The Fun of An Audiobook!

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Children love being read to. Do you ever grow out of that? My boys are all teens now, but I loved reading to my kids when they were younger and they loved being read to. My son who has autism wanted specific stories read over and over, so I’ve got many memorized, even to this day.

I also enjoyed being read to as a kid. Actually, I love when my kids read to me now!

There is something about listening to someone read a story that transports you right into the pages. A good storyteller can bring characters to life, deepen emotions, develop tension, and enhance the overall experience.

ACX BattleBecause of this, I decided to have my supernatural Christian fiction Battle For His Soul turned into an audiobook. Not sure what to do, I sought advice from other authors who’ve turned their books into audiobooks. (More on them in a moment.) Then I joined ACX, searched for and found the perfect narrator. (More on him in a moment, too.)

First, let me continue to promote the benefits of audiobooks! Audiobooks allow you to have your hands free so you can drive, work in the yard, do dishes, or even take a walk… all while enjoying your favorite story. They are perfect for that long ride into work or on vacation.

Readers, you can enjoy stories constantly, not just when you are free to hold a book in your hands and turn pages!

When I decided to turn Battle for His Soul into an audio book, I wanted the perfect narrator. I listened to several on ACX and asked a few to audition before finally choosing Keith McCarthy. Something about his voice just felt right. Plus, he is able to do different voices, male and female, and convey various attitudes and dispositions. He also seems to know just when to pause and what words to emphasize to really bring a story to life.

At the completion of the project, I was so excited to hear the final product and so amazed by Keith’s skills that I wanted to tell everyone about him.


Interview ~ Keith McCarthy

How did you get started as a narrator for ACX?

Keithheadshot (002)In addition to acting, I also teach theater and English. A couple of years ago, to help with my students’ comprehension of the books they read, I posted videos of myself reading the books aloud on YouTube. The videos quickly took off and as my subscriber list grew and grew, I wondered if there were a way I could do this professionally.  It turns out, there was.

How many audiobooks have you narrated?

It depends on which books we are counting. I have an ongoing contract with Rosen Publishing, a large publisher of educational materials, to create audio books of their nonfiction books that are used in kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms. Those are only available to students in schools that have purchased this program, and the books themselves are very short…. 24 to 48 pages, but thus far I’ve done about 35 of those, with more to come. As far as books available on Audible,  I’ve done about 20. And I’ve done about 10 in my YouTube channel.

You have an incredible skill with creating voices. What other forms of acting have you done?

Mainly theater. I’ve acted in a variety of venues across Boston’s North Shore… on average a play or two every year. I also direct my school plays… about 55 of them over the past 20 years.

What are your favorite voices to do? 

I like the villains most… and anyone cocky or arrogant….those are the fun ones. I also enjoy narrating history. My dream job is to narrate a Ken Burns style documentary for PBS.

Which character in Battle for His Soul did you like doing best?

Jesus! A close second was Selena. I hadn’t done a lot of Spanish/Mexican accents in the past, so I practiced quite a bit before I started and I think it came out pretty well.

My note: Keith’s portrayal of Jesus in this story had me spellbound. As I listened to him performing this scene, for a moment, I was no longer the author and I could think of nothing other than the words he spoke. He did an amazing job!

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

I would just add that it was a joy working on this book. After narrating lots of not always terribly interesting, at least to me, informational text on everything from Poker Strategy to the JavaScript programming language (try narrating lines of computer code for two hours and see how sane you feel) it had been my goal to narrate more books for young adults and kids, so it was refreshing to work on such an entertaining and well-crafted book. 

Follow Keith McCarthy on his Youtube channel and check out other books that he’s narrated by clicking here.


And now, a bit about the authors who inspired me to embark upon this journey: Susan Peek and Carolyn Astfalk.

Susan’s passion is writing stories of little-known saints and heroes. She has several books for children and several more for teens, and she has turned two of them (St. Magnus the Last Viking and A Soldier Surrenders) into audiobooks. She is presently working on the audio book for The Kings Prey.

Carolyn writes inspirational Christian romance. She has two adult titles: Ornamental Graces and Stay With Me. And one young adult story: Rightfully Ours. All of her books are available as audiobooks.

Both of these authors are featured on CatholicTeenBooks.com, along with several other amazing authors.

If you are an author and interested in turning your story into an audiobook, check out Carolyn Astfalk’s blog post “Tips for Turning Your Novel into an Audiobook Using ACX.” Carolyn recently presented these tips at a writers’ conference. She has a second article which is just as helpful, once you’ve decided to create an audiobook: “Tips for Marketing Your Audiobook”

If you like audiobooks and are a fan of Catholic teen fiction, here are a few more books you might enjoy:audiobooks.jpg

 

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Christian YA fiction #Giveaways!

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Summer is a great time for books and free books are even better! If you enjoy Christian young adult fiction, here are two GIVEAWAYS for you!

THE PERFECT BLINDSIDE – Fresh off a championship medal, Jake Taylor’s parents have dragged him to a middle-of-nowhere town in Colorado, far from where he wants to be. Smart and savvy, Sophie has spent the summer before her junior year of high school avidly following Jake Taylor in every article she can find, but now she sees the “truth” behind the story — he’s really just a jerk. When the only thing they can see is each other’s flaws, how can Jake and Sophie work together to figure out what’s really been happening at the abandoned silver mine? Follow Sophie and Jake into secret tunnels as they unravel the mystery and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be.


AN UNEXPECTED ROLE – The devastation of a ruined summer.The gift of a second chance. Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self? After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.


Click here for a chance to win both of Leslea Wahl’s books. Winners will be selected August 7th!


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RIGHTFULLY OURS – Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?

Themes include premarital chastity and overcoming temptation.

“When a young man or woman recognizes that authentic love is a precious treasure, they are also enabled to live their sexuality in accordance with the divine plan, rejecting the false models which are, unfortunately, all too frequently publicized and very widespread.” Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Young People of Rome, Sept 8, 1997

Click here for a chance to win an AUDIOBOOK of Rightfully Ours! All you need to do is comment on the blog post here.  The winner will be selected on August 15th!


Happy reading and have a wonderful summer!