SOME DAYS in our lives represent the end and the beginning of something. Today is one of those days for me. Over the past three weeks we have been in Joel Block’s studio (The Block House) in Austin, Texas recording my latest novel Anahuac as an audio book. Today we will wrap up the recording.
The process of recording an audio book began for me with the selection of a recording studio and a producer. Joel Block was recommended to me by a knowledgeable author and was the perfect choice. Kind, patient, talented and professional are all words that come easily when I think of Joel. I would have been lost without his help.
Joel called for auditions from his list of vocal talents. Choosing a talent to read a novel is not as easy as you might think. We listened to at least ten audition tapes and pared the list to three. Those folks were kind enough to record an additional audition and from them we selected Alan Adelberg. Alan is a true professional who has brought life to the characters of Anahuac.
“Hearing” a book is a new thing for me. “Old school” describes me best. I want to hold the book in my hand. After listening to Alan, I have a new perspective. Audio books are not exactly like the old-time radio drama. First of all, there is only a narrator. The narrator must use nuanced voices to distinguish between speakers. The dialogue in Anahuac is sometimes fast and furious. Using subtle, but clear voices to let the listener know who is speaking is a talent and I mean a real talent. Alan has exceeded my wildest expectations. After the first session I felt like several people must be coming out of the recording booth when he finished.
Here is a secret I didn’t know. I assumed that an audio book was read straight through without any breaks. In fact it is not possible to do that. There are pauses, unwelcome breath sounds and other interruptions that are deleted by Joel. The finished product is seamless. Joel has shared a few chapters with me to let me hear what the audio book will be. It is amazing.
There was another side benefit to recording the novel. I have been sitting with Joel with my face buried in a book I swore I couldn’t read again as we recorded it line by line. The process is slower than I could imagine and it has given me a deeper understanding of what I wrote. Sometimes I hear things that I didn’t fully understand myself while I was writing. I believe writing is more about learning to listen to something or someone unseen than being personally brilliant.
I am thrilled to say that within a short time Joel will have the audio recording produced and you can travel to Anahuac in a different manner than reading the book. Consider traveling to Anahuac with an audio rendition. It will be fun.