Here’s something I’ve studiously avoided until now — I’m actually listening to one of my own books on audio, borrowed from the library via Libby (though you can buy a copy if you prefer). Normally the idea of that gives me hives. But Upstander is read by a talented voice actor named Caitlin Davies and, to my relief, she does an incredible job conveying tone, pace, meaning, all the while somehow managing to “voice” a wide array of characters.
That’s a curious sidenote, btw: how many characters have spoken dialogue in this book? I’d never considered that before, never added them all up, but it must be more than 20.
Let’s see . . . I’m curious. There’s Mary, Jonny, Chrissie, Alexis, Chantel, Griffin, Cody, Hakeem, Mrs. O’Malley, Mrs. Williams, Ernesto, Mrs. Brown, Drew, David, Eric, Dez, Vivvy, Officer Goldsworthy, Sinjay, Tamara, Beatrice, Azra, Jamilah, Football Player #1.
I was wrong. Caitlin was required to give voice to 24 different characters. And she does it far, far more masterfully than anything I could have stumblingly mustered.
This listening experience once again underscores the basic truth of publishing: it takes so many people to make a book & put it out into the world. These folks are dedicated, serious, and talented. Art directors and copyeditors, administrative assistants and production managers and, yes, even professional voice actors who can take a text on the page and make it come alive. Thank you, most especially, Caitlin; you are very good at what you do and I’m grateful for that. I’ve actually enjoyed the book so far. What a relief. But I’m only halfway through, so — NO SPOILERS PLEASE!
NOTE: Upstander is a prequel/sequel to Bystander. It begins before the Bystander timeline and then overlaps it in the second half of the book, offering a different perspective on a few “tentpole” scenes while also wandering down new avenues as well. It is not required that you read Bystander in order to enjoy Upstander. There’s no preferred order. However, I think that reading both would be pretty cool. As I have come to think of it, not a longer story, but a larger one. Thanks, as always, for stopping by!