January 21, 2018 by Carmel
It is one of my goals this year to make my seven novels available as audiobooks. That goal has become even more important as I have spent the last week unable to wear my glasses and therefore unable to read. It has driven home to me how difficult the simple pleasure of reading must be for vision-impaired people.
My maternal grandfather was blind and was often excluded from social activities, so when I was a small child I would invent games to play that he could participate in. I loved him and we both enjoyed the one-to-one interaction. Reading for him back then, was not an option.
When I retired from full-time work as Journalist a few years ago, one of my first volunteer roles was learning to narrate books and documents for vision-impaired people, never dreaming that one day I might be narrating books that I had written. Some people will say that narrating your own books is fraught with difficulties, but I see it this way. As well as working in print media, I have also worked in radio so I think my intonation, phrasing and breath control will be acceptable. It would cost a lot of money to pay a professional voice-over artist to narrate seven books and, as no one knows my characters and their accents better than me, that’s another tick in the ‘narrate it myself’ column.
I have connected with some vision-impaired readers via Twitter and other social media, and I would be very interested to know what you expect from a narrated book – what are the points that are important to you as the listener/reader, to give you full enjoyment of the story. I will use your feedback and also pass it on to other authors to encourage them to make their books available as audiobooks too.
You may be wondering why I couldn’t wear my glasses for a week – I’m a blue-eyed blonde living in Australia and while I enjoyed the beach as a teenager, I am now plagued with almost annual skin cancer operations. I currently have 30 stitches in my nose and this is my third operation on my nose. Another reason to create audiobooks – it will keep me in my office and out of the sun.