The first writers group to which I belonged required its members to read their own work aloud. It was useful for the writer to hear her own words spoken, to feel the places where the text was clunky or awkward or impossible to parse. It gave me my first opportunity to perform my own work, too.
The drawback to reading your own work aloud is that a good reader improves all material. As the author, you know how to emphasis the dialog, when to read faster to make a scene more exciting, where to slow things down to make it easier for the reader to catch what’s important. You can direct the listener’s attention in such a way that they miss things they should comment on.
When the publisher of my space opera sold the audiobook rights, my only concern was that I did not want to be responsible for recording the book. I was relieved when they assigned me a female narrator, since I felt strongly that a woman needed to tell Raena’s story. Other than that, I sat back to watch the project develop. At the time, I wasn’t very versed in audibooks, beyond hearing Neil Gaiman read The Graveyard Book.
Since September, Audible.com has produced audiobooks of the first two books in my Templar series and the third is in progress. It’s been the first time in my life that I had the opportunity to listen to someone else read my work to me. I’ve been far more entertained by the experience than I expected.
The narrator, Liv Anderson, has been diligent about contacting me about the pronunciation of my peoples, planets, and foods. She’s an actress, so she brings a variety of voices to my books, which was a great surprise to me. When I read, I vary the voices a little — Raena’s is higher than Ariel’s, Sloane’s is lower than Kavanaugh’s — but Liv does a great job really individualizing each character. It wasn’t an easy task, considering there are nine cloned boys in the first book, as well as the nonhuman crew of the Veracity.
My initial response on hearing Liv read chapter one of The Dangerous Type was that it wasn’t how I imagined it. As I relaxed into the story, though, she caught me up, carried me along. I mean, I know this story better than anyone. I’ve read it more times than anyone. And still I got tangled in it, eager to listen to the audiobook so I coul hear what happens next. I stopped being the author of the book and became a listener. And that made me a fan.
The Dangerous Type came out as an audiobook on September 10. Here’s the link to Audible. There’s even a taste of the first chapter up for free.
If you check it out, please let me know what you think.