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Hi.

Welcome to my blog. Pull up a chair, find your next read and let’s chat about it!

Q&A with Shannon A. Thompson, Bad Bloods

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Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

My favorite (and first) part about turning Bad Bloods into an audiobook was discussing my book with the narrator, Jonathan Johns. I let him know some exclusive behind-the-scenes info that
never made it into the book but was essential to understanding the characters. He was really receptive to it, and he truly understood what each person and scene represented. After he recorded, I listened to each scene and provided more notes. Then he recorded more, and now, we have an audiobook!

Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?

Yes, I think it’s absolutely possible—not to mention that there are readers who NEED audiobooks in order to access novels and other pieces of text, so audiobooks are extremely important.

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

Yes and no. I always loved the idea of an audiobook, but I didn’t let it change my writing style. However, I always read all of my books out loud in the last editing phase to check the sound and overall flow, so that’s very similar. Sound is important.

How did you select your narrator?

My publisher sent me a few auditions, but Jonathan Johns stuck out the moment I heard his voice. He captured both the dark essence of the story and the characters’ individual voices. From the beginning, I felt as if he understood it more than anyone else, and he truly brought it to life.

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?

Yes! I provided pronounciation for any words or names that might be difficult, but I definitely gave him insight into each character. Bad Bloods is very character heavy (and a character-driven story), and it was important to me that they were distinguishable and matched what I pictured when writing. He learned facts that will never even make it into the series. Why? Because those details often shape characters, but they might also be unseen details. I needed to know those details to create the prose, so I thought Jonathan would need to know them in order to create the audio. He absolutely nailed it!

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

I think there is truth in all types of writing, including fantasy. For me, I originally wrote this book shortly after my mother died very suddenly. I was eleven, so I had a lot of anger and depression and confusion about how terrible things can happen to very young people. Those feelings are scattered throughout Bad Bloods, and to this day, Bad Bloods still feels like the closest books to my heart—probably because writing these books saved me when I was young.

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

Actually (eek), I’m not. I have a difficult time remembering anything when it’s in audio format. Even when I was a kid, I struggled to learn from lectures. I’ve always taught myself by reading materials. (Maybe my dad was right when he said I was a bad listener. Ha!) But I’m so glad it exists for those who need and love audiobooks.

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

That’s just silly! Would anyone say the same thing to those who read brail? Or those who read a text in a different language aside from the original language the text was written in? Absolutely not. Audio books are another format that allow readers to access books. Reading is reading, no matter the format.

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

Definitely communicate with your narrator. You have the same goal—to turn your book into the best audiobook it can be—so work together to reach that goal.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully the audiobook for Bad Bloods: November Snow, then Bad Bloods: July Thunder and Bad Bloods: July Lightning! I’m currently working on the third duology in the series, but I also have lots of other projects in the works. I’m looking forward to seeing the unknown future unfold!

Q&A with Shelly Hickman, Believe

Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees: A Travelogue of Vietnam, by C. L. Hoang