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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Just In! The Audiobook Adventure--Part 3

It happened on Friday morning. I had an email from Matt--you remember, Matthew Lloyd Davies,the producer/narrator of Shannon's Daughter-the Audiobook? Anyway, Matt emailed that he would be putting the final polish on the audio files and should be sending them to me early this week. But the very next morning, Friday, there they were! Needless to say, I did little but listen all day Friday and Saturday. It takes a while to listen to over 130,000 words! But it was worth every minute!

When I write, as I'm sure is true for most writers, I hear, see, sometimes smell, and even feel my characters. They are flesh and blood individuals from practically the moment they "walk" onto the page. I often wonder how my image compares to that of the reader's. I hope for close. I hope they can picture the features, the hair and eye color, the timbre of the voice, but I accept that we each perceive differently and as long as the reader enjoys the story these characters tell, I'm cool with that. So when Matt was reading Shannon's Daughter in preparation for the recording, I spent some agonized brain time wondering just what he was seeing as he read, and more importantly, what he was hearing. I know these characters, I gave them life, but now it's Matt's turn. How well will our two creations mesh?

I wasted that brain time. The characters on the recording are in complete accord with those already in my head! If I hadn't already fallen in love with Kendall Gregg when I wrote Shannon's Daughter, listening to him would definitely have done the trick! Matt gives him precisely the right polish without the least hint of "posh-ness." The pitch of his voice and his accent are enough to send shivers down any feminine spine, but there's nothing roguish about him. Kendall comes across--just as I know him to be--as a sensitive, somewhat battered, and basically honest young man with a painful secret. With teenaged Peg, his kindness towards--and kindly amusement at--the often outrageously outspoken young heiress come shining through. By the time Peg has grown to a young woman and she and Kendall meet again, his "heart on his sleeve" admiration of her produces the above- mentioned shivers by the barrel.

Peg, who I "heard" as a cross between Katherine Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, is precisely that, a bit of Yankee twang overlaid with just the right touch of breathiness. I'm never sure just how much I like Peg Shannon, but I love what Matt did with her character! I feel I know her better now, this woman whose head I could never get into sufficiently to tell the story from her POV.

But it's the secondary characters, even the tiniest bit players, who come to life in this recording and fill the "stage." I laughed out loud at times. Having played my share of walk-on roles, I am delighted that each of these folks is given a distinctive voice worthy of the finest character actor. I love my secondaries. Many of them are based on people I've known and loved. They are often tributes to real "characters" from my personal journey. I'm so grateful to Matt for giving them their proper due.

Shannon's Daughter ends on a low note. I wrote the story, I know how it goes out. Yet when Matt started reading that final chapter, I fell apart. Tears! Real tears. Darn it, that's just plain sad! And pretty powerful when Matt adds his talent to bring the scenes to life.

I hit the "Approve the Audiobook" button a little while ago. In a week or two, Shannon's Daughter will be available for everyone to enjoy. I'd love for it to do well, more for Matt's sake than mine, really. His work deserves to be appreciated. He's taken a quirky love story and made it something rich and fine, and highly entertaining. I consider this venture one of the most fortunate "breaks" in my writing life. Much like filling that prime role when producing a play--I've had that joy too--with an unexpected walk-in whose audition leaves you breathless, "finding" Matthew Lloyd Davies for Shannon's Daughter has made me truly thankful I stepped out on a limb to ever write this book.

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