A Southern Adventure

My latest audiobook narration has just been put on sale: Veiled Eyes (Lake People Book 1).

Its really an adventure – following the trials of a young woman as she tries to find her family and their stories…

‘A vivid waking dream of giant cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss haunts Anna St. Thais. The trees sit on a black lake that resembles a dark Louisiana bayou with an evocative aura. The dream includes the presence of a man who seems to know Anna all too well and a group of people with strange telepathic powers, sometimes called veiled eyes. An orphan from Texas, she is on her way east to help out a friend when she encounters two terrifying things. Psychically, she begins to see and hear things through the eyes of an unknown individual, a man who knows more about her than she ever would have imagined. The second thing is that she has been kidnapped by a sociopathic trucker intent on making her his latest victim. When she is rescued by Gabriel Bergeron, a member of the elusive Lake People in Northwestern Louisiana, Anna doesn’t realize that he is her psychic counterpart and she has been inexplicably pulled to the area. She shares their strange colored gold eyes and their distinctive mental powers. They are a reclusive lot and know that Anna is one of them, but has been isolated by unknown circumstances. She is drawn into their incomparable world, something between that of the Creoles and Cajuns, and much in addition to those. There Anna finds a romantic link with Gabriel and the spine-tingling fear of not knowing who to trust. Her return has disturbed the inner workings of the group and threatens to expose secrets long concealed in the murky Louisiana bayous. There are secrets to be divulged about her past and why she was spirited away as an infant. Anna isn’t safe until she discovers the answers she so desperately requires.’ ©2010 Caren L. Bevill (P)2017 C.L. Bevill

This is my first narration of a novel in an American Accent so it was a challenge – particularly as the characters inhabit a fictional place with a specific heritage – echoes of French Louisianan but not so ‘deep south’ as New Orleans. It was great fun pinpointing the words and  phrases that indicated that heritage whilst avoiding stereotypes and building a character. I had so many characters from different films floating around in my head when I came to try and give them all voices and I think there are shades of cantankerous old timers, worldly-wise-women and charismatic ex-sherrifs and cowboys littering the final reading along with a more modern Heroine.

I think my favourites were Sebastian – getting his accent and voice took some trial and error and you’ll see when you listen to the book how his character contributes to the narrative – I saw him as tall and beautiful – as a tree is beautiful, graceful, natural and all-seeing. I wanted to give him a twang of French intonation – to tie him into his heritage without undermining his grace and intelligence.

Meg I also enjoyed – her accent had to be different from her neighbours as she didn’t grow up around the Lake – I tried to hint at a mixed accent – the way people who have lived somewhere for a long time tend to pick up the local accent. And she’s interesting – the way older experienced women always are! A twinkle in her eye, a sharp mind, you’re not sure what her motivation is but you know she has some great stories! And she smokes a pipe – I’m going to take up pipe-smoking when I’m older I think, its a good look.

My third favourite has to be Alby – an old-timer – I could just see the way he walks and I loved imagining him drunk – like a child filled with wonderment and breathing in all the good humour and laughter he could find. Full of giggles and no-nonsense good natured tales.

I’ve just realised my favourites are all older characters – maybe its the layers of life that I find easier to hang my character voices on. But its also one of the reasons I liked the book overall. Caren Bevill creates a diverse community – from school kids to wise old folk and everything between and the narrator floats above them telling their stories, able to flit from one place to another and take the reader with her.

It was this voice that attracted me to narrate the book and I had wonderful memories of films like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and Eve’s Bayou – the atmosphere and landscape the viewer is drawn into, not least by the storyteller, pushing you on, revealing little by little the patchwork of stories that set together to make up their world. Not that I’m comparing myself to Jessica Tandy! And Veiled Eyes’ story is nothing like either of those but the device of the narrator – where there is a community of characters – can be magical.

This is the first in a 4 book series written by Caren – first published in 2010 – there are more stories from the same community to come (you can read the books and the audiobooks are soon to be in production) so if you like to get to know a place and settle in for some tall tales then Veiled Eyes is a good place to start.

I was sorry to finish the production (I narrate and also produce audiobooks on ACX) as I get so caught up in creating the voices and bringing the most out of the action for the listener – Veiled Eyes has lots of action too – fast paced peril, edge of your seat stuff. And wonderful ideas for a world that surely could really exist if you just let your mind wander…

You can get hold of the audiobook of Veiled Eyes on Audible. If you’re not already an Audible member you can sign up and get Veiled Eyes for FREE! Just follow the info on the Audible website.

 

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