Imagine my joy last year when I discovered that the five novels in my Shenandoah Album series from Mira Books would be made into audio books. At every event I attended, readers had asked for that format, and I knew that personally, nothing made me happier than quilting or walking Nemo while an audio book played in the background. What could possibly be the down side?
I am happy to report that for me, there is no down side. Isabel Keating, the narrator of the three audiobooks published so far (with Lover’s Knot making an appearance soon) has a lovely voice and manages the Southern accents with aplomb. It’s easy to slip into the rhythm of the story and fall under the influence of her voice. BBC Audiobooks America made an excellent choice.
Then there’s the novel I’m listening to just for fun. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley is quite simply a joy. And the narrator, Jayne Entwistle is absolutely inspired. My husband and I listened to the novel as we traveled this summer. I’m SO glad we’re not finished and have more to look forward to.
Happy anticipation is not always the case. I have a favorite mystery author I’ve listened to many times. Last year I downloaded one of his newer books from Audible.com, my favorite delivery method. I found myself wincing repeatedly over the author’s word choices. My husband disliked it so much, he stopped listening, done for all time with our former favorite. Figuring this was a fluke, last month I downloaded a new mystery by the same author. Again, I’m wincing, but this time I’ve made a powerful discovery. The narrator–the same narrator–is the problem. This guy could make Shakespeare sound like a hack. When “He got in his car and drove to the corner,” sounds like an indictment of all humanity, I think the novel is in trouble.
So what’s my point? Just that now there’s something new for authors to worry about. In addition to unattractive covers, marauding copy editors, poor placement, small print runs, discount stores who don’t want to carry our books, etc. etc., we now have to worry about narrators.
Still, I remember not having to worry about them. I remember when my books weren’t in audio. So like all publishing problems, I’ll deal with this one gladly. And luckily for me and my reader-listeners, I don’t have to deal with it yet. I can just listen to Isabel Keating and count my blessings.
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