Or, An Audiobook Narrator Examines His Emotions In The Booth, And Calls Himself A Crybaby In The Process
Ah, February. Valentine’s Day is near. And guys…? Do you have wives or girlfriends who maybe don’t listen to audiobooks, but you’d like to get them to? Or are you by any chance science fiction fans, but your significant other doesn’t seem to enjoy the genre as much as you do? Then have I got a gift idea for you: this here trilogy, The Legacy of the Phoenix. If there was ever a series well suited to bring new fans into the fold, this is it. And it gets better: it’s 10% off the purchase…Keep Reading
Ah, February. Valentine’s Day is near. And guys…? Do you have wives or girlfriends who maybe don’t listen to audiobooks, but you’d like to get them to? Or are you by any chance science fiction fans, but your significant other doesn’t seem to enjoy the genre as much as you do? Then have I got a gift idea for you: this here trilogy, The Legacy of the Phoenix. If there was ever a series well suited to bring new fans into the fold, this is it. And it gets better: it’s 10% off the purchase price if you purchase the entire thing (or if you’ve already purchased the first two volumes and want to finish it off, you’ll get the discount as well; details elsewhere in this blog).
Now, I’m not just being mercenary here, I swear. I say this not just to sell books, but as an utter truth. No lie: I have given this series to at least half a dozen women over the years — girlfriends, girl friends, and even my mother — and they have all, every single one of them, loved it. Know why? Cuz it’s got a really terrific romance at its heart, one that appeals to women of all ages, and if you’re anything like me, it’ll appeal to you as well.
This series grabbed me on an emotional level in a way no other ever has before. A short while back, Election Day in fact, I was standing in line for ninety minutes at my polling place, and figured I’d finish off reading the series to prepare myself to narrate it. I brought Volume Three with me, this month’s selection, HOUSE OF THE WOLF. I was about fifty or so pages from the end, and didn’t really anticipate I’d get to the conclusion, but lo and behold, the line was over a hundred people long, so before I knew it, I was reading the last chapter, surrounded by dozens of people I’d never met before. Now, I’d read this series at least four times before, just for pleasure, so I was intimately familiar with the events in it, especially the ending. Nevertheless, it was like I’d never encountered it before, and even though it ended exactly the same way it had the FIRST four times I’d read it, there it was, nailing me in the guts again. I literally had to fight not to cry in front of all those people. It was extraordinary, really. Made me wonder what I’d be like when I reached that scene in the booth while narrating it.
I’ve been asked many times in various interviews, “Has there ever been a book that was so emotional you started crying, so emotional you just couldn’t get it done?” Well, the answer is yes, there have been occasions where I got choked up to the point where I had to take a timeout, had to get myself together before I could proceed. The time I usually point to is the end of REPORT FROM GROUND ZERO, the book I did about 9/11 about six months after the tragedy. Man, that last page just killed me, such a beautifully written passage that I was blubbering no matter how many times I attempted it. And sure, a handful of other times over the years, great authors have written passages that made it nearly impossible to read them cleanly, without breaking.
Or at least, that’s what I usually tell people. But the truth? I’m a crybaby. At least on the titles I’ve been doing here at Brick by Brick Audiobooks.
Seriously, I’m not just poking fun at myself: for all the times it’s happened over the years, it’s happened a great deal more often since I started doing books for myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve been choosing books close to my heart…? In fact, the amount of times I’ve ever broken down in the studio might be evenly split between the books I’ve done for other publishers in ten years, and these titles I’ve done for myself in the last eight months. It’s the kind of thing that I may have never noticed, had I not been doing this series.
Click here to hear Scott read from HOUSE OF THE WOLF and buy the digital download
I think I first noticed this soggy trend when I did my first BBB title, LORD FOUL’S BANE. The sample file I’ve got up here on the site that you can listen to (click here to listen), the brief snippet of the action, is from my favorite scene in that book, and it wiped me out, its beauty was so sublime that it just knocked me over. Then along came the second book in the series, THE ILLEARTH WAR, and when I hit Covenant’s scene with High Lord Elena at Revelwood, I got wiped out again, and that was only the first time in that book, there were at least three or four others.
I didn’t exactly see a pattern, even when I hit A CHRISTMAS CAROL in November, and one line was so difficult that it didn’t matter how many times I took a timeout, I kept screwing it up. The line came in Stave Four, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come scene, where Bob Cratchit laments the fate of Tiny Tim. The line goes something like this: “‘My little child,’ said Bob. ‘My little, little child.’” The thing that killed me was that little phrase, that “said Bob” that came right in the middle of everything. I was crying from the get-go, and I couldn’t get my voice under control after the first “My little child,” I couldn’t sound normal immediately after on the “said Bob” part, and then be emotional again so quickly thereafter. I kept choking up, I just couldn’t shake the emotion off. I tried it over and over and over, crying each and every time, until I finally gave up and decided to cheat. I read the line of dialogue straight through, “My little child, my little, little child,” as though the “said Bob” weren’t there, then got myself under control and read those two words separately, then finally edited them in between the appropriate phrases in the sentence. I’ve never had to do that before, not once in ten years. It all goes to show: I’m a wuss, a sucker for a sad line.
(Funny story: those “he said/she said” lines, like the one I had to cheat on, those are called attributions, and you hear that phrase a lot in publishing. It’s pretty simple, it’s taken from the root word “attribute,” to attribute the words to the person who said them, right? Only thing is, I couldn’t get the word right, I used to think the root of the word was “assign,” not “attribute,” you know, as in “to assign the words to the person saying them,” right? So I used to call them “assignations.” Which was wrong. And I said it A LOT, to a lot of different people in this industry. And if you haven’t already gotten the joke, an assignation is another word for a sexual liaison, so when I’d say something like, “Yeah, the biggest challenge to me in the book were the assignations,” man, people looked at me funny.)
Well, as I said, the reason this all hit me is cuz I wept like a freakin’ baby doing this here book, HOUSE OF THE WOLF. The real strengths of this series are its relationships, and whereas the bond between Alexand DeKoven Woolf and his brother Rich was the emphasis of the first volume, this final chapter really focuses on Alexand and his star-crossed lover, Adrien Camine Eliseer. Their relationship is amazingly drawn, literally from the moment Adrien walks onscreen. Far from being a simpering heroine or a two-dimensional love interest, Adrien is dynamic, and really drives the action herself. (Are you listening, guys? Seriously, the women in your life will love this series, but trust me, so will you. You may never agree on who gets the remote, but on this at least, there’ll be accord.)
For those of you wondering how I was when I read the finale here in the studio…? C’mon, haven’t I already admitted to being a pushover? I was a wreck. When these emotional timebomb scenes came up, I broke down like it was the first time I’d read them. I’m sorry, to get choked up after the SIXTH time I read something? Well, I’ll be fair to myself here. As much as I may be a pushover, it’s a far better indication of how terrific an author M.K. Wren is than a sign I’m a wuss or something. Or at least I like to tell myself so.
I have a feeling, though, that after you’ve listened to these books for yourself, you’ll be in agreement. Trust me, these scenes will grab you and they won’t let go. I hope you enjoy them, and if so, I hope you’ll write me or post a message here on the site to tell me your thoughts. These books mean a great deal to me, and I’d love to see other people enjoy them the way I do.
And guys, remember: great Valentine’s gift. A Valentine’s gift at 10% off the purchase price when you buy the entire trilogy. And remember, too, that if she doesn’t love them, you can exchange them. Check out last month’s blog for the guarantee.
Well, I’m off, back to the studio. My next book awaits. I got my pages, I got my Kleenex, I’m all set to go.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
Thanks for listening,