When it begins, I’m floored.

I’m drawn in by a soft Mancunian accent: ‘My night brother is here. Halfway between yesterday and tomorrow morning, he shakes my shoulder…’

It is Edie, telling her own story.

I’m surprised at how emotional I feel. My third novel The Night Brother has just been published, complete with a stunning cover designed by Claire Ward and original artwork by Aitch. Hard on the heels of this breathless sensation is the excitement of discovering the audiobook.

I am listening to my novel read in a voice that’s a world away from my own. Here are chapters I worked on for years: editing, redrafting, over and over, until I thought I knew everything there was to know about them. Yet all of a sudden, the words sound fresh-minted. It is nothing short of magical.

Georgia Maguire continues to speak as Edie, atmospheric and mesmerising. Then it strikes me: this isn’t how I heard Edie in the privacy of my head, not at all. Perhaps that’s what makes it absolutely perfect.

I don’t need this to be ‘my’ Edie. For a start, it’s impossible. Here’s the thing: now that The Night Brother is out there (in print, ebook and audio), the characters of Edie, Gnome and Abigail have left me, their creator, to take on lives of their own. The novel is open to interpretation by every reader. And in the audio version, by talented actors Georgia Maguire, Gareth Bennett-Ryan and Emma Gregory, whose voices combine to enthral the listener. The alchemy is wonderful.

Thank you, Georgia, Gareth and Emma. Not only for the gift of my words made new, but for reading to me. It takes me all the way back to childhood, where my love of spinning stories finds its beginning. One of my earliest memories is storytime with my grandmother. Not restricted to bedtimes, I curl on her lap while the tales unfurl. I’m too young to understand the letters swirling across the page, but her voice wraps around me as sure as her arms. No wonder I associate being read to with being hugged. You could say that I’m rooted in the spoken word – not simply in the narrow definition of public readings and performances – but the adventure of hearing words out loud.

 

Rosie Garland, 2017

 

#LoveAudio is an industry-wide initiative that aims to celebrate and shine a light on all things audiobook.

Listen to an extract from THE NIGHT BROTHER here.

Purchase THE NIGHT BROTHER audiobook here.