It’s with some trepidation that I sit down to listen to this extract of my story in its new audio form. My narrator, Hannah, has lived in my head for over a year but, perhaps weirdly, I have no set ideas about where she comes from, her ethnicity or what class she is.
I am, however, definite about Hannah’s age, so I’m slightly worried that an adult voice actor might sound too old for my fictional teenager-veering-on-womanhood. I obviously know Hannah well and feel very protective of her. Will another artist’s interpretation of her voice damage my own slightly nebulous, imagined version?
I press ‘play’. The first refrains of music kick in, perfectly setting the scene, and suddenly I’m an active listener experiencing my story out in the world, as a professional production, living beyond the confines of my head. The composition is perfect: childlike, but with an ill wind circling. So, first impressions are good… but what will Hannah sound like?
Ah – she’s a Yorkshire lass! The moment I hear Kat Rose Martin’s voice, I relax. Kat’s voice and delivery – with just the right balance of innocence and bravado – suits Hannah perfectly. Any previous concerns I may have had that my own writing might not have accurately captured the girl inside my head simply evaporate listening to Kat’s masterful reading. Hannah sounds so… real. Once upon a time she was non-existent – nothing but a jumble of thoughts and ideas knocking around inside my head. But now here she is, physically alive and telling me her story, as if I’ve had nothing at all to do with her creation. And that’s an amazing feeling.
Thank you audio producer extraordinaire Helen Lloyd, and intuitive actor, Kat Rose Martin: you’re alchemists. You’ve taken my writing and interpreted it just the way I wanted, giving my character a distinctive voice that I can no longer imagine her without. Alongside that, you’ve shown me how my writing can be heard, performed and understood by others, giving me new-found confidence in its worth. I can’t wait for more of this audio book.