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As the great Neil Gaiman once said: “A book is dream that you hold in your hand”, a sentiment with which I agree whole-heartedly. As far as I’m concerned an audio book is not only a portable dream but it holds a unique magic. A dream that becomes manifest as the words spring to life and wrap themselves around your mind. It’s like having a friend whispering in your ear, sharing the most fantastic stories with you and you alone.

You may have guessed, I’m a big fan of audio books. I listen to them all the time and, when The Marquess House Trilogy was signed by Sapere Books, once I’d stopped jumping about in excitement, my other request to my lovely agent, was: “Could we try to get an audio deal too, please?”

This wasn’t for the financial gain or a bid for world domination but for a far more personal reason. My dad is now partially sighted and can no longer read. To be perfectly honest, he was never much of a reader in the first place but considering my profession, it did make me sad that he might never be able to see what I’d achieved. However, some years ago, he too, discovered the delight of audio books and Dad was the reason why I was so desperate for my agent to secure an audio contract, something she did with admirable speed.

However, then I had another request of my agent. It was the fulfilment of a dream I’d had for years:

“Would my friend be able to narrate it, please?”

I could almost feel the eyeroll at the other end of the phone.

“Your friend?”

“Yes, we met when we were doing our A-levels.”

A pause, so I continued:

“By my friend, I don’t mean someone who just fancies having a go, she’s an award winning actor with years and years of experience, shall I send you her CV?”

With Emma in the recording booth at W F Howes

My friend is the wonderful Emma Gregory (@emma_chorussea) who has had a brilliant and extensive theatrical career and has also recorded, with great skill, numerous audio books. I’d always known I wanted the trilogy to be in audio form and I’d always wanted Emma to read them. I knew she would be perfect. When it transpired, my agent had other clients who had used Emma to narrate their works, my other book-wish was granted! It did bring a tear to my eye.

In September, I joined Emma at W F Howes to listen to her recording The Catherine Howard Conspiracy. Her interpretation was so evocative, there were times when I was brought to tears. It was strange and emotional hearing one of my dearest friends reading my words with such professionalism and integrity. Thank you, my darling Em and thank you to everyone at W F Howes, especially Lauren Fox and Craig Thomson. You really are dream makers!

If you fancy listening to Emma’s wonderful narration of The Catherine Howard Conspiracy, then you only have a few days left to wait. It’s currently on pre-order and will be released on – 31 October 2019 – with The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy to follow shortly after.

My dad has no excuses, he has to listen!