Making the Audio Version of The Cooking Class in San Sebastian
Thrills and chills of making an audio book
Creating the audio version is exciting and challenging. I'm working with David Stifel who has narrated more than 120 audio books. It's comforting to be dealing with a professional narrator and audio producer for Audible.
The first challenge was coming up with an audition script that lasted two to three minutes and provided as broad a range of characters as possible to give the actor/reader a chance to present them as individuals. I spent days selecting three brief scenes out of the book to give an idea of the action between the characters. I was surprised by how many people responded right away to the call for the audition. I listened to all of them several times and got my husband, a girlfriend and sister to listen too. Once I made a deal with David, I had to prepare a 15 minutes script for him to practice and perfect the characters. That was a difficult decision that took time too. He recorded Chapter 37 in its entireity and took my comments and suggestions like a pro. Once I approved "the first 15 minutes" then he began production in earnest and I couldn't make any more comments unless a word or interpretation was completely wrong.
I thought I was done but had missed the part about how I needed to listen, compare to the text and approve every chapter as he went along. Not a full time job but definitely requires time. David produces about an hour and a half a day, sometimes more. So I spend time every day listening to what was recorded the day before. At first it was scary hearing the voices of my characters like Laurence and Eva, who I know so well in my mind, speaking to each other, loving and fighting, just like I had written it. I never expected the reader to get all the inflections and inferences. David hasn't missed one! Then it was scary to realize it's his book now too. He's made it into a new form and changed it with his interpretation of the voices. Everyday I am impressed with what I listen to and admire the skill he has at acting and studying the text enough to smoothly voice a family squabble in English and Italian or two lovers whispering sweet nothings. I now look forward to listening and feel the experience has similar qualities to watching movies.
The Cooking Class in San Sebastian is now entertaining new audiences at home and on the highway. That is so exciting! The audio version is available at AUDIBLE, AMAZON and iTunes.
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