Friday, 31 December 2010

My year in audio books...

I love this time of year – not only to make plans for the next year, but to review the year that’s gone.

In terms of audiobook narration, 2010 was great fun, with a lot of variety.

I started the year with number 5 in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Silver Borne. I absolutely love this series and the characters are starting to feel like family. If you like well-written paranormal romance with a feisty, charismatic heroine, give this series a read or a listen.

I followed that with The Group by Mary McCarthy for BBC Audiobooks (now AudioGO). I’d read it when I was a teen, and it was great to revisit it. It’s a fascinating period piece that follows the lives of eight Vassar graduates (class of ’33) – largely set in my favourite city, New York.

It wasn’t long before I was back in Bath again, recording Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell. I’m still really fond of the characters, but there’s no doubt the series has turned more psychological and introspective. If I’m honest, I miss the action and forensic detail of the earlier books.

And of course I did some work for the digital publishing company I own with Ali Muirden, Creative Content Ltd., presenting (with uber-talented VO Trevor White) two of our business titles, The Lowdown: Doing Business in Mexico and The Lowdown: Business Etiquette – Japan. Narrating non-fiction is very different from narrating fiction – it has its challenges, but I really enjoy it.

Speaking of non-fiction, I really enjoyed doing a meditation title for Heavy Entertainment. A very relaxing job! (I wouldn’t like to relax to the sound of my own voice, but I’ve been taking full advantage of Creative Content’s new series of guided visualisations – DreamCatching – which we’re publishing in January. They’re written and narrated by VO goddess Maria Darling – I could listen to her voice for hours!).

Spring wouldn’t be spring without my annual trip to New York to record the latest Stephanie Plum, Sizzling Sixteen. And there was bonus this year - I was lucky enough to record the first in Janet Evanovich’s new series based on the seven deadly sins. Wicked Appetite was great fun – set in Boston, with a whole new cast of the zany characters Janet does so well. And speaking of zany – someone sent me a link to a video an Evanovich audiobook fan posted on YouTube. If you want a laugh, have a look...

Back up to Bath (really, I should just buy a season ticket) to record The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, a moving tale that weaves together the stories of three women during WW2. Loved it.

A book that had me salivating with its gorgeous descriptions of French food and wine was The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle. I recorded it for Quercus Books, with Ali Muirden – one of the best audio producers in the business – directing. If you love wine, I think you’ll enjoy this light-hearted romp.

I hope I earned some Brownie points in heaven by contributing some readings to A Child’s Book of Prayer for Macmillan Audio – I love reading prayers and poems, but rarely have the opportunity, so this was a real treat.

Then it was a Book at Bedtime for the BBC – the quirky Alex y Robert, by Wena Poon, directed by the wonderful Karen Rose. I touched on this job in a previous blog, ‘Accent-uate the Positive.'

It’s always exciting to be involved in narrating a new series – and I was thrilled to be asked to record ‘First Grave on the Right’ by Darynda Jones  – it’s a really fun mix of comedy, romance and the paranormal. It has lots of twists and turns to keep you interested, and it’s well-written and sexy. I recommend it!

I’ve just rounded off the year with a trip down to Bath to record ‘Play to Kill’ for AudioGO. Author P.J. Tracy (a mother/daughter team) was new to me, but I loved the cast of maverick computer geniuses, and I hope to have the chance to read more.

So I hope I haven’t forgotten any - I’ve enjoyed recording all of them – and am so very grateful to be able to do something I love. I thank you for listening and would especially like to thank those of you who’ve taken the trouble to write, tweet, Facebook message and email to tell me when you’ve enjoyed a title. That’s what keeps me going!

I hope you all have a fabulous 2011!