The Sound of Shattered Rainbows
I don't spend enough time driving to be much of an audiobook listener, but I know a lot of romance fans love them, so ideally I'd like to have all my classic backlist titles available in audio for those who prefer the format.
However, the market and the economics are continually changing, so I decided to give it another try, starting with Shattered Rainbows, Fallen Angel #5, which is a particular favorite of mine. A RITA finalist and 4 1/2 star GOLD rating from Romantic Times, it's a complicated story of complicated people and enduring love. Here's the blurb:
The Book: Broken Dreams and Second Chances…
Honed by danger and haunted by the past, Lord Michael Kenyon finds it easy to risk his life for his country’s sake. But in the shadow of Waterloo, he faces a far more dangerous threat—the loss of his heart to the beautiful battlefield nurse who saves his life, yet can never be his.
Called a saint for her virtue and selfless courage, only Catherine Melbourne knows the tragic flaw at the core of her spirit. In Michael Kenyon, she sees the strength and kindness she craves, yet for honor’s sake she must conceal her love and send him away. Even when freed from her empty marriage, she conceals the truth because of the bleak knowledge that she can never again be any man’s wife.
Then fate offers Catherine a fortune, a title, a heritage for her daughter—if Michael will impersonate her husband on a visit to a wild Cornish island. Reluctantly he agrees to the masquerade. But what begins as a simple journey leads them into a shattering vortex of danger and betrayal—and a fiercely passionate love that can no longer be denied.
The most important part of audiobook production is finding a great narrator. For production and distribution, I worked through FindawayVoices.com, and they suggested several narrators. Clearly I needed a British narrator skilled enough to handle the multiplicity of voices. I leaned slightly toward getting a male narrator–until I heard the samples from Siobhan Waring. An experienced narrator, she has a voice like brandy and chocolate, and I was lucky that she was able to fit Shattered Rainbows into her schedule.
She was also kind enough to do an interview for me, and here she is!
MJP: Could you talk a bit about how you became an audiobook narrator?
SW: Roughly six years ago, I was made redundant from my job (I was quite glad really!). During my quest for things other than housework to do, I saw an advert from a community radio station offering to train people in the use of recording and studio equipment, and from there they hoped it would encourage people to do their own shows for the . I loved it and duly did my own weekly show (about Middle Eastern music) for 6 months.
A year or so afterwards, I took a class with a Voice Over trainer in London who guided me through the bewildering array of voice applications in e-Learning, Commercial, Videos and much more.
There followed many months of auditions (including many rejections!) and learning technical know-how in to make studio-worthy recordings – I discovered mine really weren’t and so invested in a pre-loved studio booth and some decent software. This enabled me to do more long-form narration (without children arguing, the washing machine rattling and the family dog snoring in the background!) and together with my enjoyment of telling a good story, a new love of narrating books began.
You never stop learning, or listening. I’ve just finished a year of coaching with one of the best non-fiction narrators in the business (funnily enough non-fiction is harder to do than fiction!) and I continue to tune-in to different voices and dialects of people I meet or pass by in the street to “collect characters” I then use for different projects.
A coach once said to picture someone I know or who have met every time I voice a character so that they become that person – very simple really but very effective. My aim is always for a listener to be able to immerse themselves in the story I’m narrating, rather than them feel they are being talked at, if that makes sense.
SW: The number one challenge for me is undoubtedly the time it takes to produce a book! People would be staggered at the number of hours it can take to produce a single hour of audio. I do now sub-contract out much of the proofing and editing, but I think with fiction there is always a danger of wanting the characters to sound ‘just so’ and so there can be quite a few retakes, especially when there are multiple voices and accents having a conversation!
Unwanted traffic noise, lawn-mowers and construction work (can even be heard when in my booth) can be challenging too! ‘Perfection is the thief of profitability’ I once read – this is very true but when you haven’t been a narrator for very long and know your name will be associated with a particular audiobook for seven years, you want to make sure you’ll still be proud of it at the end.
The most rewarding things about narrating audiobooks is delighting your author. Their book will have been their creation and the air they have breathed for umpteen weeks and they will have given all their characters a voice in their own heads. I always think it must be a really big leap of faith to hand over their work to someone else to tell the story to others. When, as a narrator, they let you know that you got that right, it is a very good feeling. Of course, just as important are the fans and readers of the author – they have expectations too and a narrator can make or break those sometimes. When they let you know ’ve really enjoyed the audiobook, it’s incredibly rewarding.
MJP: Can you tell me more about yourself and your evolution as a narrator?
SW: Both my parents are Scottish (Scottish/Irish really) and I spent the first 2 years of my life there. We then moved to the Middle-East where I had a wonderful childhood immersed in the sounds of Arabic voices and music, heat and sand, lots and lots of sand! Later I joined my sister in a boarding school in the South of England that was run by Irish Catholic Nuns (say no more). I managed to complete my education there relatively unscathed but I think I can attribute the way I speak now to my time there.
I live in Lincolnshire with my husband and two children and our very sweet black Labrador.
Siobhan, thanks so much for joining us today and telling us about your work!
I like Siobhan's voice so well that we've agreed to do River of Fire and One Perfect Rose, (Fallen Angels #6 and #7) together. After that, I'll evaluate how the audiobooks are doing and I hope we can do more.
I will give away one free audiobook of Shattered Rainbows to one commenter between now and Tuesday midnight.
NOTE:The code comes from the distributor, Findaway Voices, and is good only with iOS and Android devices within the US and Canada. But if you love audiobooks and can fit the parameters of geography and device, this is your chance! Are you an audio lover? If so, what do you like to find in an audiobook?
Mary Jo, who loves Lord Michael and Catherine's story.