Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
The process started out relatively simple. I just went onto ACX and listed the book book as being open for audition. Within a few weeks, the auditions started coming in. After that was when the real work began.
Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
I never considered turning Heart of Stone into an audiobook initially, but then I had readers asking for it.
How did you select your narrator?
I listened to the auditions and then I got in touch with Lacy. I had no idea how to go about the process, but Lacy was very forthcoming right from the get go. We got along immediately, which made it easy for me to choose her. Lacy is the one who suggested that we bring in a male narrator for the part of Alexander. She got in touch with a few for auditions, and I ended up choosing Jeffrey.
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 worked very closely with Lacy for this book. After every recorded chapter, I would give feedback on moods, emotions, character personalities, etc. In fact, I think I might have driven her crazy with the amount of feedback I gave her, but she denies it :)
Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
A little bit, but not much. For example, the guitar player that Alexander discovered in Venice is based on a real life experience. My husband and I stumbled upon this guitarist in Venice, Italy and fell in love with his music. La Biga is also a real place. It’s a little cafe across the street from the Colosseum in Rome.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Other than Heart of Stone, I have never once listened to an audiobook. I should probably start...
Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
I think Lacy did a fantastic job with Krystina’s backstory. It was such an emotional chapter and I feel that her performance really shined in that part.
If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
I did have two celebrities in mind when I was describing the character's appearance, although they were not my intention when I started out. It just sort of happened that way. For Krystina, I pictured Lacey Chabert with curly brown hair. I envisioned Ian Somerhalder for Alexander. As for how they would act out the roles, I didn’t think that far ahead.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
I don’t think it’s cheating. I think we live in a busy world. Finding time to sit down and read can be a challenge for some who love a great story. Listening to an audiobook is just another outlet for readers to get lost in the pages.
How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
When I finished writing it, I didn’t celebrate. I panicked because I knew I would have to hit the “publish” button on Amazon. For the audiobook, I was more of a veteran by that point. I held a full blown party on Facebook for the audiobook release and held massive giveaways for the occasion. Then I poured a large glass of wine :)
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
Oh, where to begin… Heart of Stone is book one in a trilogy. The second book has been released, but I’m still writing the third. Readers are constantly asking for a release date for book three - the pressure is real! It’s made me rethink my ideas on tackling another trilogy in the future. Sometimes I feel like one-and-done is the way to go. However, I love reading trilogies, so we’ll see.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Never give up. It’s hard work, but determination is key. I once read somewhere that 97% of writers don’t finish their book. I don’t know how true that is, but if that number is accurate, it makes me sad to think about all the great unfinished stories out there. Strive to be among the 3% of writers to become a published author.
Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
I recommend ACX for first timers. I also recommend establishing a good rapport with your narrator(s), as I think it helps with getting an accurate performance of the character personalities.
What’s next for you?
Set in Stone, book three in The Stone Series. I’ve had so much going on with the first two books, that I’m a little behind schedule with that book.