Q&A with Alex Lidell, Air and Ash

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Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? 

At the time I was writing AIR AND ASH, no.  But now that I am on the third book in the series, having heard Kaitlin narrate AIR AND ASH, I do hear the characters speaking in her voice as I write.

How did you select your narrator?

I listed to sample reels of many narrators and then invited Kaitlin to audition.  I really like the range of emotions and undertones she has within each character’s voice.

How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? 

Very closely!  I was really shy about sending her an audio file of my voice pronouncing some words, but it worked :)  We also have a shared google doc with character descriptions and we spent some time on the phone “auditioning” character voices.  It was one of my favorite parts of the process and the reason I SO love working with Kaitlin.

Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? 

I’m a HUGE listener.  I fell in love with audiobooks listening to Master and Commander, where the narrator helped me understand some of the technical seamanship. My favorite narrator (aside from Kaitlin of course!) is Jennifer Ikeda

What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

I say Safety First! When I get into a book, I can’t pull away from it - so I end up walking down the street, reading my phone (yeah, i’m one of those horrible people).  With audiobooks I can walk and listen!

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? 

I think YA fantasy fans are often comfortable with a series - I know I am - and expect it.  Other genres have different fan bases.  From an author perspective, a series lets me tell more complex overall stories, but makes logistics difficult.  IE in book one, the distance between A and B might not matter so I say “umm, half a day by horse, sure, why not”.  And then in book 3 it becomes vitally important that it take a WEEK to get from A to B,... and I have to somehow deal :)

Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?

Talk to your narrator and make sure you click as professionals. I really lucked out with Kaitlin because of her excitement level and flexibility - but some people prefer to have more “distance”.  It was a match with Kaitlin herself, not just her voice, that finally closed the deal for me

What’s next for you?

WAR AND WIND (Tides 2) comes out in audio in December.  SEA AND SAND (Tides 3) comes out in print/ebook in January!