‘Skylark’ Audiofile #01 – 18 May 2011 17:56 (London GMT.)

The attachment to this email contains the first reading of this excellent book which I have now completed. It is taken from the first pages which were published several years ago. At the moment, the work which I have done and which I fully intend to continue to do will add nothing to what was published. What we will have here will be simply an audio version of what was written about wartime experiences and recollections of more than sixty years ago. The great contribution to this work and what will make it a unique and absolutely fascinating publishing event will be the subsequent verbal contribution which can be made in a series of recorded and archived telephone interviews as the reader goes through each section of the book. This will provide the opportunity to add completely up-to-date comments and recollections to the existing written work. It will be made more valuable by being in the words and voice of the original author. This will be especially true in respect of the many photographs and detailed diagrams which are to be found within the book itself. This exercise will transform this wartime militray autobiography into an online information resource about intelligence gathering activities which were carried out by Allied forces in Europe between the date of the Normandy Landings in June 1944 and the German surrender in May 1945. It will provide a permanent record of the activities of Allied military intelligence personnel during the Second Front of WW2 and of how the Second Front contributed to the succesful outcome of WW2. This will be described in the original words and the voice of an actual member of the Allied forces who were involved in the conflict.

I have seen this done recently in a televised interview with John Le Carre and also in a videotaped interview with Charles Cumming which was released as a video podcast on his website. Both presentations were very effectively done. Both were about published works about the history and the work of people who are involved or who have been involved in the ‘intelligence’ community. They indicate that there does seem to be an audience, possibly a market for an author to be able to provide his reading ‘public’ with a verbal voiceover to accompany his written work. I need hardly add that Ian Fleming who I regard as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century did exactly what you and I are proposing to do. Fleming served in Naval Intelligence throughout WW2. He had a very ‘good war’ as they used to say and after the end of the War, he left the Royal Navy and decided to write a thriller. He could not repeat his wartime experiences as if they had been from his own memories of the War for security reasons. So he reinvented himself as Commander James Bond RN. in order to allow himself to be impersonated by the character of Bond. The James Bond books only attracted the almost cult following during the early nineteen-sixties when the books were made into movies and the character of James Bond was transformed into a ‘real-life’ cut-out by Sean Connery and Roger Moore. Other good actors were also involved and the character of James Bond is now part of international movie history. Who knows? Project Skylark may well become a screenplay and subsequently be made into a movie if it ever finds its way into the right hands. Ian Fleming personally approved of Sean Connery being offered the part of James Bond in the first movie to be made of one of his books. Who comes to mind as a potential ‘cut out’ for the original Skylark?

I believe that the ‘voiceover’ will make this book a really valuable piece of wartime publishing history and one which many other intelligence authors and historians will wish to emulate. The world will have the original author to thank for this development. It will have been made possible by his generous determination to contribute to the popularity of the book which had been written several years previously that it has become possible to do this now. With the help of modern communications technology and those who know how to adapt this technology to this Project, it will be possible to complete it at very little inconvenience to those involved, including to the original author and very economically indeed. We can take this Project stage-by-stage until we come to the end of the book and we can then publish the whole work on my website. Alternatively, we can publish what we are producing in sections again using the resources of my website which I am willing to make available for the purpose of this interesting exercise.

We can complete the most important part of this project by reading the book chapter-by-chapter into a digital recorder and then emailing the recordings to the original author in the USA. I can then telephone him at his home or in his office and we can make a digital recording of the telephone conversation here in London which can in turn be made available to the reading ‘public’ and all of the intelligence authors and historians who will be encouraged to take an interest by receiving an email which will request them to do so. Once a significant number of people indicate that there is some interest in the work which we have been doing, we can invite them into an online web conference which can also be recorded and which the original author can take part in if he wishes to do so. I think that this could well become a new development of the international publishing industry in years to come. Author interviews on videotape online, on television and in the form of movies are already a proven method of promoting written published material and I see no reason why we cannot do the same thing with this book. By distributing this work to the intelligence writers, authors and historians who are now on my email distribution list, we should be able to obtain a peer review of the work being made available. We should also be able to draw attention to this new approach to a published book and to see if it will be able to be taken further in the international online publishing industry. What I have in mind would not necessarily be limited to books in English. Web conferencing and online publishing facilities are also available on my website.

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