Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 24 August 2014

I HEAR YOU!

When I began writing novels I expected, as all novelists do, that when my work was published it would be read - that readers would, silently, read my words and 'hear' the voices of the speakers as they interpreted them for themselves. It never entered my head that my books would be heard too - that an acclaimed actress would read my books, unabridged, cover to cover, and read them in her voice, not necessarily how I heard them in my own head when I was writing them. The first - TO TURN FULL CIRCLE - in my trilogy was read by Juanita McMahon, who has significant experience in theatre, television, and film.
Juanita was also asked to read EMMA: There's No Turning Back, because she is also an accomplished audiobook narrator who gives powerful and moving performances.
The third in my trilogy, EMMA AND HER DAUGHTER, is to be published in January 2015 and I hope that Juanita will go for the hat-trick and read this one, too. When Choc Lit sold the audio rights for my novella, HOPE FOR HANNAH, which is set on Dartmoor, a different actress was asked to read my words. This time Penelope Rawlins did the honours. Penelope has worked in the theatre and in radio. Her theatre performances include The Lady Vanishes, Brief Encounter, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? I find this a huge honour for a work that only goes to 33,000 words or so, and it was something I never expected to happen - an audio of a novel, yes, but not a novella - so this has come as a huge surprise and a delight.
Now here comes the irony - as many readers of this blog will know, I am profoundly deaf. While I have a cochlear implant which is fantastic for one-to-one conversations it isn't, alas, up to interpreting broadcasted voice. So I have never heard how Juanita and Penelope have brought my story to life, as it were. My daughter and my daughter-in-law have listened to them all and both tell me that they 'hear' like a totally new book to them. And this has got me thinking - I imagine that today one can buy audio versions of most of the classics, but while Jane Austen, George Eliot, the Bronte sisters, and so many, many more will have seen the printed versions of their novels, none of them will have 'heard' recordings of their works. I wonder what they would have made of that, had they been able to 'hear' their words broadcast?

11 comments:

  1. I can't imagine how it must feel to hear your story, Linda. Presumably it's a little like seeing it filmed...I need to go away and think about hat. How fascinating!

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    1. Well, Jennifer, I'm rather liking your reference to 'seeing it filmed'! Could that be next? Oh my, how wonderful that would be - again, something I've never even thought about for my own books, but hey...... as the modern saying has it.

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  2. What a shame that you can't hear them, Linda, but what a delight for all the rest of us. Congratulations (and let me know when the film is coming out! :) )

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    1. I wish, Guernsey Girl, re the film....but then, don't we all? Thanks for popping by and saying such lovely things.

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  3. Really interesting post Linda. I've never thought how it might feel to hear my novels read aloud (so far there are no audio versions!). A little scary, perhaps, in case the 'voice' was very different to the one I imagined.

    When you mention Austen et al it reminded me that in those days reading aloud to each other e.g. one reading whilst others sewed was fairly common. But I don't suppose Jane Austen heard her own works read, though, that would be quite strange.

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    1. Thanks for this, Gill. As I said, having my books go to audio wasn't something I even thought might happen, certainly I didn't pursue the idea myself, my publisher did that. And I've just heard that RED IS FOR RUBIES will be out in audio on 3rd September -it's an ebook only so that's another lovely surprise.

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  4. The only time i have heard my work read aloud was a dramatic monologue in a competition. It was performed by a young actor who had just finished his course at what is now the Conservetoire in Glasgow. I dropped in for the rehearsal and was bowled over when I heard him. He had the voice completely right. I foudn myself wondering how the director had managed to find a blind actor (the voice is a visualy impaired man in a residential home) before I realised he was acting!
    How wonderful both your daughter and daughter-in-law enjoyed and approved of the audio version.

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    1. Gosh, that must have been a very interesting experience, Mary, and moving, too.Thanks for commenting.

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  5. What a shame that you can't hear your own stories, Linda. Having said that I have not listened to all of mine yet. Keep meaning to. They are recoded by ISIS but it is mainly the same reader and she is Scottish and mostly hears the voices as I do in my head from the ones I've listened to, but one was a male reader.
    A century ago (!!!) at primary school if we were good we were allowed to gather around the fire on Friday afternoons in winter while the teacher read us a story. I really loved that.

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    1. My granddaughter is three years old and had a few days at nursery at the end of term and the last thing of the day is sitting on the floor in a semi-circle as a teaching assistant reads them all a story.....lovely to know that hasn't been killed off in educational progress. And it might interest you to know, Gwen, that the accent I am able to interpret the best is a Scottish one - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen......although I'm sure there must be some that would be too strong for me to take on board.

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  6. Wow, Linda, how exciting! I dream of having one of my books available on audio. But it must equally be frustrating for you. Just bask in the pleasure of others!

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