On Accidents and Accents: Narrating My Books

I hope everyone is enjoying the hot weather! Unless you’re Down Under, in which case I hope you’re enjoying the cold weather. I’ve always wanted to go Down Under and spend a while visiting Australia and New Zealand. Maybe someday I’ll get that chance. Maybe as part of the round-the-world trip by boat I keep fantasizing about. Crossing the oceans by boat would be a way of circumnavigating the globe while significantly reducing the carbon footprint of doing so, plus I’ve developed a significant aversion to flying in the past decade or so. It recently occurred to me that maybe it has something to do with the fact that planes are full of chemicals (I have multiple chemical sensitivity) and probably also mold (because they’re carpeted). Not sure if boats would be much better, but…

Wait, what does this have to do with writing? Nothing, so let’s move on.

As you know if you’ve been following along with these posts (and if you’re new here, then welcome!), I’v been podcasting my stories from the Doctor Rowena Halley series.

Listen to the latest episode on iTunes here.

The plan is eventually to make audiobooks out of them. The podcast has been a good, if occasionally frustrating, way to figure out the technical aspects and try out different narration techniques.

Recording studio

One iteration of my home recording studio, shortly before it collapsed, terrifying my Chihuahua and nearly taking out my computer–hence the “accidents” in the post title.

At the moment, I’m trying to rest up my voice after accidentally messing up my throat yesterday by trying to do voices for the male characters. I always found it annoying when narrators did silly (in my opinion) voices for the different characters, with their parodic accents and (shudder!) that horrid high-pitched, breathy sound when male narrators affect a female voice. As I say in Campus Confidential, that sound pretty much always marks the person being imitated as an idiot.

But, I discovered, it is very helpful to do something to mark the different characters as different while narrating dialogue. Doing the Russian characters was no problem: one thing I certainly do know how to do is a Russian accent, although it’s rather better in Russian than in English.

Things got more complicated when I started narrating other characters. The one that’s given me the most trouble so far is Rowena’s brother John. Obviously he should have some kind of a markedly masculine voice. And a bit of a Southern accent.

Well, I thought, I should be able to do a Southern accent. After all, I am from the South. Once upon a time I even had an accent, before I, like Rowena, suppressed it ruthlessly. Now it’s firmly repressed, and my regular accent is standard educated American, with a side of English (I used to live in England). My regular speaking voice has become quite posh, as I discovered with surprise when I started listening to recordings of myself.

But, lurking under all that, there is, it turns out, a Southern accent, one that was more than ready to come out once I had coaxed it to the surface. Now I’m finding it bursting forth at unexpected moments. Once I’m done narrating Permanent Position

Permanent Position Front Cover

If you haven’t yet picked up a free Advance Review Copy of Permanent Position, you can snag one in the Fierce Feminist Fiction book giveaway on Bookfunnel.

I’m going to have to go back to suppressing it ruthlessly.

Unfortunately, my native Southern accent is from Western Kentucky. So while John should have a Georgia drawl, what keeps coming out is more of a Midsouth twang. But whatever. At least it is a more or less authentic Southern accent, which is more than I can say about a lot of the “Southern” accents you hear on TV. But don’t get me started on that…

Next stop: Arabic and Persian accents! Now that will be a challenge!

You can listen to the podcast (with some but not all of the glorious accents I plan to deploy for the actual audiobooks) on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

And here’s this week’s selection of book giveaways!

Women's Fiction Beach Reads

Make an escapist getaway with the Women’s Fiction and Chick Lit Beach Reads giveaway!

Satire Giveaway

Get your rebel on and tickle your funny bone with the Politically Incorrect Satire giveaway!

Sizzling Suspense Banner

Celebrate the heat with the Sizzling Summer Suspense Stories giveaway!
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