The unabridged audiobook edition of HIGH GROUND, my novel about the clash of the technology and people of the twentieth and twenty-first century, has been released and is now available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.
I just stopped and read that first paragraph back to myself. Yes, it really is done and out there.
Why so stunned? After all, I was tapping my thirty-plus-year background in broadcasting to narrate my own novel. The was not my first time in front of a microphone in a studio. Hardly. But I had no real clue about how challenging this particular art form could be. Three of my four main characters are female. Did I forget that part in setting out to do this myself? No, I just figured out I’d do some research on it. Talk to some people. You know.
I learned certain audiobook narrators are exceptional voice actors and literally “act out” much of the story. Others approach it as though they were reading the book to a friend, adding drama and emotion to hold interest and enough voice characterizations so the listener has an idea about who is speaking when the text itself doesn’t make that clear. After a very short deliberation I chose the second path. Very short deliberation.
ACX, which produces audiobooks for Amazon, Audible and iTunes, has stringent standards on audio quality, background noise (as in NONE) and volume levels. Many listeners are using ear buds and would be distracted by distant barking dogs (unless the story called for it) stomach or mouth sounds (you would be shocked) and—this time of year—illegal street fireworks. Again, unless the copy called for it. Fortunately, the script calls for no gratuitous nudity.
I turned to Lee Gordon, a friend who is has made his living as voice-over professional for the past thirty years. He gave me some good advice and the loan of a broadcast quality microphone. I put together a closet studio lined with some spare furniture pads leftover from Lee’s own studio and a couple of long cables to get to the computer I recorded it all on (and it’s flotilla of cooling fans) as far away as possible.
Then I set out on my voyage, suddenly feeling a little like I was trying to cross the Pacific on a homemade raft. Even with years of broadcasting experience, recording, editing and producing my own novel was a massive learning experience. But it was also great fun, and it kept me off the streets.
OK, the pandemic had already kept me off the streets. But everything else I just said was true.
I have picked up again the work on the book’s sequel, now that the audiobook is complete. About one-quarter of the first draft is knocked out. It is a new story line but involves the main characters from HIGH GROUND and will be in part a prequel and larger part a sequel, also taking place in two small towns on the Maine seacoast.
More to follow… and thanks for your interest!