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Q&A with Mackenzie Flohr, The Rite of Wands


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

It wasn’t easy, believe me! In fact, if anybody would have told me I would go through 3 narrators before finally getting the whole thing recorded, I would have probably thought “yeah, right”. Normally making audiobooks isn’t difficult at all, but my project, you could say was...unique. However, it has opened up some wonderful opportunities to appear at Comic Con and various writing conferences to teach others about the process of making an audiobook and especially, what not to do (because I probably did them all!)

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

Oh, absolutely! My ultimate goal is to have The Rite of Wands series become either a movie trilogy or a television show (preferably done by HBO or the BBC), so I definitely had the idea of an audiobook in the back of my mind when I was writing the first book.

How did you select your narrator?

When I was auditioning various actors, I wanted someone who could do an impression of Matt Smith (11th Doctor/Doctor Who, Prince Philip/The Crown) since my MC was written for him, as well as someone who could read/perform Scottish dialect. I was fortunate to come across two actors, who are the best Matt Smith impressionists on the planet, and one of them was available and approached ME after hearing about my project through Doctor Who Online.

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?

I was very fortunate to be able to work as close as I was with Chris, considering he lives in England and I’m in America. I do have a day job where I work as a manager at a call center, but I also wanted to be available for him as much as I could. Not only so I could answer any questions he may have, but also because I honestly wanted the opportunity to get to know him a bit on a personal level, so I could get an idea of how it was best to get the project completed as smoothly as possible. (I can be overwhelming sometimes because I am so direct). I did provide him a character sheet with descriptions of the characters as well as a language guide. But as some of my spells don’t necessarily follow the mother language they came from, I had to occasionally provide some extra pronunciation help.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

Yes. As I mentioned above, I wrote the main character (Mierta McKinnon) for Matt Smith. There are personality characteristics of the character, which are similar to him, as well as some inside jokes, too. Other than that, there are some key elements Matt has stated he’d like to play in a character, and I’ll admit I did give Mierta some of those, with more to come!

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

Audio dramas. When I have listened to audiobooks in the past, the narrator has been so monotone, I’ve honestly fallen asleep. But then I got introduced to Big Finish Productions, and my love for audiobooks regenerated.

Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

Yes, there’s a particular scene between two characters where one of the characters is near death, and the reaction of the second character just comes through as heartbreaking. I actually started crying the first time I heard it performed, which is strange for me because I’ve never cried at my own words before!

If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the  primary roles?

Mierta McKinnon

Jacob Dudman/Matt Smith

Orlynd O’Brien

David Tennant

Lochlann McKinnon

Tom Hiddleston

Queen Anya

Lily James

King Deor

Tom Felton or Toby Regbo

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

Know what your budget is, determine where you want your audiobook distributed to, and, if you decide to do the 50% royalty share option with ACX, make sure that narrator actually honors the terms of the contract.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently finishing up my first draft of The Rite of Abnegation, which is the second book in The Rite of Wands series. Then, I’ll be working on a standalone novel called The Burning Man, which will be perfect for YA ghost hunting readers.

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