Author Claire Wallis Shares Her Own Audiobook Narrating Experience + she has 2 Audiobooks to Giveaway!

by Maryse on March 1, 2015 · 29 comments

in Editorial, Fun Author Tidbits

*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 eek (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. :)

And here it is!! A “behind the scenes” (or “behind the books” look at the process of narrating an audiobook, as experienced by Claire Wallis herself! She also encourages your questions! She says:

“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. “

:D !! *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:

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 :D 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.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Wicks March 1, 2015 at 1:03 PM

I’m a huge fan of audiobooks. I read many series including Fifty Shades, Crossfire series. My fav is the Tangled Series by Emma Chase….never laughed so hard. It must have been cool as the author to narrate your own audiobook.

AngieG March 1, 2015 at 1:13 PM

I usually use the Text to Speech option on my Kindle to listen to books on my commute. It works great! However, I did recently buy the Outlander audiobook, and I loved it!

Annie March 1, 2015 at 1:54 PM

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was an excellent audio book. Currently I’m listening to One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. The narration is spot on. One of the easiest to get into right off the bat. Sometimes my ear has to get used to voices and then connect to the character. Not with this book.

Meredith March 1, 2015 at 3:01 PM

I love audiobooks!!! I listen while doing housework or driving in the car. I was wondering if you were able to be part of the casting on the other characters? If not did they sound anything like you were thinking?

Beverly March 1, 2015 at 3:09 PM

Just finished listening to Archer’s Voice. I loved reading the book and totally enjoyed the audio experience. What a treat!! Thanks for the link to the free trail and suggesting listening while cleaning etc. It turned my “To Do List of Home and Office Chores into time I look forward too. Starting the audio of Fifty Shades. My house has never looked so good and I actually crossed off lots of items on the never ending list.
Thanks Maryse!!

Claire Wallis March 1, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Meredith – I was not involved in casting the other characters; Audible selected them on their own. My favorite was the one that played Sara, but I really liked almost all of them. They did a great job with the casting. :)

Chris March 1, 2015 at 4:13 PM

I am an audiobook virgin…..does this disqualify me?? I never apply for giveaways but I loved this book so hard (in my top 3 books read last year…I still think about it all the time) thought I’d give it a shot.

Maryse March 1, 2015 at 4:39 PM

My pleasure Beverly!!! Why do things and be bored, when we can do things and be entertained while doing ‘em, INSTEAD! :P

Maryse March 1, 2015 at 4:40 PM

Chris! You are most certainly included in this wonderful giveaway! :D

Jennifer March 1, 2015 at 4:59 PM

I have never tried an audio book before but all this talk about audio books has me very excited to try it!!

Jaclyn Hall March 1, 2015 at 7:31 PM

Thank you very much for the chance!! I love listening to books in the car, after kids are dropped off at school and I’m on my way to work.

bn100 March 1, 2015 at 9:10 PM

listen in the car

heather March 1, 2015 at 11:10 PM

I listen on my way to work and at work. I just started the Outlander

Jennifer March 2, 2015 at 12:27 AM

When I have long drive I love audible books. When I had a one-way 5 hour road trip I listened to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Great refresher since I hadn’t read it in a while.

Emma March 2, 2015 at 4:52 AM

I loved Lothaire by Kreisler Cole. I listen to my books at the gym and in my drives to work.

Jocelyn M. March 2, 2015 at 5:12 AM

I love audiobooks!!! I listen to it while driving the car & getting ready for work in the morning. while doing housework or driving in the car.

Jocelyn M. March 2, 2015 at 5:13 AM

I love audiobooks!!! I listen to it while driving the car & getting ready for work in the morning.

Kylie L March 2, 2015 at 5:35 AM

I haven’t actually listened to a complete audiobook yet! I have started purchasing some – or should I say obsessively updating my Kindle books to have audio :-) . I am currently listening to and reading Pride and Prejudice. It’s one book that I’ve always wanted to read. I love the movie, but have never been able to read the book. I must admit that it is so much better with audio to listen to as well!

Diane F. March 2, 2015 at 9:59 AM

I love audio books. I like to switch between reading a book and listening to it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Tina V March 2, 2015 at 11:43 AM

I have never listened to an audio book, but I would love to! I feel like I am missing out on something epic! :)

Jacqueline March 2, 2015 at 1:39 PM

I’ve only listened to the Outlander series on audio books, but they are magical. I started out listening because my friends said some of the Scottish words were difficult to read. I put the first book on my ipod and listened along as I read the actual book. Now I listen the car, as I have an hour commute each way. The only issue I’ve had is when I decide to “shuffle” my music and a spoiler comes on, so I’ve learned to only put a few tracks at a time on the ipod.

Anna March 2, 2015 at 1:50 PM

I love audiobooks! I listen to them in the car to and from work, which gives me about an hour and a half of listening each day. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite, but one of my favorites of the past couple years has been Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. I felt like the narrators helped me to completely immerse myself in the story and connect with the characters. Great book, great audiobook!

Michelle March 2, 2015 at 4:01 PM

I listen in the car

Katie March 2, 2015 at 4:12 PM

I have never listened to an audiobook but I have always wanted too! It sounds like I am missing out! PUSH has been on my TBR list for a long time, I would love to listen to it but if not I look forward to reading it soon!

Cheryl March 2, 2015 at 5:24 PM

I love audiobooks; they are great for multi-tasking! I love to listen while running,cleaning the house or grocery shopping. My favorite so far is the That Boy series. Thanks Maryse and Claire!!

Annie March 2, 2015 at 5:57 PM

I love audiobooks! I normally listen to it while driving. So even I get stuck in L.A. traffic, I still get entertained :) )

Patti March 2, 2015 at 6:15 PM

I’m an audiobook junkie. I’ve got all the Black Dagger Brotherhood, all Kristen Ashley’s that are out and pre-ordered the two new series, Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander and Fever series, Tara Sivec, Joanna Wylde, Kylie Scott, Kristen Proby… Did I mention I’m a junkie? I listen to books on the way to and from work and while cleaning the house, taking a walk, any time I can’t pull out my iPad and read :) I’ve listened to most more than once too (especially Kristen’s.) Loved reading Claire Wallis’ point of view too as I kind of secretly would love to try being a narrator!

Sue March 2, 2015 at 6:44 PM

I love audiobooks. I normally listen while I clean the house or in the car.

Dawn M. March 3, 2015 at 7:33 AM

I love, love, love a good audiobook! I am so busy that I find it is easier to listen to books in my car to and from work than take the time to read. I did enjoy Outlander especially being able to hear the accent and pronunciation of certain words. I am currently listening to Goldfinch in my car.

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