Audiobook Narrator Interview – Matt Jenkins

*Name: Matt Jenkins

*Tell us a bit about yourself: Born and raised in a church (literally, in a church – the graveyard was my playground…) I have been reading in public since I was able to see over the lectern. Then I got dragged down the dark path of technology and computers consumed my soul. At least for a while. Then, thankfully, I escaped. Now I’m a Buddhist (much to the chagrin of my Christian folks) and a freelance electronic designer. One side-effect of all the technology is an understanding of audio production, and I am the chief audio engineer for the local Talking Newspaper for the Blind. I also sing in a number of local choirs.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? One of our reading team at the Talking Newspaper mentioned ACX to me one day, so I thought I’d look it up and see what it was. Sometimes when reading a book I’d secretly visualise myself producing it as an audiobook, and ACX has opened that door to me.

Is this your day job? Nope.  As I mentioned above I am a freelance electronic designer. I spend my days sat in front of my computer drawing lines on the screen. Industrial control and monitoring systems are my thing.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? This is a tough one to answer: I have only produced two books so far – The Watcher: A Jack The Ripper Story, and Beyond The Vale, by Kerry Alan Denney.  I’m not sure which is my favourite, as they are like chalk and cheese.  Both have been enjoyable to produce, and good stories that I enjoyed reading.  I hope for many more to come.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? Not really a preferred genre. I do, though, think it’s important to enjoy the stories you read. If you’re not enjoying the story it comes across in your reading. You have to enjoy the story to take a proper interest in it and bring the story to life. There’s no genres that I won’t touch, but if the book doesn’t appeal to me I won’t bother with it. Mostly I gravitate towards fantasy and science fiction, but I’m not fixated solely on it.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? Just finished The Watcher. Nothing lined up at the moment, but I do have a few auditions out there – one I’d really like to get selected for is Among The Dead – a Zombie book.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) My first book was produced all manually. Lots of reading and re-reading, then cutting up, splicing together, etc afterwards. The editing took longer than the reading. That was the worst part of reading, actually – the editing. So, being a technofreak, I decided to do something about it and wrote my own software to do it all for me. Now the editing is done while I’m reading by the program itself at the press of a key and afterwards is just a brief cleanup to make it sound as good as possible. The editing for The Watcher (it’s only a short story) took about 30 minutes, and 25 of that was just listening through.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  Getting to read books I’d otherwise never think to read – and (hopefully) getting paid for it 🙂

What do you find least enjoyable? The post-reading editing. Hence the spiel above….

Have you ever found an author you couldn’t continue to work with? How was this resolved? Not yet. But that’s only after 2 books…

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? Yep, I do. Being a freelance designer my income tends to come in lumps, with vast expanses of poverty in between.  With royalty share, I’m hoping to get a little bit of regular income to help smooth over those dearths.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Indeed I do. They’re great to keep the right side of my brain occupied while I’m working with the left.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I don’t know if it’s the future, but it certainly has a prominent place in the future.

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? They’re great for when you’re commuting, jogging, working, whatever it is you do. You can listen and do other things (which is important in this fast-paced, need it yesterday, world).

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Probably a Terry Pratchett (read by my hero Tony Robinson). Sourcery + The Colour Of Magic I think it probably was. On cassette.

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’m not an author (yet).

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) I’ll let you know next year 🙂

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Not as yet.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve had? Pause. Just that. Pause. The silence is as important as the words.

What is the worst piece of advice you’ve had? Is there such a thing as bad advice? If you learn from the experience it’s still positive, yes?

If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? Well, there’s The Wheel of Time series (Robert Jordan). That’d keep me in work for the rest of my life. I am (of course) a Terry Pratchett fan, but there’s no way I’d be able to match up to Tony Robinson’s readings. I quite like Tom Holt’s works – they combine fantasy with the kind of warped humour that appeals to my twisted psyche. Plus doughnuts.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I spent 3 months living in Sweden when I was 4. When I came home, and started school, the teacher asked: “Who can count to 10?”. I put my hand up, stood up, and counted to ten, perfectly. In Swedish. Ett, två, tre, fyr…

Where can we learn more about you? I keep my personal life off the internet. But you can check out my company site if you like: https://majenko.co.uk

Social Media links: Social media is a mug’s game. You won’t find me on there. Twatter, Basefook, etc – not for me. I value my sanity, and I don’t need the rest of the world to tell me I’m fat: I already know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in The Life of Dorgo the Dowser

#Meetacharacter

A Day in the Life of Dorgo the Dowser.

*Who are you?

Why, I’m Dorgo Mikawber, otherwise known as Dorgo the Dowser. I earned that nickname because of the dowsing rod that I carry with me all the time. This is a rather unique and specialized dowsing rod, because it can detect the ectoplasmic residue of any supernatural presence or demonic entity, and sense the vestiges of any form of magical power used in the commission of crimes, crimes I’m often hired or asked to solve. Without my dowsing rod, I’d be out of work and forced to find other means of employment. I mean, what else can I do? I’ve been a mercenary, a body guard, and even a smuggler. I’m not qualified for much else. Can you imagine me being an innkeeper or a blacksmith? I can’t. And my luck is often so bad when it comes to gambling that I’ve learned to keep my money in my pocket, most of the time. I do gamble with my life often enough and thus far Lady Luck hasn’t left my side. But it would be nice if she’d let me win at dice or cards once in a while. Oh, well. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

Tell us about an average day in your life.

On the rare occasion when I’m not engaged in something to do with murder, mystery, magic, mayhem, and the occasional monster, my average life is pretty average. I sleep late, stay awake all hours of the night, drinking, placing the rare bet on a Minotaur wrestling match or centaur race, and spending time with a lovely woman. But as I said, those days are rare, because those who deal with the supernatural and the demonic, and those who follow the Dark Light of Odylic Power, which is commonly referred to as magic and sorcery, are always up to something nefarious. In my city of Valdar, almost anything can happen, and usually does.

Are you a lark or a night owl?

I have to be both in my line of work, because evil never sleeps, demons never rest, and most crimes occur during the darkness of the night. I often have to walk a fine line between darkness and light, in the shadows of a world where life is cheap and souls are always up for sale.

How do you think your ‘average’ day compares to that of other people?

Well, I sometimes get a chance to break my fast, enjoy a bath and don clean but tattered clothing. I may even get a chance to visit with friends. But that’s where all comparison comes to a halt. When there’s a crime committed that involves dark sorcery, demonic entities and supernatural agencies, that when I come in. I’m either hired by some private citizen to help solve the crime, or my friend Captain Mazo of the Purple Hand (the Royal Constabulary in Valdar) will, most reluctantly, ask me and my dowsing rod to lend him a hand.

Do you court danger?

I don’t court it so much as find myself either caught in its grip or trying to keep clear of it. But when I’m forced to deal with unscrupulous men, duplicitous women, practitioners of the Dark Arts, and a criminal underworld . . . well, danger usually courts me. Trouble, as someone famous once said, is my business.

Do you think your life is fulfilling?

I think so. I hope so. I have helped a lot of good people, saved a lot of lives, and have sent many a dark soul to the dungeon or to the gallows. I’m certain Hell is filled with many of my foes who are just waiting for me to get there.

If you had the choice what would you change in your daily life?

Nothing. Not a damn thing. I love my life and enjoy it to the fullest extent of both my ability and my pocketbook. Although it would be nice to have a little more money so I could afford to buy some new clothes. My friends are always chiding me for wearing the same shirt, britches and boots day in and day out. By God, how some of them nag me to no end!

Tell us a little about your home/environment/land – how does this reflect on your day to day life?

I live in an interesting world where lost souls are often resurrected as hell-spawned devils; where entities from the other side of the veil separating the earthly from the unearthly can be conjured into existence; where beings from an ancient land whose borders cross over into other dimensions slip through to my own world. In my specialized line of investigative work I’ve had to confront sentient, gold-eating shadows, malevolent puppets, wicked witches, mad sorcerers, blood-thirsty men and women, plus hungry ghouls and zombies, faun assassins, demented demons, ghastly ghosts, vengeful vampires, raging werewolves, and the most deadly, other-worldly book ever written. Then there are the semi-human races, like the Muthologians, those so-call “mythical” beings and creatures who escaped from your world of ancient Greece and settled in my own world of Tanyime.  Most of them are good souls, and I’m fortunate to call many of them my friends. I truly live in interesting and exciting times, don’t you think?

Are you organised or chaotic? Does this annoy your family/companions?

I’m usually chaotic, although when it’s called for I can be very organized. I have no family, but my habits, the hours I keep, my attitude, and my entire lifestyle often troubles and worries my friends. But they’re all decent folks who, more often than not, are willing to lend me a hand. Our tempers often clash when they disagree with me or try to prevent me from getting involved in something that might cost me my life and perhaps even my soul, but in the end I am blessed to have such good friends looking after me.

Thank you for spending so much of your valuable time with me. I enjoyed our little chat. And remember, if you ever have need of me: “Have Dowsing Rod. Will Travel.” I got that from some bloke whose name, sadly, escapes me at the time.

By the way, you can find my Mad Shadows adventures (volumes 1 and 2) on Joe Bonadonna’s Amazon author page:
https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B009I1KYIK?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forthcoming Features and Poll

I am looking to give the Library of Erana a bit of an overhaul in 2018. What would you, my followers want to see more of here?

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Luke Callindor – Fantasy

 

 

Welcome to Luke Callindor

Hero Cover Final.jpg

Tell us a little about yourself. I’m . . . Wow, where to even start? I began as a young warrior who wanted to be a great hero and now I’m a champion of Windemere.  That’s a fairly simple explanation of myself, but I’ve been through so much over the years.  Well, I already said my name is Luke Callindor, right? Okay, that’s who I am and I’m working with my friends to save the world.  If I had to describe myself, I’d have to say I’m the speed fighter of the group.  The others might call me the source of chaos too because I follow my instincts, especially in the middle of battle or when we’re trying to solve a problem.  Can’t say they always save the day, but I’m not dead yet . . . That’s probably not a good thing to say considering my current situation.

Tell us why you’re embarking on this adventure? The big quest, is to do what I’ve been chosen to do.  That’s to fight an immortal warlord who was erased from history and is about to return to enslave all of Windemere.  Sounds very cool if you ask me, but Gabriel the Destiny God made it clear that destiny can only get us to the battle in some form.  Not sure about that last part, but the rest means we can still lose, which is why I keep trying to improve myself and use every adventure to get stronger.

As far as this specific adventure, I’m not exactly embarking on it.  More that I’m in the hands of the warlord after what happened in the last adventure.  My only job is to hold out until my friends save me.  Really hope they’re coming.  Getting a little tired of being tortured, healed, and tortured again.  He doesn’t even want answers or information.  Just to hear me scream or babbling incoherently.  Didn’t even know I did that when injured enough.

Would you die for those you love? If that was the only way to save them and I knew it would work then yes.  Although, I wouldn’t really be that logical about it.  I’d simply throw myself into the situation without thinking.

Who is your greatest friend? That would be Nyx who is a very powerful caster. That’s not the reason we’re best friends though. We met on my second adventure because she was assigned to protect the heir of Serab who I was escorting. One could say we got off on the wrong foot. Others would point out she mistook me for a thief and chased me around her masters’ gardens while hurling combat spells. We bonded a lot since then because that’s what death, suffering, and battles will do to you. It’s definitely a sibling-style relationship, but neither of us have blood siblings to be sure. All I know is that neither of us can see a life without the other to be there for support. I can only imagine what’s Nyx is doing since I’m captured.

Is your world populated by different races? How do they get along? Windemere has plenty of races. Humans, dwarves, elves, fireskins, calicos, orcs, halflings, gnomes, and the list can keep going.  There’s always some friction with the orcs because while most of them are civilized, many are bandits. To be honest, every race has a group of bad apples. You might have some friction over resources and borders, but those are more kingdom-related than racial.  I think Windemere has had so many global threats in the past that the races know that they might have to be work together at any moment.

How do you define ‘heroism?’ Tough one since I never really thought about. I guess heroism is doing what you feel is right no matter what it takes. You don’t have to save the world or defend a kingdom to be heroic. I want bards to sing about me, but that’s just my personal goals. They just happen to be at the high end of heroism. I wouldn’t even say sacrifice is necessary too. Yeah, heroism is definitely staying true to yourself and doing what’s right. Especially if you’re trying to help other people.

Tell us about your family? The Callindor lineage is full of heroes and legends, so I have a big legacy to live up to. I’m doing good so far. There aren’t many of us left too. I heard that I have an uncle on another continent, but he refuses to pass on the bloodline.  There’s my grandfather who trained me and my grandmother who still goes on adventures.  Of course, there’s my dad who is a blacksmith, but used to be a mercenary before he was injured and lost too many friends. That and he met my mom, who gave him a reason to settle down. He really wasn’t happy with me following the family wanderlust, which hits every Callindor in their late teens. Come to think about it, I wonder why there aren’t many of us. I have noticed that a lot of Callindors died on adventures, which probably should have made me think twice about my own path. Well, too late now.

What is your greatest skill/asset? Currently, my pain threshold, but I don’t know how much longer I can say that. Hard to say my swordsmanship and speed when I’m chained to a tree. The one thing that I always have is my courage. It isn’t that I never get scared or want to run away, but I can find a way to get myself to keep going.  One of my old teachers told me that a warrior needs to choose at least one reason to fight and take strength from that. I always keep my loved ones in my thoughts and make sure I stay strong for them. Is this really a skill or asset? Sounds like something that anybody can do, but courage is the one thing that can’t get taken from me. At least, it hasn’t happened yet.

What is your greatest weakness (we won’t tell)? Even after all my adventures, I’m not the most cautious person. I can be very impulsive and go through with a plan before anybody can stop me. Delvin used to get annoyed because I would wreck his plans, but now he factors in that I’ll probably do something unexpected. It gets me out of trouble at times, but it’s also the reason I get into trouble and enemies can use it against me. Hate to say I’m easy to manipulate or goad into action, but that might be the best way to explain it.

How do you think others see you? If we’re talking about my friends then I would say they see me as trustworthy ally, which sounds more sterile than I intended. We’re friends and practically family since our destinies are intertwined and have been through so much. They probably see me as the annoying little brother at times. Sari and Nyx don’t seem to have a problem calling me an idiot when I do something stupid. Not that they’re any better, but we’re friends, so really positive opinions there.

People outside of our circle are calling me a hero ever since stories about my adventures have begun spreading. There’s some praise and fame, but I can’t tell what they think. Maybe nothing more than I’m a celebrity and they’re happy to meet me. Nothing much deeper than that though because they don’t really know me. As far my enemies, I kind of hope they see me as a thorn in their side and a danger to their plans.  Yeah . . . I don’t think that’s really the case right now.

Do you believe you will be successful in your quest? Of course, I did. With the stakes so high, I couldn’t believe anything else. This comes off as cocky, but heroes need to be confident when adventuring. Doubt can keep you alive and fear can make you sharp, but you need to believe in yourself. Simply thinking that I’m going to succeed gave me the strength to find solutions to the problems I faced.

What is your greatest fear? Can I get away with spiders? Not a big fan of them, but I guess that’s a lame answer. I would say my greatest fear is not being able to save the people I care about. As a hero, I’m expected to save innocent people and the entire world. Yet, I think more about those who are closest to me because they’ll be by my side when the smoke clears. If I’m the only one who survives the final battle then I’m alone. Doesn’t matter how many adoring fans or honoured leaders I meet, I wouldn’t have anyone who really knows me. Back when I started, I never considered that I’d prefer close relationships over blind admiration. Now . . . I don’t think I’d be able to go with only the latter.

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero (Vol. 1)

Legends of Windemere: Ritual of the Lost Lamb (Vol. 13)

Legends of Windemere Vol. 2-12 (Amazon Author Page)

 

Bio:
Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. ‘Legends of Windemere’ is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.

 

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

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Crew Interview with Paul Daintree, 2nd AD on ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ and ‘Crazy Heads’

Another interesting interview about working in Film making from Brizkids Casting.

 

 

Briz Kidz Blog

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

My first job in television was as an paul-daintreeoffice runner for the BBC Drama Serials Department in White City, London. I worked there for a year before moving on to Productions, my first being the period drama ‘North and South’ as a Production Runner, working in the office and providing support for the Line Producer, Production Coordinator and Production Secretary. From there I moved on to Floor Running, starting on the soaps and continuing drama. I then slowly moved up the ‘AD Ladder’, becoming a 3rd AD and now currently a 2nd AD. Since starting as an Office Runner at the BBC, I have been in the industry for 13 years.

 Before working in the industry I was (and still am) a keen film/television fan and used to enjoy making my own short films with friends. I studied Film & TV Production at…

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Reader Interview – Victoria Zigler #Reading #interviews

I don’t often do reader interviews these days, but it’s great to be offering this. As an author readers are vitally important – they are our customers, our critics and our audience.  Many authors are avid readers, but of course, not all readers are authors.

Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.  Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown.  What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one?  Why do people read and how do they find their books?

Welcome to Victoria Zigler (or Tori, if you prefer).

Where are you from? I’m originally from South-West Wales, UK, and was born and raised in the shadow of the Black Mountains… Well, other than a short time in my teens when I lived on the South-East coast of England, and again later in my teens when I lived in Canada for six months.  But these days I live on the South-East coast of England, UK… Yes, the same part of it where I lived in my teens.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a bookaholic.  Seriously! I’ve loved to read since I learned how, and been writing almost as long.  If I’m not either reading or writing, chances are I’m either spending time with my hubby and pets, dabbling in one of the other activities that sometimes manage to capture my attention for a while, such as watching movies, listening to music, playing roleplaying games (like Dungeons & Dragons, and that kind of thing) or doing crafts.  Either that or it’s because I’m sorting emails, putting in an appearance on social media sites, pretending to work while really playing Scrabble or Solitaire on my computer, or it’s because I still haven’t managed to get a house elf and am therefore forced to worry about things like housework and household errands.

Oh, yeah, I’m also completely blind, having lost my sight to Congenital Glaucoma.

On average how many books do you read in a month? Judging by the 317 book total for 2016, I read on average something like 26 books a month.  Of course, that varies, since some years I read more than the 317, other years I read less.  Basically, it depends on how long the books I’m reading at the time are, and what else is going on in my life that may cut in to my reading time.

Where is your favourite place to read? I’ll happily read anywhere, but most of my reading is done in my bedroom, which is where my stereo is, and where my Kindle spends most of its time.

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? My favourite genre is fantasy, because anything can happen in it, and I enjoy the experience of being carried off to magical lands.  I’ll read almost anything though, regardless of genre or age range.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a children’s book or an adult book, or if it’s a fairy tale or a historical romance.  As long as it’s not Christian fiction, chances are I’ll give it a go.  I tend to be more concerned with whether the story appeals to me, rather than what genre it falls under.  Like I said though, the exception is Christian fiction.  That’s the only genre I completely steer away from.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? Reading offers me an escape from reality when I don’t want to face it.  It also allows me to see the world in a way I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.  Not to mention, reading is one of the few areas where I’m not at a disadvantage from others due to my lack of sight; reading is one of the few activities where being blind doesn’t change the amount of information I absorb from the experience compared to a sighted person.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? To be honest, I have several favourite authors and books, and we’d be here all day if I listed them all in this interview.  Besides, my favourites depend on my mood to some extent.  Although, having said that, I fell in love with Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “A Little Princess” when I first read it as a child of maybe ten or so, and have adored the book ever since.  I don’t know what it is about the book, but it’s always my go to book when someone says I absolutely have to pick a favourite.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? Most of my books are eBooks, because they’re cheaper than audiobooks, and easier to get hold of and store than Braille books.  Of course, with my lack of sight, reading a physical book is only possible if it’s in Braille, otherwise I’d be perfectly happy to read my books in any format.  I literally only stopped reading paperback and hardback books when I couldn’t see to do so any more.

How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know? Mostly it’s either from following authors I already know and love, or getting recommendations from friends or family members.  Other times it’s from someone randomly buying me a book they think I’ll like, from seeing a movie and learning it’s based on a book, or from being bored and typing random keywords into the search box of online bookstores or Goodreads.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? It’s usually the title that I pay attention to first.  Sighted people may judge a book based on the cover, I do so based on a title.  If the title gets my attention, I’ll check out the book blurb.  If the blurb makes it sound like something I might enjoy reading, I’ll give it a go.  At least, I will as long as the blurb isn’t filled with typos and things; I’m always reluctant to read a book if the author can’t even make sure there are no editing issues in their blurb.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice? I pay attention to reviews of family and friends on Goodreads, because I like to know what my family and friends have been reading.  When it comes to choosing a book to read though, I only sometimes glance through reviews, especially if they’re by people I know, but only usually if the book has already captured my attention, and I’m already thinking of reading it anyway.  Bad reviews don’t generally stop me buying a book, unless the bad reviews are because of poor editing, in which case I’ll think twice about reading something, and be reluctant to do so.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off? All those things are important, and it depends on the book in question to which matters most to me when I’m reading it.  Things that turn me off though are poorly edited books, and excessive use of curse words in inappropriate situations.  When it comes to the editing, I can let some mistakes slip by, since I do appreciate that even the best editors can miss things, but when there’s a mistake every other word – or it feels like there is – it stops me enjoying the book.  When it comes to the curse words, it’s not that I’m prudish or anything, it’s just that some people seem to use curse words excessively, in situations where people wouldn’t normally swear, or just to save themselves the trouble of thinking of better replacement words.  There are also times when it feels like the curse words were only added to make up the word count.  While I can accept the use of curse words in some books… Especially during steamy scenes in books of an adult nature… Excessive and inappropriate use of them seriously irritates me, and the use of them at all in books aimed at middle grade readers or younger is entirely unacceptable to me.

If you are a reviewer why do you review? I write reviews to help other readers decide if an author’s book is worth reading, and to help out other authors looking for some attention for their books.  I admit some of my reviews are vague, and most of them are really short, but at least I do them.

If you’re wondering, I post my reviews on Goodreads, as well as in a monthly review round-up post I do on my blog, and sometimes post reviews on Smashwords too (the latter only being if I got the book via Smashwords, of course).  I’ve also done reviews on Amazon and Audible on request.

What factors are important in a review? This is a tough one.  If I enjoyed a book enough that I gave it the full five stars, I feel just a few words saying how awesome it was is enough (though I’ll expand on that if I’m dealing with a review request, or feel there’s something I want to specifically compliment).  If I gave it less, I feel it’s important to explain what stopped me giving it the full five stars.  Beyond that, I think it varies from book to book.  Although, it is often helpful to say something about the quality of the writing and world building, and the believability of the characters, I think.

Do you think it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review? No.  Reviews are about the books, not the author’s behaviour.

What are your views on paid for reviews? I don’t agree with them.  By all means give someone a free copy in exchange for an honest review, but I don’t think you should pay them to review your book.  I’ve never been paid for a review, and never expected to be.  I mean, I’ve been given free copies of books in exchange for reviews, and there are a couple of authors who regularly send me advanced review copies of their books because they know I’ll want to read their books anyway, and have learned that sending me copies in exchange for my review will get their books bumped to the top of my to-read pile.  But, as I said, I’ve never been paid for a review.  I’d also like to stress that any review I write in exchange for a free book is an honest one, based on my own personal opinion, and nothing else.

Some readers believe all 4 and 5-star reviews on a book must be fake. What are your thoughts on this? Some people just like to find a reason to criticize others, and whether or not some books have all four and five-star reviews that are genuine or fake is just another example of this.  Sure, it’s possible that some of those reviews might be fake.  But for the most part I don’t think they are, and don’t think it’s fair to assume they are.  For the most part those books are just examples of authors who did a great job in producing a book worthy of high praise.  If people can’t see that, then they’re obviously blinder than I am.  Either that, or they’re the kinds of people who only feel pleasure when saying or doing things to hurt others, in which case I feel sorry for them, because it must be a lonely existence only feeling pleasure when causing others pain.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=Victoria+Zigler&sitesearch_type=STORE
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz
Personal Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/tori.zigler
Facebook author page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler
Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com
E-Mail: keroberous2004@gmail.com

New Features! New Interviews! New Friends

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Over the coming weeks, I will be changing and expanding the interview and promotional opportunities available here. There will still be great features and some of them will be available at no charge but for the enhanced/expanded features then there may be a small charge. Of course, for that, you get more. More tweets, more choice of features, promoted on my new author interviews promotion page. Of course, if you simply wish to participate in one of the free features – that’s great as well.

There will be a range of the following:

Swift Six – short author or character questions

Book spotlights

Dirty Dozen – author or character interviews

Reader interviews

Editor, cover artist or narrator interviews

Top Tens

Guest posts

‘Weeks With’ a particular author

Days in the life of characters or authors

Zweihanders – double interviews with character lovers or siblings

Good cop/bad cop – heroes and villains going head to head.

Here’s the new Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Erana-Interviews-and-Features-215319805541102/

And there will soon be ‘Friends of Erana’ page listing useful services, contacts and allies of The Library of Erana.

If you’re a blogger and willing to co-host, feature or help or your an author, cover designer, audio book narrator, or of course a reader then do get in touch.

You can either use the ‘contact us’ link in the page menus or drop me an email at libraryoferana@gmail.com

 

 

Audiobook Narrator Interview Number 10 – Charissa Clark Howe

 

*Name: Charissa Clark Howe

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a Presbyterian Minister, wife, mom of three, and marathoner, as well as being an audiobook narrator.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I have been involved in theater for most of my life, both acting and singing. Since I’ve had children, that hasn’t been logistically feasible, but I have dearly missed acting. One day, I was listening to the NPR radio show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and the host mentioned to a caller that she had a “very distinctive voice.” She thanked him and said that she’s an audiobook narrator. Something lit up inside my head and I thought, “Wait a minute. . . you can do that as a job? That sounds amazing!” So I went online and did a quick Google search for “how to become an audiobook narrator.” I stumbled across the Audiobook Creation Exchange website and the rest is history!

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I recently narrated two novels that I absolutely love. One is “Paper Doll” by Joe Cosentino and the other is “Angela’s Coven” by Bruce Jenvey. They are very different books, but both have great messages, fun characters, and a great deal of heart. I am hoping to start narrating more books in both of those series in the future.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I started off with little non-fiction books on things like Microsoft Excel and internet marketing, just to get my feet wet. But I quickly got bored with those. My favorites are light-hearted novels. I will not produce romance novels. I won’t even read romance novels on my own time. I don’t see any value in them.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m currently working on a four part philosophy tome, and a few shorter novels.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) I like to start by skimming the books to get a feel for the characters. After that, I just start recording. That means I often have several takes of different pieces, but I find that keeps the story fresher for me as I read.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  I love studying and learning how to act with new accents.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I do consider royalty share when narrating, but I’m very picky about the quality of books I’ll pick up for royalty share. I’m still a bit of a newbie at this audiobook narration gig, but I also don’t want to spend hours reading something that’s not really very good.

Do you listen to audiobooks? All the time!

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I don’t think it’ll take the place of reading books for one’s self, but I do think that it’s really a great medium that I’m happy to see taking off. My family and I listen to many audiobooks together in the car and we have elderly and blind family members who all appreciate being able to listen to books. It makes them accessible in new places and to people who might not have had a chance to read many books before.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? I think I just answered that above. 🙂

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? I don’t remember exactly, but it was probably The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That’s my favorite book ever.

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 hoping to have a novel published in the next year. I have thought a great deal about if I’ll narrate it myself or see what life someone else might be able to breathe into the story. I haven’t landed on a decision one way or the other yet.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) And then some! I didn’t expect things to take off so fast for me.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? I actually had an author decide after I’d produced half a book that she’d rather just read it herself. She refused to pay for the time that I’d already spent on the project. I was livid. Every other experience has been great, though. All the authors and producers have been friendly, professional, and understanding.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have two pet rats named after my husband’s favorite mystery novel heroes: Lord Peter Whimsy and Hercule Poirot.

 

Where can we learn more about you? www.charissaclarkhowe.com

Social Media links:

twitter: @pastorcharissah

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pastorcharissah/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview 116 – A J Dalton – Fantasy

 

Welcome to A J Dalton

 

Where are you from and where do you live now? From Croydon, now living in Manchester, UK. I also live online a lot. My website is www.ajdalton.eu, which is a portal for those who like fantasy, and which gives plenty of advice and steer to aspiring authors. And I’m on facebook and twitter, blah blah.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m the UK’s leading author of metaphysical fantasy, mainly cos all the other writers are dead. It wasn’t me. I wrote the first new-wave zombie book back in 2008, called Necromancer’s Gambit. I then did a trilogy for Gollancz, starting with Empire of the Saviours, which sold very well in Germany for some reason (they either have good taste or no taste). Now, I’m doing a trilogy for Grimbold Books: The Book of Orm (2015), The Book of Angels (2016), and The Book of Dragons (2017).

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? My fantasy novels tend to be second-world and psychological, so I don’t need to do much research. Mind you, I’ve taught English all round the world, and other cultures definitely influence my writing. I’ve also learnt a number of martial arts – I’m one of your better authors when it comes to writing a bloody fight scene. But the only book I’ve ever done historical research for is ‘I Am a Small God’, because it’s about a minor Greek god who survives through different eras – so I had to get human historical details right. I don’t enjoy researching that much, as it slows down the writing. Unlike Hilary Mantel, I prefer the writing to the research.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Yes, a number of philosophical themes, including the impossibility of true freedom. I actually coined the sub-genre of ‘metaphysical fantasy’, which is now a category of fiction within the Amazon website.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self-edit because I’ve been an English language teacher for like 20 years. I have better grammar and punctuation than anyone my publishers can supply. BUT I do use a reading group to spot typos and continuity errors – and they give me emotional support too (very important during long winters).

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Yes. There is a (false) idea that self-published work is inferior to stuff published by the mainstream. This idea is wrong, and probably an idea put round by those with a commercial agenda. Basically, publishers reject commercial-standard manuscripts on a daily basis simply because the publishers (falsely) believe the market is only looking for certain things. Look at Marlon James (Booker Prize Winner) – his books were rejected by everyone. Charlaine Harris’s True Blood series was rejected by every single publisher until vampire fiction was suddenly fashionable again.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I think authors should be able to comment on reviews, especially reviews that are unfair. BUT that’s not how things work, I’m afraid. Any author commenting on a review gets accused of silencing free speech, etc. It’s a shame.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? Ha. Authors are often very enthusiastic about the genre in which they write. They’re readers too. They often want to share their enthusiasm. BUT if the review isn’t entirely positive, the reviewing author will suddenly find their own books start getting reviews that aren’t entirely positive too. Tit for tat. It’s a shame.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Well, F. R. Leavis said a book was ‘active entertainment’ but a movie was ‘passive entertainment’. I tend to agree. A book makes you work harder than a movie. But a book and a movie serve different functions. They both have their strengths.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

  1. Develop your selling skills – cos writing it is far easier than selling it
  2. Ignore feedback unless you’re getting similar feedback from a range of readers
  3. Learn to master narrative perspective and avoid ‘intrusive author voice’ – if you’re not sure what that means, check my short essay and the cited examples in Art of the Novel, by Salt Publishing.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? My guilty pleasure is Gotrek and Felix, by the Black Library. Very strong characters, with well constructed moral dilemmas, and good fight scenes.

What are your views on authors offering free books? If an author has a range of titles, then giving one away for free can win you readers for your other titles. Look, authors make very little money as it is, so we’re not doing any of this to make money really. We’re doing this cos we have something we want to share with people. Giving away a few books never really hurt. And if the person who got the free copy passes it on, they’ll help recruit new readers for you and your other titles.

Do you have a favourite movie? Rollerball, James Caan. The individual fighting the world… and winning.

 

 

 

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Author/Character Interviews – do they work as a marketing tool?

As you know I’ve organised many author and character interviews over the last couple of years. I’ve also participated in a few. But do they work?

I suppose, like any marketing tool, they work for some and not others. Certainly for me I find the character interviews very interesting to write. It helps me think about the people I create in new ways. I helps me remember them, who they are, what they are and where they are going.  I’m a roleplaying gamer (no I don’t mean bedroom fun), and so often part of the generation of characters was asking questions about who these people are, not simply a list of stats.

Now the question is do they attract readers? Honestly I don’t know. I’ve bought books based on character profiles, and decided against books on that basis but I doubt I’m a typical reader.  The networking is good – blog visiting gets the book before a new audience – who may or may not pursue it but are unlikely to have ever heard of that book before for many indie authors. I don’t necessarily notice a sales spike after an interview but many people wishlist a book, or simply remember and buy it later.

Author interviews are far more common – and I’ve found more generic. Again it’s hard to tell whether they help sales – but I doubt they hurt – although of course that depends on an author’s answers.  Of course it is a marketing tool and many readers do object to such blatant self promotion – that said they don’t actually have to read them….

As a blogger I’ve forged a useful network of author and blogger friends, which is good for cross promotion, and finding new readers, new contacts and new advice.  For me it’s a good way of finding new books, but of course doesn’t work for all.

I’ve found variety is the key. Think about which questions to answer, keep it interesting. Would you want to read a boring interview? No, nor me. Try and vary the type of blog and type of interview, and don’t just talk about the book.

So here are the questions for my followers – do you read author or character interviews? Do they actually interest in you in the book. Do you just see them as annoying spam?