by Sean Chercover
I talked last time about how seeing Trigger City in paperback made the book feel more real to me. A few days later, my friend Jared sent me an email, letting me know that he'd seen the paperback on the racks at his local Wegmans supermarket in upstate NY.
Wow. To my knowledge, this is the first time I've been in supermarkets. My books, I mean (I'm in supermarkets all the damn time). It's quite a thrill.
Then another very exciting thing happened. Audible.com made Trigger City and Big City Bad Blood available on audio. How cool is that?
Very cool, as it turns out.
The narrator is Joe Barrett, an incredibly talented reader who has also recorded important books like A Prayer For Owen Meany. So when I downloaded the books, I knew I was in for a treat.
I've often talked in general terms about how I see the novel as a collaboration between the author and the reader. This is why over-writing is so deadly; there isn't room for the reader to fully participate.
No two readers read the same book. Each brings her own experiences, attitudes, values, and prejudices to the experience. Each reads with his own inflections. And this is really brought home when you listen to an audiobook that you wrote.
Listening to a talented, professional reader's interpretation of my books was an eye-opener. At first, there were moments when the nervous writer in me wanted to say, "Wait! That's not the way I heard that line in my head when I wrote it!" Or, "That's not the accent I heard in my head!" Like some insecure screenwriter storming the set and giving line-readings to the actors. But Barrett's performance was so good that I soon just let go and went along for the ride.
I don't normally re-read what I've written after it has been published, but listening to it was a hell of a lot of fun. And it confirmed my ideas about the collaboration between writer and reader.
So big thanks to Joe Barrett and all the fine folks at Audible.com.
Oh, and I should also mention that Libby's excellent Easy Innocence also recently became available at Audible.
Finally, I leave you today with Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros: