Long ago, an evil wizard rose to power and waged war on mankind. Few were willing to stand against the dark wizard, and those that did, fell.
Welcome to one of the November 8th stops on the blog tour for Barrenworld by J Edwards Holt with Audiobookworm Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, audio excerpts, and author interviews!
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Q: Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
A: “Curse of the Warlord’s Chalice” may not be my first audiobook, but the process is always interesting. It’s one thing to read your book on paper, but hearing someone else narrating it is something entirely different. It’s like a movie inside your head — almost like listening to a tv show or movie on a radio. When you hear it, it really begins to hit you. “This is real”, “This is actually my book” are some things that might go through your head during this process. The process first involves turning your manuscript into an e-book, then you put it out there and wait for auditions from narrators. So far I’ve been fortunate enough to get now raiders who really enjoy the stories and are passionate about bringing the characters and settings to life.
Q: Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
A: I think it’s safe to say that any type of writing can be enjoyed it audiobook format — it just depends on the narrator. If you’ve got a good book and a bad narrator, it won’t work. Or if you have a bad book with a good narrator, it won’t work. It’s all about finding the right fit.
Q: Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
A: With this being the fifth young adult novel I’ve published, I was definitely thinking about Audible when writing. I always hoped this book would translate well to audio, and thanks to Joel I was impressed!
Q: How did you select your narrator?
A: I had a couple of narrators audition but they just weren’t the right fit. I was browsing through a list of ACX narrators when I found Joel Jackson. I listened to his previous work and asked him to be the narrator and he was excited about doing it.
Q: How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
A: I always like to work as closely as possible with narrators or really with anyone who is working on a project that is important to me. And yes, after sending his audition, Joel asked me how to pronounce some character and location names so I sent him a list.
Q: Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
A: I wouldn’t say any of the characters are really based on actual people I knew, but I can say that there are two characters in particular who basically represent sort of our conscience — one being the voice of good and the other the voice of bad. Both of these characters play important roles in the trilogy going forward.
Q: How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
A: It’s all about loving what you do. When I get writer’s block, I’ll leave the project alone for a little while and write something else. Sometimes you need a break before you can write more.
Q: Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
A: I am! I love traditional reading, but nothing beats being able to kick back or play and audiobook on a nice long drive. They’re convenient, for sure. And I’ve always loved listening to stories — it’s like a tv show in your head.
Q: Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
A: I love hearing the action scenes in audio. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to my books being turned into a movie and it’s just a delight to listen to.
Q: If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
A: Sometimes I feel like I would like to go to the past to a simpler time, but then I remember how much I rely on modern technology and medicine and think I might like to travel to the future.
Q: If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
A: You know, I haven’t really decided on that. I always go back to classic actors, but then I see these new young and talented actors on tv shows and movies and I think some of them would be perfect. I’m still learning some of their names!
Q: What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
A: Not true at all. I encourage people to read in all formats. It’s beneficial in any way because you’re engaging and learning new things.
Q: How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
A: This book has been in my head for so many years. Finishing writing it was surreal in that I finally found a way to get the story out of my head and onto the paper in a way that people can understand and enjoy.
Q: What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
A: Sometimes you just need to take breaks. If you’re in a reading or writing slump, I recommend doing something else for a while to give your mind a reset.
Q: In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
A: Writing a series is fun, but it’s a lot of work. When writing a series you really need to write the books back to back as closely as possible in order to keep continuity and avoid plot holes. The best thing about writing a series is building up anticipation for the next book. When readers have finished one book and are excited for the next it really makes it all worthwhile. After finishing the Barrenworld trilogy, I plan to stay away from trilogies for a little while. The next few books I have planned are stand alone stories that still take place in the same world (The Seven Branches) but aren’t directly connected to the Barrenworld story.
Q: Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
A: Absolutely. I remember a long time ago I actually had a dream that gave me an idea for a story. It’s interesting because I can still remember the dream and see the story play out in my head like scene from a movie.
Q: What’s your favorite:
a. Food Pizza. I’m always eating pizza!
b. Song I’m a rock guy so I love classic rock ballads and modern hard rock.
c. Book Anything science fiction and fantasy.
d. Television Show Bob’s Burgers — I love comedy.
e. Movie The Avengers
f. Band Breaking Benjamin — for me they’re the perfect combination of hard rock and amazing vocals.
g. Sports team Not really into sports, actually.
h. City I’ve always thought it would be cool to visit Venice, or somewhere over there in Italy. It just seems pretty laid back.
Q: Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
A: No, not really.
Q: What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
A: My advice for aspiring authors is this. If you love writing and want to be an author, go ahead and start that book today. Don’t wait until tomorrow, or next week. Go ahead and get out that pen and paper, or laptop, and start writing ASAP. I never would’ve thought that I would be able to finish writing one book, and now I’ve completed seven. You’d be surprised what you can do with dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Do what you love, put everything into it, and you won’t regret it.
Q: Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
A: Yes! Make sure you pick the right narrator. Don’t just settle for the first person that sends you an audition. I recommend holding out and waiting until you find the one that you feel can truly bring your story to life the way you want it. There are some really talented people out there just waiting to be found!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m currently working on Barrenworld Book 2. I haven’t officially decided the title but I will soon. I’m close to finishing my first draft of Book 2 and would like to have the book out by early next year. Then, once that’s finished I hope to take a short break and begin work on Book 3.
About the Book
Curse of the Warlord’s Chalice
Barrenworld Book One
by J Edwards Holt
Published 5 March 2021
Page Count: 194
Published 20 May 2021
Length: 6 hours and 19 minutes
Narrator: Joel Jackson
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Long ago, an evil wizard rose to power and waged war on mankind. Few were willing to stand against the dark wizard, and those who did fell. Desperate and determined to save his people, a king named Astilles traveled to a realm called Barrenworld, where he found the Warlord’s Chalice, an ancient cup said to give infinite power to those who drink from it. Believing himself to have no other choice, Astilles drank from the chalice and gained the strength to defeat his enemies – but that strength came at a great cost, as the chalice only granted it in exchange for eternal servitude. Eventually, the story of Astilles faded into legend, until centuries later the chalice would return to claim its next victim.
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My Rating: 5 Stars
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I was granted complimentary audiobook access to Barrenworld as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Audiobookworm Promotions. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Barrenworld is a classic high fantasy adventure/quest story with a rangy timeline and all the usual sorts of faces you expect to find in the genre. It’s charming, quick to read, and has that refreshing, something new and unique feel despite also being quite familiar and true to form.
This book feels vaguely like a Tolkein adventure, but if Tolkein had partnered with George Lucas. We do end up with a slaves winning a race to earn their freedom situation that very much reminded me of Anniken’s podracing storyline in The Phantom Menace.
Minor “this caught my attention and not in the best way” note: I’m not sure if it was the same character each time or different ones, but a woman gets described as “short and stout” multiple times in the same period of the story. At first it just caught my attention, but by the second or third time I found myself mentally reciting “I’m a Little Tea Pot.”
Overall this was a quite, enjoyable read (listen) and as always with Holt’s books, I had a lot of fun! His are the sort of books you pick up when you want something short and light but also Tolkein.
I reviewed this as an audiobook, so I do also need to comment on the narration. Joel Jackson does a great job conveying the events of this story with all the right emotions and pacing, and he brings every unique character to life with distinctions that make them stand out. I would definitely be happy to listen to more books Joel narrated for in the future.
About the Author
Born in North Carolina, United States, J. Edwards Holt always knew that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating high school, he attended college and pursued a degree in education, but later decided to change course and follow his dream to become a novelist and children’s author.
Now a full-time writer, editor, and blogger, Holt spends his free time dreaming up stories and reading. He is passionate about spreading Christian messages through his writing, watching science fiction and super hero movies, and collecting comic books.
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About the Narrator
Since acting in various plays at university and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including ‘Equus’ and ‘Henry V’, Joel has always enjoyed getting to grips with a complex text and leading listeners through an author’s imagination. His voice has a warm, sympathetic quality, perfect for drawing the listener in and helping them to empathise with your characters and story.
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More J Edwards Holt reviews from me:
– Little Men, Big Treasures
– The Summoner’s Gem
– The Battle of Danamor
– The Storyteller’s Diary
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