Monday, 17 May 2010

Ralph Cosham blogs!!!

sunny, warm, temps 22

A spectacular early summer day. Hard to believe a week ago it was still snowing! And this morning, after breakfast at Hovey, Michael and I did one of our favorite things...we sat in the adirondack chairs on the lawn in the gardens, looking out at the lake, sipping coffee, reading the newspaper, and smelling lilac for the first time this year. Just a soft hint of lilac in the warm air.

Ahhhh.

But - I have a real treat for you today...Ralph Cosham does the US audio book versions of my series and has won all sorts of awards for his work - both on my books and lots of other books he tapes. Well, Ralph has agreed to guest blog. I asked if he'd mind and, gracious man that he is, he said he'd be happy to give it a go. Yesterday he sent it to me. Here is what Ralph Cosham wrote...


The moment I read the first few paragraphs of Still Life, I knew I was about to record something special. The scene, the characters, and the mood were established with the kind of skill and clarity that compels the reader to keep turning the page. (Another clue: as I continued to work, my wife would often sneak into the office to listen to me read – something she almost never does.)

Growing up in the austerity of post-World War Two England, books and the radio were my means of escape and the foundation of my love of language, reinforced and intensified by many years as a journalist and actor.
In my opinion, Louise Penny is a great mystery writer in the tradition of Ngaio Marsh and Josephine Tey, and much of the credit for whatever success I may have had in creating the audio versions of the Three Pines mysteries is due to Louise herself.
She created such vivid images in my mind that I feel that I know Three Pines and its inhabitants and I try to translate those images into an audio version that will give listeners the same level of enjoyment that her readers get. As for Gamache, he has become very special to me. To me, it is as though Roderick Alleyn and Inspector Maigret had a son: all British intellect and Gallic charm, with a dash of that understated (and often underestimated) Canadian competence.

The most frequently asked question I get when people find out I narrate audiobooks is whether I read the books in advance. I do not. There usually isn’t time. I will skip ahead a few pages to see if there are any words I need to look up for meaning or pronunciation, or to look for clues as to the origin of a new character. I’ve done this ever since I discovered, 10 pages after he was introduced, that a character’s “Scottish brogue became more pronounced!” What I try to do is create the feeling that the listener and I are discovering the book at the same time.

I am thrilled that I will be continuing to narrate the Three Pines mysteries, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the manuscript of Bury Your Dead.


Doesn't Ralph sound just wonderful? I'm looking forward to meeting him. Indeed, the publishers of the audio book are looking into organizing some events for the two of us, so we can share a stage and discuss what each of us does to bring the books and characters and settings alive. That would be great fun. I'll let you know if anything comes of that.

And, since this is such a lovely post, I've decided to leave it up for a couple of days - and put it in the June Newsletter.

Speak to you on Wednesday...though I'll be reading your comments, of course - as will Ralph, I believe.

8 comments:

Cara Armstrong said...

So great to see the written words of "the voice!" And, I adore thinking of Gamache as the love child of Alleyn and Maigret (conceived in Canada, of course).

Marjorie said...

Mr. Cosham,

Thanks so much for guest-blogging here (and on Louise's Facebook page) and giving us some insight into how you work. I love using audiobooks during my one hour commute back and forth to work each day.

Thanks,
Marjorie from Connecticut

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to have Mr Cosham here!

I absolutely love Ms Penny's books. Own all of them that have been published in the US, and have recommended them to my friends.

But I have always listened to them. Ralph Cosham is the voice of Three Pines for me. He does such a wonderful job that I want the collaboration of his and Ms Penny's talents.

And agree that I cannot wait for the next book. Only, I will have to wait longer than Mr. Cosham.

Thanks, both of you, for all the enjoyment that you have given me.

Reen said...

It means everything to me, to have high-quality recorded books. Due to disability, I cannot read a hardcover book longer than 5 or 10 minutes at a time. I must depend on recorded books for almost all of my reading.

Although I could not do without the recordings provided by the US Library of Congress, they do not - generally - give good life to good story. Ralph Cosham does. Since there is no way to imagine voice while listening to someone else read, why not listen to a brilliant reader!

Diane said...

If Mr. Cosham's voice is as pleasant and intelligent sounding as his writing, then listeners to the Three Pines series are in for a wonderful treat. His insight to the depth of your talent Louise is another reason for being warmed immediately to him. How generous for him to agree to comment on the blog, I know I'm not alone in my appreciation.

The audio books is exciting news as I have a friend who is no longer able to read due to her failing vision. I can't wait until we meet for our usual coffee get together to let her know what a treat she will be in for.

This adds to all the blessings your books have given so far.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

I know Ralph has read your comments and I'm so glad you enjoyed his blog. I did too. Love to get him back to describe in more detail how he voices the books - not just mine, but I'm fascinated by how he does it.

Vanessa said...

I really enjoy escaping to Three Pines through the medium of Ralph Cosham's voice. I used to read several books a week, but now I am so busy my only "me" time is in my car driving to and from work.I have listened to many performers...Ralph is far above the rest. Listening to Ralph read Louises' books is truely a gift to me...I want to thank both of you, so much, for this gift.

A question to Louise...does he read it the way you intended for it to sound?
Thanks again,
Vanessa

Carol Weaver said...

My favorite narrator of all time! Love this little snippet of his life. Thank you!