Authors have a dirty little secret…we hear voices. All of the time. Our characters whisper, cajole, encourage, and inspire us as we write. I once posted on my Facebook page that friends shouldn’t be offended if they see me out walking and wave as they drive by and don’t get a return wave from me…I am probably writing. Now, if they see me talking to invisible people it might be more difficult to explain.
Because I am a singer, I not only hear my characters’ voices, I hear their range, timbre, pitch, and melody. Disclaimer: I am not a professionally trained musician, so I don’t know all the jargon of the craft, but I know what I like… My description of voices is hardly scientific, rather it defines my characters, as I hear them, including their personalities.
Emily Wentworth is the heroine of Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit. While many times in musical theatre and opera, the heroine is a first soprano, Emily is a mezzo-soprano, perhaps a first alto. She has a deeper, richer tone than the high clear voice of a soprano, so she would sound more like Beyonce, Idina Menzel or Cecilia Bartoli. A kind of velvet, smooth, golden tone. Not a woman to be trifled with, Emily is determined and passionate; her voice rises with indignation at injustice and falls, soft and silken as she whispers her love to Jonathon.
My hero, Jonathon Brentwood, is a baritone like Josh Groban, Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra. While deep in tone, Jonathon’s voice is also gentle and soothing, often touched with humor and understanding. Forceful and commanding while striding the deck of his ship, it is colored with warmth and desire when Emily is in his arms.
Now Deidre , the villainess, is a contralto like Adele, Cher or Marian Anderson. Her deepest, darkest secrets are revealed in a husky, opaque voice. Her attempts at seduction pour over her intended victims like sultry honey.
Emily’s brother, Andrew, whose adolescent voice is changing during Love’s Destiny, transitions to a tenor in the sequel, Love’s Spirit. As he progresses into adulthood and begins his quest to become a lover worthy of his beloved Jenny, he sounds like Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake or Andrea Bocelli, although perhaps more reticent as he tentatively wades into the sea of love.
So what do your favorite fictional characters sound like? Are their voices melodic and sweet? Are they resonant and commanding? Do they whine and whimper or do they command respect and honor? Does integrity flow out on the cadence of their speech? Does passion enkindle the timbre warming to flames of desire?
One thing is certain: In Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit, Emily and Jonathon make beautiful music together. So, as Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on.” Twelfth Night Act 1, scene 1, 1–3
Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit are available on Amazon