‘The Cyclist’ by Richie Brown – audio clip read by Pearl Hewitt

From the moment I heard the discordant, harsh, and apt introductory music of this clip, I was hooked like an albatross on a tuna line.

As though having the opportunity to have ‘The Cyclist’ published in a book was not (for me) a victory in itself, hearing my words narrated in such a professional and compelling manner by Pearl Hewitt is an entirely new experience.  I have only ever heard my stories in my own voice – out-loud, or in my head – so to have such a striking, third-party interpretation is a revelation.  I realise now what an appalling lack of imagination I have when it comes to interpreting my own material.

Without question, Pearl’s voice is the voice of my story, and the voice of sour-faced, pale-lipped Merle.  It’s almost ‘posh’ but there’s a hint of northern accent to ground it, and there is a thinness or meagreness to the tone.  (Which doesn’t sound either complimentary or listenable, but it is, and it is.)  When Chris asked what sort of voice we wanted to read our stories, I plumped for a middle-aged, middle-ish class bloke (because, I guess, he’d sound a bit like me  - but a lot more competent - and because the story is in the third-person, so doesn’t need a female voice to match the female character).  Luckily, Helen Lloyd who is producing the audio book, suggested a woman reader would be better, to match the voice of the story and so I followed the professional advice.  I’m glad I did, and I’m glad that Helen took the time and trouble to ask.  The narration and the character of Merle are unified and the whole is satisfyingly complete.

And it’s not only the sound of the voice, of course, it is the way the story is delivered.  I imagined the story happening at quite a pace, even before the chase scene, but Pearl takes it slow and easy, and again, that fits Merle, who doesn’t even like to drive at all fast.  Furthermore, it will be a good counterpoint for when the action does kick off, and everything speeds up.

Pearl has brought Merle and the story to life in a way I hadn’t imagined/couldn’t imagine.  Having listened to it – just a few times, you understand – I wondered if I might have written it differently.  I don’t believe so, other than perhaps have Merle say a little more (to herself) because Pearl does surly Merle superbly, and to be a little more attentive to how a phrase differs when read on the page, and when spoken.  Certainly, I will do a lot more reading aloud to myself from now on.


Fifty stories, fifty writers, and now fifty different voices.  I don’t know if there will be an audio book for Twisted 50 vol. 2 but even if there’s just a chance, then it’s worth entering just for that, never mind the book and the learning opportunities offered by Create 50.
I’ve not even mentioned the potential film…


Give it a go!  The competition is still open for submissions.


My thanks to Pearl, Helen, Chris and the team, and to those who commented on this story during the submission phase.


And now, I think another listen is in order…

Best regards,

Write a comment

Comments: 7
  • #1

    Helen Lloyd (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 12:02)

    Phew ... I always breathe a sigh of relief when I successfully hand a baby wearing new clothes back to its parent ! Always a scary moment. So glad you're happy Rich.

    Getting feedback like this is so rewarding.

    We are interpreters of someone else's words that they have worked long and hard on ... and sometimes the voice in the author's head is too strong for them to accept a different interpretation so it is very heartening to get such wonderful comments ... keep listening and enjoying ... and keep writing too.

  • #2

    Chris Jones (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 13:03)

    Loving this process and all the active creativity on show. Loving doing the music too. Always wondered why people didn't use music more in Audiobooks.

  • #3

    Richie Brown (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 14:24)

    The music on all the clips is excellent, and creates exactly the right atmosphere before a word is even spoken.

  • #4

    Stephanie Hutton (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 19:05)

    Sounds great Rich well done and what a privilege to have this so well done by the narrator :-)

  • #5

    Pearl Hewitt (Thursday, 05 January 2017 23:11)

    Wow! Richie this is a wonderful article. Thank you so much for your feedback. You have certainly made me glow! I'm so pleased to have had the opportunity to read your story. I love this whole 50 project and I want to thank Helen Lloyd for asking me to participate! I love the concept of it and everything about the way it has been produced, including the fantastic music. I raise my hand to vote for a vol. 2! Bring it on!
    Thanks again!

  • #6

    Chris Jones (Friday, 06 January 2017 12:06)

    Thank you for doing such a stellar job @Peral too!

  • #7

    Laine Booton (Saturday, 07 January 2017 22:45)

    How amazingly perfect this narrative is! Pearls voice had me immediately engageded. But then it stopped.. where can I purchase this audio? Brilliant.. just brilliant!