Here’s a wonderful audio review for The Rogue. Not only did Eileen love the book and the audio production, but she wrote a thorough review AND pulled together some details about the narrator, Ashley Klanac, and yours truly, too.
As many of you know, my medieval romance The Rogue is now available in an audio edition. This was the first time one of my books had an audio edition. I found the process so interesting that I thought you might like to see behind the scenes a bit. Today, we’re lucky to have Ashley Klanac as a guest – Ashley narrated the audio edition of The Rogue. I’m sure you’ll love her performance as Ysabella as much as I do.
Hi Ashley and welcome!
DC: I was very much impressed by the complexity of an audio production. Not only did you give different voices and inflections to all of the characters, but you portrayed the change in Ysabella’s attitude over the course of the book. It’s less of a reading than a performance. How do you prepare for recording an audio book?
Thank you so much! That means a lot to me coming straight from the author. The trajectory of Ysabella’s journey had a natural build and there was a lot in the text. A lot of my preparation is getting out of my head and relying on exactly what is on the page, there is a lot already built in. For me, it was about working each sentence and punctuation for what it is. I read the text beforehand and do a lot of marking on the page. Underling certain words, highlighting dialogues so that I can keep straight who is actually speaking and cuing myself for any shifts in the dynamic of the story. I also do a lot of researching and making sure I’m pronouncing things correctly and understanding the history behind a lot of the references in the book.
DC: By the time I finished reviewing the final audio files, I was dreaming of Ysabella, speaking to me in your voice! Did you become immersed in the project as you’re working on it?
That’s such a cool question. I really did. I had a very similar experience while working on it. My inner monologue was in Ysabella’s dialect for weeks (which I loved). I was in constant evaluation of my dialect work even outside the studio because I felt the more secondhand it was for me, the more authentic it would be in the recording. She’s also such a fiercely dynamic woman and her personal experience is so potent and exciting, how could I not take her with me on occasion? I remember feeling like it was the last day of school when I completed the audio.
DC: As a writer, I find it impossible to work on multiple projects simultaneously. I need to be lost in the world of the book to write the next part of it. Can you record multiple projects, or do you need a similar focus?
I actually just started production on two new books by the same author. While I feel like I can be a master of multitasking in my life, I do feel like I have to take my work on my books one book at a time. Like in your previous question about being immersed, I want to be 100% present and really honor that character’s story that is being told and allow myself, to borrow a phrase, “to get lost”.
DC: How exactly is an audio book recorded?
I get to go to a fancy recording studio in Brooklyn, I self record and edit. Then the genius ladies and gentlemen of the production company mix and master everything at the end. I sit in one of the little booths by myself and record, it’s heaven.
DC: I saw an interview with Helena Bonham-Carter once about her role in voicing a character in an animated film. She was pregnant at the time (I think it might have been The Corpse Bride) and she commented on how much she enjoyed being able to perform without any concern for her appearance. Do you dress down to record audio? Or do you dress in a way that helps your performance?
I LOVE The Corpse Bride, HBC’s work is amazing in it. I do enjoy wearing whatever I want, especially since I audition for theatre and on-camera often and it’s wonderful to be able to do my thing without having to put much energy into my appearance! That being said, looking my best makes me feel really good so depending on my day/schedule, I’ll still put myself together. I think it informs my performance and energy which I always want to be en pointe, so I do whatever helps that. I do like to be comfy though, I like to strike a balance.
DC: Are there particular kinds of books that you prefer to record in audio?
Honestly, I just love narrating stories, but if I could choose, I really love the books that allow me to go way outside of myself and do lots of different accents and voices. The Rogue definitely satisfied that craving for me! My dream is to do cartoons and animation, so I love the stuff that is a departure from my normal voice.
DC: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I come from an awesome, loving, ambitious family who is so incredibly supportive. I’ve been an extreme extrovert since the day I was born, goofy personality and sense of humor—I devoured episodes of Saturday Night Live, stand up comedy, show tunes, and cartoons as a child. They were always applauding and encouraging me to do more. I would hold pretend interviews on a tape recorder with various celebrities of the 90’s and random voices I would create in which I, of course, voiced all roles. I played piano as a kid but quit at 13 to play all the sports and extracurriculars that were available to me. I didn’t really fully get into performing until high school. I was into choir and things like that but it wasn’t until my sophomore year, I auditioned for Once Upon a Mattress and was cast as the Queen. I quit the softball team have had an insatiable need for performing ever since.
I studied Acting in the School of Drama at The University of Oklahoma. I had a fabulous experience there where I had the opportunity of playing some amazing female powerhouses, a few with dialects. It was there that I really feel like I dove into the nuts and bolts of voice work. My Voice and Diction professor, Rena Cook, really gave me the platform I’d always wanted to really, “geek out” over the academic side of voice work, onstage and in a recording studio.
DC: What drew you to audio books?
Hopefully I don’t sound too much like a broken record, but I just love using my voice. I have always had an affinity for it, even before I was introduced to performing. It’s probably the first thing I ever realized I was good at. The vocal work is one of the largest parts of my process when performing on stage. People’s voices, the sound, the cadence & vocal pattern—it’s the first thing I notice about a person. I feel like so much of our personalities and history is infused into our speech patterns. I love capturing it and telling stories.
DC: Do you have any new audio projects in the works?
I am currently working on The Fine Art of Being Quiet and The Maze, both written by Charity Tahmaseb.
DC: Where can people find out more about you and your recordings?
DC: And finally, the inevitable question for all guests on my blog. I’m an avid knitter, so I need to know – do you have any hobbies or pastimes? Could you tell us about them?
One of my favorite hobbies is boxing, I got into it about 5 years ago, dropped a lot of weight doing it, but it’s just so much fun. I’m kind of a jock at heart, I definitely prefer team sports and group fitness over working out or running alone. Again, the extrovert in me. My other focus is on my wellness business, Access Your Health, in which I specialize in women’s health. I really believe in preventing rather than treating disease with diet, exercise, and proper supplementation. I love inspiring people (in my generation especially) to be proactive rather than reactive in regards to their health, but making it fun and enjoyable! I’ve overcome some of my own health troubles over the years with natural nutrition so it is a major passion of mine. I’m always trying to learn as much as I can! I love connecting and hearing people’s stories and finding ways to help. If that interests you as well, please feel free to contact me for a free health assessment. My contact information is on my website.
DC: Thanks Ashley for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thank you so much!
The Rogue is now available in an audio edition! (The link on the audio cover above and on the title at the start of this paragraph will take you to the book’s page here on my website.) You can listen to an audio sample on any of the portals where it’s available – check it out at Amazon, Apple, or Audible.
I was really interested in the process of taking a book to audio, so I’ve done an interview with Ashley Klanac, who narrated the audio edition of The Rogue. Check back tomorrow for that.
This month, we have something a little bit different. The prize this month is a download code for the audio edition of The Rogue.
All you have to do is comment on this post for a chance to win. As usual, the contest is open to international entries, and for every 25 entries, I’ll add another prize. If you review audio books on your blog or regularly post reviews on the various portals (Amazon, Audible and Apple) please make a comment to that effect in your post, and I’ll try to get you a copy in addition to the prize for the month.
This past month, I’ve needed to listen to audio editions of my books to “proof” them. Taking a book to audio is a pretty interesting process, and one I hadn’t really thought about until I was already on the adventure. The narrator has to manage so many voices (especially in my books, which I’ve realized have lots of characters!) and keep them distinct from each other. He or she also has to show the emotional journey of the character, and pronounce all the words properly.
It turned out that I needed to follow along with the book on the first review of the audio files, just to make sure that no clauses or phrases were missing. This is a pretty intense process – the audio file for my first book taken to audio, The Rogue, is 13.5 hours long.
For the second listening, however, after the changes were all made and I was just checking the final version, I knit as I listened. I needed plain knitting, as I had to pay attention to the audio, so socks were the obvious choice. I don’t follow a pattern to knit socks anymore, since I’ve made so many pairs. I had some Patons Kroy FX in a yummy purple and blue set aside for new socks for myself, so I cast them on. I knit all but the second toe while “proofing” The Rogue, and here they are:
Recently, I ventured into audio production of my books. Yesterday, I received notification that the audio edition of The Rogue is complete. I need to listen to it all – it’s 13.5 hours long – and either approve it or make notes and request changes. (Yes, I’m guessing that I’ll have a few changes to request. That’s just the way I am!)
Creating an audio book is a very interesting process. It’s wonderful to hear the book being read aloud, and I adore this narrator – she sounds exactly as I expect Ysabella to sound! – but it’s certainly time consuming. It’s also amazing to hear the craft of the narrator/actor, and how they make the individual voices in the book come alive, as well as keeping them distinct from each other and from the narrator’s voice. I’m quite fascinated with the whole thing, but am amazed by how time-consuming it is.
There weren’t many foreign editions of The Rogues of Ravensmuir books, for a number of reasons, but I think it’s a shame. These are the kinds of books that would have performed well, particularly in Germany and Spain. C’est la vie!
It is very strange that Ysabella’s name was changed to Virginia for the French edition of The Rogue. I never could figure that out, as Ysabella is a French name. (?) I particularly love the cover for The Warrior from Spain – it might be my fave cover ever.
I’ve always enjoyed reading stories that blend mystery and romance. One of my early reading addictions was to such books, written by authors like Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, Daphne DuMaurier and Agatha Christie. These stories featured enigmatic heroes and intrepid heroines, and lonely old castles potentially filled with ghosts (or, at least, with danger and secrets). As a reader, I always yearned for more development of the romantic relationship, though – perhaps it’s only natural that I often played with the inclusion of those mystery and suspense elements in my own romances. With The Rogue, I wrote a neo-Gothic romance of my own, in a medieval setting, with my own enigmatic, sexy hero, conflicted, intrepid heroine and castle filled with both secrets and danger. At the time, it seemed like a single book that I needed to write, but since then, I’ve returned to this subgenre a number of times.
As with all of my re-releases, I’ve chosen not to revise this book, but to republish it essentially as it was published in the first place.
This month, all three of the Rogues of Ravensmuir medieval romances are becoming available in new print editions. The linked series, The Jewels of Kinfairlie, is already available in new print editions. You can learn more on my website.
I’ve also returned to Kinfairlie and Ravensmuir in my books and am happily writing medieval romance again. The Renegade’s Heart, the first book in a new four-book series called The True Love Brides, will be published in May 2012. This new series picks up the story from my Jewels of Kinfairlie series, following four more of the siblings at Kinfairlie as they meet their romantic matches and find their happily-ever-afters. The Renegade’s Heart is Isabella’s story and I’m very excited to have the chance to finally tell her tale.
I’ve enjoyed revisiting The Rogue, and hope you enjoy reading it, as well.
Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.
All my best,