Kev the creator of – Tea in the Sahara
A while back writer Casey Wells – a friend of Tea in the Sahara – put me to the quizzing sword with a short Q&A session – which has since morphed into this, my very own bespoke bio page. Casey is an amazingly talented writer behind award-winning shows – Outliers, Crooked River, and Green Man. Definitely check out Casey’s work if you enjoy podcast vibes that take your ears on unique non-linear journeys. Thank you Casey for your continuing support – stay classy!
What’s the story behind your website’s name?
The reason is really simple, yet only one other person has ever clocked the reference point. When the UK first went into COVID lockdown I decided that I would write music reviews to pass the time. Tea in the Sahara is a track by the British band The Police. As I switched from music critiquing into podcast reviews the name simply followed me – and the rest as they say is history, but definitely do check out the track as it’s awesome!
How did you get started in writing reviews for fiction podcasts?
Like most good things I fell into writing about fiction simply because I discovered my real passion was writing about that genre. I dabbled with other genres including comedy and historical but quickly found that writing about fiction came naturally to me. IMO, it’s the most imaginative visceral genre which truly allows this critic to really over-express within my writing.
How do you begin writing a review? Do you listen to a fiction podcast in its entirety first?
My rule is to listen to a minimum of three episodes before committing to a review – although for some shows I can be invested after listening to just one episode. If I am partnering with a writer who has given me their whole series to review I tend to listen to the show in its entirety to get a broader feel of their audio vision. Easter eggs – I also keep/rely on a toolbox of words, phrases, sayings, and lyrics that often make their way into one my reviews.
What review that you’ve written is your favorite thus far?
WOW! That is a tricky one – I always say that my favorite review is the current project that I am working on. That being said, if I had to choose just one audio drama from my back catalog it would have to be The Cipher. That review really resonated with an audience that I never knew was out there. It also put me in touch with a writing duo that I continue to work with today.
With all the fiction podcasts that are out there, how do you select one to review?
I am an avid fiction podcast listener. What I look for within a show is for it to deliver something very different from what has been done before. There’s a plethora of fiction podcasts out there that all sound similar – the current trend feels that for a winning formula, you must replicate shows that have already been popular. All I will say to writers is don’t be afraid to break the mould and be different. The legend that is David Bowie once said that the most creative things happen when you are just outside of your comfort zone – and who am I to argue with a LEGEND!
Do you have any advice for future fiction podcast critics?
When I started Tea in the Sahara there weren’t many fictional podcast critics out there specializing in this art form. It’s cliche to say when writing be yourself as that’s a given. Honestly speaking the way that I write my reviews is how my mind works – writing with both the audience & creator in mind. Not everyone will like your work, and that’s cool – I am not an audio engineer or authority on all things podcast-related by any stretch.
What appears to work for me is having the ability to write a personal balanced review that connects with an audience by being myself. If a character or scene gives you audio goosebumps, convey the feeling that it gave you. If the podcast has minor flaws explain where you felt the show fell short through your own listening. Be humble when delivering negative news – don’t be a dick about it – likewise don’t sugarcoat your opinion either. No one gains anything without honesty – otherwise, how does anyone truly progress?