Viviana, from Enchantress of Books and I am so excited to have Katie Reus and Sophie Eastlake on our Audio Book Lovin’ Series.
Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Learn more about Katie and her books here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Sign up for Katie’s newsletter | Goodreads
An avid reader her whole life, Audie-nominated narrator Sophie Eastlake happily extends her love of books to her passion for narrating, having lent her voice to Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, Virginia Kantra’s Dare Island series and many others. She lives in New York, where she survives the subway grind with a book in her hand and drops in on every literary reading she can find, while on a never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee.
Kelly: Ladies, can you tell me how did the author/narrator relationship begin?
Katie: I’m a huge fan of audio books and one of my favorite series to read (and now listen to) is the Elder Race series by Thea Harrison. I only recently started listening to the series though and that’s when I discovered Sophie. When I decided to put more of my books into audio format I knew that I wanted to work with Sophie (and crossed my fingers she’d be open) so I contacted Thea and she connected us. She’s now narrating my Red Stone Security series and when Tantor bought the audible rights for my Deadly Ops series I requested they ask her to narrate. I’m actually not sure if they’d already contacted her before my request though, lol. Because when I emailed Sophie to tell her she’d already been contacted by Tantor. So I think they might have planned to request her regardless. 😉
Sophie: Yes, it all comes back to Thea. In fact, everything comes back to Thea. She’s like Rome.
Kelly: Katie, what sort of information do you provide to Sophie with prior to her starting the narrating process of your book(s)?
Katie: I just send her the book then she comes to me with specific questions she might have, like the pronunciation of a character name or if one or more characters should have a certain accent.
Kelly: Sophie, how do you go about selecting how each of the character are going to sound like?
Sophie: Firstly, I always look for vocal notes that Katie has used to describe her characters. Whether she describes the heroine’s voice as “high” or “husky,” for example. Sometimes I’ll feel that, based on a character’s background, he or she should sound a certain way, maybe have a slight accent. As a series goes on, it can get more challenging to differentiate characters, so I have to get a little bolder in my choices. I always run these choices by Katie first.
Kelly: Along the lines of the previous question, how do you manage or what is your process of remember what the character from a previous book sounds like when they reappear in a new book?
Sophie: I keep a running spreadsheet of character info. Each character’s age, background, biographical notes, and how they’re related to the story. Then, on my computer, I keep sound samples of each character’s voice in a folder labeled REUS.
Kelly: Sophie, tell us about the narrating process (i.e. do you read the book before narrating it? How long are the recording sessions per day? How long does it take for you to narrator a book? If you make a mistake while recording, what happens?)
Sophie: I absolutely read the book before narrating. Not doing so is how disasters happen. You start recording the book and then on page 400 you suddenly find out a main character has an accent, or the character named “Pat” is actually a woman. Once I’ve read it through once, and prepped the book (kept a list of characters, of words I don’t know how to pronounce, etc), I record at least 8 hours per day, taking a break every hour or so. I can usually record about 100 pages per day. Obviously, you try to not make many mistakes, but it’s inevitable. When I catch the mistake myself while recording, it’s simple to stop and go back to the top of the sentence, recording over the mistake. Then, once the whole book has been recorded, I send the raw audio files to a proofer who reads along with the recording and checks for mistakes.
Kelly: Sophie, authors have writer’s cave, do narrators have something similar?
Sophie: Yes… we have a literal cave. My recording booth is a 4’X4’ padded room with a small window to let in some light. So when I’m prepping a book, and I don’t have to be in the booth, I’m usually outside. Or in the winter, at least someplace with a view.
Kelly: Here’s a fun question for Sophie that both Viviana and I have been wondering… as a narrator, do you get “oh say it in ‘the voice’” question often?
Sophie: Ha! Yes, occasionally. The Dragos voice from Thea Harrison’s Elder Races is definitely the most disturbing request. But, honestly, most people don’t recognize narrators from their voice alone, so it doesn’t happen often.
Kelly: Katie, once the audiobook has been recorded, do you then listen to it or have final approval or is it automatically done when it’s done recording?
For the books I’m producing myself through ACX (not through Tantor), yes, I have final approval. But I’ll be honest, I trust Sophie’s process and I usually only listen to the first fifteen minutes before hitting ‘approve’. She has an editor and is such a pro and knows a lot more about the process than me so it’s really nice to just leave it in her capable hands and not worry about the final product.
Sophie: This is where I should probably tell Katie that I did all of the minor security guys’ voices as Care Bears characters. Hope that’s ok. Felt right at the time.
Kelly: Carebears!?!?! Hahahaha!!
Kelly: Katie, what do you love about having your books in audiobook format?
Katie: I simply love giving readers more options to connect with my books. The more platforms, the more likely I am to reach more people and that’s a good thing. And on a personal level, I’m such a huge fan of audiobooks (I’ve always got my iPod on me), it’s just cool that a lot of my books are available in one of my personally favorite reading platforms.
Kelly: Sophie, of all of Katie’s books, which one has been your favorite to narrate and why?
Sophie: Oooh, that is tough! And totally unfair. I enjoy all of them. But, I have to say, Targeted was pretty fantastic. I have a particular weakness for stories of lost loves finding each other again. And Katie’s twist on that story was… well, swoon-worthy.
Here is a clip from Targeted for your listening pleasure
Katie: I would tell them to listen to samples on audible before purchasing. For me, the sample is the best feature because you can hear if the narrator’s voice is right for you. I recently stopped listening to a book by one of my favorite authors about 25% of the way through because the narrator didn’t work for me. (I didn’t follow my own advice and listen to the sample). A narrator can make or break a book in this format so it’s important to connect with them. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else so sampling is the way to go.
Sophie: I completely agree with Katie. The narrator is crucial. I would also say, as great as audiobooks are for multi-tasking (that you can read a book while driving, cooking, cleaning, etc!), they are also an art form in their own right. Somewhere between a book and a movie. So just because you love to read doesn’t mean you’ll love audiobooks; but if you can appreciate them for what they are, that they’re not in competition with the book, but, as Katie said, just another platform by which to appreciate the story, then I think you’ll find them enjoyable.
Katie: Thanks so much for having us here today!
Sophie: Yes, thank you! Happy reading/listening!
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