Bringing Stories to Life: The Magic of Audio

22nd August 2019

Dominique Valente, the author of the magical Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day, reflects on the magic of audiobooks:

There is something truly magical about listening to a story. Perhaps it has something to do with humanity’s earliest beginnings, but hearing a story makes every word come alive, every sentence more powerful somehow, like lyrics set to music.

When I used to live in Johannesburg, I had a very long commute that took me an hour-and-a-half each way, and someone suggested listening to audiobooks to pass the time. It was a revelation. I went from resenting the time wasted in my car to looking forward to it, often having to stay in the parking lot to finish a chapter, arriving to my office with mascara running down my face and some garbled explanation for why I was in a state.

My debut fantasy children’s novel, Starfell, was a labour of love that took over seven years to write, and when it got a publishing deal I have to admit that hearing about the companion audio book was squee inducing as a result.

Listen to Dominique’s introduction to the Starfell audiobook here:

There is something truly magical about listening to a story.

Especially, as it appeared that the audio team were ready with a bag-full-of-tricks that even I couldn’t have imagined, and I fantasised some whoppers! For instance, I never imagined a custom theme tune for Starfell – which is so uplifting and enchanting that I genuinely thought of making it my ring tone, except that I figured that would make me a bit insufferable… so I didn’t. And the announcement later on that it would be read by the incredibly cool and talented actress Tuppence Middleton, who is just so quirky and fun, and even her name sounds like it could be a character in my world – meant to be? I think so!

In true nerdy, fan-girl fashion I begged to be allowed to come along to hear her performance, and the team happily obliged, while I gushed with a too big smile. I had high expectations but they exceeded them. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I remember sitting there with my husband, watching Tuppence as she read the words I had written, bringing each character gloriously to life. From giving my reluctant troll a Northern accent, to giving the monster-from-under-the-bed a raspy Cockney voice that made us all giggle like mad. It was incredible watching the sound team laugh at the things I’d hoped might be funny or gasp when something seemed scary. It felt like we’d been given an exclusive pass to a performance just for us. There are few careers in which you pull back the curtain and the glamour and fun still remain, but I do feel the magic of audiobooks is definitely one of them.

Dominique Valente

Find out more about Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day

Listen to an extract of the magical Starfell audiobook read by Tuppence Middleton here:

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