Somehow I missed writing here last week.
Here's my excuse.
I spent eleven hours listening to audio files of The Loudest Meow: A Talking Cat Fantasy. (With the help of Findaway Voices and narrator Kae Denino, I'm in the middle of creating an audiobook. It's actually five-and-a-half hours long. I listened to it twice.)
You have to know that I love audio. I'm primarily an auditory person. When I was young, I was prone to nightmares. I believed that if I closed my eyes, I could die. So sleep was a problem. One of my parents would lay outside my open bedroom door and read until I fell asleep. I also listened to recordings—mostly musicals, West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, The Fantasticks, Camelot . . . Somehow I believed that anyone who could stand on a stage and sing could defeat Death. No problem.
Later in life, when I discovered audiobooks, I fell immediately in love with the form. Mike and I have stories about the power of these books—how on a road trip, we missed our favorite restaurant by several hundred miles because we got so lost in a story. How, on that same trip, on the way back, we managed to get to the restaurant, but then we started the book up again and almost ran out of gas because we forgot to go to the gas station. But that was when we were new to the form. We are not that foolish today. We get to everywhere we need to go. We just have more fun doing it.
There is still room for reading books in my life. I'm primarily a bedtime reader, and I can't listen to audiobooks before going to bed. They do make me fall asleep. I’ve grown out of those nightmares. Now I want to keep track of the story. But, in other parts of the day, audiobooks give me more opportunity in life to experience books. Through audiobooks, I will listen to books that I would never read, like nonfiction. If it's a memoir and the author is reading it, I want to hear the story told that way. And oftentimes nonfiction feels like more serious study to me. It's not something that you pick up in order to drift off to sleep. It's something where you think and ponder and maybe take notes. Again, I'm an auditory learner. That's my best approach for these types of books.
In the week that I spent listening to files, I felt thrilled. Kae Denino, the narrator for my book, is incredibly talented. I believe that she gives the proper voices and truly invests in the emotions of the story. And somehow I didn't realize how emotional the story was until I heard it. That seems like it would be such a basic thing, but that really happened to me. For writers out there, I would say that preparing an audiobook is a great way to learn about yourself as a writer. You can really experience your strengths and weaknesses. You are able to get a whole different perspective on your story. I now feel closer to my characters. I understand the story more. I felt like this came at a great time because I have recently finished the first draft of the sequel to this book. Diving down deep and listening hard to Book 1 has led me to rethink some aspects of Book 2. I'll be writing more about this in the future, but let me just say right now that I am so happy with the audiobook. I can't wait for you to hear it.