I met a terrific woman at the MsC conference who asked me to Skype into her kinky book group in November. Which of course I am pleased to do. I asked if she wanted me to read an excerpt, and apparently this hasn’t come up before, but she said yes. And this is something I’m really looking forward to.
For a while there, Pink Flamingo was working to arrange for their novels to be made into audiobooks. This was an exciting idea, and not just for the few bucks in additional royalties. I’m rather fond of audiobooks myself; I’ve listened to a great many, and the thought of one of my own books being in that format was almost as thrilling as seeing my first book in print for the first time.
But after the initial thrill came the doubts. After all, I hear my own words as I write them, and the way I know when a sentence works is when it “sounds” right. Balanced, with the right rhythm, even with a bit of alliteration thrown in…. Could some stranger possibly say it the way it was meant to be said? Could they convey my meaning the way I wrote it? Or would the thing be agony to listen to?
My only experience in this regard is one Nobilis Erotica podcast of an excerpt from As She’s Told. The reader sounded young, nasal and as if she hadn’t read the excerpt ahead of time. She had clearly never heard the word “chattel” in her life and didn’t know how to pronounce it. Wince! Cringe! (All right, I’m a prima donna when it comes to my own words; I totally admit that. Sue me.)
Even a reader with a well-modulated voice can mess up when they lend their voice to the characters. I hate it when female readers drop to the bottom of their range for the men’s voices, and then have nowhere to go to vary the tone. The men come out speaking in gruff monotones. A whole book of that can pall, believe me. Imagine Anders unable to make light, outrageous, offhand demands as well as menacing growls!
And what about accents? Someone from Ohio doesn’t think they have an accent, but wow, do they ever! None of my characters sound like that. The wrong accent would grate abominably.
Really, I would so much rather do my own reading. I actually think I’d be rather good at it. My publisher dismissed this suggestion out of hand, however, and who can blame her? All things considered, it was something of a relief as well as a disappointment when the whole thing fell through.
But here I am, about to read a piece of As She’s Told out loud. I haven’t picked an excerpt yet. I must admit to feeling shy about reading a really raunchy bit (good thing it’s Skype and not in person!). Any suggestions?