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. 

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