Now this is a strange experience for an author: hearing someone else read your novel aloud… for “publication,” or rather an audio version.
You’ve slaved over (well, this is a desk job, really, so I’m not comparing this work to, say, a laborer in the salt mines or a woodsman sawing down trees, but you get the drift) your manuscript for weeks, months, a year even. You’ve sliced and diced and nuanced the dialogue; and maybe even sliced and diced a character or two.
You know your characters. I mean, know them — their upbringing, maturity or lack thereof, expertise or lack thereof, character strengths and flaws, and, importantly, their voices from accent to tone to inflection.
You’ve hollered along with your angry antagonist, wept with your distraught heroine, ducked bullets with your hero, maybe even yodeled with that woodsman sawing down the tree.
All of this was done in your own cocoon. Then perhaps you printed out your story and shared the tale (and your “new best friends” and “their worst enemies,” your characters) with your spouse, or writers’ group, or some unsuspecting friend.
But… but no one attempted to read your earth-changing narrative, the 90,000 words that poured out of your mind and tripped off your fingertips. No one — until now.
I say all this to report that I have aligned my future, in an “audio” way, with one John Tanner, a retired teacher in Michigan who has read 13 books and read them very well and is now tackling my The Last Aliyah, a contemporary geo-political novel which weaves the story of a modern-day Underground Railroad that helps Jews escape America for Israel. The circumstances that drive them away may soon become reality, but if you haven’t yet read it, wait awhile and you can listen to it while driving your car or raking leaves on your lawn.
The experience of hearing my words has been everywhere from “No! Really?” to “Now you’ve got it. Jacko, the retired Red Sox first baseman, does not take kindly to his interrogation at the hands of another, younger, black Homeland Security agent.”