Over the Labor Day weekend I received an email from the folks at Lake Union Publishing.  Lake Union is the publisher for my book BERLIN CALLING, the new edition of which will be released in February.  The email included a questionnaire from Brilliance Audio which will produce the audio version of BERLIN CALLING, also scheduled for a February release.

The questionnaire gave me a chance to offer some input about the main characters, their accents and backgrounds.  When we read, we have visual clues, like quotation marks for example, which let us know when a character is speaking.  When we listen, we rely on the narrator and the inflections and changes in his or her voice to provide us with audio clues.  The questionnaire allowed me a chance to suggest how some of those clues might sound.

My experience with audio books is limited.  So far, only my first book, THE WAR WIDOW, is available as an audio book.  I read the book myself and used different voices and accents to distinguish between the different characters.  While the audio quality is very good, THE WAR WIDOW was recorded in my own little makeshift studio on the very computer on which I now write.  It was a fun process, but it took months to complete.  Here’s a link if you’re interested:  THE WAR WIDOW audio.

Along with the Brilliance Audio questionnaire was a brief description of the process used to complete the audio book.  Once Brilliance receives the completed questionnaire from me, it moves into a pre-production phase during which it matches the book and characters with talent—the reader or narrator.  This person is key to bringing the book to life for listeners.

Once the reader is selected, he or she and the director will spend about a week reviewing the book, the characters, accents, pronunciations and so forth included in the book.  Then they’ll spend a week recording.  A couple of days of editing follow, then proofing is needed to identify any stray noises like pops and clicks on the recording.  Needed corrections must then be re-recorded, which can take another couple of days.  Once a master recording is finished and converted to multiple formats, manufacturing and digital distribution work begins.  This last phase is the longest part of the process, taking up to eight weeks.  The whole effort takes 12 weeks or so—much quicker than I was able to do it myself!

BERLIN CALLING, in ebook, paperback and audio formats, is scheduled for release on Valentine’s Day, February 14.