Audiobooks obviously rely heavily on voice. And so it is voice that can lift an audiobook well beyond the reaches of the actual book. Voice can be divided into two schools: the school of multiple voices and the school of one, charismatic voice. While the most well known example of the first school is Jim Dale, who read for the Harry Potter series, embodying a wholly unique voice for each character in the series—a number that easily clocks into the hundreds—the major player in my audiobook days was Johanna Parker, who read for the steamy, thrilling Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery series.
“I think I was writing the blog to make my friends laugh—the content was definitely frattier, more about the easy jokes—but I tried to make the book more widely accessible. The book-writing process was more about picking the most important moments, wrapping them around a theme, and framing the journey—not to sound like some pretentious little art dickhead. But, it was about giving the story shape. It took a few drafts to get there, but I finally started to realize, ‘Okay, this is really a story about somebody and his siblings going through an intense situation and being forced through it to grow up and take on a little more responsibility.'”
A month ago, a billboard advertising Lifetime’s latest cautionary tale-style movie, to join the ranks of such films as The Bride He Bought Online and I Killed My BFF, appeared on Hollywood Boulevard. Although some past Lifetime movies have drawn some media attention prior to their release–The Pregnancy Pact, in particular, gaining a serious online following before it even aired in January of 2010–the attention this new film, A Deadly Adoption, received had nothing to do with its uncanny resemblance to real events (though both films claim to be inspired by true stories). Instead, it was the two heads hovering at the billboard, over a pregnant woman standing on a dock, which propelled the Internet into wild speculation. At the helm of this Lifetime movie, both looking a little resolute and a little alarmed in profile on the billboard, were comedians Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. The tagline: “The birth of a plan gone wrong.”
* Claire Skinner *
I admit that I’m fifteen years late to the Jo Ann Beard party. Her first book, The Boys of My Youth, was published in 1998 to considerable fanfare. However, I’ve always been a firm believer in serendipity: books show up in a life at the right time and the right place. Maggie Nelson has written that “the truly important, original, and strange work does get recognized, does get found, by those who need to recognize it and find it.” (Even if it takes a while, I might add.)