On November 13, I had the pleasure of watching Julia Whelan win the award for "Best Narrator, Audiobook for Teens" at the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS) award ceremony for her work on Plus One. It was a thrill to see her passion and professionalism acknowledged by an organization devoted to voice arts. Just as it's done at the Academy Awards, the winner is announced by opening a sealed envelope, which made the ceremony delightfully, nail-bitingly suspenseful. This photo is of us on the glitzy Warner Bros Studios red carpet before the event. :)
The audiobook of Plus One has been nominated for a 2016 Voice Arts Award in the category of "Teens - Best Narrator." I'm so proud of the work Julia Whelan and I did on this production. I couldn't be more thrilled that her smart and sensitive narration is being rewarded in this way! Here's the full list of nominees.
Last fall I produced the audiobook of Plus One with the help of Julia Whelan, narrator extraordinaire. The recording is everything I hoped it would be, and more: Julia even sings along to a ukulele as both an eighty-year-old Belgian grandfather and a ten-year-old girl! For the musical introduction and the closing credits, my child Jean composed and recorded an original song called "One Whole Half." You can play the song below; I think it's catchy and meaningful and moving. The whole project was a privilege for me to work on, and a labor of love for everyone involved.
Yes, I'm passionate about audiobooks. I believe every single book should be available in audio, and here's why:
If you're an author whose work was not picked up in audio, I encourage you to ask your publisher to revert the sound rights to you (if you sold them), in order to produce your own audiobook. You can accomplish it relatively easily through ACX, especially if you hire an experienced narrator like Julia, or you can approach an independent producer (for example, Ideal Audiobooks) and hand the reins over to them.
Hello dear readers!
If you have a paperback version of Plus One, will you cross out an extra line for me?
It's on page 113:
The baby struggled a bit against his bindings. I opened my eyes, waited for them to focus, and then studied him. The lights of Lake Shore Drive strobed across his body. He was waking up, and his whole face was scrunched like a dried apple, as if he were in excruciating pain or dying, when it was probably just a hunger pang. There was no way I could have known that the little person in that hospital bassinet was a boy, I consoled myself. He looked so much like a boy to me now, I wondered why I hadn't seen it before. The pain passed as quickly as it had come, and his face reverted to angelic relaxation.
Obviously the underlined sentence contradicts the sentence just before it, and should be scratched out.
How did this happen? Well, that line had nagged at me after publication of the hardcover—what exactly did Sol mean by it? Newborns don't look like boys or girls, except in the viewer's imagination. So I asked my Square Fish editor whether she'd allow me to change the line to clarify that passage. She kindly said yes, and the sentence before the underlined one is the new, corrected one. Unfortunately, somehow the paperback went to print without the old sentence being removed.
What else did I change in the paperback? I removed four instances of the word "rape," which two characters had used cavalierly, on pages 244 and 281. Those passages had upset some of my readers. And although I thought I had chosen the word for good reasons, after careful reflection I decided that my use of it was not helpful to our cultural discussion about sexual violence.
There have been a few big changes in my life this year:
1. my youngest child went off to college (a year early)
2. my professorial husband moved from the University of Chicago to Stanford University, which means...
3. I moved to northern California, after (literally) a lifetime in Chicago.
These events are disruptive to a nurturer and nester like me, so I knew my writing would suffer. I'm not worried: I have two of the best manuscripts I've ever conceived simmering slowly on my mental stove. But I knew I wouldn't be able to crank them out with my brain discombobulated, so whenever I've found myself unable to concentrate on prose or research I've busied my hands with administrative chores instead. It has proven to be a productive year, in a way I didn't expect:
1. I made this website, to have a cleaner presentation of myself and my work
2. I secured, with my agent's help, the audio rights to Plus One, and produced an audiobook version with the immensely talented Julia Whelan (soon to be available on Audible and Overdrive)
3. I made a CreateSpace paperback edition of Overboard, and a kindle version, to give my first book a new life.
I've learned a lot from these last two projects. Making design decisions about the cover, format, and font, proof-reading the book, proof-listening the audio, securing the rights and permissions to cover a song--these were sometimes tedious tasks, but I got the same satisfaction from them that I get from copyediting my finished prose. I like busy-work that comes in quantifiable units, and I enjoy the processes of "polishing" creative projects.
But now it's time to get back to the stove and cook up a couple of books.