Audio Books

I love audio books.

One of the reasons is that I live alone and I like someone to read a story to me before (or while) I fall asleep. For these, I choose books I've already read/heard before (and I DO reread and re-listen to books in my library).

Like many people, I enjoy listening to books while driving, particularly on long trips.

And I also use new books and/or new audio books as a reward for doing good work, or making wordcount.

Last night I gave myself a guilty pleasure and listened to an audio book, Sweep In Peace, by Ilona Andrews.

Advice first, then ramblings. Audio books are GREAT for getting the feel of the language, of different accents and rhythms of speech from Jane Austin's upper class British to an east Texan twang.

When I first started listening to audio books, I listened to old favorites of Jayne Ann Krentz. To my surprise, the reader put the emPHAsis on different words and phrases than I did. It was both disconcerting and illuminating. There's old common wisdom that you should read your work aloud (I don't have time with the schedule my publisher wants), and we do this at my critique group. It can help immensely, particularly if you have a run-on sentence or one of the made up words (like chwisge – whiskey) to see what works and doesn't. Sometimes I won't change a very alliterative sentence or an awkward one, but most of the time I do.

The best audio books I've ever listened to are the Elizabeth Peters historical mysteries read by Barbara Rosenblat. They are just incredible, particularly the ones that have the boy Ramses growing up, Ms. Rosenblat ages his voice...(and one of the best titles ever is The Last Camel Died At Noon). The Harry Potter audio books are exceptional, too.

I won't say the worst I've listened to – mostly because of the books themselves, not the authors' best works – but sometimes the actor screws it up. I listened to one where the actor made the hero's voce sort-of upper crust nasal, this was a ROMANCE and the hero didn't sound acceptable.

My absolute favorite audio books are romances where a husband-wife team read the hero/heroine's point of view, such as Smoke and Mirrors by Jayne Ann Krentz, and Linda Howard's Kiss Me While I Sleep. When Dick Hill makes the car noises, it had me rolling...

And since I love audio books, I am more aware of dialogue in my books, providing enough tags or movement so that my narrators have the cues they need to change their voices for different characters.

Robin D. Owens

RITA® Award Winning novelist Robin D. Owens credits the telepathic cat with attitude in selling her first futuristic/fantasy romance, HeartMate, published in December 2001. Since then she has written fourteen books in the series, Heart Fire the latest in November 2014.

Her five book Luna series included average American women Summoned into another dimension to save a world. Her Mystic Circle series was a mixture of contemporary urban and romantic fantasy set in Denver.

And her newest stories, about an uptight accountant who sees Old West ghosts and helps them move on, started with Ghost Seer in April 2014. She is profoundly thankful to be recipient of the 2004 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year award as well as the 2011 Writer of the Year Award, the Colorado Romance Writers Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2010 Best Paranormal and Best of the Best Daphne Du Maurier Award. More about Robin on her website.

3 thoughts on “Audio Books

  1. I’m continuing to put my books up in audio (just released #s 6 and 7) and listening to a book is an entirely different experience. In fact, when I proof-listen the submitted narration, I’ll have my manuscript open to catch mistakes and once it’s done, I’ll reupload the book with the changes. My narrators always read the whole book first, making character notes, and we’ll discuss how voices should sound. Both my narrators agreed to be interviewed on my blog, and I found their processes fascinating.

    As for me… I’m not a good auditory listener. My mind wanders, I go off on mental tangents. But I’m very glad there are lots of people there who enjoy listening.

  2. This is a really interesting blog on audio books. I’ve listened to a lot, but not nearly as many as you. I, too, noticed that some readers “read” words differently. It’s also a way to really notice flaws in the writing. I read one where the same street name was repeated waaaay too many times and I’m not sure I would have noticed it if I were reading. There were also two towns that I have lived near all my life that were mis-pronounced, and it was very jarring. It sounds like they might not have proof-listenened like Terry mentions above. Enjoyed the blog!

  3. I love audiobooks so much, I’m a RMFW member who narrates and produces them for independently published authors. Barbara Rosenblat is a wonderful voice actress and teacher. Robin, l would be honored to help you produce audio versions of your books through Denver’s

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