Welcome to one of the April 27th stops on the audiobook blog tour for Limelight & Larceny by Jordan Riley Swan & Hero Bowen, organized by Audiobookworm Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for audio excerpts, reviews, and author interviews!
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Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
This was probably the funnest and easiest part of the whole audiobook adventure for me. I work with Erin Spencer from One Night Stand Productions audio boutique. She handled every technical aspect of getting the audiobook made. All I had to do was pick from the voices she suggested for the various roles and then listen to samples of the manuscript read by the narrators we had narrowed down to. It was a blast! Being that this was a full cast audio book it felt like being a big time hollywood executive casting stars for leading roles. Was a ten out of ten experience and I’m looking forward to the next book.
Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
I think we could make a case that some books do translate better to audio. But I like to think that all prose, from commercial fiction to the deepest literary experience, will translate differently, but not necessarily negatively so, from the written page to audio. Limelight and Larceny, however, really lent itself for translation to audiobook for one major reason—we went full cast. Each major character had its own narrator for the dialogue and since this is a multiple character novel about theater actors having to turn to a life of crime it was made for this type of radio play like feel.
Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
It actually wasn’t on my mind at the time. But as we got closer to finishing the book Erin Spencer was wrapping up producing the audio version of my first novel The Heart’s Bidding (read by the incomparable Xe Sands) and I mentioned Limelight and Larceny off handily to her and we started talking about full cast production. Now, i’d heard full cast before and thought I’d love to do it but surely the price would be astronomical. It wasn’t as bad as I had first feared (but lets not lie here, getting an audiobook produced isn’t cheap even with one narrator) so I jumped off the deep end and said screw it. Lets have fun with it, you only live one, right?
How did you select your narrator?
Erin from One Night Stand Productions sent me a list of possible narrators for the main narrator and I went through audible and verified the ones I liked. Once we had the selection down to three choices for the main narrator they all read a page of my work so I could hear what they brought to the table. Hilary Huber really nailed the wry aspect we were going for so she read the bulk of the book. The voices for the characters were another matter.
Erin seemed to have a magical way of reading a few lines of dialogue and then saying “This person would be good for this role, and that person for that role,” etc. I would listen and sure enough, bam! Perfect almost every time. We switched two voice actors roles during the audition part as the narrative of the book had changed during a beta read but otherwise it was crazy how dead perfect the roles were.
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?
We worked hand in hand during the auditions, but once it went into production I didn’t have to do much (which is exactly how I like it considering how lazy I am, LOL). There were some questions about name pronunciations but otherwise it was pretty smooth sailing.
Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
My co-writer Hero Bown and I both have had experiences in theater (though she definitely had a LOT more than I did) and a lot of the theater moments in Limelight and Larceny come from personal experience or from personalities that we have met in the theater world.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
One of the tricks I use is to have multiple projects in the hopper at any one time. Maybe I’m first drafting a book this morning, then revising something my writing partner Hero Bowen wrote after lunch, then plotting out another book in the afternoon. By switching up what I work on every few hours (like right now working on answering these questions) I refresh and use a different part of my writer brain.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I am almost exclusively an audiobook listener when consuming books. I have trouble reading print after a half hour or so. It isn’t as bad when I’m typing as I spend half my time looking at the keyboard and half my time watching the words appear, but if i try and just read straight my eyes get blurry and my attention starts to wander. Plus, I like to drive to parks and walk around and I can listen to an audiobook from the moment I step outside the front door until I return again.
Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
The fact that this is about a theater troupe turing into a bunch of conmen made the full cast version feel so meta it was great. We have Plus, the narrators got to play with multiple accents as they worked. Sarah Mollo Christiensen, who played the character Hollie O’Molly had to do five distinct accents for that character (the Hollie accent for the character herself, Sarah playing Hollie playing a MacBeth character, Sarah playing Hollie playing an irish immigrant, Hollie playing a meek housewife, and Hollie playing a professor from England.) But it was the character doing the accents so, Sarah was basically doing a character, doing an accent. It was layered. And she wasn’t the only one constantly having to play characters who were playing other characters. I think Andrew Eiden had to do three or four and Graham Halstead had to do several (plus play other characters inside the book as well). These were the russian nesting dolls of performances.
Thats not to mention PJ Ochlan who had to come up with five different sounding minor characters sprinkled throughout the book. Everybody in the cast were real troopers.
If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
To quote Beverly Jenkins “I’ve seen enough time travel movies to know you don’t ever go screwing around in your past lest you want to end up married to your grandparent or something.” So, thats a hard no for me. LOL
If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
I would just cast a group of complete unknowns, but only ones who have done community theater. The result is either going to be spectacular or a train wreck. Either way it’ll be entertaining.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
I’ve never met someone who has said that. Perhaps I keep better company. hahahaha
How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
Got on a zoom meeting with my co-writer Hero Bowen and our editor Diane Callahan and toasted with non-alcoholic champagne.
What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
For a writing slump you sometimes just have to walk away altogether for a while. Let your back of brain mind work out the kinks. Everybody deserves some rest, including the little monkeys in the back of your head hammering away on all those keyboards trying to come up with the next Shakespeare sonnet.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
As a self published author I can’t afford to do a stand-alone novel. We live and die in the series. We have to be willing to lose all kinds of money on book one just to get noticed so we can (hopefully) get the read through into book two onwards. I wrote one stand alone novel and will never see it make enough money to pay for the cover let alone the editing and marketing. But it was a hearts book so I’ll excuse its underperformance.
The biggest con to that is there are several stories I have that only make sense as one off books. They will never get written as i can’t afford to do that more than once. Would one of those stand alones be a major success? Maybe, If I had the resources of distribution that only comes with being traditionally published… so maybe I’ll eventually try and be Hybrid just so some of these smaller stories can make their way out of me.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
You should always be learning craft. And it’s never too late to publish your first book. I was forty-five before I debuted my first novel (which I self-published and then had to take down again as I realized it was too soon to publish it and needed to work on my craft a WHOLE lot more).
Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
Hire Erin Spencer of One Night Stand Productions. LOL. Ok, so not everyone is going to have the resources to hire a producer. Let me say this, if you are going to self produce remember that the quality of the production matters as much as the prose did when you write it. Nothing will stop your audiobook career faster than a book that sounds like it was recorded at a kitchen table with an iPhone. Plus, the quality control people at the various audiobook distributors will reject you faster than the prom queen rejected me in high school.
What’s next for you?
Erin Spencer is gearing up production for Hero Bowen and my newest book, Wish Hunter, which will be out in June. My co-writer and I are also working on a RomCom series and book two in the Limelight and Larcey series. Wish us luck and hopefully you’ll hear from us soon… ‘hear from us’ hahahaha. See what I did there?
About the Book
Limelight & Larceny
The Crew-Building Con
by Jordan Riley Swan & Hero Bowen
Published 11 January 2021
Page Count: 337
Published 10 March 2021
Narrators: Hillary Huber, Anthony Mark Barrow, Michael Crouch, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Erin Spencer, Graham Halstead, Andrew Eiden, P.J. Ochlan, Peter Berkrot, Ray Porter, Adenrele Ojo, Andi Arndt
Length: 10 hours and 17 minutes
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
These actors are going to steal more than the show.
This full-cast audiobook, featuring 11 different voice actors, and narrated by Hillary Huber, take on the roles of the Tandem Players, a group of community theater actors that love their community theater almost as much as they love the sweet old landlady who gave them a home to perform their plays in over the years. But when she passes away, and the will that was to leave the Broadtown Theater to the acting troupe disappears, they don’t even have time to mourn their loss. Her son comes in like a wrecking ball, brandishing a 20-year-old will and an ultimatum: leave, or be buried under the rubble when he has the place demolished.
The ragtag group of actors – a street magician, a former stuntwoman, an IT student, an FX specialist, a leading man, and their stage manager – will have to pool their talents and steal the will back. And they’ll have to act fast, because the next wrecking ball that swings in is going to be a real one.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.
I was granted complimentary audiobook access to Limelight & Larceny via Authors Direct 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.
The Tandem Players don’t mind that their audience numbers are dwindling. They’ve still got their theatre, their devout patrons, and the stage. Unfortunately all that’s going to wind up, well, up in the air. You see, the theatre’s owner wrote an updated will last year leaving the theatre to the Players, but her son, his lady friend, and a corrupt lawyer have made that newer will disappear and are operating on an older will which leaves her entire estate to him, and the theatre is to be sold. Ample amounts of prosthetic makeup, “yes, and” attitude, and police connections will be put to use as the Tandem Players stage the performance of their lives around town fighting back against this plot in covert and illegal ways in hopes of saving their theatre.
What a riot! This book was amazing. I imagine the print/ebook experience is great as well, but the ensemble cast of the audiobook production was absolutely perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed myself listening to this whirlwind plot unfold. The cast of characters in this book has something for every reader, too. There are dysfunctional couples, past-prime police officers, LGBTQ+ representation, shy computer geniuses, people who know quite intimately what paycheck-to-paycheck means and people who have no clue, sleazy lawyers, gullible secretaries, chaotic good tokers, and a whole bunch of people who are frequently more comfortable wearing someone else’s identity rather than their own.
This is 330+ pages or 10 hours and change of a couple of dishonest people in it for the money finding out why it’s a terrible idea to sleight a troupe of highly skilled actors with very little to lose. If the larceny part doesn’t scare you away, you’ll love the antics and shenanigans that fill these pages. I didn’t want it to end!
About the Author
Jordan Riley Swan
Jordan Riley Swan is a wild word hunter living in the far and dangerous reaches of rural Ohio. He spends his nights tracking down big-game stories, capturing them in paper cages, and training them to be better tales.
He would like to list a cavalcade of awards and best selling titles into this bio, but alas he only has two books in the field as of yet and was always a late bloomer…
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