It’s finally here! Karin Slaughter’s next hotly anticipated novel in her Atlanta series, CRIMINAL, offers double the mystery for listeners, connecting a killing from 1975 to a present-day murder that has some shocking personal repercussions for Detective Will Trent. The dark and thrilling novel is narrated by Kathleen Early, with just the right Southern twang, according to Atlanta native Karin. She kindly shared some of her thoughts about audio narration and CRIMINAL exclusively with AudioGO:
For me, the hardest part about touring is when folks ask me to read from my book. It’s difficult not just because I’m not a fluent out-loud reader, but because I feel the constant need to edit myself as I’m reading: why did I choose that word? I should’ve made that paragraph shorter. Why is anyone listening to me when it’s so awful…wah!!!
There’s a reason lots of authors drink.
That being said, I was very curious to see how Kathleen Early handled the reading of Criminal. I had the pleasure of speaking to Kathleen on the phone the day of the recording, and I was able to express to her that Sara shouldn’t sound like somebody shook a trailer park to see what accent would drop out. Likewise, Amanda, Faith and Evelyn are not country bumpkins. They are educated women. They don’t wear Daisy Dukes and swill beer.
This is a real problem southerners have with so-called southern accents: they all tend to either sound trashy or Gone With the Wind. While I’m a huge fan of Gone With the Wind, we’ve moved on a bit since the 1930s and not everyone in the region sounds like they’re speaking with a mouth full of mint julep.
Fortunately for me, Kathleen got it. She’s a Texas gal, and she knew without me saying that Texas isn’t the south, and that there’s a different cadence to the colloquialisms of rural Georgia and that of a large, cosmopolitan city like Atlanta. And I was very pleased to find when I got my finished copies of the recording that she incorporated this into her reading.
While I love all my books, I feel a special kinship with Criminal in particular. The research alone took me a solid year. In the book, are a lot of different women who have varying points of view, and the story cuts back and forth in time-from 1970s Atlanta to present day. I based some of the story on interviews I had with female police officers who came up in the 70s and had to put up with some of the resistance I talk about in the book. The present day stuff with Will Trent, where you learn along with Sara Linton some of the awful things that happened to him in the past, is especially meaningful to me. While reading a book aloud is really just one person’s interpretation, I think the voices in the audio book are spot-on, and I hope that y’all enjoy listening to the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
~ Karin Slaughter
For more on CRIMINAL, check out Karin’s intriguing microsite at http://www.karinslaughter.com/criminal/, featuring vintage Atlanta photos and map, a 1970s playlist, and some fascinating videos highlighting the period!