**Get it FREE! **
**Get it FREE! **
Lord of the Flies by William Golding was written in the 1950s – but this haunting coming-of-age story is dark, thought-provoking and unnervingly timeless.
I first read this as a child at school, I think it was on the English syllabus but it is not just a story for kids – in fact I probably got even more from it, as the cynical adult I have become, than I did all those years ago.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story – here’s a brief synospis.
After a plane crash a group of British schoolboys are left castaway on an island – the boys range from ‘littleuns’ to ‘biguns’ – approximately 4 or 5 to young teen. There are no adults let alive. At first, it’s an adventure – and the older more sensible kids begin to make plans to await rescue. Power struggles soon emerge – from the sensible Ralph, the bullied, overweight and myopic but intelligent Piggy, to the nasty Jack.
The kids are innocent, for the most part, but it doesn’t take long for this innocence to be lost, and the kids begin to reflect the darkness within humanity, within power and petty politics.
Part of the synopsis reads; ‘The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Symbolism is strong throughout, revealing both the boys’ capacity for empathy and hope, as well as illuminating the darkest corners of the human spirit. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be.’
The audio edition is especially powerful, and the narrator builds the suspense, and the brewing tragedy excellently. It’s a tale which the reader (or listener) at once wants to end, and not to end – because one must find out what happens, but at the same time one fears one knows.
Awesome, awesome story, expertly written and expertly told. Highly recommended.
Sinners of Magic by Lynette Creswell is a fantasy tale following the adventures of young adults Crystal and Matt. Crystal is a strange girl, haunted by visions, and odd occurrences and has no answers for her skills. After she saves her friend from drowning a strange bird arrives on her windowsill. Then answers start coming and a splendid adventure really starts. The world is interesting – with elves, sorcerers, monsters and orc-like beings. The rules of the world are strict, and inevitably get broken and this leads to more problems. There is death, there is wicked magic, there is love, courage and intrigue.
It took me a while to get into the book and to connect with the characters (it may be an age thing as they are young adults – and I haven’t been that for 25 years…). That said once the adventure gets going the story is exciting, well-written and the world well crafted. The two protagonists are out of their depth, taken to a strange realm they never believed existed, and faced with life-threatening revelations and situations but the bond of friendship doesn’t wane. I found myself really wanting Crystal to find the answers, the evil lord to be defeated and the good guys to win out. Did they? Read and find out.
I shall definitely pick up the other two books in this trilogy.
*Name: Judith Bareham
*Tell us a bit about yourself: I am British born, married to Jonathan (a Brit also) and mom of three children –( a daughter 23, and two boys 20 and 15) who moved to the USA in 2000. Now I live in Charlotte NC and until recently was a stay at home mom, who home-schooled my sons for three and 8 years respectively. Until now, I didn’t have the capacity to pursue being a voice actress but the time was right this year to step into it fully and embrace it!
How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? Well last year I began training with a voice acting coach and decided this was now or never to pursue
That dream. I want to pursue other voice acting realms too, but I think narration will always be the solid foundation of what I do.
I have always narrated for as long as I can recall, from High school back in the day to amateur dramatics in plays, and I was asked to narrate because I was a good storyteller.
I have always loved acting but love being behind the mic as well as on stage.
Way back, I read newspapers for the Blind, near where I lived in the UK as I believe it’s vitally important that there are great resources available. And of course, audiobooks fit that brilliantly.
I began with Audible this year and auditioned for titles which interested me and were a good fit and here I am.
Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? Well, as I have just started out I don’t have a long list to my name yet, but I completed Mathamagical in the spring which was a brilliant rendering of a teenage boy who is struggling with math and generally down on his luck. Until he discovers a magical world of math and is able to succeed in solving problems along the way.
I am working on a “how to book for teachers” which although is not a story, is motivational in style and I am finding I really enjoy this style of book too – I like to solve problems and help people so I feel a passion for what I am reading.
I volunteer for the Library for the Blind in Washington DC too, when they have titles for me and as time allows.
*Tell us about your process for narrating? (Be as elaborate as you like.)
A book with multiple characters like Mathamgical (there were 19) I have to think about how they would sound of course, but I begin to imagine how they would move, what they would wear, their characteristics – are they snippy or patient, do they zip through life or are they moody or grumpy about life?
This helps me tap into the voices better and help them become believable.
In the case of Lilie, she just fit a Scottish voice because of her breed but I have a dog Nelson, who I believe is very human in his responses so I took facets of him too and applied that to her voice.
Prior to the recording I spend time editing and looking for any misprints or issues which might cause me a problem as the narrator, so I try to fix those before recording.
That’s harder for a long book but it saves headaches down the road!
Then I begin recording and that’s the fun part.
What aspects do you find most enjoyable? Definitely doing accents and dialects and acting in my booth.
I love it when I can really get into a part
What do you find least enjoyable? Editing – it’s a beast.
Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? I think they always have been popular but increasingly so in the age of people being more mobile and able to access great content more easily.
It used to be incredibly expensive to buy a hard copy of an audiobook on CDS and you were limited to what your library had perhaps.
But now there are hundreds of titles made accessible – we can listen anywhere, anytime.
Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Black Beauty and I wore it out
If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? Oooh that’s tough. Specific titles are hard ………
I love Maeve Binchy novels because the Irish accent is one of my favorites to do
And I love the lilt and pace of it.
But equally children’s’ stories with trolls, knights, pirates, or woodland creatures – I love mice, rabbits, badgers and live in a world in my head where animals talk – a combination of any of those would be fun to do!
Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I am pretty competitive and so I have this hang up from childhood, where my brother and I used to outwit each other by being the last person to have sweets or chocolate left from Easter or Christmas. He beat me every time. So to this day, I still have little stashes of chocolate and sweets I haven’t eaten yet, in the house – it drives my family insane! They’re just jealous they don’t have the same will power…….
Where can we learn more about you? My website – Judith Bareham tells a little more about me.
I have a blog which I write approximately every other week and you can access on my site.
Social Media links:
Facebook – Judith Bareham
Judith is narrating Where’s Noodles? by Victoria Zigler. Check out the links here:
Barnes & Noble:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1724843222/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1724843222/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1724843222/
Welcome to DANI ERICKSON
I’m the seventh child of a seventh child, which makes me a hereditary demon hunter. I’m actually the answer to my grandpa’s dream, but he doesn’t know it. See, he set out to create a legendary seventh son of a seventh son – probably drove my grandmother to an early grave in the attempt. As far as he’s concerned, he failed. He got his seven sons, and six daughters as well, but his seventh son, my Uncle Gus, failed him. You see, Uncle Gus and Aunt Ellen weren’t able to have kids.
Grandpa had ignored Mom and Dad until it became clear that Aunt Ellen wasn’t going to give him any grandsons. After all, Dad was only son #5. But then Grandpa realized that Mom and Dad had six little boys, and there was another baby on the way! Mom wasn’t thrilled when Gramps turned his obsessive attention on her, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. Then the worst happened – at least from Grandpa’s point of view. I was born. A girl. Can anyone say, “Major disappointment”?
But the laugh’s on Grandpa, because gender doesn’t matter to a demon hunter. It’s all about the numbers. See, Dad was only the fifth son, but he was the seventh child. Making me the seventh child of a seventh child. I came into my powers on fourteenth birthday, but I’m not admitting any of this to my family. At least, not yet.
And Grandpa? Maybe I’ll tell him his plan succeeded … someday … if I’m feeling generous.
I live in Longmont, Colorado, in the here and now. My world is exactly like yours, except I can see the demons who walk right beside us, and you can’t. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Trust me. You’re lucky you can’t see them!
How do demons and humans get along? Depends on who you ask. Normal people don’t believe demons exist. Demons are perfectly happy with that since they feed off of us. Since normals don’t believe in them, they’re easy prey.
Me? I don’t get along with demons at all. I hunt them, with the help of my guardian and trainer. Wick can see them too, and he can fight them, he just can’t kill them. Killing demons is reserved for the hereditary demon hunters of the world. And in this age of birth control and smaller families, there just aren’t enough of us to protect humanity.
Well, I already told you about Grandpa and his obsessive desire for a seventh-seventh, so let’s concentrate on my immediate family.
I’m the youngest, and only girl, of seven kids. My brothers are Mike, Pat, Evan, Seth, Brent, and Jamie. Mike is in medical school at the Unversity of Colorado, Boulder. Pat just graduated with a degree in engineering. Evan is a senior at CU, studying urban planning, while Seth is a junior, but he hasn’t declared a major yet. Can’t make up his mind. Brent and Jamie are still in high school, a senior and a junior, while I’m just starting my freshman year.
Dad’s an architect with a firm in Boulder, and Mom is a stay-at-home mom. Trust me, with six sons and one daughter, she has a full-time job!
I have mad skills with knives and swords, and all forms of fighting (from street fighting to martial arts) come as naturally to me as walking. Wick has to teach me the basics, but I catch on faster than Jamie can inhale French fries!
I am a complete failure at lady-like behaviour. Seriously. Fancy dresses, make-up and batting eyelashes? Gag!
I’m okay looking, if you like athletic girls. I have long, dark blonde hair with a hint of red, and I typically wear it in a ponytail or a ponytail braid. I’m 5’10” with light brown eyes and I’m a lean, mean, fighting machine!
Well, my family, especially my brothers, see a helpless little girl. They all want me to act like a girl. After all, we have enough boys in the family.
My greatest fear isn’t that a demon will kill or maim me, it’s that my family will figure out that I have more in common with an Amazon queen than with a fairy-tale princess – that I’m more of a Rottweiler than the pampered Pomeranian they like to think I am.
Well, duh! I fight demons, remember?
I’m a kick-ass demon hunter, and my parents even named me appropriately. I’m Dani Heleen Erickson, which makes my initials D.H.E. – Demon Hunter Extraordinaire!
For the author
Books in which this character appears:
Demon Daze appears in Here Be Monsters
Short author bio:
Deb Logan writes children’s, tween, and young adult fantasy. Her stories are light-hearted tales for the younger set — or ageless folk who remain young at heart. She’s published numerous titles, including short stories, collections, and novels. Her work has been published in multiple volumes of Fiction River: An Original Anthology Magazine, as well as in The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide series. Author of the popular “Dani Erickson” series, Deb loves dragons and faeries and all things unexplained.
Beneath the Knowe
This is a rich and lyrical short story of fairyland, glamour, one woman’s courage and magical music.
Maeve is a resourceful young woman who wants more from life than marriage to a man she barely knows, and the mundane existence of her kin. She has music within, a glorious melodic soul that yearns to be heard, but women cannot be bards. When the fairies who ‘protect’ the clan take the chieftain’s baby son, Maeve’s nephew, nothing is to be done. Such is the bargain. Eventually, the menfolk challenge the fairies, and are sent home beaten and ashamed, minus the human infant.
It takes a woman, and a magical, musical soul to challenge the great Fairy King on his own turf -Maeve, and her music. Of course, bargaining with fairies has its price.
I loved this tale, with its vibrant imagery, innocent yet determined courage and a glimpse of the power of Anthea Sharp’s writing. Although this tale is short, it is enough of a taster to want more of this author’s work. I will definitely be venturing into fairyland with Ms Sharp again.
Name: Mandy Eve Barnett
Please tell us about your publications. As a multi-genre author, I have published works in a variety of styles and genres.
My first book, Rumble’s First Scare is a children’s picture book. It tells the tale of a young monster going above ground on his first All Hallows Eve to scare the beings that live there. My other children’s book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, is a chapter book for older children (or perfect for bedtime stories); it is the story of two magical woodland sprites and how they help their forest animal friends. Each chapter is a different animal.
I have one YA novella published entitled Clickety Click, which tells the story of a young orphan, whose guardian’s have a secret identity, which she discovers and why they must protect her until destiny calls.
Currently, my published adult books are The Rython Kingdom, a novella set in medieval England and relaying a troubadour’s adventure’s when he is invited to the King’s court. He aids the King and a lovely and mysterious young woman in saving the kingdom from a vengeful witch. The second novel is The Twesome Loop. A romance with a reincarnation twist set between England and Italy. It is in two time periods 1874 and 2000. The four main characters’ stories overlap in both eras.
What first prompted you to publish your work? I am extremely fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive writing group, who encourage me to write and one member is a publisher. So after some persuasion from everyone, I let Rumble into the world. Once I felt the sheer joy of someone telling me they enjoyed my story there was no stopping me.
Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? Most certainly a panster, once an idea forms, I let the story flow in whatever direction it wants and edit and revise later. I tried to plot using the ‘romance formula’ once and it was the one and only time I suffered writers block. Never again!
How influential is storytelling to our culture? As a species, we have always relayed stories and I don’t think that will ever change. We have a multiple of mediums to utilize for story telling now from spoken word, to books, to television and film. Even games have storylines. Telling tales is a way to preserve history, be it personal or cultural and, of course, they are the most wonderful entertainment.
Sort these into order of importance:
How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? There is quite a lot of research in my books, although some is personal knowledge gained from past interests, such as reincarnation and the natural world, others are ‘new’. One in particular was intriguing. I read about a body being found in a USA motel five years after the person was murdered. Yep, let that sink in! It was too good a circumstance not to use, so I incorporated it into a manuscript, along with two other unusual real news stories. I then had to research how a body can mummify and what conditions are required for it to do so.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Not to expect to be a best seller – it is a pipe dream for the vast majority of authors and you will only be unhappy reaching for an unrealistic goal.
If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? Oh this is hard as I have always been fascinated with the magical realm. As one of my passions is the protecting of the natural world, I think I would want to be a protector of all animal life and be able to shapeshift in order to save threatened animals.
Is there a message in your books? I actually spent quite some time trying to pinpoint the basis of my writing a while ago. Every story has a basis of love, magic and mystery – without these life is dull and boring so embrace your inner child and love unconditionally.
What is your writing space like? I recently moved and have arranged the master bedroom that I inhabit to my liking. I have a writing space at one end of the room with an L-shaped writing desk in one corner, a multi drawer storage unit full of notebooks, pictures, promotional material etc. and a large sofa chair for reading beside it. A reading lamp has dual purpose for reading or writing as I can swivel it back and forth. I still have to put up my inspirational board and a personal letter from Stephen King (my literary hero).
Tell us about your latest piece? I have just submitted my second YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria, to my publisher for editing and am working with an illustrator for the chapter headers. The narrative is set on another planet and tells of four friends battling a large alien monster.
Once I have completed a freelance writing project this month (fingers crossed my client keeps delaying), I will immerse myself into an old manuscript I have left alone for far too long, entitled Life in Slake Patch. It is a speculative fiction story set in an alternative matriarchal society and told by a young man living in this realm, who becomes the catalyst in dramatic changes and conflict.
What’s your next writing adventure? I have two other manuscripts that I plan to publish next year (again fingers crossed). One is a western romance, Willow Tree Tears with a barrel racer caught between two men vying for her love and the other, The Giving Thief is a thriller/suspense, following a young man’s story after he murders someone.
Bio (short version)
Mandy Eve-Barnett is a multi-genre author writing children’s, YA and adult books. Her passion for writing emerged later in life and she is making up for lost time. With five books published since 2011 and five more in progress, she indulges her Muse in creative as well as freelance writing.
Mandy regularly blogs: www.mandyevebarnett.com, where she encourages support and networking for all writers. She is also prolific on social media. As Secretary of her local writers group and President of the Arts & Culture Council she lives her creative life to the fullest.
Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.
Mandy is passionate about writing to the point of obsession and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. Mandy’s venture into freelance writing has been successful and she and regularly contributes to the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park newspaper as well as several anthologies.
Mandy has a new YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria coming out in the first half of 2018 and is revisiting and editing a speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch in the second half of 2018. (hopefully to be published in the fall 2018). Other manuscripts in the ‘pile’ are a thriller/suspense, The Giving Thief, and a western romance, Willow Tree Tears. With several requests for a sequel to The Rython Kingdom it has been added to the pending pile.
*Name: JD Kelly
*Tell us a bit about yourself: This is always a tough question to answer. I am a full-time voice actor, however, I’m also the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for a rock and blues band, as well as well as writing and recording my own solo music.
When I’m not using my voice for singing or acting, I try to share as much as possible on my YouTube channel, where I play Video Games and go to conventions across the country. See my answer to the ‘silly fact’ question below for one of my achievements!
Having my own YouTube channel also gives me the opportunity to film and edit video, as well as photography. I love meeting people in cosplay at conventions to create montage videos, I’ve also filmed music videos for bands and solo artists too.
One of my more recent interests is running, I’d never considered myself a runner before but now I’ve completed two half marathons (one was at Disneyland Paris) I think it’s safe to call myself a runner. In all honesty, I use it as a great way to get out into the countryside, a change from my recording studio!
How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? Before becoming a full-time voice actor, I worked in the industry part-time working on radio productions and audio plays. A friend of mine actually runs a production company so after working with them on a couple of small projects and really enjoying it I discovered ACX/Audible. I started to complete short projects in my spare time and immediately loved it, I quickly realised I wanted this to be my full-time career.
Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I really enjoyed ‘Norse Mythology by Matt Clayton’ it was fun finding out about the myths and legends. ‘Summary of “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor’ was great too as Shawn Achors TED Talk was a huge influence on me, his book on positive psychology is fascinating!
But I am really looking forward to the next chapter of ‘The Fall Of Centuria by James A. Harris’ it was great to do the first book in this fantasy series!
Do you have a preferred genre? Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I love narrating Fantasy novels, it’s a genre I read often. Sci-Fi is great too but I guess because the first book I really got into was The Hobbit, fantasy novels have kind of stuck with me.
I don’t produce erotic fiction, I don’t mind some raunchy romance tales but, when it gets too explicit, I can’t keep a straight face.
What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m currently working on Alice In Wonderland and the third book in a series called 101 SNES Facts!
I have just completed Cubby and the Beanstalk an adorable kids book! (see links below)
*Tell us about your process for narrating? (Be as elaborate as you like.) I’m very lucky that I have a recording studio set up home so it makes it really easy for me to get stuck into a project. The process begins with my audition, I look for roles that interest me, books about a subject I’m interested in and other projects in genres I’ve perhaps not worked in before, I love to challenge myself.
The audition is usually a few lines or the first 5 minutes of a longer project – this is usually enough to give me some insight into the writing style so I can adapt my tone as needed. I sometimes record a couple of versions so the end producer or author has some choice.
Once hired, I then like to get some direction from the client, writers often have a tone of voice in mind for a character and it’s important to me that I stay true to that. This is also a great time to confirm any unusual pronunciations or dialects – which happens quite often in fantasy books!
Once I’ve recorded everything, I then use various programmes to edit my takes and upload them as a final audio file.
What aspects do you find most enjoyable? The thing I find most enjoyable is becoming the character, it keeps my job diverse and interesting. One day I can be playing the role of a Military Commander, and the next a Welsh Polar Bear cub! I enjoy portraying these different characters, knowing that the end listener will use this to help paint the images in their mind while they listen to the books.
Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? This really depends on the project and the length of time involved. Royalty shares mean I get paid after the work is completed, when the project makes money. This can work well for shorter projects where I can complete the work fairly quickly, but for longer projects, I do charge a ‘per finished hour’ rate.
Do you listen to audiobooks? Sometimes for non-fiction I’ll listen to an audiobook, but I can’t quit the written word when it comes to fiction. I suppose I like to hear the voices in my head using my imagination.
*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I think it is a storytelling media that will continue to become more popular as time goes on.
However, do I think that physical books (Digital too) will become extinct? Not really, I think we will find some kind of equilibrium.
Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? With media/work taking up so much of people’s time these days, and people looking for ways to continue learning and being told stories I think it allows people escapism and learning on the move. During travel, in the bath and at night before bed seem to be good moments for most people.
Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? The first audiobook I owned was The Hobbit, I had it on cassette tape when I was about 8 years old, I remember getting it when I was living in America and I listened to it countless times. I’m not sure where the cassette is now, however, I recently went on holiday to stay in some hobbit huts in the UK and downloaded The Hobbit on iTunes – listening to it while sitting next to the fire brought back some great memories from my childhood.
If you are an author, do you produce your own audiobooks or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice? I am not an author…yet. But I think in the future it would depend on the project, and if my voice would be suitable. I hope that I have enough humility to keep perspective and make a good casting call on whether my voice is right or not.
Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) Oh definitely, it’s a system that has allowed me to forge a career out of a hobby!
Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Only one I can think of, the script I had received was not that well suited to audio production, so I just did the best I could with it. It is extremely rare that this happens but sometimes you just have to make the best of a script you are given.
Each difficult project you get teaches you something new, lets you know what your strengths and weaknesses are and allows you to get better!
Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have held a Guiness World Record for the Longest Marathon Time Playing Minecraft, I live-streamed it on my YouTube Channel raising over £2500 for Cancer Research UK!
Where can we learn more about you?
Social Media links:
Cubby and the Beanstalk is available at the following retailers.
Barnes & Noble:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Cubby-Beanstalk-Victoria-Zigler/1512360104/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Cubby-Beanstalk-Victoria-Zigler/1512360104
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Cubby-Beanstalk-Victoria-Zigler/1512360104/
The Book Depository:
Cover art atatched.
*Name: Danny Letham
*Tell us a bit about yourself: Raised on a Scottish moorland farm, I spent much of my adult life in various Scottish and English cities and now live near the North Wales Coast. My work background is software development and systems analysis, specialising in commercial, financial, and manufacturing systems. Born into a musical family whose other stock-in-trade was teaching, I was a mobile deejay in my teens, and these days I can gossip for Britain about many musical genres.
How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? While I’ve always liked to talk, the impetus came in the form of the usual story: suggestions from friends and relations. I was very aware that merely being the “natural” that those good folks suggested was not enough, and indeed the well-intentioned encouragement might not even have been true. So, from about 2012 onwards I researched and self-trained with the help of Patrick Fraley’s tutorials and a few other sources. Meanwhile, before my wife’s death in 2016 I had gradually withdrawn from the world of I.T. to become her full-time caregiver, and since then I have reinvented myself as a narrator, video maker, and digital artist. I first encountered ACX through Mr. Fraley.
Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? You’ll have worked out from the foregoing that I have only just taken the plunge. So, for the time being I don’t have much to say here. I have a computer full of material that will never be seen or heard in public, kind of like those early Beatles recordings made in Hamburg. (Dream on, Danny!)
Do you have a preferred genre? Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I’m a non-fiction kind of a guy really, who aspires to biography, history, the education sector, and corporate reads. I have a high regard for the better fiction narrators and am not averse to characterisation, but not every title is an Agatha Christie mystery and although I have my moments and can run the gamut of SATB timbres (baritone and mezzo are my best) I’m not quite in the same league as David Suchet. What folk tend to overlook, though, is that within the vast tract that is non-fiction there is every bit as much of a need for nuance and sense of scene. Which isn’t to rule out the right novel, of course; never say “never”. That said, I am minded to avoid so-called “Adult” material but I’d not reject an otherwise suitable title just because it had some adult content; however it would have to be very good read. On the other hand, given that I have a well-developed avuncular style for kids’ books there is an obvious conflict, so “Adult” is not a market I would target.
What are you working on at present/Just finished? I have just arrived on Audible as narrator of a kids’ title written by Victoria Zigler, called “Eadweard: a Story of 1066”. That title attracted me partly for its historic interest but significantly also because of its ethic; as a lad who never wanted to be a soldier myself I identified with its busting of the myth. The ten-year-old Danny repulsed by the “It’s a Man’s Life” TV recruitment campaign would have loved that book.
Ongoing, from a business perspective I am looking at ethical advertising both in sound and on video more so than audiobooks, but additionally in the medium term I have my eye on a couple of older works which are now in the Public Domain and for which I would assume the role analogous with rights holder as well as that of narrator.
*Tell us about your process for narrating? (Be as elaborate as you like.) Step One is, sample it and improvise reading one or two previously unseen passages. See how it FEELS. That instinct is important, and I try to carry it with me throughout the creative process at the same time as balancing it with self-directing. Next, read the thing end to end; if you don’t do that you can paint yourself into a corner either with a wrong characterisation as the plot unfolds or, in non-fiction, with a compromised counter-argument. Try a few more passages as you go along, and revisit former ones. Note how different the passages you improvised feel when they are re-encountered. Rehearse. Mark the text with cues and emphases while progressing, considering any surprise inflections that might work to keep the audience engaged. Rehearse again. Set milestones. Go on the mic, for no more than half an hour at a time; after that amount of time mistakes will multiply. Avoid becoming a slave to the punctuation, especially if that punctuation is mechanised. Repeat whole sentences or at least clauses where you notice at the time there has been a blooper, without pausing. Then get technical with NR, EQ, and all that stuff. When editing bear in mind that sometimes it’s better to splice than merely to cut. Sometimes there is no option but to overdub, but don’t do that yet. Open a list of overdub requirements. Listen back, repairing any pops or clicks etc, while identifying any more overdubs. Listen again, following the text closely looking for misreads. Rely on it; there will be some, and consequently more overdubs. Each overdub is a miniature run of the “mic NR EQ pop click etc.” cycle. Cry, scream, and yell, when the sound palette of the overdub doesn’t match the main body of your narrative. Rinse and repeat. FINALLY (um, not really finally) submit your Thing Of Beauty. Cry, scream, and yell, some more when the rights holder sends a list of …. overdub requirements! Rinse and repeat. Oh, and that other chap who waves his arms? Me too.
I didn’t mention mixing just now. I always record vox in mono but where music or SFX is involved I will decide based on the specifics of the case whether or not to mix in stereo. If it’s narration only, it stays in mono unless I need to emulate physical activity. However, they never needed a stereo mix in the days of Steam Radio, did they? We have lost a lot these days, with the “live” imperative supplanted by all this tech, and yet I am mindful of babies and bathwater. I prefer to use Adobe Audition. Some freeware is absolutely magnificent, but Audition’s visualisations and its brush and lasso repair tools in particular are all but indispensable. In the end you get what you pay for.
What aspects do you find most enjoyable? In a sentence? I like the sound of my own voice! No, in all seriousness, performing is the buzz; I can’t say that I love the technical aspects. I did discover recently when invited to do a live reading that the dynamic is entirely different from studio work, so now I am looking to add that to the repertoire on a permanent basis.
Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I certainly do. I think it unwise to dismiss either royalty share or finished-rate. Every project has its own business case. It depends on what balance you need to strike from time to time between visibility, prestige, and cash flow.
Do you listen to audiobooks? Not very often because in my limited leisure time I tend to read, looking for performance material! I spend more time listening to podcasts online. The audiobook that I have enjoyed the most – ever! – is David Suchet’s reading of “Death on the Nile”. Such characterisation! He is especially able when “doing” the women, and then there is all that over-the-top emoting, and excellent timing resulting from the great sound editing and audio engineering. What’s not to love? It is a lesson in the proper use of tech to give an enhanced performance experience. One of my bugbears is that the unavoidable pauses in “he-said-she-said” dialogue passages go unedited because of production time constraints. And people have been trained to like it, even to consider it best-practice. For me, while it’s fine in a live situation on a recording it just jars.
*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? Yes and no. It’s unfortunate in some respects that the old way is almost extinct, of Wise Old Heads occasionally reading from a book but frequently improvising around a detailed memory. There is nothing quite like a live performance in which the narrator responds to the audience’s cues and maybe interacts with them. The best stories can be retold with near-infinite variation – consider how folk music works. In my dreams at least, I foresee that style of performance returning as ordinary people’s reading comprehension skills continue to diminish – which I believe they are doing regardless of the A-level statistics. For now, though, as a society we are going through a “more of the same” loop in which hearing the same story repeatedly in exactly the same formulaic way is the “four legs good” of our era, and whether we like it or not the playback device is king. Equally, the playback device is an ideal medium for disseminating listen-once material, superior to radio because of its on-demand nature. In that context word-of-mouth, social media ads, and the Infernal MP3 Machine are the narrator’s best friends. Just as the phonograph paved the way for excellence in musical performance we must hope the MP3 does the same for narration, although in my view we aren’t quite there yet.
Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? The commuter lifestyle has a lot to do with it. The world of the past that I have described has largely been mechanised out of existence, and indeed that is the case even away from the urban cycle – in agriculture, for example, productivity demands shackle us to our tractors and our milking machines more than ever before. Changes in the popular music scene have made recorded music significantly less attractive to many than it has been previously, so the advent of affordable and – importantly – portable technology with which to hear something interesting is bringing the audiobook to the masses just like the Dansette did popular music half a century ago.
Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) It’s too early to say as regards earnings, but actually, I think it more realistic in my situation at least to seek prestige and visibility than it is to expect Big Bucks directly. It is an easy platform to use in the technical sense, while in another respect it falls somewhere in between an effective hiring fair and a useful additional networking tool, not so much with peer-to-peer networking (to steal an I.T. term) as in the wider literary community. Having said that, I think the signal-to-noise ratio in terms of networking opportunity is less than ideal.
Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Every experience is a learning opportunity. If you don’t see it that way, that is a negative in itself.
Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. People perceive me to be fearless but… while obviously, I wouldn’t choose to do so I would wrestle a Rottweiler (and probably lose), and yet I have an irrational fear of chickens.
Where can we learn more about you?
Website with onward links is here: http://www.thevoiceofdaniel.com/
For repertoire and samples , go straight to soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/dannyletham
If you want to check out Victoria and Danny’s work – please use the links below.
Barnes & Noble:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
The Book Depository:
Name: Melody Klink
What attracts you to the genre in which you write? Young Adult has a magic about it that always brings me back; the stories and characters aren’t desperately childish and naïve, yet they haven’t been hardened by years and a world of experience. Outlandish things are still possible, and magic still lurks in the small things.
What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures? Don’t try to make every word perfect in the first go! First draft like crazy, then go back and shine it up. And then do it again. And probably a third time… but any which way, don’t expect perfection in the first go ’round.
If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose? Wow, this is a tough one! Hmm. I think I’d have dinner with Carl Sagan; he was such a poetic and insightful scientist, and his words are just as pertinent today as ever. He made my already-vast love of the stars take on new meaning, and majorly inspired my poetry writing!
Who has been the greatest influence on your own work? Joseph Campbell, by far. His works on mythology and the archetypes of story are invaluable, both in writing and the real world. By knowing the intricacies of a hero’s journey, you have a deeper understanding of what your characters must do within their own worlds to succeed, or how to turn them into villains. (Deepest apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, who comes in at 1½ on the influence scale.)
Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print? This is a conflict for me. The realist in me says, it’s a definite possibility; the convenience and price differences are already great boons in the e-book industry. The artist in me hopes that the printed word never goes anywhere, because I desperately cling to my books. That’s not to say I don’t do e-books, I just prefer holding a book, smelling its pages, feeling its weight, marking all through it or keeping it clean and sacred.
Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why? Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen. This book is like coming home for me; it’s my “anxiety read,” as it calms me and helps me refocus on things that really matter. Allen describes things in such a magical way, her writing is lyrical and intoxicating.
Stardust – Neil Gaiman. It’s no secret that Gaiman is adept at whisking us away from our current time and place- why focus on being on a desert island, when you can be… okay, a muddy field isn’t much better, but the magic is there.
The Norse Myths- Kevin Crossley-Holland. Everyone needs a hero’s tale to read on a deserted island!
Author bio and book synopsis Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):
While pretending to be a human, Melody Klink likes to write down words. Lots and lots of them. All to gain the admiration and trust of the human masses.
Wait. I mean… Melody Klink is a lovable little scamp with a sweet tooth for all things coffee. Spending her entire life nose-deep in books and writing, she always manages to have one more adventure to tell the world. When she’s not scrubbing stray words out of the squishy bits of her brain, Melody can usually be found spending copious amounts of time on Xbox Live, fangirling over comics, studying various sciences, and yes! Even reading. She may or may not be addicted to memes, Futurama, and crafting things poorly. While her first foray into publishing was Bad Mood Boogaloo, a book for toddlers, she also enjoys writing novels, and has several titles in the works. She currently resides in the Mid-South with her husband, daughters, and one annoying cat.
Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) Godeater: The Second World – Young Adult Fantasy, mythology-based. Gods are reincarnated into kids from North Dakota to battle an immortal-killing ancient creature.
Diamond Marked: The Tales of El’Anret – Young Adult Fantasy, Faerie story with lots of fabled creatures. A mortal girl is marked as the queen of the El’Anret, the Faerie world, and must battle mythical foes to keep her rightful place. Includes three novellas from the mortal and Faerie worlds: Queen of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, and King of Diamonds.