CYCLE OF FIRE IN AUDIO – PAYING FORWARD MY EXPERIENCE

by Janny Wurts

In celebration of the delightful thrill of seeing my Cycle of Fire trilogy released in audio format, the moment seems ripe to share some of the helpful particulars of my experience – which, with a bow to my editor at Audible in London, was lovely all along the way.

Calmed down from the giddy dance, just after signing the contract, my overloaded brain realized: wow, for a  fantasy story, no question, the right reader will be essential. If the listener doesn’t follow the magic – they’ll become horribly lost. First thing, I wrote to my audio editor and asked how the narrators were chosen. The correct term, from their side, was ‘casting the narrator’ –  but, would I have any input?

I was invited to submit a suggestion list: which narrators were my favorites? That stumped me. I am writing all day, not listening to books – how could I choose among the constellation of talent, heretofore outside my bailiwick?

First, I asked everyone who liked audio books who they loved to listen to. I lurked audio forums and took down favorite narrators. I asked a prominent internet reviewer at http://fantasyliterature.com (a review site I respect) who was on the hot list of their favorites. This gave me a list of 20. A subsequent search of audio sites’ ‘sample’ clips from the computer allowed me hear them.

Two stood out, with the qualities I felt suited the story. I reported those names back – and was told one was booked, and the other did not work for Audible. However, I was assured, this bit of homework mattered. And in fact, it did! The talent that Audible cast, David Thorpe, was so close to the mark, I was ecstatic.

Second, I fretted over all the strange names and places I had put in the book. It’s one thing to spell them out in print, but how might a narrator pronounce them in recording? After the first gulp of panic, I grabbed the books, paged them through, and  wrote down every single made up name in the trilogy. The table function in my word-processor let me compile them into a neat, alpabetical list. Then I flipped on the MAC laptop and (thank gosh for podcasters who taught me the works) fired up GarageBand, which let me record a very clear audio file.

As an aside, I’d used this software, before. A simple mixer and mike makes it easy to create reading teasers in MP3 format for free download. The idea that readers can sample a book on their morning commute is a no brainer, to widen exposure.

I sent the text file and the little audio file of my recorded pronunciations over to Audible in London and suggested it might be helpful.

The result has me transported – not only does the narrator’s gifted voice suit the story, but every single strange word carried the nuance and inflections I had envisioned.

Once the books were released in audio, it was evident that listeners needed a map, and more, a print glossary helped the reviewers get the names spelled right. So an area on my website now holds these resources to complete the listening experience.

Here are the links to each of the books. Sample clips on the page will demonstrate the result.

http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B0043RERZU&qid=1285146480&sr=1
http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_2?asin=B0046VXCKE&qid=1287405824&sr=1-2

http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00495XGCG&qid=1288188265&sr=1-1

My sincere thanks to David Thorpe and the production staff at Audible in London for a superb job!

You can listen to the audio from when Janny was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Ghost in the Machine podcast here:  http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/W6KBrnCk

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