It is an exciting time for books at the moment. There are so many being brought to visual life currently. Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, and the films of Gone Girl and Fifty Shades of Grey, just for example.
The biggest fear of a reader when watching a beloved book placed on screen is that it won’t be true to the story, there will be exorbitant use of dramatic licence or part of the characters or essence of the book will be lost in visual translation. Or that what you as a reader has conjured up in your mind will be drastically different to the directors, producers or casting minds.
So what is the fear of an audio listener? Does the listener come to your work with any preconceptions or are you in a privileged position having their ears all open to your vocal interpretation?
The emotions and feelings and expression that you can convey with the tones and qualities and intimations of your voice are of vast importance. Audio books are not just mechanical readings, they are also equally not a play, the audiobook is a whole vocal production of its own.
An author who chooses your voice to bring their work to life has to trust you. Trust that you will from the first spoken word create the form and tone and soul of the whole book. They place their carefully crafted masterpiece in your hand (or literally vocal chords) and you as a narrator have to respect this art form and develop it further.
As an audiobook narrator my reading to you is naturally my creative and artistic impression of the work but at the same time one that can create pictures and colours in your mind and psyche. So the narrator and listener have their own collaboration. It is a unique and wonderful art form to use words and voice to bring a whole world to life. If words are the body of an audiobook then the narrator is the heartbeat bringing life. Choosing the right narrator is of supreme importance, not only as an author but as a listener. In the words of Shakespeare hopefully it is a successful ‘marriage of two minds’ for the time you will spend together.