I can’t do accents! Also, I couldn’t record at home as I’m on the flight path to Heathrow Airport, with a plane thundering overhead every six minutes! There’s no soundproofing materials in the world that would insulate my pad from the outside world. Some DIY authors hire sound recording studios, but in my mind, that’s halfway to paying an expert to narrate and produce it.
Tell me a little more about Richard.
Thames Valley Tales audiobook is narrated and produced by actor, author and playwright Richard James who has been appearing on stage and screen for over thirty years. Most recently, he played a guest role in Miss Scarlet & The Duke for PBS and Alibi Films and was nominated for ‘Best Supporting Performance’ at the Off West End Awards for his roles in A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre.
Richard is on Twitter as @RichardNJames.
It sounds as if you chose someone highly skilled to narrate Thames Valley Tales Tim. I wish you both every success with the audio book.
About Tim Walker
Tim Walker is an independent author living near Windsor in the UK. He grew up in Liverpool where he began his working life as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. After attaining a degree in Communication Studies he moved to London where he worked in the newspaper publishing industry for ten years before relocating to Zambia where, following a period of voluntary work with VSO, he set up his own marketing and publishing business. He returned to the UK in 2009.
His creative writing journey began in earnest in 2014, as a therapeutic activity whilst recovering from cancer treatment. He began writing an historical fiction series, A Light in the Dark Ages, inspired by a visit to the site of a former Roman town. The series connects the end of Roman Britain to elements of the Arthurian legend and is inspired by historical source material, presenting an imagined history of Britain in the fifth and early sixth centuries.
Book one is Abandoned (second edition 2018); followed by Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017) and Uther’s Destiny (2018). The last two books in the series, Arthur Dux Bellorum (2019) and Arthur Rex Brittonum (2020) cover the life of an imaged historical King Arthur, and are both Coffee Pot Book Club recommended reads.
In 2021 he published a dual timeline historical novel, Guardians at the Wall. This was inspired by visits to Vindolanda and Corbridge at Hadrian’s Wall, and concerns the efforts of archaeologists to uncover evidence and build a narrative of the life of a Roman centurion in second century Britannia… and find his missing payroll chest.
Tim has also written three books of short stories, Thames Valley Tales (second edition 2023), Postcards from London (2017) and Perverse (2020); a dystopian thriller, Devil Gate Dawn (2016); and three children’s books, co-authored with his daughter, Cathy – The Adventures of Charly Holmes (2017), Charly & the Superheroes (2018) and Charly in Space (2020).
He plans to re-work some stories in Postcards from London into London Tales, with the addition of new stories, for publication in 2024 in audiobook, Kindle and paperback.
To find out more you can visit Tim’s website. or follow him on Twitter @timwalker1666 and Tim can be found on Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon and Facebook.