March 26, 2015

Women and Words: guest post by Amy Rubinate

March is Women's History Month.  Every March at I'm Lost in Books I spin that into the Women's Lit Event celebrating female authors and their work.  I have some lovely authors and bloggers who will be sharing with us.  Today please welcome audiobook narrator Amy Rubinate.

Women and Words

Most of my audiobook narration work has been for female authors. I love narrating books by women, because they celebrate and illuminate the lives of women. I've learned so much about the world, relationships, and about myself from living inside the dual perspectives of female author and female protagonist for the duration of each book. One of the things I hadn't anticipated when I started narrating was the friendships and mutual support that developed from sharing the creative process with my authors. I'm sure this is something male narrators experience too, but it seems to me to be something innately female: to share, to support and to celebrate the work and wisdom of other women. 

There are so many books I've dearly loved working on, and the authors have been so generous about including me in the online conversations about their books. Here are some examples of books that stuck with me - both because the authors reached out to me, and because the characters were so vividly written and so true that I felt they represented a part of who I was, or an aspect of who I wanted to become. Tamara Ireland Stone's Anna from Time Between Us inspired me to resume running and learn to love my restless spirit, and Sam from Every Last Word recalled a difficult adolescence and resolved it in a deeply inspiring way. Off Course by Michele Huneven brought back the struggles of my twenties, the conflict of place and relationship and ambition. Whistling Past the Graveyard, by Susan Crandall, was so close to me in spirit that I plunged right in without a lot of prep. I felt that I knew Starla on a deep level, and just stepped aside and let her voice come through me. Starla's story couldn't have been more different from mine, but when my best friend listened to it, she said, "Amy, it was like spending time with you again when we were ten." In each of these instances, the writing and the characters touched something deep inside me. And I know from readers' responses that they touched others deeply in similar - or new and different - ways. Great writing has a universal quality - it taps into the human condition and reaches people at their core. 

But an additional joy from narrating these books was that I got to know the authors better. I was able to meet in person with Michele Huneven and Tamara Ireland Stone before recording their books. I got to know the characters a little better through their eyes, in ways that weren't on the page. Having dinner with Michele, I learned more backstory on her character, and we discussed Cressida as if she were a mutual friend. Watching Tamara at a reading for Time Between Us, I heard how her actual voice merged with Anna's voice on the page. These are the kinds of opportunities to illuminate my work that I didn't expect to have but delighted in when they happened. And I'm excited because my work with Tamara is moving forward, with her latest book Every Last Word, a Young Adult book about a girl with OCD whose life is changed by poetry. Tamara and I are working on the recording with Ideal Audiobooks, and are hoping to inspire other teenage girls to engage in the power of words with her story. 

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