Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Today I’ve posted an in-depth interview with actor Tom Stechschulte over at my official site.

Tom is the voice of Hector Lassiter in Recorded Books’ exclusive, unabridged recordings of the Hector Lassiter series (Head Games and Toros & Torsos are available through your library, or Audible.com; Print the Legend will be released on audio in May, 2010).

I wrote recently about the fact that it’s only through Tom’s dramatic readings of my books that I can come close to experiencing the novels as an audience member. Something about the format and Tom’s acting short circuits my tendency to anticipate where the story is going, or thinking about what I know will happen next.

Fact is, I learn a lot about my own writing style, my tics and things I want to change in my writing or dialogue from listening to Tom read my words aloud.

It’s possible, I think, that other writers can learn from Tom’s interview, as well. Reading prose in dramatic format is an art. I’ve attended many, many author readings over the years, and the fact is, few of us writers read our own work particularly well.

The flipside of that is that some authors read their prose with such a forceful style that after hearing them read even a few passages of their work, you forever hear their voice in your head as you continue to read their novels and stories.

The most extreme example of this, I think, is probably James Ellroy. After hearing him read a few times in person, and after listening to his recording of his memoir, My Dark Places, I can’t read anything of Ellroy’s without hearing his actual speaking voice in my head. Ditto Ken Bruen. Ditto Joe Lansdale.

Tom gives some interesting pointers about dramatic reading, and, particularly, about voice and subtle ways in which to give distinct voices to different characters when reading aloud.

There are also some interesting details about the process of recording an audio book, and the preparation an actor goes through in order to record a particular work. You can check out Tom’s interview here.

Print the Legend (February 16, 2010, Minotaur Books) reviews are now starting to come in from various quarters.

I’m thrilled with the reaction the book is receiving and grateful to all those reviewers who have taken the time to read and write about my next novel, particularly in these times when review space — and voices — are at a premium.