By Arthur Kerns
Fellow authors tell me all the time that once their novel is in print they never go back and read it. I suppose we’ve written, read, edited, corrected the story so often that some can’t bear to look at the words again.
This may explain why sometimes when authors on book tours are asked a question about a novel’s character, plot line, or scene they become flustered. They can’t remember. The novel that so occupied their existence for so long has been mentally shelved. They’re on to a new manuscript, a new story, new characters.
I can understand, but have found I can still connect with that old novel by listening to it. In the car or working out at the gym I’ve listened to THE RIVIERA CONTRACT, which is available on Audible.com. Evan Greenberg does a great narration, and good audio book narrations are hard to find.
Listening to a novel you’ve written a while back is an interesting experience. From the beginning as the narrator recites your words it’s as if you’ve heard them before. Of course, you haven’t, unless you read passages to book clubs. No, it’s your inner ear of consciousness that listened, saw, experienced those words and phrases time and time again.
In the gym, while on the treadmill or at the weight machines, a particular scene, say at a fishing village on the Mediterranean Sea will come up and I’ll remember where I was when I wrote down the words. The writing group session that tackled that scene will be recalled and what some members liked, disliked about it.
Now and then I’ll hear a particular word. Where did that come from? I may not use it in daily speech. Did it just pop out of the ether or did a fellow group member suggest it? What prompted me to use it? Of course, there are those romance scenes—I definitely had a lot of help from members on those. They’re good for a chuckle. Oh, and how about the different fish needed for the bouillabaisse?
One disconcerting thought reoccurs as I listen to my past words. Will I again be able to come up with original thoughts and language? Will I enjoy listening to my next novel?
Arthur Kerns is a retired FBI special agent and past president of the Arizona chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). His award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies. In March 2013 Diversion Books, Inc. published his espionage thriller, The Riviera Contract and in May 2014 the sequel, The African Contract.
You can visit him on www.arthurkerns.com