Indulge me in a fantasy for a moment.
Some day I will sit across from Terry Gross. Well, maybe I’ll be in a local NPR studio some place closer to where I’ll be living or on my phone (Ugh. I hope it’s not on a phone!), I dunno, these are just things I’ve read. I don’t know how it works, but Ms. Gross will be there, plugged in, headphones on, waiting for our talk.
She’ll have read my book. I’ll have read hers.
Since this is a fantasy but my business is creative nonfiction and I am bound to be truthful, I, of course, will still imagine feeling wholly unworthy. I will be reminded, moments before her call (because of course it will be on a phone), of only my most classic moments of stupidity: being called out for not knowing “brang” wasn’t a real word, choking at the fifth grade spelling bee and giving the freak-out response of “n-o-t-t-y” for “naughty,” and performing an elaborate, year-long Frasier-esque slapstick routine to trick my high school boyfriend into believing I was in the Honors English class all while being in the “slow” English class, and toward which I would gallop once he’d left.
Grammar features prominently in my nightmares.
Fortunately, I’ve listened to enough of Ms. Gross’ author interviews to know she generally deals with all the happy areas you can handle. The one thing that still scares me, though, is when the author is asked to read an excerpt.
How does every author sound like a Shakespearean actor? Well, maybe David Sedaris doesn’t, but he has a voice. It’s a reading voice that matches his writing voice.
Apparently I have a voice that is “best-suited for reading anything involving sensuality, chocolate, or children.” Back in 2008, when I was temping at (and smelling like) a candle factory, I was also filing correspondent pieces for The Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts. One evening, I attended a Voice Coaches class and wrote about it.
I recorded my voice with the teacher and part of the deal was that I’d receive a phone call from Magic 106.7 radio DJ David Allan Boucher. It was he who evaluated my voice and gave me the great news about my future in adult chocolate children books I’d be writing.
Help! How can I improve my reading voice? And has anyone had a radio interview in the real world who can talk about it?