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This post is inspired by sci-fi author Heidi Ruby Miller's awesome blog series, CAST YOUR CHARACTERS, in which she gets talented, published authors to visualize a cast list of actors for the characters in their books. It's incredibly fun and one of my favorite things to read on her website.
I thought I'd give my own book a try, but it's difficult for me to find Hollywood actors who resemble the characters in my novel The Name and the Key. So I thought I'd take a different approach and address the question:
What do my characters sound like in my head as I write them?
I thought I'd use voice actors to cast my characters for this exercise so you can get an idea of what I think they sound like when I picture them in my mind. And thanks to my epic anime watchlist, I've got a large pool of actors to choose from!
Admittedly, the audio quality for these videos is sucktastic. It was very difficult for me to find audio snippets of voice actors where they didn't have dialogue with another character, let alone an example of the type of "voice" they use that would suit the book. These little 10-second videos I made involved me standing close to a TV and recording audio on my iPhone, then smacking that sound to an image in Windows Movie Maker. Since this was really time consuming, I only did the voice clips for the book's leads, although I may update this post as I go. In the meantime I have no idea how to clean the sound and remove interference, so...yup. But bear with me--it's just enough to give you an idea of what I imagine each character's voice to be.
If I had the clout and the means, I'd have a dramatic reading of The Name and the Key instead of a traditional audiobook and hire these people on the spot!
Dialogue from the book: "I was scared when you came to Mariner, because I thought you'd be a total stranger to me, and the boy I met all those years ago would be gone. But he's here. The boy who showed me magic, who pulled me from the marshes, who carried me home in spite of his pain--that's the type of person you are. What you did for Grandma--what you've done for Laney, for me--I don't know how I'll ever repay you. You've helped me in every way, and I'm grateful for it."
Voice Actor: Laura Bailey
Dialogue from the book: "If there's no difference between above and below; and if one and all are exactly the same; then anything can be possible. [But] there still has to be order. Nothing out of balance can function for very long. [...] You could call it a law of nature. Everything is created to be in harmony with each other. And if something--if someone violates that order, then [...] Nature corrects. [It] punishes, too. It forces change; but that change ensures harmony. Even if it comes at a high price."
Voice Actor: David Matranga
Let me explain: I stumbled across Kamisama Dolls, which I had never ever heard of, and impulsively started watching it so I could add it to my Watchlist. I fell out of my chair when the character Aki Kuga showed up. I'd say he's the most fascinating character from Kamisama Dolls; he's introduced as the villian but as we know in anime, things are a lot more complicated than that; he's also really messed up for some pretty good reasons. Anyway, what blew my mind the most was how perfect David Matranga's voice is for Andresh. If you remove the snarkiness in the tone of voice he uses for bad boy Aki, it's a freaky cosmic fit. Andresh is in no way a villain, but he definitely has a darkness to him that I think Matranga could work perfectly. Try to imagine the dialogue quoted above with the audio below. Ta-dah!
Dialogue from the book: "Contrary to what you might think, [Andresh is] not my first love. I know what that feels like. I've liked plenty of boys before, I've just been able to control myself and keep it from everyone. That's why I know that this is different. Because I can't hide it. I can't control myself. I can't stop thinking about him. This is true love!"
Voice Actor: Laura Bailey
Let me explain: Laura Bailey's an incredibly talented performer with an arsenal of voices and acting credits under her belt. The reason why I'd use her again is because siblings sometimes sound similar to one another in real life. To have her use a voice closer to her real one for Lily, and then a younger-sounding voice for Laney, would make it very plausible that the two were sisters--similar enough to be related, but clearly distinguishable from one another.
The rest of these actors popped in my head but I haven't found audio samples for them yet...I'll update this article with media and character details when I can.
This was a really fun post to put together! And now that I'm working on The Step and the Walk (and plotting a third book with these characters, The Eye and the Storm), I'll probably do additional voice acting posts for those novels, too.
If you could cast actors (from live-action or voice-acting) to perform the roles in your own book (or your favorite book), who would you choose? Let me know in the comments!