Different Voices

Edith here, enjoying spring, at last!FlippedAudioAmazon

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.

LauralMerlingtonFlipped 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 Sorghrumsays 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, Grilled for Murderwhich 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?


99 Thoughts

  1. I have not tried an audio version of a book yet. My enjoyment is using my own imagination to form the voice of a character while I’m reading the book. Thanks for the giveaway you are offering. Perhaps it will change my way of enjoying a book. robeader53@yahoo.com

  2. The closest I’ve come was listening to the radio broadcasts of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (and sequela) before they came out in book form.

      1. Well, my son was still at home so it must have been back in the 1980s!

  3. I have only started listening to audiobooks. I still read print books and ebooks but I like the change of listening to a story. Thank you for the chance!

  4. I’ve recently started listening to audio books on Audible. I love ghost stories and read that M.R. James’s ghost stories were even better when you listened to them than when you read them. I found some recordings of his stories on YouTube and was hooked. I subscribed to Audible. The narrator definitely makes a difference. If I find the narrator’s voice grating or otherwise irritating I can’t listen to the audio book.

  5. I love audio books and listen to them daily. I have had some that were just so bad I couldn’t listen to, but over all most narrators are really good . kathambre@yahoo.com

  6. I listen to audio books daily , they are a great way to unwind and relax! Most narrators are really good, although I have had a few I couldn’t listen too! kathambre@yahoo.com

  7. I listen to audiobooks all the time while driving. Cozies are hard to find in audio. I do love Sue Grafton’s books in audio and the narrator for those is great. Content is more important than the narrator but I did give up listening to one book because of the narrator. His tone did not change at all while reading. I didn’t make it through the first CD.

    1. This one is definitely a cozy! I know Barb Ross’s Maine Clambake series and Sheila Connolly’s are also out in audio – all very much cozies.

  8. I love to listen to audiobooks while I am working around the house or driving..I would love to hear this. The plot sounds great. Thank you for the contest.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  9. I love audiobooks! I listen to them while I work, while I drive, going for a walk, doing chores, etc. It makes it so I can always be reading, no matter what I am doing. I think everyone still likes having a story read to them. 🙂 I have had a couple of times when I started listening to the book and the narrator just didn’t fit the story to me at all. If it was one I really wanted to read, I switched to reading it myself rather than listening. I don’t have a special narrator I follow, I just listen to books I want to read. 🙂

    brooke811 at ymail dot com

  10. A number of mine have come out as audio books, and I’ve been afraid to listen to them–especially the County Cork ones where there should be a variety of different accents. And we won’t talk about the Irish placenames that even I can’t pronounce. I’m glad people are finding a way to “read” the books, in any case.

  11. Congrats, Edith. I listem to audiobooks in the car all the time, but since my car is 16 years old, they have to be audiocassettes. I relisten to old favorites, especially books by Elizabeth Peters narrated by Barbara Rosenblatt, and pick up discarded library audiocassette online. Right now I’m listening to audiocassettes of Charlotte MacLeod’s The Family Vault.

  12. Congrats on your book making it to audiobook!!! My kids love audio books. We get them at the library and they listen to them in their rooms. We have listened to the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books in the car together. Those are great audiobooks. I just recent won a giveaway by Stormy Smith that included her bound trilogy and I’ve been listening to that. I find it awesome to listen to a book while I’m crocheting. I haven’t listened to enough to have a favorite narrator yet but we’ll see where I end up in the future. I love listening to podcasts books but they tend to get way over dramatic with the music and noises. I’m excited to see what yours sounds like.

    Thanks for the chance to win. A.keller2001@hotmail.com

  13. I enjoy listening to books whilst I am crafting – so I am really please that yours are coming out on audio! (will they be available through Audible?)

  14. I listen to audiobooks while walking. It gets me out the door and I need the exercise. It’s a lot more fun if I’m listening to a good book.

  15. This is so exciting, Edith! I love listening to audio CD’s in the car all the time while I’m doing errands or when we take short trips. When we drove across country a couple of years ago, we were hooked on Audible books. I wish I could remember the name of the actor who read the (Nordic, gloomy and wonderful) Icelandic mystery Hypothermia I was captured by last week – sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store, not wanting to leave the story. I have listened to a number by him and he brings so much to the story. Now, I will make a note of the actor when I listen to my CD’s!

    1. Marian, the narrator is George Guidall. He is marvelous. One of my favorites.

  16. I reviewed Flipped For Murder on audio as I do a lot of reviews for Tantor Audio and cozies are my favorites. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to get Grilled for Murder! 🙂

  17. Never tried an audio book, but if I win, this will be a good one to start with.

  18. My only experience with audible books is the series of stories by Focus on the Family. When my children were young we would listen to these while traveling. It was amazing how it kept the three children entertained for long periods of time. I would love to try listening to your books while I sew. Thank you for the chance to win.

  19. I don’t listen to a lot of audio books. I listened to one of J.D. Robb’s “Eve Dallas” books and decided to only listen to them. The narrator gives Roarke a great Irish brogue!…When a friend and I do road trips, I read while she drives. Last year I was reading her Sherry’s book, “The Longest Yard Sale” when I got laryngitis. We downloaded Martin Short’s memoir – he does the audio. The book was a great read but a better listen.

  20. I think it depends on the book and the person who is speaking. I line books and all things mystery. I embrace all forms of reading! Love it! Thanks for the opting!!

  21. I haven’t listened to many books on tape but would like to hear this one.

  22. I love audiobooks and would listen to them on my commute to work or while waiting in carpool line. They are great for long trips. The best narrators I have listened to have been from the audiobooks of “Bel Canto” (Anna Fields), “The Alienist” and “The Angel of Darkness” (George Guidall), and “The Winter Queen” (Michael Kramer). I actually had to pull over during the first chapter of “The Winter Queen”, because it was so suspenseful that I was afraid I would stop paying attention to my driving! The worst audiobook was one where the main character was in her early 20’s and the narrator sounded like she could have been her mother.

  23. I love to listen to audiobooks. It makes travelling and doing stuff around the house better. I have two favourite narrators. Susan Ericksen who narrates J.D. Robb’s In Death books and Sophie Eastlake who is the narrator of Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series. I don’t follow them. They just happen to be the narrators of two of my all time favourite series and they fit the books well. Listening to them is an awesome experience and if they can, I hope the authors will continue to use them for the series. I’ve come across some audiobooks I disliked too. It’s disappointing when listening to the audiobook of a favourite book doesn’t match reading that book.

    It’s nice that you are satisfied by the job the narrator of your book did. I enjoyed reading about your experience listening to the audiobook. I loved reading Flipped for Murder and I hope to listen to it someday. Right now I can’t wait for the release day of Grilled for Murder. 🙂

  24. Congrats, Edith on this fun opportunity! I rarely listen to audio books but when I do I generally enjoy them. I loved Water for Elephants on audio.

  25. Audio books? Where do I even start?

    I’ve been listening to them for years when I drive to visit my family in Northern California. They make the 7 hour drive much more enjoyable. In the last couple of years, I’ve started listening to them more around Southern California and even around town. I’m listening to four popular series on audio that I’ve always meant to read but never gotten around to it. These are also usually not cozies because they are harder to find on audio (although becoming more easily available).

    Usually, something I’ve listened to, I haven’t read. The one exception was when I took out the first Mrs. Pollifax on audio (after having read it). I hated it! The reader made Mrs. Pollifax look like an idiot, which she clearly isn’t. She’s naive in that first book, but very smart. Plus she pronounced the name wrong. And I actually first tried the series on audio, but it was a different reader. So the reader makes a huge difference.

    One of the series I’m listening to is Michael Connelly’s Bosch books. The reader for at least the first three definitely goes for the over dramatic, sometimes adding coughs and other things that slow things down and annoy me.

    Most of the readers I’ve listened to over the years do a great job of adding a little life and drama without annoying me. In fact, I don’t know how much I would enjoy Flavia de Luce without Jane Entwistle’s amazing reading.

    Congrats on your first audio book coming out! Glad you mostly enjoyed it. (Don’t enter me in the drawing since I’ve already enjoyed the book. I’ll let someone else enjoy it.)

  26. Edith,
    Congratulations on your first audio. I listen to audios whenever I’m in my car. I’m sad that many new cars won’t have CD players. I’d love to win the drawing!

    1. Really? New cars without CD players? I suppose we’re supposed to be all podcast and Audible in the future? I guess I’ll hang onto my 2009!

  27. Flipped for Murder sounds awesome- as a Hoosier, I’m excited to hear what devilment you’ve written for the Hoosier State! I LOVE Audio books! Deadly Affair (written by Lucinda Brant, narrated by Alex Wyndham) was what really got me started! Alex does a Fabulous job with the narration! I have run across a few lemons (like nails on a chalkboard)… poor intonation, inflection & pronunciation, but I really like the option of hearing the book read. Thank you for the chance!
    Kelly Braun

  28. I love to listen to audio books on CD while traveling and cleaning house. No particular reader but i do prefer someone who doesnt speak in monotone. thanks for the chance

  29. I listen to audio books on trips. It is so hard to find cozy mysteries in audio so I am delighted to see this! This title is currently at the top of my stack to read. Content is more important to me than the reader and so far I’ve never had a lemon 🙂

  30. I have only recently started enjoying audiobooks. They are fun! I was a teacher for 35+ years, and learned to multi-task. With audiobooks I can plug myself in and go about my chores: washing dishes, dusting, cooking, driving…everything!

  31. I love audio books and listen to them every day. I listen to them every time I drive whether I am commuting to work or going out to do errands. There are a number of excellent narrators but two of my favorites are Joyce Bean and Joe Montegna.

  32. I mostly listen to audiobooks in the car, so much better than hearing the news of the day, and it makes me a more patient driver. Long red light means a chance to listen more deeply. I’m very opinionated about readers, some so good I can’t go back to the written version, some abandoned after a short sample. This one sounds good!

  33. I like listening to audiobooks, but sometimes they drive me crazy when the narrator pronounces a name differently than I do (I normally only listen to the audio version of books I’ve already read).

  34. My Witch City Mysteries (cozies all) are on Tantor audio too and I like my reader a lot. She’s C.S.E.Cooney. When my boys were in school we sometimes used audio books for book reports -( I know I know.Not entirely kosher. But it was better than Classic Comics)
    . More than once we parked outside the school and waited for the end of a chapter before they’d get out!

  35. I really enjoy listening to audio books, especially when I’m driving to Holland MI from Chicago. It really makes the trip seem to go by faster. My favorite audio books as of right now is The Tradd Street series by Karen White. I can’t recall if there was a narrator I didn’t enjoy. Would love to listen to “Flipped for Murder” on my trip to Holland for Tulip Time and my birthday.

  36. I would really love to have your book to be my first audio book. I think it would be be a big help to me since my eyes seem to be stressed after a day of being on the computer and reading books. The only thing that has kept me from trying audiobooks has been the price. I’m retired and on a budget.Thanks for being so thoughtful

  37. I have come to appreciate audiobooks even more since I got hearing aids. I use Bluetooth to get the sound directly to my ears.

  38. Due to my disability almost all the books I read are audiobooks. I’ve come to love them, not as a distraction from road travel, but as a truly accessible way to read. I would love to win one of your audiobook sets.

    Almost all of my audiobooks are mysteries. I started collecting and reading them when Louise Penny’s first came out. I read her first book about on Québecois family history page and list. When I couldn’t find an audio or hard copy that would stay open in my book holder, I called a bookstore in Québec. Shortly after that I received a copy in the mail with a note from Louise saying this might hold me until it came out in audio. It was her first, and I think she was joking… a wink-wink kind of thing. 😉 Now I have all of hers, and she pretty much got me started reading for fun again avec gusto.

  39. Kelly Braun is our lucky winner of the CD set! Congratulations – and thanks to all these new visitors to our blog. Hope you’ll come back!

  40. I am not familiar with audio books. I do subscribe to an annual service that plays music on my car radio, (Harrison, Dylan, Petty)…I very much enjoyed your book “Delivering the Truth”. My wife and I just celebrated our 60th wedding. She was/is a math/physics gal, mature ( “she was just seventeen when I saw her standing there”, Geo Harrison) Ha, she could not escape this innocent country boy who grew up on those hard benches in Pennsylvania that are in your story. One of three boys from my rural high school class (3/84) to go to college. A boy with no idea of the world of Rose Carroll. Thank you.

      1. thank “thee” Edith. oh my, all these many years and your book brought back fond memories, a daze, so much has changed.
        I am reading another of yours now, searching for Rose.

  41. I absolutely love audio books! It must be an amazing feeling to have your own words read back to you!

  42. I love audio books and listen to them a lot, especially when I’m in the car. I used to have 1/5 -2 hour round trip commutes to work before I retired, and that’s a lot of listening. There are a several readers that I especially like — Dick Hill, Jim Dale, George Guidall, Barbara Rosenblat, Kate Reading. I’ll listen to most any mystery one of them is narrating. I’ve only found 2 where I stopped listening because the narrator was so bad, and both of them were read by the author. Memoirs narrated by the author are generally okay, but these were both fiction books with a large number of characters and the authors just weren’t up to the dramatics.

  43. I forgot to say CONGRATULATIONS on your first audio book, Edith! Can’t wait to get a copy.

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