“Voice?” What’s in a voice, and how do you find it?


I was speaking with my second son, Yoni, yesterday. He, along with my other three children, live in Israel and I’m in Florida. He’s studying in the Wingate Institute in Netanya, with the intention of teaching physical Education. He’s also getting married in June and had a few questions for me.

Out of the blue, he began talking about my second novel, “Hog Valley”. “It’s as if you were sitting with me and telling me the story, Dad,” he said. “Like you were right there beside me. But not everyone who read’s your books will have that feeling. Maybe if they were with you they might feel that, but what about everyone else? What do they feel?”

Beats me. I really didn’t have an answer for him, but I think he gets ‘It’. And then so did I. My “Voice” in the Terry Rankin novels is me, in a very big way. I don’t pull any punches when I write those stories. I don’t pretend to be anyone else but me. Terry Rankin tells the story of his life through me (or perhaps it’s the other way ‘round). I will admit there is a lot of me and my attitudes in Terry. Me, and some other men I have known, anyway.

Your “Voice” is what sets you apart from other writers telling pretty much the same sorts of stories as you do. Your “Voice” is the reason readers will come back to buy YOUR stories time and time again over other authors. It’s HOW you tell your tale that counts, even over and above whatever plots you come up with or characters you create out of whole cloth.

So relax, and tell your tale, and put yourself into your work. Be a storyteller. Be you, and let the chips fall where they may.


About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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One Response to “Voice?” What’s in a voice, and how do you find it?

  1. What a fabulous compliment from your son. thanks for sharing it, and encouraging and demystifying voice so eloquently

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