Hitting the doormat today, a trifle late thanks to Britain’s third-world postal system, is my latest “Talking Book”, Robin Hood: The Deer Hunters, featuring Sam Troughton who manages not only to play his character, Much the Miller’s Son, but pretty much everybody else, including a remarkable impersonation of Jonas Armstrong.
The word count on a Talking Book is only just over 10,000 words, making it a glorified short story in terms of an author’s output. But it’s a short story that can be delivered entirely as a monologue, which, since I pretty much write how I talk, I love to do. It’s also a short story with its own spine and Amazon Buy button.
I pitched the Deer Hunters almost by mistake, in a fit of authorial fretting when I believed that Big Finish producers wouldn’t want to buy its predecessor, The Tiger’s Tail. Instead, they came back and bought them both, and I spent a happy few days writing about Sherwood Forest, dredging up the Robin Hood archetypes that really don’t change very much, and levering in some of the most awful film references that you are likely to ever hear. I knew I was on to a winner when I started getting one-word emails from the producer, and that’s before he got to the part where I experiment with the comedic properties of the word Hucknall.
Don’t know where things stand with Robin Hood now. The cancellation of the TV series is seen by some as a sign that Big Finish should get out while the going’s good; by others as the company’s big chance to keep the flame alive while the fans are still up for it. It’s nice to do, though. I shall put it on my MP3 player on the plane to Japan next week, and laugh at all my own jokes.