Macmillan Audio (@MacmillanAudio) are producing a Hild audiobook. I am very happy about this.
Lots of readers have suggested that I should narrate Hild. If I had all the time and energy in the world, I'd love to. But. This is a long book--more than 200,000 words--which, I'm guessing, would come to about 22 hours of audio. As a beginner I'd have to spend about three hours in the studio for every hour of finished audio. Close to 70 hours of intense, exhausting work. Given the schedule, I just don't have the time or energy.
So Macmillan have engaged a professional. She went into the studio this morning.
Anne Flosnik (@AnneFlosnik), as well as having lead credits for stage and television, has narrated a lot--more than 150--of audiobooks. That work has won her three AudioFile Earphones Awards, an ALA Award, and four Audie Award nominations. Her narration of Little Bee by Chris Cleave was chosen as one of the Best Audiobooks of the Year 2009 byAudioFile magazine and one of the Top 40 Best Audiobooks of 2009 by Library Journal.
So she's hugely professional, which is great, but the big bonus is that she's from Northumbria. She recognises some of the places in the book. She feels it in her bones.
Anne only got the book on Friday and had to start recording this morning; she's had to get up to speed fast. So we've been collaborating. We've already exchanged email, lots of texts, and two long--90 minutes--phone calls. We've talked about pronunciation of names and places, how class differences often trump ethnic and geographic ones, who changes and in what way, which bits are sly and which bits broad.
The best part of this truly accelerated process is that Anne and I have been able to communicate in Northern Lass shorthand:
"Think of the gesiths as rugby players--union, not league."In the next week or so there'll be hundreds of texts when she hits names or places we haven't managed to cover, dozen of decision to make on some subtlety or other that no one will notice--unless we get it wrong.
"That song on page 211? I learnt that from a rugby team, it's about balls, not ears."
"Oh, the one that goes... [sings tune]?"
"These country thegns, think of them as huntin' shootin' fishin' types."
"A bit all that?"
This is real collaboration. I wrote the book, but Anne is going to bring it alive for you: seventh-century Britain in all it's multi-ethnic, status-conscious, wild landscape glory.
Wish her luck.