The Protectors® Podcast

#463 | Landon Beach & Suzanne Elise Freeman | Exploring the Dynamic World of Audiobooks

November 01, 2023 Dr. Jason Piccolo Episode 463
The Protectors® Podcast
#463 | Landon Beach & Suzanne Elise Freeman | Exploring the Dynamic World of Audiobooks
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What if you could bring your book to life through the power of narration? This week, we're joined by Landon Beach and Suzanne Elise Freeman who share their unique insights into the world of audiobooks, including the thrilling blend of writing, narration, and strong female protagonists. Prepare to be intrigued as we unravel the mystery of Landon's book within a book in his Great Lakes saga, and the unexpected inclusion of Suzanne's name within the novel.

Imagine the excitement of finding the perfect voice to portray your characters! Our guests reveal their personal connection that led to Suzanne becoming the ideal narrator for a character in Landon's book. Get ready, indie authors! This episode is going to enlighten you on the journey of selecting the right narrator for your characters and how you can reach a broader audience with audiobooks.

Find the audiobook here:
Amazon.com: The Blue Hour Sanction (Audible Audio Edition): Landon Beach, Suzanne Elise Freeman, Landon Beach Books: Books






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Make sure to check out Jason on IG @drjasonpiccolo


Speaker 2:

I'm just like anything that I ever, ever heard before and I could have expected. I expected a lot, but I'm thinking if this brings some business her way, that would be fantastic and what a great place to start.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you can't be giving kudos to Susan before we'd like you know get started jump in. Hey, welcome to the protectors podcast, to excellent. Well, three if you want to count. Hey, I'm a dare Amma. Amma, we were just talking about her name before. It's like we always get our names always mixed up. I'm finally. It's Amma there, but Lanny Beach and Suzanne Elise Freeman. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 4:

Thank you, it's good to be here.

Speaker 1:

You know we're talking like right before we came online about a strong female protagonist and Amma knows this very well is like there's a new market out there for it. I shouldn't say it's a new market, but a solid market. There's so many strong characters out there that are female that need to be brought to the written word, but not just the written word, but the audio. So let's talk about the audio version and and getting that strong voice around it and like to me I'm an audio book person. I am always like, whenever I'm working out or driving countless hours, I'm always listening to audio books. So this relationship started and now, suzanne, you're boom. Yeah you're it.

Speaker 4:

I know that was. It was shocking to me to be included in one of I mean by name in one of Landon's books that Scott narrated and in fact I just. I started listening to it recently and heard Suzanne Elise Freeman. I'm like I knew it was coming, Didn't exactly know when, but it was still a shock. Yeah, so Scott and Landon started talking about writing the actual book within the book. I don't know how much you guys have discussed here on nights or here on breeze which which one is it that's?

Speaker 2:

yeah, both. Of them.

Speaker 4:

Okay, the here on. What is it that? What's the series called?

Speaker 2:

strategy and the sunrise side mystery series.

Speaker 4:

Okay, probably should have had that memorized before we started. But so that is about an author, a female author, who's writing a female protagonist and she's writing all these books. So they started talking about doing a book within a book and Landon is like that's a great idea. Maybe I should do a novella and have Suzanne narrate it, and I'm like I sure that'd be great. And then it turned into this full length giant origin story of, of, of an assassin and spy, and yeah, it couldn't have been really.

Speaker 3:

Make sure I get this right. So, landon, you wrote a series of books that had a fictional character who's an author right tracking so far and then that fictional character was named after Suzanne.

Speaker 2:

Close. So what I did was I was writing my Great Lakes saga. I'm originally from Michigan, I live in Florida tell it all. I know that's why I'm wearing a tiger's hat and not a Michigan hat right now. They're in a little bit of trouble and football right now as we speak, but still go blue. I hope things work out for the best. In terms of what you were asking, yeah, I was four books into that saga and they're all stand alone and each one takes place on a different great like and they're mixed genres to. Some are action adventures, some are thriller, espionage, and then I've got to organize crime, thriller. But then, almost as a dare a friend said, I'll bet you can't write a murder mystery and, as we all know, probably the safest bet always in writing our murder mysteries, they never get old. You always have a built in audience. People love them, I love them. They're fun to read and also to. It kind of goes along with my philosophy because I'm very much a standalone writer. I'm not anti series, I just think I do my best work when I'm writing standalone. But when I thought about a murder mystery and a detective, that seemed like a place that I could probably still bring my energy to the page. Because, let's be honest, unless things go horribly, horribly wrong, when you're a detective usually don't end after one job, you know you go, you solve another mystery, and so that lends itself really well to a series character. But I did want to have a beginning and middle and an end. So I envisioned, after I wrote the first one, a trilogy, and it is about a writer who is this mythical novelist who has writer's block, but she disappeared for 10 years and nobody knows where she went. And then she emerges to write the fourth book in the saga. And by that point Scott Brick had narrated all of my novels and I knew him because a friendship grew that he was dating Suzanne Elise Freeman, and she was an audiobook narrator and I looked at her work and I'm like my God, this is amazing. I was blown away by it and I thought you know what would be fun to surprise him is sort of an inside joke, but I meant it in all actuality, because I was impressed by her work. I said I'll slide in that Suzanne is the narrator of this mythical book within the book, the series. And so he got to that point he's like, he's like my gosh, suzanne's in here. And so we went on and went on. And then I wrote here on Knights, which is the sequel to here on Breeze, and I always envisioned it as a trilogy, and the one that I'm almost finished with right now is here on Sunrise. But at one point I sat and thought you know, I've never tried my hand at a pure action, espionage novel. And wouldn't it be neat, right before the final book in the trilogy comes out, that you get to read one of Adrian's adventures and let's have Suzanne narrate it. And so that right before you get because the arc of the three books are it's Rachel trying to beat writer's block by moonlighting as a private detective and nobody knows who she is and when her journey here is Adrian's. And so, just as that's about to all come together in here on Sunrise, let's go back to the beginning and find out where Adrian started at, because then it opened up all kinds of possibilities for here on Sunrise, because I'm kind of writing Rachel's end but I'm writing Adrian's end as well, and so that's where the whole idea came from, and Suzanne was game from day one, thank God.

Speaker 4:

Landon, do you want to talk about the, the coincidences and similarities between me and Adrian?

Speaker 3:

Yes, and the major one that I would say is an assassin for hire and a clandestine organization that we're probably all going to get killed for even talking about right.

Speaker 2:

Suzanne had only killed five people when I met her. But no, you know, suzanne has always been really big on physical fitness and we're both from up north, so we understand how it gets cold up in the winter. But the one thing I didn't know until afterwards was I was thinking because, you know, both of you have written books. You know how it is. You're trying to differentiate yourself, you're trying to come up with something new that the audience hasn't seen before. And I thought, well, instead of a superhero or super agent or a military squad that are going to go on for a book after, I was like what if it was just the best athlete we possibly had and see what they could do in the field, completely off the books? And so I came up with let's go with heptathletes, and that they're recruited right out of college. So here I am, patting myself on the back saying wow, what a great original idea, suzanne. She works out, we're good to go. And then she says Landon, and this is after the book is written and we're talking about recording it. She's like you know that I was a heptathlete at the University of Minnesota, right, I'm like what you never said. That she's like didn't we talk about this. I'm like no.

Speaker 4:

I wasn't sure if we did because, as Landon said, we had the pre-writing conference. This was like you know, what do you want to see in this? What do you hate about when you like, when you read these types of books? What are the things, the tropes that you absolutely hate? Just various things. So it had been months, so I was very likely that I had forgotten that. I mentioned that I was a heptathlete, but I was like I don't remember talking about it. I don't talk about that a ton. It doesn't come up in conversation, and it was like this would be a giant, awesome, great coincidence if he just happened to be writing about heptathletes and I'm a heptathlete, so yeah.

Speaker 3:

That is fantastic.

Speaker 1:

So, landon, you're an indie writer and you know Amy and I were talking about the same as Booker that published this week. Congratulations, a new game.

Speaker 3:

Thank you very much.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I wanted to say, before I forget, one from one fellow veteran to two others just thank you for your service. It's just great to be on here and to be a guest on your wonderful show and for AIMA happy pub day today. I hope it just kills it.

Speaker 3:

Well, I get to talk to you fine folks, so this is a great celebration, but thank you, and thank you for your service.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I appreciate you. Thank everybody, you know, thanks everybody. Now, you know indie authors and you know that's one thing we were talking about before we hit the record button was that, like you know, if you're a big publishing house, you have the same cast of characters who are always you know the big names out there. You get the reporters and etc. You know the really big. You know, but the big names, which also comes with a big price tag. Now, when you're an indie author and this is one thing I've always been interested in too is like, how do you find the right narrator for your character? You know, it seems like when you're a big, you know you got a big publishing house you have like 10 different people saying, well, this narrator might be right, fit for this character and etc. But how did you? I mean, granted, you guys have a personal relationship, but it also comes out like this is the perfect fit. So how did this whole this, this all happen? And like, if you're an indie author, I really want you to give advice to other indie authors out there, because this market is, it's a great market and there's so much material out there to get out there and have the right voice for it as well. So both of you guys really feel free to chime in.

Speaker 2:

Well, I will begin by saying that I consider myself the luckiest author on earth because I get to work with my dream narrator, which is, of course, scott, and then it's led me to Suzanne, which has been a dream as well, but it really did start with Scott, and to give a little bit of a backstory, when I was in the service, and then I got out and started teaching one thing that my family and I would always do my wife and I would take a summer trip up to Michigan to visit family, and so we're going back now to the summer of 2007. And we always used to get audio books, but on CD, right. So we either buy them or go to the library and get a couple books on CD to listen to together. Well, I was, you know, feeling like I had a little bit more money in my pocket as a teacher back then, and so I went to Borders, which is no longer with us.

Speaker 3:

And really dating all of us.

Speaker 2:

And I got one of my favorite series, which is the King and Maxwell series by David Beldachi, and the third book had just come out, called Simple Genius, and I had read the first two, so had my wife just the hardcover. But I said, hey, let's listen to this on the way up, this would be perfect. It just came out and so we got up early in the morning and we're driving north on good old I-75. It's a straight shot from Florida all the way up to Michigan. You stay on 75. And literally we had just crossed the Georgia border. We're listening to it and I said Mary, I said stop, stop the book. She's like what she's like. I want to keep going. I said who is this? I said who is narrating this book? I said I'm in a trance here. This is incredible. And she turned over the cover and I still have it to this day. And she says some guy named Scott Brick. And I said this guy is incredible. And then we listened to it and I became a Scott fan. Fast forward to 2019. And I had three books out and they had placed in international writing competitions and so we felt that we were in a place where we could expand our business. And she said well, for audiobooks, who are you thinking? And we had never talked about Scott since that day other than when we would listen to an audiobook. We enjoyed it. I said do you remember that audiobook we listened to for David Baldacci's series? I said Scott Brick. I said it would be amazing. So I said, but there's a fat chance. I mean he's a Hall of Fame narrator. I mean he's Ray. I mean, when you started mentioning Ray Porter, I was like, all right, jason, scott Brick will be coming up next. And so I looked on his website, though, and I found that he was working with a few indie authors very few and I said hey, wow, yay me. Then I looked it online. I'm like, oh great, they're million copy seller indies. You know people that got in when there was, you know, not as much competition and established their base and have tremendous work. And I've corresponded with one of those indies Really nice guy and fantastic stuff. But I said, well, I said, because of my resume and placing in those contests, I said why not? And so I'll never forget it. I contacted his amazing manager, gina Smith, her production manager, and she came back and said send us the first book Scott will read us this week and we'll see if we wanna go forward. And I've never had a more nerve-wracking week in my entire life than that week just waiting. And then the call came and it was better than I could have ever expected. They said yeah, we're gonna do a three book deal with you. And then we started a genuine friendship which I treasure so much right now. It's wonderful working with him not only as a professional but as a friend. And then we just did every book after that, which eventually led to this perfect opportunity where I couldn't imagine anybody but Suzanne narrating the Blue Hour Sanctions. So I apologize, jason, for the length of that answer, but it's been a long road to be able to do this full time. So I don't shy away from that. I'm very blessed and happy.

Speaker 4:

Okay, that was awesome. I've got two additions to that. First of all, ray Porter is going to be on my side in my bridal party for when Scott and I get married in December. He is my bridesman. He's wearing a custom kilt, which I can't really wait. He sent me the inspiration. It's so cool. But also, you know indie authors first of all, I guess if you don't have somebody in mind already, like you can reach out to Ray, you can reach out to Scott, you can reach out to anybody and see if they'll do the deal. They'll probably cost a lot more than you know the average narrator would. And I don't mean by average, I just mean you know somebody you don't consider to be on that level, and some of them you may never have heard of them and they still may charge an arm and a leg, but you can reach out to anybody. Like Landon had Scott in his head and he was just like I'm going to go for it. That can happen anytime. A friend of mine and I mean it happens that I have, you know, this relationship with Scott that gives other people access that they probably wouldn't have had otherwise. But a friend of mine reached out and said a friend of mine. You know. She said a friend of hers wrote a book, wanted to get in an audio, wanted to get some advice. I said no problem. So we got on the phone. He started talking to me about me doing it and it was basically like it was a business book, but in the beginning it was his personal story and I'm like you don't want a woman to do that. Like, as much as I appreciate the thought that you want me to do it, I think a guy would be better. I can suggest many people to you. And in that moment Scott walks in like hey, honey, and we weren't on video, so he had no idea who I was talking to. And I said, actually, you know my boyfriend at the time, my boyfriend is a narrator, but you know he probably a little out of your price range. He was like really, and I said Scott, can you? And I said he said what has he done? And I'm like I mean okay. But then I said, scott, what are you working on today? And he goes oh, then the latest, jason Bourne. And so the guy's like I'm sorry, what? And then he goes well, how much would he charge? And I said, honey, how much would you charge he goes. I'll give him the friends and family rate, which turned out to be, frankly, a little too little given what ended up happening, which was fine, everybody's happy and everybody's friends, but there were some issues, so, but the guy was just like, I'm sorry. Jason Bourne will be narrating my business book, so yes, so just the point is reach out. You never know, and if you have the budget for it and I don't know how much you've discussed this in the past, but per unit audiobooks sell and you will clear and have a profit of much more money. So you will make up that money pretty quickly as long as you're doing enough to sell them. But yes, it might take a bigger budget, but go for it. Just reach out to the people that you're dreaming about.

Speaker 1:

You know the importance of an audiobook. He brought it up. It's gonna make the money back. It is I equate audiobooks. To me it's almost like I'm in a movie, but I'm in a movie for nine to 14 hours and I'm enjoying it. I feel like I'm in the scenes. I just finished the Sons of Valor II, which is Andrews and Wilson and Ray Porter narrated that, and their next book comes out and I think next week, week after. But it's like I look forward, like if you find a narrator, you really like you're gonna look at all their series. So not only are you like, you know people who are looking at like the Ray Porter's are gonna look at everything that he's doing because they love his voice. So if you find a narrator, so when you and any author and you get a solid narrator, you're also might pick up other audiences that you never thought you would before.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. That is 100% true, because so many listeners they don't go to the author that they like best. They go to the narrator that they like the best and that will open up the audience purely because they're like oh, what else has he done? What you know, maybe Ray has done more of this person's books and you're absolutely right. People will follow a narrator anywhere. I will. I'm very, very picky about the narrators I listen to. I will follow them strictly If I'm in it, invest that much time. I want a narrator that I already know that I love which is probably mean because I'm not giving newer narrators a chance but I have a genre, I have the narrators I'm dedicated to that. I will buy anything that they make, anything, and you're absolutely right that that will happen and Ray is one of those people.

Speaker 3:

Now out of curiosity, Suzanne. I mean, I know, when I was selecting a narrator it was really about the sound. So you know, I submitted my little here's the audition piece and I had people submit sound bites back to me, which was so cool to get to audition narrators. But then when you're looking at things that you potentially want to pursue or do, like what jumps out at you, what is it? That kind of makes you choose one project over another.

Speaker 4:

Well, at this point, for the most part I don't seek out projects. Now I'm cast, so I work with publishers. Majority of my work is through publishers. And then the occasion where an indie author which actually has happened a decent amount because people will see my work in a certain genre and reach out and say, hey, I'm interested in you doing my book, what would it that entail? And then I'll send them back my rate the process and then we can agree on working together. So I don't really seek out work at this point. I could be doing more of it but I'm honestly too busy so right now. But the indie authors who get my attention more than anything are in the genres that I love to narrate, which are thrillers and mysteries and sci-fi and fantasy and paranormal. Like I gravitate toward a certain thing that I listen to and that's a lot of sci-fi and a lot of mystery and a lot of thriller. So those genres I'm definitely gonna perk up a lot more if somebody reaches out with that genre. But yeah, so that's it, and obviously if it's well written. But truthfully, if I have room in my schedule, I'm not Scott. Scott is Scott Brick, so Scott can really be choosy. He does not need anybody's work he does not need to take, and I mean publishers reach out and he's like, eh, I mean eh, most of the time he's happy to take the work, and with series, especially, like because he has so many major series that he does. But for me, honestly, if I have room in my schedule and you'll meet my rate, I'll probably do it.

Speaker 1:

What goes into it? That's my question is what goes into an audio book? I mean, do you go to a studio or you're in your house, or you?

Speaker 4:

Most of us, especially after COVID, but most of us even before COVID had a home studio. So I, depending on if it's a publisher who works in studios, then they'll bring you in studio. There aren't a lot of people who are doing that nowadays anymore. Most of the time it's home studio, even for major, major publishers who used to only do in studio work. Now a lot of it's in home studio because of COVID.

Speaker 1:

So you know, suzanne, walk me through. I've always been because, like, I keep thinking, I'm like, okay, I had the mic. I have a nonfiction that's been out for years. I really want to do an audio book and I'm like, do I rent a studio or in? How do I? How do you read the book and not be like and like?

Speaker 4:

You do, you do, you don't read straight through, you go until you screw up, basically.

Speaker 1:

I like that.

Speaker 4:

Start right before when you screwed up and you keep going and then you go back and start right before you screwed up again. And you know, sometimes I have better days and sometimes I have worse days, where an entire sentence is probably, you know, recorded in five different segments because I just can't get through it, and then there are times where it's been like it's been three pages. I haven't screwed up. This is amazing. So I mean, depending on what you're talking about, about the process, I'm happy to go into any detail about the process that you'd like, but it's, you know, having the right equipment. It's having the right sound. You know, soundproofing in your booth. It's having the right DAW, which is I Never remember what DAW stands for but it's just your recording software. A lot of people use Pro Tools, I use Reaper, so learning that system because you are also your own audio engineer when you're doing this, which is another reason why we charge a little bit more than we used to, because it's a lot of freaking work.

Speaker 1:

It's work. It's like real work. It's not like, hey, you know what. I'm gonna sit down to read a couple paragraphs. You know I remember back in the day I tried it and you know this was in nowadays, I'm sure, with like AI and everything else and make it a lot better To edit it and stuff. Please just saying like, oh no, no, not AI, like that. I mean like cleaning things up, like so what?

Speaker 4:

I'm not a post production person, so with the.

Speaker 1:

With the podcast you'll find out like we could have like glitches and stuff. Now, and because I run it through the AI Software, it takes on a lot, of, a lot of stuff in the backgrounds and I remember trying to do the audiobook a few years ago, I mean. And the other thing is I shouldn't say AI, I should say software has updated enough to where it you could really pick up on, like you know, like Clearing your throats and all the other stuff that I'm excited that you know. Not try it on my own, but maybe find someone with the right voice who can be Jason Piccolo.

Speaker 2:

Jason, I'll, I'll get self promotional for 30 seconds and I'll say no yeah, I want you in there.

Speaker 1:

Here's the deals. I really want you to be self-promotional because you know a lot about voiceovers, but the blue hour sanction is like I'm really looking forward to like listening, listening to it.

Speaker 2:

We should have a book. It's a. It has nothing to do with the blower sanction, actually it's two books ago. I wrote a book that I researched for a year and a half called narrator, and it is my love letter to storytelling and it is a psychological thriller, but it also goes into all the things that you just asked about about narration, and it was a special project that Scott and I did together, because until that point there had never been An audiobook narrator who had been the protagonist of a fiction book set within the framework of a psychological thriller, and so I still have people that Love audiobooks, and you're absolutely right. One of the biggest things that came out of that is that there are cult-like Followings where they people are like I go to bed with you every night, I listen to you in the morning as I wake up and have my coffee, and they will listen to anything by that narrator. So it's a wonderful community. It's the only part of the book business that has had double digit growth in the past ten years, and I think that's a year ago. Yeah, it's seventy four thousand audiobooks came out in a single year. So if you are going to try to make it for a living being an author, it is almost essential now that you have that third leg of the stool where you've got your Kindle books, new books, paperback or hardcover and you've got to have audiobooks, because it is the only part of the book business that's growing.

Speaker 4:

And if I can promote Landon a little bit more regarding narrator, first of all it was dedicated to Scott. It was based on Scott. He again wrote a bunch of us into the book, which was super fun. But last year the audio wards are the audiobook Oscars and last year Landon's book narrator and Scott were up for best male audiobook of the year and that's a huge accomplishment for Congratulations but also just period like it is a major, major thing and I mean we all thought it was meant to be, that it was gonna win. It did not. We were very disappointed and but it was. It was an absolutely beautiful ode to Narrators and it was. It was lovely and it just I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Speaker 3:

Well, speaking of beautiful odes to narrators I mean Landon you actually put you know a dedication to Suzanne at the beginning of blue hour, sanctioned. You know she is the voice of Adrienne Astra, now and forever. That is Incredible that was.

Speaker 2:

That was a good thing to see you know, amo and Jason and Suzanne, of course, what I would say is that you know, navigating this business and Trying to be able to do this full-time for 19 years I mean I have more years of rejection than some people have rejection letters. And so when someone says, oh my gosh, 45 rejection letters, it took me three years to make it I'm like, try, 19 years, all right, and then come talk to me. But what I have found is that Going forward and just working with wonderful people and professionals is that kindness goes a lot longer and farther than bitterness. And so when you know I never take anything for granted, you know, every audio book with Scott and Suzanne is a big event, a big deal to me. And Again, when I thought of her in this role, the fact that she would make time for me and Perform this book, and the relationship that we developed going through it, through that pre-writing conference, to all of our emails back and forth and our Pre-recording conferences, that stuff means something to me. And so when I heard it, I said yes. You know, I think I had in here on breeze that the moment with the book inside the book was when Ian Fleming looked at Sean Connery and he said you are James Bond. When he met him for the first time and I had, I think it was it was the character Rachel, her agent in the book, who looked at Suzanne in a meeting and said you are Adrienne Hester. But yeah, no, it was a pleasure to dedicate both of those books and I think you both know his authors. That it's a big thing because we don't know how many books we're going to write. You know, I'm not all about writing and publishing Glorified first drafts in two or three months. I'm about going through the entire process and trying to put out stuff that I'm behind and I believe in, and so they're obviously fewer books, but at the same time, you really have to pay attention to who you're going to dedicate it to, because it's kind of forever and so, no, I don't look back on that at all, I'm just tickled.

Speaker 4:

And I can. I jump into. So in in Scott in a narrator. He dedicated it to Scott and Scott felt uncomfortable narrating To Scott and like the love letter really that Landon wrote to him so he had. Ray Porter read the credits, so he had it he had him do so. That's part of the book. Ray Porter does the credits and and the and the dedication. And Ray Thought it would be funnier if Landon were to have written something just Ridiculously insulting. So Ray himself came up with something that is the funniest thing you will ever hear ever, but could not possibly be shared on anything family friendly. It was foul and poetic. Yeah so, but because Scott did that with Ray, I asked Scott to narrate my credits. So he, he's the one who wrote, he read the dedication.

Speaker 1:

Now, suzanne, you know, yeah, we have Landon's book coming up, but what else can we find you in?

Speaker 4:

Oh, Gosh, I mean, let's give like that the top.

Speaker 1:

The top highlights the one you really like.

Speaker 2:

Really proud of you gotta mention the cronin books, suzanne, that is.

Speaker 4:

Scott and I narrated together the most recent Justin Cronin book, the fairy man. That was amazing and as astonishing. The experience was amazing because I got to be directed by this woman that is kind of a legendary director that, like you know, the elite get to be directed by her and I happened to be in this book, so I got to be directed by her mostly because she was going to direct Scott. Scott works with a lot of people but he really loves working with her, so it was a wonderful experience overall. We got to meet Justin on a tour stop of his and do a reading in one of his tour stops. Scott and I this is not a Scott and Suzanne like highlight film, but Scott and I narrated a book together last year that actually won the Audi for science fiction this year in March. So that was amazing. It was my first time being nominated. Scott's been nominated a million times, won a million times because he's Scott Brick. I had not been nominated. It was the last thing in the world that I expected for us to win, because there were some serious heavy hitters in our category and I was like you know, I don't know how we got nominated, but we got nominated. Great, I'm at the party, wonderful, like it's where a medallion for the nominee. And when they read our name I completely blacked out and that's called Intragalactic Exterminators Inc.

Speaker 1:

I know I'm looking through your Amazon. So everybody, when you want to look for books, you know you look for, like I'll look up Haley and Beach, and if you always look for the audio you can see there's two other areas in there. You know one or two other people that might be contributors, including audio books, so you know.

Speaker 4:

Easier to look on Audible if you're going to look for any.

Speaker 1:

Come on, come on, Give me a break. I know I love all of them. No, I love all of them.

Speaker 4:

You know, I.

Speaker 1:

That's why I was so excited about this talk today, cause, like I get so many physical copies of books. I love them, I love having, I love having a book. But you know, between like life and kids and all the other things, you could put the audio book in when you're chilling and you can listen to it and, like I said, it feels like you're in a movie and like that voice, it's like the soothing voice of Susanna Lee Freeman or Scott Brick or Ray Porter, but it's like it's just, it's something about the audio books and I love it. And you know I'm a fledgling fiction writer. Now, I mean, my whole life has been nonfiction and now when I listen to these, books and these characters my whole life's been nonfiction. I think I don't even know where I'm at anymore. I'm 50.

Speaker 2:

You got another one in you, Jason.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I got another career left in me, yeah. So I mean, I'm really excited about this, about the audio books, and like it is really a process. So when you're writing these books and when you're putting it down on paper, you start thinking about the narration. And, you know, I started thinking about, like you know, the Ray Porter has like the five different voices, like the girl voice, the Slavic voices and everything else, and I'm like I'm excited to think about the audio book version and, you know, if I go the traditional route or the indie router self, at least having that option of having a solid audio book out there, I'm like, like you said, reach out to these authors. Sometimes it's worth the investment if you want to get a good return.

Speaker 4:

The narrators. Yeah, and if I can offer up some advice that narrators give whenever we're doing panels with authors who are interested in producing audio books read every word of your book out loud, not to narrate it, but to hear it, and see if it makes sense coming out, see if that those two words should be a contraction to make it more natural, not necessarily maybe in the narrative, but in dialogue. So, like you know, it's amazing what happens when an author reads their work out loud and they realize, oh God, I have no idea where that sentence was going, like maybe I should rework that or maybe I should put in a comma or something, cause you know, we'll have a paragraph that we're sitting in front of, with no breaks, no periods, no, nothing. We're like I have no idea how to put all of that in a string of words together, to record that and make it make sense. So we've talked to a lot of authors who say, when I read it out loud, that's when I realize, oh, like, if you really care about the audio version, cause a lot of people will skim over things in their minds and their brains will make connections that may not be there, because they're not looking at every single word. They're just grabbing the entire sentence all at one time. But when somebody has to like read every word of that out loud, it's a different thing. So that's the advice we always give out, just to make our lives easier, but also to make your book like more understandable and easier for a reader to understand.

Speaker 3:

That's actually a huge thing. You can do with just editing in general. So, bravo, get from somebody else, cause I know I've gone to battle with my editor, which she's amazing. She's probably cursing at me right now that I said something. Not, you're a goddess, I love you. Thank you, lisa. But there's been a few times where I've gotten some notes back about, especially dialogue, where they changed the flow of it and I'd be like no, reject, reject, and that's kind of what I had. I read it out loud cause I'm like this just doesn't sound right, thinking about somebody actually reading it in the future and it helps so much. Yeah, yeah definitely. Now, when it comes to Blu-R sanction, I mean you've been doing a lot of kind of murder mysteries and things like that. This is not a murder mystery, this is like straight up old school. You get the feel of like that classic, like blow fell guy with a cat, super villain. I mean everything is very grandiose, it's very larger than life, it is, it is you got super villains, so these are like classic Uber villains. And then you have Adrien Astra going through this very unconventional training and work up cycle. Let's call it that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So when I thought about what would be the story to tell that readers who were fans of the series that would be like, oh, because it's a six book series that Rachel is writing in the books. And I thought I don't want to give any of those cause, I want to kind of keep those pristine. And so I said, but what if it was an origin story? And I've never written an origin story before and it's always interested me as a storyteller how someone becomes who they become, and how you can have someone who is an ordinary person from a blue collar background who becomes the world's most lethal assassin. And so, even in speaking of the audio book terms, I cannot wait for both of you to hear Suzanne's Richard Burton. I mean there, there, you want to talk about challenging a narrator to bring out her best and to take on that character. It's incredible. It's amazing and it's subtle too, and, as Scott has always said, subtlety in audio books plays. But she did not shy away from it and the book is so much better because of the attention that she gave. And then I have another favorite character of mine in there. I've just got to say Raven, the director. Somehow, every time I heard Raven perform by Suzanne, I got scared. I'm like I don't want to be in trouble with her. It was just really powerful. So you know, back to your original question there, emma. It was the Hunger Games-like scenario. I thought that would be something that would challenge the candidates physically and mentally and it was something that people hadn't seen before in this genre at all. And the grandiose and you know the style and class of Switzerland and the Jet Set lifestyle, that's kind of what you want. I wanted to go big because, again, I wasn't probably going to touch this again, so I wanted to get it all into one book and everybody else kind of think for the rest of their life. Well, I wonder whatever happened to Adrienne? And it's weird because two days ago I wrote her final chapter. So a part of here on Sunrise it gets right toward the end of the book. In part three. It's Adrienne Astra's final chapter and what's going to be cool about that is that fans will know how it ends and Suzanne and Scott are co-narrating the book and so they will get to hear Suzanne perform Adrienne one last time in that chapter and then Scott will narrate other chunks of it because he's the narrator for the regular series. But anyway, for both of you to even read. The Plurbs that you gave me were so kind. I'm glad that you liked it. It was the most difficult book I've ever written, because I have never written action before and it is difficult. Writing action is so hard. I mean it's easy to write like oh, grenade going off here, gun here. But to make it really suspenseful I was worn out after writing this. I don't know if I'll write another action novel. It was tough.

Speaker 3:

They say, but it's worth it. And I guess it's not going to be for everybody. This genre, like in these stories, aren't for everybody, but you probably should warn everybody that this gets intense and that's coming from somebody who really likes it when things get intense. There are parts that I was reading I was like holy crap, but it is very grandiose. And it is unquestioning that you are a fan of Michigan and the upper peninsula in particular, because man is it dripping from every single page. So for those of us who are fuck-eyes, it's like we're all big fucks down here.

Speaker 2:

I think, we've got it going right about now.

Speaker 1:

I, as somebody who ended up in Minnesota for college in Mankato, I know that frozen tundra up there.

Speaker 4:

I want to ask you if you know my friends who went to Mankato.

Speaker 1:

Oh, mankato, I went there and I graduated 99.

Speaker 4:

Oh then no, you ain't no more. You're like oh, no, no, I know.

Speaker 1:

I'm like wow, I'm getting gray. No, yeah. I went to college after the Army, so it was like a little bit later on Cool.

Speaker 3:

For those of us who are very familiar with life around the Great Lakes. It drips off of every single page, and I'm a house-to-byte and my husband's from Michigan. So, I get it. Well, I do you feel it? You feel it in every page.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I've always thought my way in was that I always thought that the Midwest kind of got the short end of the stick. In fiction. Everybody wants to have Caribbean treasure hunts and globe trotting and even though the Blue Hour sanction has those locales, I always want to make sure that I include my roots, just because it's a place that is not written about a lot, and so when people read the Great Lakes saga or the Sunrise Side Mysteries and there's even a little bit of Michigan in narrator, that's where mythical narrator Sean Frost is from. It's just part of, I would say, my brand in that way, just because I really love where I grew up and a lot of people that go to the Great Lakes and they stand on the shore and they look and they're like my gosh. If you blindfolded me and took it off, I would think I was on the ocean. You can't imagine the scale until you're actually there and it's beautiful, it's wonderful. Do I miss shoveling right now?

Speaker 1:

No, not at all.

Speaker 2:

I'm by the pool having a margarita.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh. Well, you guys, I think we're going to have to have a part two, Maybe a little bit more round table, because I could talk about this all day long. But everybody, make sure you check out the Blue Hour sanction. And, suzanne, I'm going to take your advice. I was doing it while we were on here. I was looking at audible, I'm looking at what is Scott Brick? I'm like, oh my gosh. And then I'm also going to look up you and I just love finding new narrators. I love, I feel like I'm part of the family. I'm part of this thing where, when you're listening to it, it's just a nice escape and, like I said before, soothing. There's been a couple narrators out there who are very like. I'm not going to name the books, but sometimes when you listen to them, you're like that character does not marry up with that voice. Yeah, and that's one thing I do like about the Michael Connolly books now too, is that they're using the actual Titus Welliver and, oh god, what's her name? Christine, I don't know but they're using the actual actors. So now when you're watching the series and you're reading the book or you're listening to the books, you're like, oh, that's pretty cool.

Speaker 2:

Jason, I would say this too, just as one last plug, because you're so generous with your podcast, not only uplifting members of the military and their families, but also thriller writers in general. So if you are an author watching this, I would say, definitely think about hiring Suzanne Elise Freeman to narrate your book, because there are not a lot of female protagonists in this very male-dominated and you know, amy, your books too. I love that you're getting in there mixing it up and it's wonderful. I really want to highlight that. As her author and friend, even if I didn't know her, I would say the performance, consider it, she'll do an amazing job.

Speaker 4:

Thank you, Willan.

Speaker 1:

And.

Speaker 3:

I got a novella coming out. Suzanne, I'm going to be up.

Speaker 4:

OK, well, you guys.

Speaker 1:

We really appreciate the Protectors podcast. Everybody you know Audible, amazon. Check them both out and thank you all.

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Finding the Right Narrator for Indie Authors
Path to Working With Scott Brick
The Importance of Audiobook Narrators
Narration, Highlights, and Writing Advice
Highlighting Female Protagonists in Thriller Novels