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

Q&A with JC Alaimo, To Laugh Well

How did you select your narrator?

I had a specific sound in mind for this book, so I combed through a number of narrator samples before coming across Josh’s. It was perfect, so I reached out to him once I posted the book on ACX and asked him to audition.

Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

I tried to give him as much background information as possible - where the characters were from, what kind of personality they revealed throughout the course of the book. If the book made reference to an accent, I wanted to be sure he knew it up front.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

I came up with the general arc for this book after writing a short story with Alex and Nick as characters years ago. But I didn’t start writing the novel until much later. I kept writing short stories and character sketches until I felt confident enough to revisit the idea of the book. By the time I felt ready for it, so much had been built-up that the story seemed to tell itself. It had enough of a life of its own that I never experienced burn-out. I committed to writing just a small bit every day, and the story itself drove the process.

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

There’s several parts where this seems true, and I think that’s really due to the excellence of Josh’s performance. The protagonist, Alex, generally resists emotion, positive or negative. As a result, moments of profound suffering are displayed in brief sentences. I think if you’re reading the book at a quick pace, you might miss these moments. But if you’re listening to Josh’s narration, I think you get the significance of these bits, because his voice delivers the weight of them.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

This question has come up quite a bit, I think because it’s a work of realistic fiction. There were absolutely real life inspirations, but it’s not an autobiographical story. It’s an aggregate of the experiences I’ve had with college life. Whether those experiences were my own, those I’d witnessed, or born from imagination, I think, ends up being somewhat irrelevant. In the end, I tried to write it in the most authentic way I could, and my hope is that it hit on some bit of truth.

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I think it’s important to write everyday, but it’s also important not to write a book for the sole purpose of publishing a book. My advice is write the small things, whether it’s a story or a moment or a character description, and give the book a go once it presents itself.

Q&A with Erin McDermott

Guest Post: Kirsten Fullmer, The Hometown Series