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A Christmas Carol – 4 Star Book Review

Welcome to one of the December 19th review stops on the blog tour for A Christmas Carol by Dave McCluskey, organized by Audiobookworm Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for audio excerpts, top-10 lists, reviews, an author guest post, and an author interview!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

Author Interview

Q: Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
A: This wasn’t as difficult as it seemed at first. It was always something that I wanted to do, because I love Christmas and I love the whole Christmas Carol mythos. So, I did a little bit of a rejigg of the rhymes so they worked while spoken… so I did the script and then built myself a little cardboard fort to record myself doing it… I won’t say it was a mess, but it wasn’t brilliant. Anyways… I know Liam through his wife who I worked with years earlier, and they do a theatrical version of A Christmas Carol every year in Liverpool (which is fantastic) every year. So I asked Liam, he came up with the idea of Clair doing the incidental music and atmosphere… and there it was, all done!

Q: Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
A: I think that any kind of book would work as an audiobook, as long as it’s well written, and the narrator can differentiate between the characters. I’ve listened to some audiobooks that were nowhere near as good as the reading, but if it’s descriptive enough, then it will work.

Q: Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
A: I’d have to say no! This was written a few years ago as a graphic novel, and that was that. After all, everyone knows the story, so we used it to showcase the art, and scripting of the story. However, as it began to sell it became apparent that the readers were enjoying the words too. I had plans afoot to create a coffee table, hardback version on the book, with sketch-like black and white drawings… but making this as an audiobook jumped out at me… and it worked pretty well (even if I do say so myself)

Q: How did you select your narrator?
A: I know Liam’s wife from years ago when we worked in a music shop together. Caught up again many years later on Facebook when we were both doing very different things. I was working in an IT dept and aspiring to write books, she and her husband were running a production company called Ginificent Productions. They were producing a theatrics production of A Christmas Carol in Liverpool (which is excellent) and Liam played the narrator… so, when it came time to do this… not only was he the obvious choice, but it felt like keeping it in the family too…

Q: How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
A: I had some ideas of how I wanted this book to feel, and I even went as far as to record it myself. I did give him tips but it was like teaching my granny to suck eggs… as he just picked it up and rolled with it. We went through it a few times together… but it was just lip service as he nailed the whole thing in 2 takes.

Q: How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
A: To avoid burnout… wow!!! It’s crazy because I write almost constantly. If I find myself feeling the pressure, I simply remove myself from my computer and do something else. I have very eclectic tastes in music… so if I feel fatigued, I’ll listen to something that will soothe my mind, then I’m back on it. If I don’t write for a few days I start to get the shakes… it’s like a drug to me!!! (Don’t do drugs kids… just write instead)

Q: Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
A: I am an audio book listener… I was introduced to audiobooks with Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I used to have to drive back and forth from Liverpool to Cumbria… and I was getting bored of the radio stations same old formats… so I gave it a go and found that I LOVED it. The characters were fleshed out for me, and I found I could drift in and out of the story more (not literally, remember, I was driving).

Q: Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
Yeah… the whole of the Dark Tower series. I enjoyed them as books, but I listened to the whole series about 3 or 4 times, right the way through.

Q: If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
I would go back in time and meet up with Hitler’s parents and stop them from… hang on, I’ve just had deja vu!!! I don’t know if I would use it… I would love to be a voyeur and witness the era and furor that Jack the Ripper caused (my next book btw)

Q: What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
I say get over yourself… audiobooks are where it’s at. It opens up the worlds for people with disabilities, it allows people who drive to lose themselves in the literary worlds…

About the Book

A Christmas Carol
In Rhyme, An Audiobook Suitable for All Ages
by Dave McCluskey

Paperback Published 2016
by Impact Printworks
Page Count: 84

Audiobook Published 20 November 2020
by Dammaged Productions
Narrated by Liam Scott
Length: 1 hr 11 min

Genre: Classics
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

A classic Christmas tale, lovingly recreated in this beautiful audio book.

The reviled Scrooge is visited by three spirits who teach him the real meaning of life.

The tale has been turned into rhyme, making this a delightful new twist to the story you know so well. Could it be a new addition to your Christmas traditions?

Audible | Try Audible for Free!

My Review

My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads

I was granted complimentary access to A Christmas Carol by Dave McCluskey through Audiobookworm in exchange for an honest review as part of my participation in the blog tour for this title. Thank you to all involved! This has not swayed my opinion. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

This is the classic Charles Dickons A Christmas Carole, but re-written in rhyme. It’s funny, cleverly written, and takes just the right amount of time to listen to. This is a fun, fresh take on the story we all know and love, and I very much enjoyed the experience. I normally try to write more in the story portion of my reviews, but we all know how this one goes, so let’s move on to the narrator and sound production.

Liam Scott’s performance is solid, and his “narrator” voice is very calming to listen to. This paired with the music and sound effects used made for a relaxing listen. I would like to note, however, that whenever he changed his pitch for certain character voices he began to sound a bit like Piglet from Winnie the Pooh, which will either delight or annoy readers on an individual basis. Personally, I found it charming.

I prefer to list to audiobooks at 1.5-2x speed, but given how short this particular file is, I started off at 1x speed just to give it a chance. It’s slower than casual conversation speed (at least where I’m from) and the tempo of the introduction music seemed a little too slow for the story we were about to hear. I must admit I did end up speeding it up just slightly (which may have exaggerated the affore mentioned Piglet voice.)

4 stars out of 5 all around, a very enjoyable experience.

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About the Author

Writing as D E McCluskey, I write novels, graphic novels and comics. I live in Liverpool (UK) with my partner and our daughters, one of them an author in her own right (at the age of 11) with her children’s adventure The Hangry Hamster.

I began writing in 2011, creating my first comic publication entitled Interesting Tymes. This is an anthology of short horror stories written in rhyme for children and adults, introducing the world to Edward D’Ammage. The first book was quickly followed by Interesting Tymes x 2 and the spin off series called Edward D’Ammage Presents: The Wedding.

I then moved on to more adult related fiction, bringing out the one shot Wooden Heart, followed by the full graphic novel Doppelganger.

I then moved on to produce a number of comics and graphic novels, including The Few, a zombie series, DeathDay Presents, a graphic novel comedy based in Hell, Three Days in the City, The Adventures of Mace Masoch and many more. I wrote and produced a full graphic novel for children entitled OLF, a clever twist on an old Christmas tale. Spurred on by this, I partnered up with artist Joe Matthews to produce a retelling of the classic Christmas tale A Christmas Carol, re-writing it completely in rhyme.

I then turned my sights towards writing novels. My debut novel The Twelve was released in 2017 to great reviews. This was followed by a collaboration with a local, Liverpool music historian, to produce a historical thriller called In The Mood… For Murder, based in Liverpool in 1946.

My next novel was a dark, brutal psychological horror entitled CRACK, which tackles the issues of PTSD and addiction.

I then produced a romance/horror/comedy crossover entitled Z: A Love Story.

In August 2019 I did a collaboration with another author based in Liverpool. C William Giles. The book is called The Contract and will be the first of a trilogy.

Butterflies, my first foray outside the genre of horror/thriller is a female led drama, was released on 1st October 2020.

I have produced 2 audio books, one of CRACK and the other of A Christmas Carol.

My future works will include horrors, thrillers, children’s books and YA adventures.

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Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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