Edith here, enjoying spring, at last!
The mailman brought the biggest surprise a couple of weeks ago. I knew Flipped for Murder was going to come out in audio this spring, but I didn’t realize it had already released until my Kensington editor sent me six copies of the CD set! And I’m going to give away one set to a lucky commenter today, so stick with me.
It’s my first book to go audio (in CD and on Audible), so I was, and am, really excited. I’ve had friends and fans ask me for years if my books were available for listening and I’ve always had to say, “Alas, no. But I hope they will be.” Some of these were blind friends, others people who love to listen to books in their cars or while they work around the house. Now I can grin and say, “Yes.”
I’ve never made a practice of listening to books on audio. When my sons were young and we drove to Quebec to visit my sister several times a year, we listened to EB White himself read Charlotte’s Web (on three audio cassettes), which was a real delight.(It’s now available on Audible. Got little kids or grandkids? Treat them!)
Then two years ago, when I made my solo road trip to Indiana to research the Country Story Mysteries, I borrowed Clara and Mr. Tiffiny from the library. The book, an intriguing novelization of Clara Driscoll and how she managed Louis Tiffany’s unmarried female glass artists at the turn of the last century, is by Susan Vreeland, and the audio book is narrated by Kimberly Farr. I was blown away by how Farr kept the voices of each character distinct. Those many CDs kept me alert and entertained for two days of driving.
Flipped for Murder, produced by Tantor Audio, is narrated by Laural Merlington. After I started listening to the CDs in my car every time I went out, I hunted for Ms. Merlinton’s picture because I wanted to envision who was putting a voice to my words. And then I started laughing out loud as I heard her read the words I’d written. You can listen to a sample here.
She does a great job with the local dialect of Lieutenant Buck Bird, and with Robbie’s Aunt Adele. But the book is written in first person, and much of twenty-seven-year-old Robbie’s own narration comes out way, way more dramatic than the voice in my head when I wrote the words. There’s nothing wrong with it – it just isn’t how I’d imagined Robbie speaking.
For example, after Robbie has been thinking about ordering pre-chopped vegetables, she says to herself, “Too bad one couldn’t also order up solutions to murder.” In my mind, she says that sentence with a pretty even intonation, with slight stress on ‘also’ and ‘murder.’ But the narrator says it completely differently, with a rising and falling tone on ‘bad’ and additional stress on ‘solutions’ and ‘murder’ trailing off into breathy voice. You get the picture. It made me smile – what a dramatic protagonist I’d written, without even knowing it! I found many instances of the same effect.
Now, maybe this is the same kind of deal as when you read a book, then you see the movie and say, “Whoa, that character doesn’t look like that!” Is it?
I finished listening to the last of the seven CDs last night, and found only two small errors of narration, which is pretty remarkable for eight hours and thirty-eight minutes (if you listen, it’s IU, not UI for Indiana University, and the alcohol is Sorg-RHUM, not sorghum, which is the grain).
I’m additionally delighted that the audio book for Grilled for Murder will be out on the same day as the paper and ebooks: May 31! (All formats now available for preorder – just saying…)
To celebrate this milestone in my authorial life, I’ll send one commenter today the seven-CD set of FLIPPED! So tell me, dear Readers, do you listen to audio books? If not, why not? If so, what’s your favorite, and why? Do you have a special narrator you follow, or is the content more important? And have you ever gotten a lemon of a reader?