Author: ML Nystrom
Narrator: Annalee Scott
Length: 5 hours and 22 minutes
Series: Dragon Runners, Book 1
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Released: May 4, 2022
Genre: Motorcycle Romance
“He loves long, loves hard, but he don’t love easy.” Katrina Vega is set on one thing: finishing college. She's determined not to let anything or anyone distract her, especially not hot, brooding bikers. On her mission to stay focused, she doesn't expect to be pulled into the fold of a motorcycle club, let alone into the arms of Alec "Mute" Stillwater. Unable to keep her guard up, Katrina soon discovers that beneath the hard and rough exterior of a family she's grown to care for, there's also loyalty and passion she's envious of. But falling for the club's enforcer will not only threaten her plans, but quite possibly her life.
Q&A with Author ML Nystrom
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook
- There’s not much to tell. I’d been thinking about audiobooks already when my publisher, Becky Johnson, the executive editor from Hot Tree Publishing, emailed me about the possibility. I’m still relatively new to the world of writing and publishing, and I believe it’s best to rely on the people in the industry who know what they’re doing. I signed the contract with HTP and let them handle everything. I was included in the process of choosing a narrator, deciding on Annabelle because of her fabulous voice and tone, listening to the samples, and approving the recording, but the heavy-lifting was done by HTP and Findaway Voices, who I believe were supportive and user friendly..
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- Not even close. The story behind writing Mute is simple. When I turned fifty, I had an epiphany. For years, I’d thought about someday projects. Someday-I’ll-do-this, someday-I’ll-do-that, someday-I’ll-get-to-it; all of those somedays needed to be turned into todays. I’ve wanted to write a book for years, decades to be exact. Mute came to me in complete form. He and his story popped into my head one morning during my daily commute to work. I got him on paper and started the journey into the author world. The original goal was to publish a book. I had no idea Mute would go this far.
- How did you select your narrator?
- The nature of the book helped to determine the best voice type. The setting, the main female character, the fact that the main male character has no speaking voice, all pointed towards a single female narrator, young soprano, slight American Southern accent without being annoying, and some diversity in voicing characters. It wasn’t hard to determine what sound would fit the book best. We heard some samples and found exactly who fit the book.
- 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?
- I didn’t have to do a lot. Annalee Scott is very professional and did such a good job, there was very little I had to say. Her pacing, her understanding of the characters and the story, her voicing, all of it was wonderful.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- There’s always a real life inspiration as many of the characters in my books are modeled after real life events or people. For instance, Mackie’s character in Mute, was modeled after my late step-dad, Mr. Donald Fields. He was an army veteran of Vietnam who lost his right arm in order to save his fellow soldiers, and developed Parkinson’s as a result. He spent his life as an inspiration to many even through the disease which took his life. Mackie’s character pays homage to Don.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- My writing time waxes and wanes, but I’ve not lost my enthusiasm yet. My occupation as a band instrument repair technician has passed the thirty-two year mark and I’m still passionate about what I do in this field. I think that’s because there is always something new to learn, a new challenge, or a new skill set to develop. I love what I do as a tech. I believe the same is true of writing. There’s always a new story, a new character, a new genre. So far, my passion for writing hasn’t hit burn-out, but if it does, I’ll take some time off, then come back when it’s fresh and new again.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- No, I don’t believe listening to an audiobook is cheating any more than I think reading a paperback is better than using an e-reader. It’s up to the reader which format works best for their lives and lifestyle. I’m thinking of sales reps who spend hours driving their cars, workers at repair benches or assembly lines, moms who only get a break while running errands or grocery shopping, and other such situations. I love reading nightly, but it’s also nice to listen to a book while I’m folding laundry or digging in the garden.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- Tough one. I think readers prefer series over standalones, but I believe the characters dictate the story. When I write a secondary character, I ask “does he/she have a tale to tell.” In the case of Mute, Stud was born, then Blue and Table. Brick came from a reader who wrote to me asking about a prequel, and I found one. However, there are some stories that are completed in one book. So far, I’ve not published a standalone, but that may come one day.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- The same advice that was given to me by another author.
- Write something everyday.
- Do not finish what you write.
- That keeps the ideas flowing and your progress moving forward. Other tips would be to research your publishing options carefully, get a good editor, and be open to your beta readers. Don’t try to do everything on your own. Getting the book on paper is the easy part. It’s the publishing part that gets hard.
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- Matching the narrator’s voice to the main character and setting of the book is essential. Annalee’s light soprano was perfect for Mute. An older woman’s smoky alto would not have fit well. Pronunciations of names, accents, character diversity, pacing are all important, but the underlying vocal tone is what sets it all up.
- What’s next for you?
- Right now, I’m revisiting my first series with some new material, then I have another new series sketched out. Perhaps I’ll try a different genre. Whatever pathway hits my head and draws my attention is where I’ll go. We’ll see where I end up.
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