Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 9 months ago

WB_S2E7 Are you listening?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

WRITERS' BLOCK Ron Block and Patti Callahan celebrate the Earphones Audio Award given to Once Upon a Wardrobe featuring the narrator of the audiobook and the editor of Audiofile Magazine, who present these awards.

You know, because I prefer every book that I'm rate. I have to. So I'm reading everything more than than twice sometimes, and it's most specially certain moments. And and yeah, I'd still I cry when I'm voicing it, because you have to be those people and you have to be living their feelings. So yes, it's hard. You can't prepare for for the wave of the emotion because if you did, you suppress something that's very important for the the audect book. Welcome to the friends and Fiction Writers Block podcast For New York Times Best Selling Authors, one rock star Librarian and endless stories. Join Mary K Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Christy woods and Harvey and Patty Callahan Henry, along with Ron Black as novelists. We are for longtime friends with seventy books between us, and I am Ron Block. Please join us for fascinating author interviews and inside or talk about publishing and writing. If you love books and are curious about the writing world, you are in the right place. Welcome once again to the friends and fiction writers block podcasts. Today we are in celebration mode, for sure. Our very unpatty Callahan, along with actress Fiona Hardingham, were awarded the highly prized earphones award from audio file magazine for the recording of once upon a wardrobe. Today we're going to peel back the curtain get an inside look into the creation of this stellar audiobook with the narrator, Fiona, and then we're going to speak with Robin Witten, editor and founder of audio file magazine, about this industry leading publication and what it takes to earn this coveted award. I am Brown block and I am Patty Callahan. Fiona is both an actress and a producer, with work in TV, film and theater, and she's an audiobook narrator. Yay, she is there, my audiobook narrator. She is the recipient of several audio file magazine earphones awards. This is my first, but she's had several, and an American Library Association Odyssey honor she was listed in the top ten amazing audiobooks for young adults. I was lucky enough to have her bring Meg's Devonshire of my ones upon a wardrobe to life. Hi feel now HII by f thanks so much for having me shaded such an honor. I was so honored to have your voice read my story and my words. It's strange to hear somebody out reading, you know, your story out loud and sometimes I can't listen to it, but when I hit play on this one, I just kept listening. So it's a wonderful relief. It was like hearing megs come to life as I imagined her. When I'm out and about, people often ask me if I read my own books and the answer is a solid absolute no way, absolutely. Yeah, I guess it, and I don't think people understand the training to be an audiobook narrator because it's not just reading, it's acting. So I want to hear a bit about your background and how you got here, how you started being an audiobook narrator and award winning audiobook narrator. HMM, also really great question because it was a long time ago. I've been narrating for over ten years now. I moved to America after being an actress. Training as an actress in the UK, doing a lot of improvisation and stand up and theater actually was sort of my outlet after training and I was doing one woman shows and profestival and things like that, and I just decided, you know, why not try la? So I came over and started working again in sort of the stand up comedy world over here, dabbling in that, saying what that was like, and met a comedian that I partnered with who was in the audiobook world and she and I came fabulous friends and in the end she moved back to the UK but she very kindly introduced me to the sort of audiobook community and it's just sort of snowboard really. I did a couple of titles and then I got Scorpio races by Maggie stye fatter and it that sort of took me down this massive and joyful path of young adults books and it's just been wonderful ever since in terms of sort of training and I did voice over in the UK, but I've always loved to tell a story as in any sort of format, especially theater really, and ...

I listened to audiobooks on tape, which might show my age a bit, as a child and actually the first series that I listened to, the first tape I listened to, was line the witch in the wardrobe, and I had that whole set. Yeah, so it's so funny. I was thinking about this today. I was like this is so and you have no ideas, like thinking that getting this book was so wonderful to sort of go in explore cs Lewis has through your eyes and and the sort of the truth of it, as well of obviously, of him and my sister and her husband live in Oxford. So it was all fearing, just really wonderful to tell this tale and sort of going full circle and sitting in the car driving to Scotland with my parents listening to the line which in the wardrobe. So I really thank you for that because it brought back a lot of really happy memories for me. Yeah, Oh, that gave me. That just gave me head to do chills when I talk. We talked about this a lot. I'm kind of blustered, but we talked about this lad, about how sometimes it feels like stories want to be told right like some of them you write them because you've loved them and you're excited about them and you know, I have sixteen novels. They've each kind of had their own trajectory, but sometimes the story feels like wow, that needed to be so it wouldn't leave me alone. And to know that the narrator we chose listened to the line which in the wardrobe on audio book. Yeah, it's I mean, I'm feel so lucky for it and I remember it sitting in the car and thinking someone does this for a job and I don't, but I just it was such an it's so weird to think, you know, like years later, you know this had a full circle. That's amazing. Yeah, so thank you. Do you still do stand up? I don't, I don't. I I really enjoy the books I love so much. I find it really creative. I love the different titles that I guess from sort of all the different genres, and then I love producing. So I sort of behind the night, behind the camera person nowadays. Wow, wow, it's so wonderful that you find out that a narrator and a book or made for each other, and I think I like Perry, I just got chills over all. There was a funny going it was. It was like that. I was like, WHOA meant to be? Meant to be. Yeah, so you mentioned a little bit ago. I'm veering off just a little bit, but you talked about the audiobook community and I have worked with a lot of audiobook narrators and things, but I wonder what it's like to actually be in their community because they all seem so supportive of each other. I don't think I've ever been in a more supportive community. Everyone really gets it, I mean and because, I guess, you are alone a lot of the time, if we're not, especially now because of the pandemic, you know, you're in that booth, sometimes your remote directed, sometimes you're you're not, you're on your own doing it. So there is this sort of relationship that everyone sort of understands and through social media or emails or friendships, you know that you may have within people just get it when you might be hitting a wall with something or just need some help with with an accident or whatever, words and pronunciations. So yeah, a lot of it goes into it. Because I'm one of the questions I get when I say that I might audioboo narrator. People got all right, do you read the whole book? And you're you know, yes, and so I played all the characters. They sort of don't understand, that is, if they if they're not really a listener themselves. So yeah, just being part of this community, every everybody's I mean, I just wouldn't want to leave it. Really they're very supportive. Yeah, lovely a bunch of I love it. I love it and yes, you do a lot of the voices yourself. But there's a new trend toward forecast recording. Have you dipped your toes into that? I have. And finally, enough run. I did one last week with sixty people. Why? I was like this is insane. And the editing. I just hats off to everybody that edits, you know, and all the people that we don't praise enough the work on these audio books and make them slick and flow. You know, I'm just so grateful for the engineers and the editors, but for that sixty people, I mean, Whoa, and it was a who I got it was a Nasto. Yeah, the last book I think had that many narrators was Lincoln in the bar down and then the Bardo. was just thinking that. Yeah, it has, it had and I love it. I mean I think it's a fun for the listener to have, you know, both auctions to hear all those different voices and you can get such a great cast of Voices. So, yeah, I are amazing people doing narration these days. Amazing. Yeah. Yeah, I remember when it was just a robotic voice reading the book. You know, when we used to get the Book Fan cede twenty years ago, they were just, you know, just a very robotic voice reading it. And if you're really old,...

...you got a mon cassette. Never that book on tape. That's where we get book on take. People still say it's a book on tape and say do they're slowly starting to say it's an audio book, but yes, out of people we get allay your age when we favorite when people ask me, you know, one of your favorite thing, my favorite things about being an author, I often and almost always say it's the community. You know, when you find your people like that. Diana, I'm so glad it's that way in the audio world. It is. and talking about authors as well, I have such a supportive group aboard it, authors that I've worked with. I just love having that relationship because it is their baby. Every book series is the baby. It's like some of them. When you finish the series or you know or even if the one offs you, you're just so emotional for them because it is an emotional journey for the author. You know and you can and you can feel it as a narrator quite viscerally when you're reading. You know, sort of rounding something off. It's like that must have took it out of them, because it did me. That was exactly what I was about to ask you. You read my mind, because I know when I'm writing it and I know a big scenes coming up, like, okay, today we're gonna like ground, ground ourselves, get, get, get it, get centered so that I can dig all the way down into something that emotional. And I want to know how you prepare for an emotional scene as the n area. I like the way you say narrator better than the way I say but the beautiful voice. You know, I don't think I can prepare other than, you know, be very, very present. You know, it's it is tricky when I have a it's more tricky for me when I have a director there, because I am quite an emotional person. I will just say I'm an emotional person. My emotions are on my sleeves and and when I did your book, I mean, Gosh, you know, or I can even remember it now, and you know because it's such a beautiful story about love and family and and sibling relationship and I'm very close to mine, and so to read it I often just have to just stop, paddy, and then I'll just cry and then I go on. And Yeah, I do absolutely, even if I you know, because I prefer every book that I narrate, have to. So I'm reading everything more than than twice sometimes, and especially certain moments. And and yeah, I'd still I cry when I'm voicing it because you have to be those people and you have to be living their feelings. So yeah, it's harden it. You can't prepare for for the wave of the emotion because if you did you'd suppress something that's very important for the audio book. You know, you want it, the the listener, to be with you through that, who, I think, in the head probably way of such an amazing narrator, because you can't fake feeling something. You can't exactly not fake feeling something. And so when in narrator is feeling the book, which is probably why it won, and ear phone word, but you can feel the emotion in your voice. So I wonder if it was like acting, where you prepare or you just are very present and along for the ride, and you you're saying, yeah, I think the latter, and then you know there is a fine line, there's training involved. I I get the question. Yeah, I get it because, you know, I I do have a bit of a cry and then I'm I have to stop. So I can't. I swear that that, but then I have to go back and be at the level of like right, Fiona, they want to listen to the words correctly. You can't be like you've gotta be, you know, clear enough, but you also need to have the emotion there. So, but sometimes you just need that initial like Google's so sad. They get it out of your body. Yeah, you get out of your body. Why? The same thing when I'm wating, like like get it out, yes, and then be focused. Right, you can't. You can't just have a bunch of like emotional dump on the page. You have to be clear and not tell and show and you have to do the same thing. So yeah, so whennership between the words, it is where. So when you write a scene like that very emotional scene, do you sort of pour it out and then do you go back and refine, refine, refine, and still remain emotional, or can you sort of detach yourself off to the initial sort of emotional dump by then, for worth or fifth time I'm going through it, I can usually, but the problem if you go through it too many times, just probably like if you read something too many times, you kill it. You do. Yes, you did. You take out the kind of low hum of emotion under the Yes, if you make it too clean. Yeah, so, yes, I do it dump and I remember one time I was writing a really sad scene and I was here in my office and...

...my it was one my son was in high school, so this was six years ago, five years ago, and he was on the other side of the wall doing homework and he be hanged on the one. He stead. Are you okay? And there I was like yeah, I thought that I'm calling my husband working up the booby light with a cup of two or something at all. Back ha ha ha. This is pretty cry sorry, true process. It's really cool to hear like how you write that, Patty, very good. Well, and it's cool to know that we were partners and didn't even know each other. Yes, I know, I love partnering that way. I'm lovely. That's so cool. How they it's almost like a group here, because Patty wrote it with emotion. I read it, when I first read it in her voice, with the emotion, and then I heard it with your narration and I was felt the same thing again. So it's just I think that's what makes a great audio book is just really pulling the feelings in. Yeah, about all about the feelings. How long does it take you, Fianna, to do a book? And now that there's a set, there isn't that and you know it's in. But yes, I can sort of give you a number, I guess, because it really depends on certain things, like how many words are really tricky if there's a made up language in there, you know, lots of coot names. I'm going to do that, do you? Happens a lot, because I mean why a so we go fast, you all over. Oh yeah, yeah, how big a fun fonts and how Chunky a book is. But I try and do I'm sure some people would do far more than me, but I do about a hundred pages a day and and that would take me, you know, I'd start maybe at nine o'clock and I'd finish around five, and I would have a break in there. Of course. I'd have some breaks, stretch my legs, have some you know, throatcoat tea, which is a bit of a favorite one audio. But narrators of lemon and honey or something like that. And Yeah, so a book, I think patties maybe, took me like four days to do. That's a final ardrobe. Yeah, so how long does it take? A hundred pages takes yes, it's so I would finish about two to three hours of finished audio, which would be, when I say finished, what I mean like on the shelf. Would Be, you know, good enough for the editors to start working on. I would do that a day. That would sort of be how much I would manage to because at some point your voice has to give out. Your Voice gives out a bit, but your brain gives out because it is you know, I say this to people. You know it's not a job. When people say I would get into audio books, I'm like right, so let me tell you the whole thing and do your start go and reads a few pages. Put It, put a sample down. See how that feels. Just you in a room reading, because you're going to read the whole thing. There's no shortcuts. You got to be present for every single word. And and so yes, you you do get tired by the end of it. You want to be sparky and great. Yeah, you do. You always. The only thing I've ever read for the audio books is the author note. I usually read the ter note. And how do you feel? It takes so long and I know exactly what I wrote, Fiana, and I still trip over words. Yeah, I still end in the wrong place. I still start to hurry, you know, like all of a sudden I'm talking really fast because I want to get it over with. Yes, so just this pure focus it takes to read a two or three page acknowledgements or author note, tripping over words I wrote. I know it's funny. Yes, yeah, yeah, but also, I would think your voice would you know, there's only so much you can on these. Yeah, you can do, but you become a bit I mean I think audio button races are there a machine of their own. You know it's because it's a bit of a bizarre job. You put in this foof and you go and sit there on your own and talk to the wall like you're talking, you know, to your best friend or child or I don't know. You know who was listening to this book. Don't? Can you really do that yet? So, yeah, I want I want to know what you think our listeners would be completely surprised about with audio books, like if you know nothing about audio books where. What would they be surprised to know? HMM, what would they be surprised to know? I guess how long it takes. I think that is one thing, because it does it. I mean we've talked about it, touched on it already, but it does take a very long time to read a book. I mean I, I'll I sometimes it's myself and it takes it to listen to it. Oh, absolutely, and that is that is something. Yeah, exactly. To say is, you know, it's might be eight, eight hours on the shelf as and I bought this book and it will take, you know, a hours to listen, but that will take potentially four days, three or four days to actually narrate in a booth. And and that's a full day's work of...

...just talking out loud, you know. So, yeah, so I think the length of it and then just all the accents and the ages and the tone of the books. You know, you really have to consider and do to your best. Less you have to read it before you even narrate it. Yeah, you've got to add those hours in you read that. Yeah, and exactly, and that's my process. I mean I would definitely I would get at the script and I earned the manuscript and I will read the whole the whole book, and I mark up all the characters and I point out anything that like is really needs noteworthy for for me when I'm voicing it, because you have to move very quickly, or sort of. You're obviously just reading, you're flowing along reading, but there's also just notes in the column and the highlights and things he's just have taken into consideration while you're going so that you so you continue the flow. And I mean, as I said editors, I mean they spend hours, obviously, to just taking out the POPs, because we pop on a mic, which is that when you go like that with a pea or something, or when you swallow and use your Tummy gurgles because you've not eaten enough or you just had lunch or whatever. Just had your smooth coat tea. Yes, yeah, that's very good too. So yeah, I think those are some of the things I would would say. Yeah, people don't know that behind the theme step it so fascinating. Oh my God, yeah, it's good fun feel. How does a narrator get paired with a project, because there's a lot of things to consider. There is and I think, well, sometimes it's a straight offer and the publishers will approach you and they'll say that the author knows you all, they'll like knows your voice and things as a perfect fit, or they will ask you to audition for it, or they'll know that I do this. You know why, A and middle grade, and that's sort of a strength of mind. And then so, therefore, they may, you know, send that the brief, the Synopsis My Way and say Hey, like, what do you think? So it's a conversation a lot of the time and I'm really lucky. Ron Yeah, I can't complain. Like the titles that I get given. I just so imaginative, and what I love about that is how they, the use of imagination, has underneath it something that's like a really lovely lesson or moral or something, you know, kids helping kids find their way. And do you ever turn a title down? Do you ever read a book? And, Fay, good question. I do. I would say so. I mean, we can, we can do everything and you've got to be in high demand, but I guess that's I mean, I hate saying that, but yeah, I actually do hate saying no, because I do here you know it's hard and like, I don't I just I said I love what I do, but sometimes it's to schedule. Is really the bottom line. You can't see it all in. And Yeah, I do a lot of a lot of months. So it's you have to sort of make time for it, because you could keep saying yes and then you have no weekends or no evenings. Weren't always I don't know what it is, and then it's not fair for the books. So you have to you have to make sure that you so, yeah, sometimes they do, and then sometimes I don't think I'm the you know, might not be the best fit. Yeah, I was wondering, like you read and say I'm not going to do this justice. Yes, it's not it. Yeah, exactly exactly do you listen to audio books? Do you have a favorite narrator or title? Wow, I do have read or joy, but narrators, and I do when it was what's the last I feel like I have to grab my phone to think about who was the last person I was listening to, which is really terrible. I don't even have my phone with me and I want to say I mean I have a lot of people in my community that I love and I listen to okay, and I almost feel like I don't want to name them, because that's fine, I don't start again. But one one I really enjoy and I'm going to butcher the names. Actually, wait a minute, who was it I was just listening to? Please help me. Stevenson? IS IT Julie Steve? Juliet's Stephenson? Stevenson, Juliet Stevenson, I really enjoy a lot. Of the reason for that is because I saw her in the theater when I was young, so I have that sort of connection to her. When I listened to her, she sort of reminds me of home, Marin Island. I really love her work and I have seen her also in the theater, so maybe there's something there. But there are so many people that I know know that I also really love an adore, and I'm sure you all know them, to love his lions. Yeah, you, yes, plus, a change is like for me, I can hear something, I go oh, they're my new favorite. Then I hear somebody else I go no, weight they're my new favorite. Absolutely, absolutely. Let's just let's set up. There so many...

...titles to listen to you too, which is it's like seeing an actor. You're watching, you know, binging, a series and an actor pops up and you're like, what were they in before? I love them when they were in it. What were they in before? And you stop the show and you look it up. I do that with audiobooks and like, I know she read another book I love. I've got to remember which book it was that I've read. And if you're a sort of stock, sort of well, I want to listen to something or I've got a credit or you know, you're not sure. And then you said if I find a narrator and I'm like, Oh, they did that, that looks interesting, I'm going to check you. No one out. Yes, yeah, which is wow. So I know we could do this all day, but unfortunately weird are limited. But, Fiona, has been such a pleasure to talk with you and thank you for answering my tweet. Oh my goodness, so we connected well. I know our listeners are going to be fascinated and thralled by your work and they're going to probably go back to your work time and time again after this and we all look forward to more from you. But where can people find out more about you and your work? Online? You can find me on twitter and I do response messages, which is, as you can as Runne at, Fiana Hardingham, and it's my handle. And then on Instagram I'm Fianna speaks. I've just thought it that up because I haven't said lebrated enough of the beautiful that I've been blessed a voice. So that's out there on Instagram, and then I'm on Fiana Hattingham DOT CO, which is my website, but it's really my social media is all the other place I'll be most present. APPS wonderful. Thank you. Get in touch. Yes, I can't wait for more. Thank you so much more. Thank you so much, funny. It's been a pleasure of speaking to you both. And now we welcome Robin Witten, editor and founder of Audio File Magazine and Industry leading publication. They present the audio file earphones awards, which we were just talking about with our previous guest, and it's given by audio file to truly exceptional titles that Excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio and enhancement of the text. Welcome Robin. We are so thrilled to talk to you about the magazine and we want to know in the beginning, and please tell our listeners how did the magazine start? Well, thank you, Rod, really nice to be here with you and Patty and I have to I have to reach back because when I thought of the idea of the magazine it was one thousand nine hundred and ninety two. So it was I had to usually explain what an audiobook was anyone. I was trying to say what my idea was, but it was actually the director of the Portland Public Library who said to me, robin, that is a great idea, because we are collecting audiobooks in this library. We can't keep them on the shelves. And the idea to write more about each audiobook from the point of view of a performance, like you would review a musical performance or concert. That's that was sort of where I started. Is Is that any information you could find out about about an audiobook was based simply on the same thing that a book review was being you know, the print book review was saying and the narrator was seldom mentioned. And of course, as we all know, it is the narrator who makes the special sauce in an audiobook. Absolutely so the library director and I, Sheldon, I chatted about and he said, oh, sure, go ahead, you should, you should write reviews. And it was the world of desktop publishing for newsletters and our last issue was twelve pages of reviews of audiobooks. And you know what's exciting, of course, is that the the industry of audiobooks at the the the amount of audiobooks that are available and the and the visibility of audiobooks has changed so much and audio file has, you know, kind of followed along and try to stay up and try to stay ahead. Up that you have, that you have ice years ago as a library and for a long time we get books on tape and little boxes and at each cassette had its own little case and have people would come and go like what else do you have by this author? What else can you recommend? Its like, I don't know just but now we have this great resource to help people. Right well, also, you don't have to chase the cassettes around the floor of your car as you're trying to listen to it all. The only you have, my God, nightmares, nightmares, nothing one. I remember listening on CDs and getting to like, you know, the library CDs and getting to like CD number six and...

...being like it's gone. CD number six is missing of twelve. Right. And did you always call them audio books wrapping, because I call them books on tape till, I don't know, last week. Well, the tape is gone. It's where you call it. Well, yes, and and I, you know, trying to think of the name of the magazine and how what we were going to talk about it. We did call it the audiobook review. But, you know, again we had to oh, those are those were my grandmother uses those. We had lots of things to overcome and but you know, I'm persistent, so I'm still here. And with audio books, everybody knows what an audiobook is. Now they now do they do? So, like he said, everybody knows now because audio books are more than having a moment. They are soaring. They are becoming increasingly creative, from robotic voices to multiple narrators. I think Lincoln in the Bardo had a hundred and sixty six narrators or something, and actors like Tom Hanks reading and Patit. So have these audiobooks become sort of an art form in their own right, like theater or something? I think absolutely. They are an art form and I think you know, when you mention celebrity actors who I think kind of dabble occasionally, someone will, you know it's not quite as exciting or lucrative as a film, so you know they will. Someone will say, Oh, won't you read this audio book, and it may be a favorite book of their's, and they say sure, and that's that's great for the visibility of of all audiobooks. Oh, I want to hear Tom Hanks or you know, I want it. But there are legions of actors whose main mission in their act in career is to be audiobook narrators, to be storytellers, and that is where they focus their their energies and there and and their career. Yeah, we just finished talking to Fiona Hardingham and she she used to be in theater, she used to be in stand up comedies, used to be on TV, but this is now her art form, this is it, and she said the community is so amazing, that they, the narrators, are friends and that they talk to each other. They're always trying to get better in the way they they bring these books and narrator can kill a up, it can be a book that's one every award and if the wrong narrator is reading it. Click, you know, it's a why do you think there's been such a surge in audio books over the past, especially the past ten years? Well, I think it has a lot to do with busy lifestyles. You know, true, that's kind of that's that as that has been longer than ten years. We've had busy lifestyles and not enough reading time. I mean, how often do we say that? And so, as as audiobooks, I think as an alternative format to you know, I really want to read this book, but I'm running around this week and I have a book club coming up, you know, and or just I you know, I just I really want to read this book and I had I need to find more time to read. And so with the the visibility and the availability of different kinds of devices, you know, home devices, so that you can have a home assistant while you're cooking, you know, play my audiobook and it just starts up and wait, wait, I've got it. I've got to check that, rescipe. Hold on, stop, and then I'll pick up again for you and you don't have to disengage your your you know, drippy fingers on. You're amazing. To Stop but they also, I think that the demographics of audiobook listeners has been going younger. Oh Wow, okay, so so that now, with the recent research, forty six percent of consumer listeners are under forty five. Wow. Wow. So you've got you've got generations of younger listeners who have no barrier, I would say, to reading their book with their ears. I love it. For me it started because for long car trips, HMM right, it just made you know, on book tour or or you know, I'm...

...just traveling, a book on tape made everything fly and after that I was at it. I always have one going, you know, whether I'm cleaning house or phone laundry or even running errands, I'll just hit play if I can only get twenty minutes. I can only get twenty minutes, but there's always one queued up. MM. And that's new, you know, in the last, you know, decade, that that it's been such a part of the every day and I think it is, and you know, even more so in the last couple years while we've been confined that, you know, the listening as an alternative to a lot of screen time that exhaust people or exhausting jobs where they've had to go out and they just want to escape. You know, people have made more time for audiobook listening and I don't think that's a habit that goes away. Well, you get into that kind of storytelling, you're going to be like wow, I can't be without this story, right, yeah, yeah, it's also that, in my opinion, because I, as we said before we started recording, I've been on an Award Committee for audiobooks for the last four years. But the quality of them overall has just climbed. They there, the the narrators are becoming rock stars. The the the production is elevated and and I just it. I don't who knows where this is going to go. Yeah, fascinating, it is, fighting. Yeah, yeah, yeah. My favorite is you on a road trip like Patty, and you get where you're going but you're sitting in your car because you have to finish. You have to finish. You just pretend you can't find a parking spot. Right, it's right. We love. Well, it keeps you. If you're if you're you know, do it walking the dog. The dog is very happy because you just keep going. Oh, I think we should take another loop now. It's great for exercise. For walks and people are like when they're crafting, you mentioned cooking, or just to get away from their kids for a while. Yeah, there we go to pell listening to their kids, but three heroes and great or including their kids, because we should. Yeah, listening to bust together. You know, the family listing is a very big thing and of course, family listening, you know, builds the the listeners. As they get older, they keep that habit and they become that's one of their preferred ways for reading. That's so true, so true. Well, switch gears just a little bit and let's time. I want to talk about the audio file earphones awards. Where did those come from and what does it take to win one? Well, it it's the earphones awards is a are nominated by the reviewer, the original reviewer who writes the review, and an ear phones. We wanted to of an award that was, I guess, more like a starred review award, kind of that it was not once a year or only half a dozen people would ever get one. We wanted to have something that was ongoing and really based on the experience that the reviewer, that the listener has. So if the reviewer said I had this was exceptional listening. Now the reviewer, Joan, might, you know, listen to things every day. So but in her experience this is extraordinary. The match of the of the story to the casting of the narrator, the ability of the narrator to really be within that story, telling the story the way the author intended, you know, the more specific things of getting all the characterizations believable, the accents believable, the you know, keeping the emotional level that the author intended just where it should be for the listener. As the experience for us, we were the ones that were listening. That's right. So so the the reviewer says this was exceptional when they submit the review and then at in our office, in the editorial office, we say, okay, well, let's let's listen to this, let's decide whether this really is worthy of this award and the accolade. You know, we have about maybe one and ten, I would say one and ten, of our audiobook reviews. Might it's probably maybe not quite that high. It may it may be more scarce than that, but we'd like to give them when because it's really you know, if you you say this is exceptional listening, then I can recommend it.

Look, this book just got, Patty's book just got and ear phones award. So I you know, maybe I didn't listen to the whole thing, but I can say I know that that is great listening. Yeah, that's awesome, but it's awesome and it's it's I love the behind the scenes of anything, whether it's songwriting or audio books or so it's it's just thrilling me to hear not only the behind the scenes about recording them, but the reviewing of them and how we get them out in the world. It's so great. Let's talk podcast for a second, because I feel like they're an outgrowth of the audiobook in some ways. I did two original podcast for two of my novels and of course you're here talking to us on the writer's block friend and fiction podcast and you have a podcast for audio filemac then. So I talked to us a little bit about the hand in Glove of audiobooks and podcasts and about your podcasts. Well, I think it's interesting when you think about podcast we do. Audio file has to podcasts and they're actually the way we do them. They make an interesting contrast because we'll talk about one, which is called audiobook break, which is actually a serialized audiobook, because if you think about how many books were read, starting with Dickens, he serialized his books and they were released in chapters. And at the time and when we thought about and of course a lot of the podcat the very popular podcasts, are episodic stories that go on and on. But we thought about how with an audiobook, if you just took the chapters, you have a serialized you know, and we I listen, I read my one chapter a day or two chapters a day and that's what I am going to listen to. So that's the idea about audiobook break. That for podcast listeners, they often will say, HMM, those audio books, they're too long. I think I want to form that's more like podcast, because that's what I like write. And I thought, MMM, maybe it's just about it's a perception that if the the the bites worth smaller, you could, Oh, I've just listened to an entire audio book by listening to it in segments. So that was the idea behind audiobook break and our new season, just to say is going to be pride and prejudice. Oh Wow, which will be very exciting. You know, every day. You can look forward. Every couple days you could listen to a couple new chapters. So that's what we're doing with audiobook break and behind the MIC with audio file magazine, is more of a little book talk to recommend a great audiobook each day. So it's very it's very much sort of contrary to what most podcasts are. It's not true crime. Yeah, and it's not an interview. It's not an interview, not news, but just a really short recommendation of what we are listening to and why it's worth worth the time to listen to. So they're about six minutes, one book each, one audio book each day, and we have five editors who each we rotate in a week at a time. I know you know about this. You take so we, each of us does like a coming up as a week I have five. I'll be talking about five books, Oh wo and each and so they're recorded each day for each day and that's how we and then a month later I'll I have to pick five more books talk about. Well, I noticed you were doing that and I'm I have the ulyst this one qued up because I really I'm I'm a mythology geek and I really want to hear what you have to say about that. So I had to cut now. They also did one about once upon our wardrobe. Yeah, yeah, I did. I just listen to one of the pride and prejudice narrated by Alison Larkin. Yes, yes, it's exciting. So that's that is the version of pride and prejudice that will be in audiobook break. Gotcha. So, and it's kind of fun because of course there are lots of recorded versions of pride and prejudice. So this Alison's is quite different...

...and lively and fun. And you know, it's so every version. Every time you hear a symphony, maybe it's a little different, little different. Absolutely. So you recently published your annual best audiobook list. Can you tell us how that comes together and maybe a couple of favorites off the list? Well, one of the one of the ways that we construct the we come down to to the final list for best of the year is we start with our ear phones awards, so because we feel those must be the best titles that we that were reviewed this year. So we start with the the ear phones awards. Then we also look at any books that might have been really, really special personal favorites that maybe I listen to but the reviewer was maybe not, maybe enthusiastic, but didn't end up giving an earphones to it. So but we're coming down from twenty four hundred reviews down to five titles in each category, subject, category, so we have to get down to from many, many, many reviews and a subject we have to come down to only a handful. But I have you know, there's some some of the titles that we're particularly I mean we were excited about all of them, but one that it continues to get a lot of attention right now is the fire keeper's daughter who, and this was a narrator her first audio book. The casting was very special because the author really wanted a person and an actor with native heritage, and so there was a special casting call and Isabella star Le Blanc answered. She's an actress in New York. She answered this casting call and she was brilliant and it's just an amazing story. It is Oh wow, I am queuing that. That sounds amazing. It is excellent. It's excellent. I've heard it so and it's just fun of want a bunch of more awards from the Ala? Yes, it did. Yes, Hannah our list this year. It's amazing to that I didn't know that that was her first book because she was so polished and so believable and just anyway, I go on for days about all this. I do have one really quick question before we finish up. Do you have an audiobook that in that for you just turned it all on, like a favorite, that that really just stays with you? Oh yes, well, the one that stays with me always is Philip pullman's the golden compass. I'M gonna I have sat making this list like and the interesting thing about the audiobook of the Golden Compass, and that's actually part of a trilogy, is that it was done with a a cast of actors, but done a little differently. At the time it was done very differently than the way most multicast was done and it was done more like a like a film is done. So a particular actor will read their entire part and then it's all edited together. But you know there are scenes when the characters are on the same in the same room, and there were some of that. Anyway, it was an extraordinary audiobook with multiple voices and Philip pullman himself was the overall narrator. So that was very special. You know, it was really it's really something that will usually hook listeners, yes, and keep them. Yes, Mine is Colin Fort Reading the end of the Affair Graham Green, and yes, you two blow me out of the water. That was incredible, incredible, incredible. And it's interesting because, you know, having Colin first read something like that just brought so much visibility to the format. You know, people saying, Oh, I have to listen to him, and yet, you know, the end of the affairs not something that's called Russian got library. It's my name to my top five favorite books. So, you know, to hear him read it versus reading it, which I've done numerous times, I think it's a masterpiece. But yeah, yes, listening to him read it is extraordinary. Yeah, well, mine is is not quite so eloquent, but I was completely turned on by beautiful ruins with Edward of Ballerini narrating. It's my favorite of all time.

Yeah, yeah, he's an extraordinary actor and a narrator and you know, he's one of we have golden voices for the magazine. So every year we celebrate the work of an audiobook narrator who has just done, you know, basically a lifetime, or part of the lifetime, of work, of extraordinary audiobook work in a great range. Yes, indeed. Well, Robin, it has been so fascinating and even enthralling to get to talk to you. I just your endlessly fascinating. But stories are told in like so many different forms, but a wonderful audiobook is really a treat for the years and I love that audio file magazine celebrates every part of this and I know that people can find more at audio file Magazinecom. And get on it, people, because you're going to have reviews, you're going to have these little and of pop the podcast and that's just it's something. It's going to it's it's a rabbit hole you need to go down, for sure, and Audiobook Rab at hole. Audio Book Rabbit Hole, worst rabbit holes to fall down. Wrap. That's true. That is true, and thank you all for joining us and listening to this episode. I hope you found these conversations as fun and entertaining and exciting as we did. Be sure to listen each and every Friday for a new episode. On behalf of the FAB Four. We so appreciate your tuning in. Please share it with a friend. Remember you can always find all the books by every friends and fiction writers block podcast guest past and present in the friends and fiction bookshop dot org shop all sales place their help to fund friends and fiction, and a portion of each and every sale goes straight into the pockets of indie booksellers nationwide. Since its inception, bookshop dot org has raised more than sixteen million for indie bookstores. Shop small, shop local from the convenience of your screen with bookshop Dotorg and tell them friends and fiction sent you. Thank you for tuning in to the friends and fiction writers block podcast. Please be sure to subscribe, rate and review on your favorite podcast platform. Tune in every Friday for another episode, and you can also join us every week on facebook for Youtube, where our live friends and fiction show airs at seven PM Eastern Standard Time. We are so glad you're here.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (234)