Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
Finding the right narrator and writing the novel was mostly all I did for this format of the book. The credit for the audiobook rendition goes to the narrator: Christopher Sherwood. I had to give very little direction because he is a wonderful actor and trained in voice over work. He has the talent and understood the novel - its themes and characters - this is what it took to make them all come alive from the page. He did that and I listened, enraptured by it all, awaiting each chapter he would upload as he made it come alive.
Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
Yes, I believe that first person narratives are particularly compelling in audiobook format. Love and Hate: In Nazi Germany is told in first person and I think that a narrator can many times become the character more authentically with a story told in this point of view. I have been told by readers that my writing would make a good movie and that it is “cinematic.” I don’t think a great novel must be written in a cinematic style and in first person. I do think that this style may lend itself to audiobook format well.
How did you select your narrator?
I have a cinematic novel trailer for Love and Hate, that is just like a movie trailer. The quality level is similar to a movie trailer and real actors are involved. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi47YG-eHeo
Chris (the narrator) was cast as Hans, the novel’s protagonist, in my cinematic book trailer. My filmmaker and I thought he was perfect for the role. No others who auditioned compared.
I have this cork board nailed by my desk. I use it to pin plot lines and pictures of the places I write about. I also find pictures that resemble the characters that I am writing about. I select ones that look like what I imagine them to look like in my head. It was a welcome and strange coincidence that Chris auditioned. He literally was identical to the picture of Hans on my cork board. He was exactly the character in my head - and there he was in the flesh. He did a great job with the German accent and his acting and look were perfect. He really was Hans to me - and now to hundreds and thousands of others. When I found out he had voice over experience I HAD to ask him to do the audiobook. I was very excited when he agreed. He did not disappoint and made the book come alive. If you watch the novel trailer you will get to see Chris and I think it makes listening to the book a little more fun.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
There are more pros to writing a series when it comes to book sales. Writing a series gives the reader an opportunity to continue reading a story that keeps evolving and the author then boasts more sales. I am not saying I won’t write a series someday. But, I find it satisfying to tell a story fully and be done with it. I feel it gives me the time to concentrate on marketing and making the story into other formats, like a screenplay, a graphic novel and an audiobook (all of which are being done with this novel). I want to mostly continue to write in this genre - historical fiction. But, I tend to like to move on to other stories once a story is told. I feel there can be danger in drawing out a story once it has been told. It can be, not always, but when not justified by the story - a series can turn out formulaic and boring. However, when done well, a series can benefit the reader and novelist greatly.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Oh, I could write a book just on this. I will say this - do not write a novel. Tell yourself that you won’t write one. To produce a quality novel is so much work - and even when you sell well - it is so little money that it is usually not worth the trouble. If you say, “to hell with that advice” because you want to write a novel that badly - then you should absolutely do it. But it must be a need and not a whim. I guess that is my point.
Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
Find the right narrator. Everything will fall into place if you do that. If you just select a bad narrator or someone who is only half committed then your book won’t turn out well. Once you find the right narrator let them run with it and only give absolutely needed directions. It is a collaboration.
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on an anthology - The Darkest Hour with nine other historical fiction authors - best sellers due out in January. You can check it out here: https://thedarkesthouranthology.com/
The title of my novella within the anthology is Sound of Resistance, and delves deeper into the psyche of Erich Beck - the most evil character in “Love and Hate.”