Books, news, & views from Karen Traviss

Going Grey – we have a narrator

I heard today that the Audible edition of GOING GREY will be narrated by the excellent Euan Morton, the voice of my Halo books. (And, of course, a very fine actor.) I'm over the moon. This is the guy I really,really wanted, and I was worried in case he wasn't available.

When I first discussed the book with Audible and the subject of narrators arose, I only had one name on my wish list. This book really matters to me: it's more than creator-owned, it's my own product. Audible said they'd see if Euan could do it. Now I can breathe easy again.

I have Macmillan Audio to thank for introducing me to Euan's talent. When we started on the Kilo Five audiobooks, I discussed the casting with Laura Wilson, Director of Production, and the particular challenges of the characters; the novels were full of different national and regional accents, from Russian and Australian to some hard-to-do English ones. Not many people can cover all those convincingly, and sometimes it's better to read something straight rather than get it less than perfect. But Laura sent me an audio clip to check out. It was Euan Morton, and I was blown away.

A narrator can make or break a book; they're not just reading, they're doing a very specialised kind of acting, and they add an extra dimension to the whole story. When I started getting mail from fans about how vividly Euan had portrayed the Kilo Five cast, I knew we had something special going on there. He really had nailed the characters, not just the accents but their personalities and the whole vibe of the books as well. So given GOING GREY's cast of English and American characters, and the nature of the dialogue, I knew exactly who I needed to bring them to life.

And here's the funny thing: while I'm writing characters, I usually daren't listen to the audio versions in case they don't match the voices in my head (no, not those kinds of voices... ) and I lose the characterisation. I couldn't listen to the Gears audiobooks because they weren't the voices in the game, and what I heard in my head while I was writing were the voices of John, Fred, Carlos, Nan, Jamie, and Lester. It's like having an image of a character from a book in your mind and then seeing the movie, and the actor playing that character isn't how you imagined things at all. It disorients you. It's the same for writers like me. But I'll be perfectly fine listening to Euan while I carry on with the Ringer series.

I'll let you know when the audiobook's available for pre-order. Meanwhile, check out Euan's credits: I didn't realise he'd appeared in Taggart, too! God, I love Taggart. I'm a sucker for detective shows. "There's been a murrrrder!"