HarperFiction is releasing its first podcast today, featuring one of its key debuts for this year The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J Harris.
Harris' debut adult novel was snapped up in a "whirlwind" six-figure pre-empt ahead of London Book Fair last year. She is the author of Scholastic's YA Jessica Cole: Model Spy series written under her pen name, Sarah Sky.
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder follows a 13-year-old Jasper who has synaesthesia, meaning he sees sounds as colours, and prosopagnosia, which prevents him from recognising anyone’s face.
The accompanying podcast aims “to delve a little deeper into both conditions” providing insight of living with them as well as exploring the science behind them. Across three 15-minute episodes, Harris speaks to several experts, including James Wannerton, head of the UK Synaesthesia Association, Rachel Bennetts, prosopagnosia expert, and Hazel Plastow, a director at Faceblind UK, as well as people with synaesthesia and face blindness including synaesthesia artist Sigourney Young.
The podcast series, created with award-winning podcast production company Folded Wing in East London, is a first for HarperFiction and the HarperFiction audio team following their efforts on the industry-wide #LoveAudio week campaign last year.
Hannah O’Brien, marketing director at HarperFiction, said: "We have been looking for ways to explore marketing in the rapidly-expanding podcast market and we were thrilled to find an opportunity with The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder. With both conditions being difficult to visualise, how better to build a picture for readers and listeners than for them to have synaesthesia and face blindness described by those who experience it?
"From the audio team, to Sarah and all of those who were kind enough to give their time, this has been a fascinating project and one we are hugely excited about."
Martha Ashby, editorial director, HarperFiction said: “We hope that the podcast will provide an extra layer of insight for readers who finish the book and want to know more, as well as reaching an audience who might not be typical book-buyers but are avid podcast listeners and enjoy finding out about people whose lives are a little bit different.”
Harris said: “I carried out lots of research into synaesthesia and face blindness to help me write my novel. The podcast was an ideal opportunity for me to delve back into Jasper's intriguing world - interviewing experts and people with both conditions. I hope it will give readers further insight into my novel and its inspiration.”
It is not yet known when the next podcast series will be developed and a spokesperson said this will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Earlier this year, Simon & Schuster UK launched a monthly podcast offering interviews, insights, discussions and ideas as well as exclusive essays from authors, on the world of books, culture and society.
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is also published in hardback, e-book and audio on Thursday (3rd May).