...at a Blackstone meeting yesterday. We were scheduling upcoming releases, and one of our acquisitions people announced that she had acquired several series of--wait for it--Amish romances.
"Oh goody!" I exclaimed.
Now, between you and me, we audiobook folks can be a snobbish bunch. It's about great literature, timeless books in a timeless format, high art preserved for the ages by the great actors of our time, yaddah yaddah.
And, me being the gatekeeper of this great art form, I guess everyone expected me to groan and roll my eyes.
Nothing of the sort!
I love mass market fiction. It's fun, it's easy to cast, it's a breeze to record. Any narrator with a sense of humor and a little perspective is going to have a blast romping across the moors tossing bodices this way and that, or creeping through the sagebrush to ambush the gol-darn rustlers, or even clopping along the country roads of Ohio while the seasons turn and life's little lessons are played out against a backdrop of barns and bundling boards. You know there's an eager audience hanging on every syllable, breathlessly awaiting the next lusty (or wholesome) kiss and the inevitable meting out of just desserts.
One of the pleasantest times I ever spent behind the mic was recording a sunny little Christian teen romance novel. The characters were colorful and lent themselves to creative "mental casting" (a little Judy Garland here, a touch of Walter Brennan there, and some Barbara Stanwick thrown in for good measure); no violence or grueling slasher scenes; NO boudoir stuff (most narrators dread graphic sex--it's embarrassing); and everything turns out ducky in the end. What's not to like?
Even more fun is goading skeptical actors into treating this stuff like Tolstoy and breathing life into the cliches and recycled plots. "I dare you to make this sound great!" I tell them. It's the satisfaction of a B-movie director who, against the odds, turns out an engrossing little picture. I love bursting the bubble of low expectations.
So all you secret romance fans--you know who you are--get ready! Blackstone has a great cross-section of this ever-popular genre coming up this fall, and it's going to be fun to listen to. We've got your lusty Scottish earls with rippling abs, your winsome Amish lasses who yearn for that perfect fellow, your cozy quilting shops where small-town troubles get "ironed out" (pun intended). Stay tuned for specifics as the release dates approach.