The Wall Street Journal Focuses on Narrows Gate

Jeffrey Trachtenberg at The Wall Street Journal recently spoke with Jim Fusilli about NARROWS GATE:

Here’s a digital twist for the literary world: a novel that makes its debut only as an audiobook.

Writer Jim Fusilli has published five crime novels. But when he shopped around the early version of “Narrows Gate” to major publishers about two years ago, there were no takers. Then he showed the book to people at Inc.’s Audible audiobooks division. Their advice: Think bigger, make it a saga.

The 57-year-old author then rewrote the book, a crime story set in Hoboken, N.J., dramatically expanding its focus on World War II and the Mafia’s impact on the Allied invasion of Sicily.

To read the dialogue, Audible hired Joe Pantoliano, an actor (and Hoboken native) known for his Emmy-winning role as an over-the-top crime boss on HBO’s “The Sopranos.” Well-known audiobook narrator Joe Barrett was hired to tell the tale.

That Audible was willing to hire Messrs. Pantoliano and Barrett convinced Mr. Fusilli that launching “Narrows Gate” as an audiobook original made sense.

“If I had taken Audible’s editorial input and then gave the book to print, it would’ve been a despicable act on my behalf,” says Mr. Fusilli, who also writes rock- and pop-music reviews for The Wall Street Journal.

Not that he’s given up on “Narrows Gate” being published as a traditional book. “An early draft was circulated, but this book is completely different, and nobody in traditional publishing has seen it,” says Mr. Fusilli. “I’d like for people to one day have the opportunity to read it.”


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