10 Questions With an Audio-Book Producer

 

One of the coolest things I’ve been able to do as an author is have some of my books made into audio-books. Dawn of Rebellion has been available in the format for a few months and Day of Reckoning releases soon. 

I was lucky to partner with someone who has done a better job voicing my girls than I ever could have imagined. Hearing Danielle Cohen bring them to life has been mind blowing. 

Here is Danielle!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am an English lass living in the woods of Vermont with my husband and two daughters.  Apart from acting, I am a trained fitness instructor, love baking and cake decorating, volunteer at numerous libraries in the area and love to read! I drive a VW Beetle. 

How did you get into audio-book narration?

Oddly, I feel like I have always been some kind of narrator!  From a very young age I would read articles from the newspaper aloud to my family and I dreamt of being a newsreader. I took speech and drama classes throughout my childhood; one of the skills you had to master was sight reading – a good skill to have as an audio-book narrator!

I pursued a career in acting, but put things on hold once I had a family.  Reading aloud to my children was probably the catalyst that made me realize that audio-book narration was for me; I loved it, they loved it.  Moving to a quiet house in the woods where it’s easy to record with no background noise of planes, trains and automobiles seemed like destiny!

What do you look for in a book when deciding to take a project on?

The book has to be interesting for me and omething I think some member of my family would read.  We are all avid readers and have very different tastes, so I think we have most bases covered.  I enjoy novels with lots of characters and enjoy young adult and fantasy in particular.

In Dawn of Rebellion, you showcase your talent for accents – having to do British, American, and American southern. What other accents do you have in your toolbox and how did you master them?

From a young age I was always doing impressions of people from television programs, so I think my love of accents is innate.  I grew up in England with a lot of American and Australian TV, so sometimes I think that helped me with those accents.  I also do a variety of British regional accents too and am always happy to try out more.  Now with the wonders of the internet, working on accents is easier.

What’s your favorite thing about producing audio-books?

I love the reading!  I can’t think of a better way to spend my day.

Least favorite thing?

I sit a lot…especially during the editing process.  I am a pretty active person and sitting for prolonged periods is not easy for me!

How long does it typically take you to finish producing a book?

It depends on the length and style of the book.   For me, with kids getting home from school at 3.30 pm, my working day is often cut short, so I would say about 3- 4 weeks. 

 

Describe your recording setup.

I am lucky that I live in a very quiet house, in the middle of the woods.  I record in my little booth in the basement, which has just enough room for my microphone, stool and a side table for my water.  I use a Rode NT-1 cardioid mic and edit on Avid ProTools; it was all quite an investment, but I think it’s important to have high quality audio.

Can you describe, step by step, the process you go through?

When I get a job, I first read the book all of the way through, I do this for a number of reasons: I like to get a feel for the style of writing; I want to understand what characters are involved and plan how to voice them.  I make notes of words I need to check how to pronounce; it’s funny, I have been reading all my life, yet each book will inevitably throw up some words that I may have never said aloud and I feel I need to double check them! 

I record the audio in batches – usually I do about 2 hours of recording and then spend the rest of my day editing. The editing is much more time consuming and depending on how fluently I have read (!) can vary in length.  I would say every finished hour of audio has probably taken me 6 hours of work in all.

Once I have edited each chapter, I listen through to it, following the manuscript to check for mistakes, I like to be thorough. Interestingly, reading the book so closely, it’s not uncommon for me to find the occasional typo/mistake that I can then tell the author about.

The final mastering process involves using filters in ProTools to ensure that every minute of the finished book sounds its best and is at the correct listening volume.

I then upload the chapter for the rights holder to approve.

How would you characterize Dawn of Rebellion?

I see Dawn of Rebellion as a young adult novel about two sisters who won’t give up on each other in a dystopian world.  It reminded me of The Hunger Games and other books in that genre where people are trying to survive in a broken society.


Dawn of Rebellion is published by Creativia Publishing. You can see it on their site HERE. 

A Bigger Story

 

We’ve been celebrating Dawn of Rebellion for a month now and it’s been fun, but sometimes I forget that the story is so much bigger than that. The scope changes in the final two parts of the trilogy. We go from one sister trying to save another to two sisters being thrown into the middle of a hopeless war.

But that is where we’re wrong. There is always hope. It’s a lesson these girls have to learn the hard way. Hope means different things to people. To Gabby it begins to be something she can strive for. If she can be a part of something big, do her part, maybe just maybe she can grasp it. She puts her faith in actions, battles.

For Dawn, it matters how you do something., not only what you do. Hope is an ideal that she pins on others.  She puts her faith in people.

Today is the day when everything changes.

Today is the day we becoming known.

Their differences make the story what it is. Day of Reckoning sees Dawn and Gabby explore Texas, discovering truths that put them in danger at every turn. We meet Jonathan Clarke and his band of rebels, including a few surprise characters. Dawn explores one of the only remaining rAmerican cities. Then they fight. The colonies are a powder keg, waiting for someone to light the match and there is a line of people anxious to do just that.

Day of Reckoning has been called exciting and dark. It takes everything to a whole new level.

Now you can listen to the amazing narrator as she takes on British, American, and Texas-American accents!

 


Dawn of Rebellion is published by Creativia Publishing. You can see it on their site HERE.

10 Questions With an Editor

 

I’ll boldy state that I made a mistake when I published Dawn of Rebellion. I didn’t have it professionally edited. It was an amateur attempt at putting a book out there. But, we live and we learn. It has since gone through multiple versions before landing with a publisher. 

Patrick Hodges read one of those early versions and had the guts to tell me the story is great, but it needs edited. So he did. And he did a fantastic job. Since then, he has edited each of my books. 

 

Get to know Dawn’s editor!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Phoenix, and currently reside in Glendale, Arizona. I have been married to my lovely wife Vaneza for fifteen years, and she is my biggest supporter.  We have no children (unless you count fur kids, in which case we have three, two that bark and one that meows). By day, I work as a medical biller, and am a staunch fan of the Diamondbacks and Cardinals. I love to read, mostly Young Adult, and I ONLY read indie authors, because they need my support, and because some of them are awesome!

How did you get into editing?

I read a lot of indie books, especially from authors that I have come to know.  If I notice typos, I figured it’s my duty to inform the author so they can take steps to correct it.  Before I knew it, authors were asking me to go over their current projects, asking me to edit them before they were published.

How does being an author yourself help with your editing?

It helps a lot. It’s tough to tell authors how something should be written without being a writer yourself. I’ve learned so much from editing others just what it means to be an editor, as well as a writer.

How long does it usually take you to fully edit a book?

Depends on the length, usually. Having a full-time job and a wife that likes me to pay attention to her on occasion, the amount of time I can devote to editing on a daily basis varies. Sandwich that around doing my own writing, and the consistency of life to always intervene, and, well, you get the picture.  I try to always have my projects finished in 2-3 weeks.

All authors have bad habits. One of an editor’s jobs is to fix them. What are some of the most common bad habits you see?

A lot of authors, I’ve found, don’t use hyphens in two-word phrases that need them, choosing instead to write them as separate words or just one word. Every author and editor has different theories about how to properly use colons, semicolons, emdashes and ellipses, but a lot of authors have problems using these appropriately. But the biggest problem I’ve found is that writers don’t use commas correctly, preferring instead to use run-on sentences that make a lot more sense when commas are inserted.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

Finding the time. I may have to take a year off to catch up on sleep at some point.

What do you enjoy most about jumping into another writer’s world?

The same as any reader, I guess. Getting a taste of someone else’s creativity and imagination is a treat whether you’re editing someone’s work or merely reading it. There’s nothing better than burying yourself in someone else’s world, and the better-written it is, the better the experience.

 

Favorite genre to edit? Why?

I’ve read, and edited, almost every fictional genre. If I had a favorite to edit, it would probably be Young Adult books, because that is what I read the most (and write).

Do you edit your own book? If not, what makes that more difficult?
Most editors and pundits will tell you that you should never edit your own stuff, and there is some truth to that, because you can never look at your own stuff with an unbiased eye. That being said, I do edit my own work purely on a copy-editing scale – I am good about catching my own typographical errors and such. However, as far as content goes, I have an amazing team of betas that have been of such help to me, pointing out inconsistencies, plot holes, and whatnot. This is probably the best substitution for paying a qualified editor (who can often be hella expensive).

Dawn of Rebellion is turning three this year. Describe the series in your own words and how it made you feel.

I’ve read many books and many series since becoming a writer and editor. Very few have packed such an emotional wallop, or was such a roller-coaster, as the Dawn of Rebellion series. I love stories that keep me on the edge of my seat, making me turn page after page. This series did that for me.

What You Didn’t Know

 

Surprise! Every Author is different. We don’t all write the same way or choose names the same way. Some outline and others … don’t. 

I even write my own books in different ways. Sometimes I do more planning, sometimes I just let the story come. When it comes to names, it’s much easier to use people I know in my romances. Less risk of killing my sisters or best friends. Haha. 

So, here’s what you may not have known about Dawn of Rebellion. Your peek behind the curtain as the saying goes. 

  • I’m a pantser, not a plotter. When writing Dawn of Rebellion, I had no idea I’d turn it into a series until the end.

  • There are only two characters in the series named after people I know. After bothof them died, I stopped using the names of people I love.

  • Coming up with names is difficult. Many of mine are the names of hockey players and characters on Battlestar Glactica which I was watching at the time. Lee and Sam, seen below, come to mind.

  • Without giving spoilers, I’ll say that I cried when someone died at the end. They were my favorite character. I’ve gotten angry reviews about that, but necessity won over feelings. 

  • Cliff hangers. Love them or hate them? At the time, that was the popular way to write. Now, I don’t know if I’d do it the same way.

  • Have you ever eaten Alligator? Gabby and Jeremy eat it in the camp, loving every bite. It’s actually pretty disgusting.

  • It took me two months to write the first draft and then I didn’t touch it for three. I wasn’t going to publish it, only showing it to my friend, Bri. She convinced me to move forward with editing.

A Book That Changed My Life

 

This month marks the third year anniversary of Dawn of Rebellion and I’ve been trying to figure out what that means to me as the book’s author.

As authors, we take pride in everything we write. The time and commitment and hopefully the skill that is put into our books gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. The day the proof copies of our newest book show up in the mail is like Christmas.

Dawn of Rebellion was my first book and I experienced all the normal emotions, but it wasn’t normal for me. In order to try to explain what I mean, I have to get personal. I’ve never been shy about talking about my disability. It’s not something I’m ashamed of, it’s just something I have to live with. I have episodic ataxia. Now, I highly doubt most of you have heard of it. Not much is known about it. There’s no cure and no treatment. Think of an advanced case of untreated MS.

I’ve struggled with varying degrees of the illness for most of my life, but when I was eighteen, it disappeared. It felt like a miracle. I’d get to live a normal life. I went off to college and enjoyed the best four years of my life.

About six months after graduation, I started having frequent episodes again. For the first six months, I could hardly get out of bed. I was shattered to say the least. Here I was, twenty-three-years-old and suddenly disabled – even worse than I had been when I was younger.

So I started to write. It started out of boredom. There’s only so much Netflix you can watch. I never expected to finish a book, let alone have it be any good, but I did. All of a sudden, I had something to look forward to again. A belief that I could still do something worthwhile. I think we underestimate the importance of that. Of productivity. Of having something you love to do.  

Most people have told me that the writing gets better in each subsequent book, which would make Dawn the roughest, but it will always be my favorite. Gabby and Dawn, our adventurous sisters, got me through the hardest time in my life. They’re family.

I’ve said before that Dawn of Rebellion saved me, but that seems too dire. So, for now, we’ll just say that it changed my life. It taught me the greatest lesson I could have learned. Disability doesn’t mean I can’t dream. It just means I have to redefine what those dreams are.