Not long ago, I got to record the audiobook for my debut novel, Still Life Las Vegas. It was a grueling but oh-so-satisfying three full days of recording. I wrote an essay about the experience for the FSG Book Keeper website:
There are moments in life, very rare, when everything seems to come together, when separate threads of existence converge and twine into a perfect weaving, and you think, rather extravagantly, “All my life has been leading to this very moment.” I experienced such a moment two weeks ago. I experienced it, surprisingly enough, by becoming a bitter, drunk Greek woman, yelling into a microphone.
For the record, I am not Greek. Nor am I a woman. But I am an author and a voiceover actor. And last week I had the distinct pleasure of uniting the two professions into one as I recorded the audio book for my first novel, Still Life Las Vegas. It was a revelation….
Like wife and mistress, my two careers never meet. Voiceover gigs (and I’ve voiced animated monkeys, dubbed martial artists, given life to Saturday morning superheroes) are quick, external and usually fragmented down into a series of lines, repeat three times each, please. Often you’re recording in a room with others; there’s lots of hilarious give and take. Writing, on the other hand, is a solitary, painstaking and deeply internal affair. You’re given nothing to work with but your imagination and a surfeit of caffeine. There are voices you listen to, but they’re all in your own head.
Recording an audio book is a peculiar hybrid of the two, combining attributes of each into one fantastic creature, much like a gryphon, or a Labradoodle.