Today's Guest: Barb Ferrer

That’s Caridad Ferrer to you should you be standing in a bookstore looking for an awesome book to read. Ms. Fabulous Ferrer is made of all that is shiny and wonderful and you really, really need to read her new book When The Stars Go Blue (because it is totally wonderful – you can check out my review of it here)

I adore this cover – simple and vibrant all at once. GORGEOUS!

It’s All About the Voice

Patrick Stewart could read the phone book to me and I’d be one happy girl. For that matter, so could Kenneth Branagh, James Earl Jones, or Andre Braugher.

Bet you’re shaking your head right about now, right? You probably read that header and thought I was going to blog about voice in writing, didn’t you? Admit it, you did. You thought I was going to go all dry and academic and ramble on and on about the importance of unique voice in writing and it’s what can turn an ordinary story into an extraordinary story.


Nope. I’m talking about voice voice. Actual voice. Speaking or singing voice.

Lemme back up a bit. Some of the most entertaining conversations in which Lauren and I have engaged, usually via Twitter, are about music. Our tastes are remarkably similar in many ways and vary wildly in others and we’re constantly introducing each other to new stuff (or at least new to us stuff). Or geebling about music that makes up happy. The inspiration for this post actually came from a couple of conversations we’ve had in the last couple of weeks that were all about the geebling. One of them was about Kings of Leon. I don’t know what it is about those boys from Nashville, but hot damn, the music they come up with makes a girl think Wrong Thoughts. And Caleb Followill’s voice? Makes a girl think even Wronger Thoughts. I don’t care if he’s a baby, relatively speaking, and I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t care if he looked like a troglodyte (which he doesn’t, especially since the haircut), when he sings, I could cheerfully take him out back behind the woodshed and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Another time Lauren and I burbled nearly incoherently was with respect to Jason Mraz. Now, looks-wise, Jason is right up my particular alley. Lanky, adorkably geeky boy with a quirky sensibility and wicked sense of humor. Normally, that’s more than enough to pique my interest. But when he opens his mouth and begins to sing and forget it. I go from “Hmm, cute,” to “Whoa, mama.” As Lauren put it, with respect to Jason, “He’s like the geeky boy who came back for junior year all grown up.” To which I responded with, “Yeah, after a summer spent in Thailand where he learned things.” There is just something so sly and knowing, not simply in his lyrics but in how he sings them—in the quality of his voice—that makes me tingle in all the right places.

I have a whole list of voices like this—and surprisingly, they don’t necessarily have to be a “perfect” voice technically speaking. It’s a very personal thing. They just have to have that indefinable something that tugs at my guts and makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Like Crispin Freeman, for example. Most amazing voice and so few people actually know who he is outside of certain circles. He’s an accomplished voice actor for anime and video games and oh boy, is his voice something. I first heard it during what’s become my favorite anime: Witch Hunter Robin. His character, Amon, was absolutely fascinating as written, but I know that a large part of the fascination for me was also wrapped up in that glorious voice. A stunning baritone, that even when he’s speaking in a measured monotone can’t help but have a rolling mellifluousness that weights each word with meaning.

Yeah. I know. I know what I sound like. But I can’t help it. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for beautiful eyes and I have a weird thing for left-handed men, but when it comes right down to it, it’s the voices that do it for me the way a well-defined six pack might do it for other women.

Unfortunately, however, I find that I lack the skills to adequately describe the qualities a delicious voice has when writing a hero’s description. It just comes out sounding sort of dry and completely not at all what I’m hearing. I mean, yeah, I can say a voice is a tenor or a baritone and a reader can get a general idea, but it’s just not the same. It’s not really getting to the heart of the matter, you know? Maybe that’s one reason I listen to so much music when I write. I may not be able to describe the voice itself without wandering into potential purple prose land, but at the very least, I can describe how it makes me feel. The emotions a voice can evoke that can help flesh out a scene more completely and give it a depth it might not otherwise have had.

See? I even managed to slip in a little writing stuff in there.

So. Spill. Any voices do it for y’all? Or what is that quality that makes your stomach do flips and makes you contemplate doing Bad Things? Let me know I’m not alone in my geekery.

P.S. For your listening enjoyment, Jason Mraz’s live version of “A Beautiful Mess.” I’ll be over in the corner clutching my blankie, thanks.

3 comments to “Today's Guest: Barb Ferrer”

  1. Stacie
    December 24th, 2010 at 9:18 am · Link

    I agree with Jason Mraz. Chris Cornell’s singing ALWAYS gets my attention. My big geek-love would be actor Jeff Fahey’s voice. It is so gravely and rough. Don’t know why it works for me but boy does it!

  2. Collette
    December 24th, 2010 at 10:23 am · Link

    Dennis Haysbert. Oh my. Who knew I’d adore Allstate commercials so much.

  3. Diane Sadler
    December 25th, 2010 at 6:12 pm · Link

    Josh Groban, what a voice!