… At least it does to me.
I have been working very hard on my latest novel for basically all of 2016, a Victorian-set story based in Cornwall, part of Riptide’s new Porthkennack series.
I love this story now but it was a ‘difficult birth’, so it was a big relief to type that final ‘###’ and submit the thing at last. All this week I’ve felt like I’ve had a weight lifted from me – I’ve been walking lighter, looking about myself and feeling like I have time to do something other than work, write or sort out domestic stuff for the first time in ages.
I haven’t blogged in forever, haven’t spoken about the books I’ve read or the audiobooks I’ve listened to or the new authors I’ve discovered – all stuff I love doing. And over these last months, there’s been a thousand times I’ve thought, oh, this is so good! I totally want to blog about this, or at least chuck a paragraph on facebook, but then I haven’t, because my Victorian men have been frowning at me and tapping their elegantly-shod toes and I’ve had to sigh and get back to the grindstone.
Now most of those thousand little moments are gone and in the past and I can’t remember them. But here’s one I do remember.
Ghost TV by Jordan Castillo Price, narrated by Gomez Pugh is my current audiobook. It’s number 5 in the series, I think, and one of my favourites. When I read this series a few years ago, I ate them up so quick, but I can’t do that listening to them because the pace is fixed by the narrator. Other stuff too. In short, same story; different experience.
With an audiobook, the characters are less fluid because you’ve got the narrator’s interpretation layered on the words (so, Pugh’s Vic isn’t quite my reader-Vic). Plus you aren’t able to perform those nimble reader-gymnastics you can utilise on a standard read e.g. reading some parts quicker than others, editing teeny details as you go – stuff you (or at least, I) do instinctively as a reader without much thinking about it.
The more fixed nature of audiobooks has drawbacks and benefits. Drawback: you’re not as in control with an audiobook. Benefit: the slowed down pace means you don’t miss any gems and on a reread, you get a new slant on the book.
Anyhoo, Ghost TV opens with a chapter set in a fairground: Vic, Jacob, Jacob’s sister and her kid. Jacob in uncle mode, Vic in ever-present awkward mode. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed that chapter a good bit when I read it first time round, but on this listen it was just great, and so memorable. As a piece of writing, it’s full of fantastic, satisfying details, character clues and fabulous turns of phrase, like this zinger:
A big-kid ride roared past us and the wall of scream trailed along in the wake of the metal cage full of freshly flung people.
I remember exactly where I was when Gomez Pugh drawled that sentence to me. Walking up to school on a day off work to pick up my boy (always a little exciting, that, even now) on a typical Scottish summer’s day – grey but fine, with a few outbreaks of blue. Then, turning a corner from the main road onto a more meandering lane, that slow, deliberate voice in my ear ~
…freshly flung people.
Kind of a perfect moment, that.