*squeeeee!!* I just received an awesome little bit of “audiobook” insight by one of our favorite authors who narrated her own book! THE book that had so many of us gasping in the end (check out my 4.5 star review of Push. You’ll see ). But I had no idea she narrated it in audiobook format! (by the way, it is bargain priced even in audio…) When I found out, I had SO many questions about her experience, and she was all to happy to help!
Claire Wallis: I enjoyed reading your post about audiobook narrators. Not sure if you’re aware, but PUSH was recently released as an audiobook from Audible Studios, and I was lucky enough to read for the main character, Emma. It was a really interesting process. If you’d like, I’m happy to share some details on how the process worked from my end and what I was feeling as I did the narration. Also, I have several free downloads to share, if you’d like to give one away to a reader.
Maryse: OMG YES!!! Thank you!!! I’d LOVE your own perspective on the audiobook process. I love that you were able to narrate it. I wonder so many things, like… how long it takes to narrate a full length book, how many takes, how the reader (and the sound editors) handle emotional responses during the read, how much water you need (LOL!!) does your throat hurt…? SO MANY questions! Especially your own personal experience (or funny tidbits) with the process…
Claire: There are so many funny little things that happened during the process…I think your readers will get a kick out of hearing about them.
“I’m also happy to answer anyone’s questions in the comment section of the post… I’ll check back for a few days after the post goes up and do my best to answer any questions. “
!! *happy dance*
My Thoughts on the Whole Audiobook Recording Process by Claire Wallis
Maryse has mentioned her newfound appreciation for audiobooks in a few of her latest posts. Having recently narrated for the main female character in the audio version of my New Adult novel PUSH, Maryse and I thought it might be fun for you to hear a little bit about my experience.
For those of you who’ve read PUSH, and perhaps its follow-up novel PULL, you already know that it’s a pretty intense book. For those of you who have not, as you read this post, keep in mind that there are lots of steamy scenes, a plethora of F-bombs and other assorted cursing, and more angst than you can shake a stick at. All of which is to say, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I said I wanted to narrate it…
The e-book of PUSH was released by Harlequin/MIRA on May 1st, 2014, and on July 16th, I found out Amazon’s Audible Studios was going to create an audiobook. I’ve been a radio host for ten years as part of my “real” job, so I have a little experience behind a mic. Plus, I’m always up for an adventure, and I thought it would be fun. I told my agent I’d like to be considered to read the part of Emma. The producer at Audible emailed me a few days later, asking me to send a demo. She wanted to hear me reading an excerpt of the book to see how I would do. I was told by both my editor and my agent that it’s very rare for an author to get to voice their own work with Audible so I wasn’t expecting them to say yes, but two weeks later, to my great excitement, I was approved!
Because I don’t live anywhere near either of the U.S. Audible Studios offices, their production team had to hook me up with a local recording studio about fifteen minutes from my house. They took care of booking the studio time and determining how many hours to schedule. All I had to do was show up and read. We started recording on September 8th, and it took twenty-one studio hours to complete the recording. We taped about three hours per day for a total of seven days. I read between 200 and 225 Kindle pages (85,000ish words). Whenever I would mess up or something didn’t sound right, Larry, the sound engineer who was reading the manuscript right along with me, would stop recording, and we would go back and start that sentence again. The remaining chapters, from seven different POVs, were read by other actors who recorded their parts in different studios. Then the engineers at Audible pieced all the parts together with whatever kind of amazing witchcraft and digital wizardry they have at their command.
Now, as to the actual recording experience…remember when I said I have a little experience behind a mic? Well, it turns out that that experience sooooo did not prepare me for this one! For twenty-one hours, it was just me and Larry. Don’t get me wrong, Larry was a super nice guy. I mean reeeeaaallly nice. Like the kind of nice that made it extremely difficult to read the dirty parts without drowning in a sea of embarrassment. Thank God his sound board was clear across the room, and I couldn’t see his face from my booth. It also didn’t help that my dad’s name is Larry.
I got a major case of the “uncomfortable giggles” on more than one occasion when reading some of the sexy-time scenes. I’d be totally in the groove, the words rolling out smooth as silk, and then…bam…I would suddenly remember Larry over there, listening to me reading David and Emma’s sexual escapades, out loud and in great detail. Soooo much detail.
Imagine reading a steaming-hot scene from your favorite book to a guy you’ve known for a total of like four hours. It was just like that. THAT!
Then there was the issue of my stomach. The mics we use on radio are not very sensitive; they don’t pick up every little sound. The DJ on your favorite morning show could be shuffling papers around the whole time he’s talking and you would never hear it. Radio mics aren’t made to pick up that kind of detail. But recording mics are a whole different ballgame. They pick up EVERYTHING. Just ask my stomach. We had to stop and redo twenty sentences a session because Larry could hear my stomach growling through the mic. It became a running joke. I tried eating a big breakfast. It didn’t help. I tried eating no breakfast at all. Still didn’t help. I tried chugging water before, and during, the recording session. Nope. No matter what I did, my stomach growled and we had to re-record. We had some good laughs about it though, which kept things light.
Maryse also asked me if I ever felt emotional while reading. And the answer is a resounding yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I never cried, but I did find myself having to stop and catch my breath a few times. Obviously an author is extra-connected to her characters, and some of the things Emma endures in PUSH are beyond heart-wrenching. How could I not feel what she was feeling? And how could I not let my voice express it? I didn’t “become” Emma as I was voicing her, but as cheesy as it sounds, I did feel like she was speaking through me. I felt like I was loaning her my voice, and I would let her say all the words she needed to say. I would let her tell her story all over again. Only this time she said it out loud, instead of on paper.
All in all, it was a really great experience. And although I was nervous to hear the final results, when the audiobook of PUSH was finally released on December 23rd, I raised a glass in celebration and toasted “my” David and Emma and their crazy little story.
LOL!!! I just KNEW the steamy scenes were giggle-worthy!!! Thank you for that, Claire.
And!! Claire has TWO FREE AUDIOBOOKS to give away to two lucky commenters here! She says:
“I can give you two free downloads of the audiobook… I have a download code and instructions for the winner(s) whenever you want them.”
P.S. —> You can check out more of my “audiobook” posts right here:
- Audiobook Addiction: Our fellow readers weigh in on their favorites…
- Q&A with Emma Chase and her TIED audiobook narrator Sebastian York
- Audiobook Narrators… what happens when a scene affects them emotionally?
- Free audible trial + 2 free ebooks deal (directly on Amazon since Audible is now an Amazon company)
Ready for that giveaway?
How to enter for a chance to win one of the two “Push” audiobooks?
Just leave a comment:
- telling us your most favorite audiobook, or
- when (or where) you are when you listen to audiobooks or
- asking the author a question about her books or her audiobook experience OR
- just leave any ol’ comment if you haven’t listened to an audiobook yet that’s fine, too!
and by 10pm EST, Wednesday March 4th 2015, I will randomly select TWO winners for a Push audiobook. The winner will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond with an email address so that the author can provide you the code and download instructions, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance.