Out today…. Juliet & Romeo

Verona, 1499, a city torn by a vendetta between the houses of Capulet and Montague. Then a secret love affair begins as Juliet, facing a forced marriage, meets the young son of their rival house.

Juliet and Romeo, Dome PressA story all the world’s familiar with, but retold here mainly from Juliet’s point of view, and with the same kind of changes to the plot that Shakespeare himself performed on the Italian originals that preceded him.

As some of you will know, this was first written as a one-man audio play for that amazing one-man repertory theatre Richard Armitage, commissioned by Audible. The resulting work, now nominated for an audio Oscar, the Audie, prompted lots of people, Richard included, to ask… when’s the book coming out?

To be honest I hadn’t even thought of it at the time. Big publishers tend not to like material that comes out as audio first, and in the book world I tend to wear the label of crime or thriller writer, not a historical author.

And next came a request from Audible in Germany for the story to be turned back into a full-length dramatic production. But the pleas for a book kept coming in… so here it is thanks to a young, energetic British publisher the Dome Press.

Let me stress this a new work. While it follows the original audio in theme and quite a lot of the prose, it takes a few different turns, partly because the original was a script and also because I learned a few tweaks along the way with each new iteration of the work. So you can’t listen to it word-for-word against the Audible version. There’s also a new foreword written by Richard.

It’s available in the UK in hardback and paperback from all the usual sources, including Goldsboro where you will find signed copies available. It’s a very handsome production, for which I’m grateful to Dome’s publisher Rebecca Lloyd and the founder David Headley. I’m also indebted to Audible for all the support I’ve received in getting the project off the ground in the first place, and, of course, to Richard for both his amazing performance in audio and the insights he added from his perspective as an actor.

You can find lots of background material about the book here. If you feel like visiting Verona and seeing some of the real-life locations — it’s a lovely place and I recommend it — you can read a few travel tips from my visits here. And here are some of the key locations you can explore by the medium of Google Maps too.

Romeo and Juliet: nominated for an Audie

I’m absolutely gobsmacked to tell you that Romeo and Juliet, my adaptation for Audible narrated so splendidly by Richard Armitage, has been nominated for an audio ‘Oscar’, the Audies.

Wow. This is my third nomination, the first two with my good friend A.J. Hartley for Macbeth and Hamlet (the latter with Richard too). I’m incredibly grateful to all the people at Audible who made this project possible, and Richard for a narration performance that exceeded my wildest dreams.

Here’s the full list — such company to be in. The winner will be announced in New York City on May 31st. Thanks again everyone!

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Books by the Beach – the full line-up is out

We’re fast approaching the release of Juliet and Romeo, my revisionary version of the familiar tale from Shakespeare and earlier writers due out in May from the Dome Press. But as I’ve hinted here earlier there will be a sneak preview and a chance to buy the book before everyone else.

On Thursday April 12 I’ll be speaking and reading from it as part of the fantastic Books by the Beach Festival in Scarborough. Anyone who’s followed the growth of Books by the Beach to become one of the UK’s most innovative and exciting festivals will know to expect the unexpected. This is certainly that.

Continue reading “Books by the Beach – the full line-up is out”

A chat with Richard Armitage about Romeo & Juliet

Last October, when we were finalising the release of Romeo & Juliet: A NovelI was lucky enough to spend the best part of a day at the Audible HQ in Newark, New Jersey, alongside my formidable narrator/performer Richard Armitage. We recorded a long interview about the project, writing and performing.

You can now see it all and read a transcript here on Audible Range. I hope you find it enlightening about some of the many enjoyable challenges authors and actors face in projects like this. Unfortunately this happened the day after I flew out to New York and a sleepless night spent in the noisiest hotel in Murray Hill (last time you see me in the Shelburne that’s for sure). So I’m sure I am pretty inarticulate.

Richard, clean shaven for his role in Love, Love, Love, in which he managed to age from nineteen to his sixties, was as on the ball as ever. This is the last piece of supporting material we have to offer you from this unique project. Thanks for all the interest you’ve shown over the last few months — and particular thanks to Richard for lending his extraordinary talents to the finished version.