Composer Brian Arthur discusses the beautiful acoustic score for the Carrot Field Audiobook.
Tell us a little bit about your background—where you live, your previous career, hobbies/interests… Right now, I live in Englewood NJ as a Photographer. My hobbies and interests include finding new music from around the world and watching films.
How long have you been making music? I've been making music since I was very young because of my dad. He's an excellent drummer who studied music in college, so there were always instruments around the house, and someone to teach me how to use them.
What are some of your previous musical projects? Years ago, I put out an album with my friends called "An Unfortunate Truth" as a band called The Animit. I have also been writing electronic music since I was a teenager under the name Eyesuck - though, because I'm not a teenager anymore, I changed that moniker to Cielo Blu. Now, I'm working on a project called We Pray That Mars Leaves Us in which I'm combining rock and electronic music and trying to find a new way to do 'arena-rock.'
How did you get involved in the Carrot Field audiobook project? I have known the author for some years now, and he asked me if I would be interested in doing the music for the audiobook. I had already written the main idea of the song, but this was a great excuse to flesh it out and embellish this riff that I had.
How long did it take to complete the music? It took a few weeks to do the music for Carrot Field. First, I fleshed out the song based on a riff that I had recorded on my phone which took a few days. Then, for the recording, I experimented with microphones around my apartment, but I couldn't find a sound that was clear enough. Finally, I used Taylor guitar and used its internal pickup to record into Fruity Loops to get the sound I wanted.
Tell us a little about the recording process. The recording process was difficult at first since I usually produce electronic music. When I play rock, I typically enter a studio to have someone else record the music; so, in a way, I am pretty new to live recording acoustic guitars. Eventually, I was able to borrow my brother's guitar to plug directly into my machine to get the sound that I did. When I finally got the sound I wanted, I was inspired to embellish the song further with some additional harmonies on top of the original riffs.
What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for several reasons. First, I don't read books very often, and so I'm drawing from a short list. Second, it's a classic for a reason - I love that it makes absurdity a kind of philosophy. I relate to absurdity very much, it's like existentialism, but with jokes.
If you could score any audiobook in the world, even if it already exists, what would it be? I think it would be fun to score a book of short stories. This way, I could write for a variety of moods and contexts which I think would be great fun.
If you could meet any historical person, who would it be, and why? I would love to have the opportunity to have a long conversation with Barack Obama (and since we're being hypothetical, in this scenario, he's able to talk about classified information). I'm interested in world politics, and I would relish the opportunity to pick his brain about what goes on in the world. It's not that I agreed with everything he did, and not that I'm a big fan of all his policies - but linguistically, he's a joy to listen to, and he seems like an alright guy to have a chat with.
Enjoy this special interview with the narrator, Tony Cleary. Tony is a familiar voice on British television and radio. He has contributed to radio and television documentaries both as narrator and writer. With over 25 years of acting experience, Tony brings the rich world of Carrot Field to life with a variety of memorable character voices and an immediately absorbing narration style.
Tell us a little bit about your background—where you live, your previous career, hobbies/interests…
I have a studio in a modern converted barn in Norfolk, UK, which I converted 10 years ago. Because my wife is a pianist and musician she wanted a studio space for her musical interests. I included a sound recording space for my use in recording radio programs and voice over work. In addition to making documentaries about the history of architecture it is useful to have a sound booth for recording film commentaries. Although I am not a trained musician I have played the double bass and tenor/bass trombone in both jazz and classical music, in fact my wife asked me to play the double bass in a symphony orchestra she founded 35 years ago. I also have a separate studio for my architectural practice but that is now used for my interest as a painter.
Do you have any previous voiceover or acting experience?
For a period of 25 years I appeared regularly as an actor in repertory theatre where I learned my skills on stage and later put to good use in appearing in BBC TV documentaries and short films. After the two-year TV series about architectural matters I was asked to do a series of radio interviews about jazz and to contribute to a three- hour radio arts program. This has continued for 30 years and is about to come to an end due to book narration and voice over work.
What drew you to the world of audiobook narration?
I was attracted to audiobook narration by listening to books read on the BBC radio channels and thought maybe I could do that and earn some useful money too. Broadcasting was never a major source of income, as was my architectural practice, and I enjoyed appearing in radio plays, of which I have done several. Many years ago, I was asked to give character voices to a touring marionette theatre company, which taught me to invent a variety of accents and character voices, as used in Carrot Field.
Do you have a favorite audiobook to listen to?
It is difficult to single out a favorite audio book, it is easier to mention certain actors whose work I admire in narrating books: Stephen Fry, Martin Jarvis and Eleanor Bron. I am interested in historical novels as well as modern writers of mystery and some detective stories.
How would you describe Carrot Field?
I suppose Carrot Field is on the scale of Lord of the Rings and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe for very similar reasons; they are classics in my mind as they combine anthropomorphism with serious rhetoric and poetically descriptive scene-setting.
What attracted you to this project?
I chose to read Carrot Field because it was a challenge to get so many characters to act and especially the quality of the writing. Adventure stories, such as The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein and Eudoria’s Broomstick by VHI Knowland, quite different to each other but full of different characters that need a variety of voices to give full color to the story. Carrot Field has that similar quality: adventure, descriptive scenic depth and an innate philosophy for each of the central creatures combined with a flowing use of language. It falls easily on my voice.
What other books would you compare Carrot Field to?
The writing takes the reader/listener into another world where the images are portrayed in words that conjure up almost a visual reality. That all requires the narrator to get inside each character, as if each one becomes acceptably familiar, like a friend to love or an enemy to fear. So, I was ‘inside’ the Badger with all his waffling yet he is an intellectual; I was ‘inside the Rabbit’ for his naïve bravery; and the wily Fox with his eerie voice and mystical wisdom. As for all the others, they were vocally represented as they occurred. The biggest challenge was being consistent with each voice when they were all in conversation together.
How long did it take to complete the recording?
It has taken several months due to other commitments both in regular radio work and filming. I would say it would have been done in less time, say three months instead of six months otherwise, also it was not a work to be rushed like so many other voice-over projects. It was very demanding and rightly so.
Tell us a little about the recording process.
Recording Carrot Field was simply a matter of trying to get into the author’s mind, like interpreting a piece of Mozart or Shostakovic, what was he trying to say. It needed to be read thoroughly first and then recorded carefully in sections to maintain continuity and atmosphere. I used the mic and software that I have used for radio programs so editing was very familiar and therefore simpler.
Who were your favorite characters to voice and why?
Apart from the three main characters mentioned above, I suppose the dramatic voice of the Lion King, Mospholees and Malveth. Each were distinctive in their own way: Lion King is powerful but morose; Mospholees as a sympathetic giant of gentle wisdom and bravery; whereas Malveth is majestically powerful yet understanding.
What was the biggest challenge of recording Carrot Field?
I have mentioned the challenge of maintaining the consistency of the character voices but most of all hoping to meet the demands of the author’s creation. How did he imagine they would sound and did they have the right voice? It was a matter of making the individual character come alive in the story. I lived with each one, day after day until the end when the adventure was resolved and ‘all was peaceful in Carrot Field’, a fitting end.
What is your favorite book and why?
This is a difficult one I have read so many over the years, so one is inclined to recall the most recent book that impressed me. It was ‘Merivel, A Man in of his Time,’ written by Rose Tremain. Robert Merivel physician and courtier to Charles II was a person who faced the anxieties of his time with humor, and sadness.
If you could record any book in the world, even if a recording already exists, what would it be?
A book I would like to record might be that one, but it has already been done on the BBC. However, Dickens books come to mind as he was a great public reader of his own books, which contained so many fascinating characters and stories. Clearly, they too have been recorded but I would love to have a go at my own interpretation.
If you could meet any historical person, who would it be, and why?
I suppose it is too obvious to say that Shakespeare would be interesting to meet or interview, but then so too would Dickens. On the other hand, I would like to meet the architect Le Corbusier (Pierre Janeret). He was a big influence on my becoming an architect and his humanity was apparent in his designs, brutalistic as they were. Maybe I will meet them one day . . . in the other place!
AUDIO BOOK NEWS!
I've been away for a while, but all things Carrot Field are now back on track!
I took a year away to write Cordelia, a 130,000 word novel based on Shakespeare's King Lear. The manuscript is with an agent now and its fate is in the hands of the publishing gods!
Audio Book Update: Sadly, the collaboration between Lavaliar Publishing and 9th Story Productions came to an end in late 2016. I thank Dan Foytik for his hard work and enthusiasm, but health and professional issues made it impossible for Dan to continue.
Happily, a new narrator has been found and production is moving forward! Head over to the Audio Book Page to meet the new narrator, the very gifted Tony Cleary! I am thrilled to have Tony on board and I know that listeners will be blown away by his engaging and powerful performance - Tony truly brings Carrot Field to vivid life!
Look for more Audio Book updates soon, in addition to news about Carrot Field: Redtail, a volume of short stories connecting the first and second books of the Carrot Field Chronicles, as well as the Carrot Field comic book project! An artist has already been selected and the script is nearing completion!
Welcome to the updated, upgraded website! Look for frequent content updates and lots of news!
+ Explore the Archives culled from more than 20 years of Carrot Field!
Lots more coming soon!
Imagining Carrot Field Foreign Editions
All sci-fi and fantasy fans have come across foreign language editions of their favorite books. At times these editions are more appealing than the North American editions. Usually, they are perplexingly weird. It seems as if the cover artist and designer are completely unfamiliar with the contents of the book they are packaging. Barbarian babes on the cover of a hard science fiction novel, robots for a high fantasy, these covers almost always seem completely divorced from the the books they are meant to illustrate.
These editions can be highly entertaining additions to a fan's collection.
Carrot Field is a blend of science-fiction, fantasy and satire. Having actually held many bizarre discussions with various publishers over the years as to what should go on the cover, I have a good idea of what might be misleading or just wrong for Carrot Field.
Since there are no foreign language editions of Carrot Field, just for fun, I have imagined a few bizarre covers that might be, in some parallel universe . . . .
Imaginary Spanish Edition
Imaginary Italian Edition
Imaginary French Edition
Imaginary German Edition
My epic fantasy novel Carrot Field was almost published (by Harper Collins, no less) and finally published (by Pressque) and must have passed through every major publishing house in the U.S. and U.K. besides! In the end, I decided to republish it independently.
In October 2015, I published the Ebook (which is available FREE all this weekend - 8, 9, October!), and the Trade Paperback in December of the same year. I did all the editing, formatting, art direction and publishing myself. The project ate up every minute of spare time I had for most of the year.
Was it worth it? Yes.
Why? That's simple . . . .
Pride of ownership. I've put more than 20 years into this project and I am proud of the work that has gone into it, and proud of the result. The unabridged audiobook is in the final stages of production and 2017 will bring the next volume of the Carrot Field saga, as well as the first Carrot Field comic book! Sound like a lot of work? Sure, but it comes with the territory . . . .
Independent publishing is a challenge, yes - but it is also its own reward.
So, join me in celebrating Powered By Indie Month by supporting Carrot Field and other independently published authors! #PoweredByIndie
The Trade Paperback Is Here!!
The trade paperback edition of Carrot Field is finally here!
I received my proof copy of the Amazon Print On Demand Edition of Carrot Field! I am very happy with the quality. It is almost identical to the promotional offset edition, only with cream paper instead of white.
I put together a little video preview of the book as well!
Trade Paperback 6x9 Matte-finish cover, cream paper 400 pages
Keep your eyes here for more updates on:-
+ Promotional Giveaways + Free downloads of the Ebook + Audiobook + FREE Fiction (Redtail Part III)
And much, much more!
Carrot Field Amazon Update!
I just ordered a proof of the Amazon print edition of Carrot Field! It should arrive in a few days. If everything is in order Carrot Field will be available for purchase in print through Amazon in February!
I still have offset copies to give away and I'm cooking up some very exciting promotions for that,
The Audiobook is in production and I've posted a sample on YouTube.
I am about 100 pages into book two "The Distant Land" and The Death of Redtail is getting finished.
More updates soon!
Shops Carrying Carrot Field!
For the time being Carrot Field is being retailed through "brick and mortar" independent bookstores. I will have news soon about how to acquire the trade paperback online. For now, here's where you can purchase Carrot Field:
Carroll & Carroll Booksellers 740 Main St, Stroudsburg, PA 18360 (570) 420-1516
The Doylestown Bookshop 16 S Main St, Doylestown, PA 18901 (215) 230-7610
These are both great shops and well worth visiting for any book lover!
Support indie publishing and indie bookselling! More news soon!!
Secrets of Carrot Field - Part 1
The Fal Orn
In the novel Carrot Field and the short story Red Tail, we encounter Malaclymas. Described as a man with green skin, white hair and amber eyes, he possesses great mental powers and is a master of arcane sciences and medicine. We meet three others of his strange race: Asgolith, Erenwoed and Orchidaea (his daughter) who are equally unusual in appearance. The Animals call them Okkians (Great Spirits) but they call themselves Fal Orn (First People). In the novel Carrot Field, Sebastian, Brand and Plotonicus are guests in the house of Malaclymas on their journey through the darkness of the Great Forest. He gives them a drink he calls “wine”, which opens their mind to deep visions of the past and future. Just who is Malaclymas?
The Fal Orn are indeed the “first people” of the planet Areth. They existed hundreds of thousands of years before the rise of Animalkind, Feolorn, Anulorn, Maugilar or any other of the peoples who feature in the story.
The Fal Orn attained an advanced society, creating technology that fused thought and biology, erecting great metropolises, included Vapai-Dahkyna, a continent-spanning megacity, attaining the greatest heights of creativity, science and philosophy. Superhighways traversed the planet, airships (personal and mass transit) crossed the skyways, and the oceans were harvested for their rich bounty. Weather was controlled, sickness defeated and death forestalled by hundreds of years.
Over generations, a widening gap developed between those educated into the techno-culture and those who maintained its daily operations. The elite classes ruled the world. The lower echelons of society became silent and subservient. Genetic modification became a status symbol for the elite. In time, they became outwardly unrecognizable as members of their own species.
How best to govern the world became the pressing concern for the technocrati. Thousands of schools of philosophy developed. The leading schools vied for influence over world governance. Malaclymas belonged to one of the two leading schools. The schism grew so wide, so quickly, that armed conflict became an inevitability.
The war that followed ended the age of the Fal Orn. Their vast cities were reduced to ashes, bio-engineered diseases decimated the population, their history and literature were wiped out, their technology lost. In the end, fewer than fifty individuals of the elite classes survived. What remained of the true Fal Orn, biologically altered to serve as warriors and living weapons, mutated by genetic weapons of warfare, wandered into the wastelands to give rise to some of the races that followed in the new world.
By Sebastian’s time the long, extraordinary and tragic history of the Fal Orn does not even exist as a myth. Malaclymas would play a limited role in the forging of the Redtail Accord and in the First War of Darkness; but after his encounter with Sebastian and his companions, he disappeared from the world, never to be heard from again.
Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were wonderful.
I received an early Christmas gift. . .the print edition of Carrot Field! I am overjoyed by the work done by Whitlock/360-Digital. If you're thinking of offset printing a book, this is the printer you want.
The first print run ships December 17th and will be available starting January 2016.
This edition is trade paperback, 400 pages, $12.99.
Keep checking back here for updates & how you can get your own copy of Carrot Field! Not to mention Audiobook updates, more FREE fiction and helpful self publishing blogs!
Enter a world of courageous Animals, uncommon heroes and epic battles! The young Rabbit, Sebastian Perriwinkle, is swept off on a quest—along with the enigmatic Badger, Plotonicus and the mystical Fox, Brand Redtail—to find the legendary Human race! Together they unravel the mystery of an ancient war and confront the ultimate darkness—The Lord Ouroboros.
"Rich with the details of an intricately conceived fantasy world . . . echoes of C.S Lewis and Tolkien . . . Carrot Field stands apart . . . Vincent Asaro has spun quite a yarn." Simon West Bulford (The Beasts of Upton Puddle, Medallion Press)
[The image below is a mock-up, not a picture of the actual book.]
Cover Reveal - Carrot Field Trade Paperback Edition!
I have started writing Carrot Field 2 (The Distant Land)!
The story of Sebastian, Plotonicus and Brand continues as they voyage across the Western Ocean to discover the meaning behind Brand's new visions. Meanwhile, war is stirring in Carrot Field and Uncle Richard is called back into service. The Distant Land is every bit as epic as Carrot Field and carries the story forward to its startling climax in Book 3!
"I hear the call of the other world, the outer world, of adventure and the unknown. And I must go." Sebastian, The Distant Land
The Ebook is here!! Only $2.99 for this epic adventure!
Look for the Carrot Field Ebook Monday October 19th!
Carrot Field: The Making of A Book Cover
The process of creating a cover for Carrot Field began with contracting an illustrator - Abigail Braman - and agreeing on a direction. I had always wanted to do the cover in the style of classic animation, especially Walt Disney and Don Bluth. Abi is a huge Don Bluth fan and agreed on that direction.
I sent her a primitive sketch of the cover and some samples of previous attempts by other artists, along with character descriptions and she got to work. The slide show below details the process that went into creating what I believe is a classic fantasy book cover! But there's a missing character . . . come back tomorrow to see the completed cover illustration!!
Check out Abi's other work on her Facebook page! She does great horror-themed fine art.
All images are the property of Abigail Braman (C) and cannot be copied without permission.
On Monday October 19th 2015Carrot Field will be published in Ebook form! This is an all-new revised and corrected edition which includes a FREE short prequel story.
But that's only the beginning!
Over this week the amazing cover art will be revealed. Keep your eyes on this page as I go behind-the-scenes to reveal how the stunning cover art was created. Check out the banner for a preview!
The thrilling prelude saga REDTAIL will continue to be serialized FREE over the coming months. Part II, The Children of Redtail, is coming in 2 weeks!
Sneak-peeks at Carrot Field II The Distant Land will be posted here.
I will be posting more video blogs and answering your writing questions!
There will be giveaways and other promotional events.
The fantasy epic 20 Years in the making is almost here!!!