One of the cool things about being a fiction writer is that I’m constantly learning new things. Some are interesting and useful; some are boring but necessary; and a few are downright disturbing. Sadly, the disturbing ones can never be purged from my brain. (Like the photo of the naked woman holding a severed pig’s head that I discovered back in 2013 when I was looking for cover art for Book 6. Why? Why???)
But mostly my new discoveries are fascinating and fun. F’rinstance, until I decided to publish the Never Say Spy series as audiobooks, I knew nothing about ‘voice artists’. My narrator, Michelle Armeneau, has opened my eyes (or rather, ears).
What a talent! She makes each character’s voice distinctive by subtly modulating the pitch, cadence, accent, speed, and forcefulness of her speech. I’m blown away by her ability to create unique voices, because I have absolutely zero vocal ability. I don’t have a great track record with voice recognition, either.
I have a few friends with similar voices who occasionally phone and start chatting without identifying themselves. If I’ve grabbed the phone without checking the call display, it can get awkward. When somebody’s yakking away like we’re best friends (and I’m pretty sure we are), I’m embarrassed to stop them and ask, “Wait, who is this?”
Plus, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by not recognizing their voice, so I try to figure out who it is by the context of the conversation. Usually that works, but sometimes it backfires badly when I’m long minutes into the conversation and still have no idea who’s on the other end of the line.
Then I have to do the Talk of Shame: “Um, hey, it’s been great gabbing to you all this time, but… I have no idea who you are.” I’m sure most normal people don’t have this problem, but ‘normal’ is another one of those admirable qualities that seems beyond my grasp.
Anyway, Michelle and I have always communicated via email, and a few weeks ago we decided to have our first phone conversation. I’d like to proudly point out that, having just finished reviewing eleven hours of Michelle’s narration, I recognized her voice instantly.
I’d like to point that out; but I can’t. The truth is that if I hadn’t been expecting her call at the appointed time, I wouldn’t have known who it was. I thought her speaking voice would be the same as her narrative voice, but that’s yet another persona. I’m in awe!
And a bit worried. If she ever decides to mess with me, she could call me with a different voice every day and I’d be doomed to repeat the Talk of Shame over and over.
Fortunately, she’s far too nice to do that. And she’s far too busy to waste time on prank calls — she’s hard at work narrating Book 4.
Yes, it’s true: Book 3 is now available in audiobook, and Book 4 is under way – woohoo! Thanks, Michelle!
Get REACH FOR THE SPY on Audible
Middle-aged bookkeeper Aydan Kelly never wanted to moonlight as a spy, but she doesn’t have a choice. Working with computer networks in a secured building sounds safe, but it turns out the job’s a killer – literally.
When Aydan’s trusted co-worker is shot while committing an apparently treasonous act, Aydan embarks on a secret mission to clear his name.
But her investigation casts suspicion on the director of operations himself. If he’s a double agent, Aydan’s in more danger than she ever imagined…and national security hangs in the balance.