February/March 2019

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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AudioFile spoke with audiobook producers Paul Ruben and Alison Larkin about Paul's book of short stories, Terms of Engagement, and bringing it to audio. AudioFile: Alison, tell us the story of how you came to publish both the print book and the audiobook of Terms of Engagement under your own imprint? Alison Larkin: There I was eating a delicious plate of lobster looking out over Boothbay Harbor in Maine when the one and only Paul Ruben told me he had read my novel The English American, which sprang from my autobiographical one-woman comedy show. Paul told me he was writing a book, and I asked to read some of it. Although Paul's book is literary fiction address- ing father-son relationships and mine is commercial fiction about an adopted Englishwoman who finds her birth parents in the United States, I was instantly struck by the similarities. I was a bestselling novelist turned audiobook narrator. Paul was a Grammy Award-winning producer turned writer. And where my novel had opened up discussions between adoptive parents and adoptees that had never taken place before, it was clear to me that Paul's book could do the same for father-son relationships. I knew what the right marketing could do to promote someone like Paul, and I knew it was important to do. AF: And Paul, tell us how you came to work with Alison as the producer and publisher of your book and audiobook? Paul Ruben: I've known Alison for some time, as a wonderful narrator, audio producer, and writer, and I thought she'd be the ideal person to bring out Terms of Engagement because she had succeeded so well in both print and audio formats. AF: Paul, you speak about this a bit in the author interview at the end of the audiobook, but can you share with us some of your casting process and thoughts about what any of the specific narrators brought to your stories with their performances? PR: I'm privileged to know and have worked with dozens of talented narra- tors, whose performance voices I "hear" in my head. As a writer, I also hear the voices of the story's characters. And I benefit from a performance background myself. So that combination permitted me to match performance voice with each story's narrator. It's important to say that while everyone I chose was, to me, the most suitable narrator, that doesn't mean that those who could have, but didn't, nar- rate it are any less talented. All the narrators brought their unique heart and soul to the project, as well as the performance commitment I look for as In the Studio 24 n AudioFile/ (clockwise from top left) Robert Fass, John Cheary, Nancy Wu, Paul Ruben, Paula Parker, Kathleen McInerney, Johnny Heller

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