The audio files

Here’s some exciting news… Me and Banksy, my novel coming out with Penguin Random House next spring, is going to be an audio book!

My kids and I are big audio-book fans, so there were celebrations in my house. Everyone thought I was very glamorous for at least fifteen minutes, until they wanted to know what was for dinner and whether their martial arts gear was clean. But hey, those were fifteen dog minutes, and we parents take what we can get.

I had no idea how audio books were made. My friend Stacey sent me this great video, so I could pretend to be intelligent while on the phone with the producer, Ann. (“On the phone with the producer”… I wish I got to type that phrase more often.)

This is how an audio book gets made, from an author’s point of view:

  1. Ann sent me sample audio files from three shortlisted actors. I was asked to review and rank these files, on the understanding that the publisher would have the final choice, and things might depend on each actor’s availability.
  2. I listened to the audio files approximately one billion times. Fortunately, I had a live-in focus group and they were happy to give their opinions. We all loved an actor named Veronica Hortiguela. She sounded smart, funny, and emotional but not too emotional.
  3. I sent the opinions of my focus group to Ann, who right away said that she’d offer Veronica the part.
  4. Veronica said yes!
  5. After the director read through the book, I received a list of pronunciation questions. Some of these, I could answer. For example, I knew how to pronounce my name. Other questions were more difficult. How did I want emojis handled? (I quickly consulted the focus group.) Artist Rineke Dijkstra is mentioned in the text. How should her name be pronounced? (Um… thank goodness for YouTube!)
  6. Now production is underway.
  7. It’s always thrilling to see a new book in print, but this time, I get double thrills. I get to hear the new book, too!