The making of a Duo-Cast audiobook - behind the scenes with Polished

         I am a fan of storytelling. I am also a fan of the theater. Put these two interests together and it's no wonder why from the moment I finished my first full length novel, I was DYING to hear it acted out in audio. It took a while to get my rights back, but my 2013 bestselling MMF menage romance is now live on Audible in dynamic Duo-Cast Audio. 

The term Duo-Cast is something I've coined, because though duet format audiobooks are nothing new (albeit more rare than single narration), I believe in creating an experience that captures each and every character as individuals, no matter that only two actors are cast. Duet narration is an appropriate label whenever there are two narrators. When producing polished with CTR Audio, I wanted to ensure that the listener could easily forget there are only two narrators, because each character lives independently in their performances. One stage actor playing many roles is different than a soliloquy. I didn't want an audiobook that was in fact a book narrated simply for the convenience of expanding the opportunities to read. It was important to me that Rory, Spencer and Jack came to life for my audience. Polished is an audiobook experience you don't just hear...It's one that you feel!

Stream a 6 chapter preview!


          It all started with casting. Of paramount importance was finding the right voices. In George Orlando I found someone that could handle Spencer's rugged yet gentle demeanor, his stoic moments along with his dry humor and of course his Queens accent. I first intended to cast Jack separately for Polished, but George was phenomenal in his talent to embody the dichotomy that is Jack Rothman, switching personas effortlessly. Jack's subtle sullenness coursing beneath his confident mask, his sex appeal wafting around him, his dominance and growth...it all had to be believable. Only an actor of true ability is able to not only switch accents, but also switch personalities and still keep the flow. 

I pride myself on writing real people, the kind you would expect to know and like. I hope that my readers become their friends, their champions and their defenders along the way. The voices of these characters need to fit like a glove and allow the listener to feel they are truly meeting someone in the flesh. Speaking of real...Rory Campbell is about as real a woman as it gets. Fiercely loyal, both confident and at times insecure, a perfectionist who judges no one but herself, Rory was impeccably performed my Erin Bateman. I found Erin after a painful amount of auditions and it must have been fate, because she gets Rory to her core. I interviewed Erin about her experience recording Polished and also her life as a Voice Actor. It follows below. Swept is currently in the early stages of production and so is Four Real. I'll post soon about the progress and even post a sample or two soon.

Here's Erin's interview and be sure to comment with your thoughts on the preview!rtv

Alyssa: My writing aims to take characters on a journey of emotional growth, challenges them to face hard truths and empowers them to live without regrets.  You embodied Rory Campbell in a way that truly represented her spirit. How would you describe Rory and in what ways did you find a connection with her character? 

Erin: We meet Rory who is confident, sweet, and sexy - someone quite likable! We come to see her as one with her own set of doubts. A woman who, like so many of us, tends to overthink. Who wants to please others.   I both admired and learned from her way of leaning on others for support.  Both Jack and Spence allowed her to realize her issues fully and what she needed to do to overcome them. Not only does she realize the issues but she takes action on the issues.  She deals with it.  That takes confidence.  Confidence is inspiring, sexy, and a turn on!  Who doesn't want to be seen as any of those things? 

Alyssa: Are you a fan of Romance? Having never read one my books before, what surprised you most about Polished?

Erin: I am a fan of all genres - seriously I'm not just saying that like others say "I like all types of music".  It's the relationship and character development that grabbed me.  A good book within its genre needs to be bigger than the stereotypes.  A Romance can be a more than simply love and bedroom scenes.  Why those characters say what they do, react how they react, there’s a story there that goes much deeper.  

Alyssa: Both you and George have amazing range as voice artists.  The intimacy of the scenes in Polished were incredibly real and completely natural. I was endlessly impressed by how seamlessly you blended together, bringing to life each scene as if you were truly in the moment.  How do you get into the “zone” in order to read a scene so authentically?

Erin: There is a reason my studio is on a different floor than where my children play!  The intimacy needs to sound real - I'm not in the booth with George (can we say AWKWARD!?) so it's important to be reading the lines how you imagine someone would be conversing with you ... and yes I mean in a steamy bedroom scene and not a kitchen dinner scene!
  
Alyssa: Voicing romance is a distinct skill. Delivery of each line of dialogue has to be just right to evoke all the unsaid emotions and motivations laced in the words. Without the benefit of visual interpretation, it’s all up to the voice over artist to make those subtle connections for the listener. How long have you been a Voice Artist and how did you develop your amazing acting skills?

Erin: I've been working with my voice for my forever (a little over 20 years ... however if anyone asks I am 29 and holding).  I read a lot.  I mean A LOT.   I read out loud, to my kids, for enjoyment, and for work (but really... I can put this in the enjoyment category just as easily).  I listen to books too.  It has to sound real.  It's not my words on the paper.  It might not be written the way I would say it but it has to sound like it came from me, the character I'm portraying.  Occasionally I will warm up in character.  Read an entire portion of the book (not recording but that could be funny!) as that character.  Being that character outside of her lines is a must for character development.

Alyssa: What brings you the most joy in your career as a Voice Over Artist?


Erin: I love all the pieces that make the whole.  Reading the words of the author in my head, figuring out just what makes the characters who they are, then telling that story out loud ... the whole process of taking that project from paper to ear is so fun and exciting.  In reality I'm simply sitting in a studio reading out loud...but it's the story and my imagination that make me feel I am entirely someplace else.