Hey gang, June is audio book month! So I thought I’d take
a time out from my usual musing and interview one of my favorite women in the
business. Don’t know if you know this, but Dog Ear Audio, a company devoted to
put lesbian novels in the audio book market, produced the audio book of my
novel, “The Middle of Somewhere.” I narrated myself. It was a fun process and
turned out a great product. They’ve also produced novels by Bold Strokes
authors, K.I. Thompson, Catherine Friend, Kim Baldwin, and, you guessed it,
Radclyffe. What are they up to now? Read on.
Me: Why audio books?
Karen: Well, Cliffi, I’ve been a fan of lesbian fiction
for many, many years. No need to go into exactly how many, but
with putting a lot of miles on my truck because of where I live and my job as a
solar installer, I was looking for something other than the radio to listen to
while on the road. I searched on line for lesbian audio books, and could
not find any.
About the same time, my partner was building a soundbooth
for her video production company.
In one of those lightbulb moments, I realized this
professionally engineered soundbooth could be used for more than just
voice-over work. Maybe we could record some of these books and fill a
niche that was not being given attention to. Since then, I think my
partner has gotten in to use her own soundbooth twice for video work. The
book recordings have kind of taken over.
Me: What projects are you working on
Karen: We just released our latest book, “Breaking
the Ice” written and narrated by Kim Baldwin, which is set in
Alaska. When possible, we look, and listen, for authors who may have the
voice acting skills to record their own books. I believe they know best
how they want a particular character to sound, where to place the inflection on
dialog, and what overall feeling they want a listener to take away with them
from the story. The written word is fantastic in telling a story,
but hearing a story brings with it an entire new set of emotions and
connectivity between an author and their audience.
Audio books connect on such a personal level. It is
one human relating to another human through the spoken word; the oldest form of
storytelling there is. Emotions are shared on so many
levels—excitement, anger, love—are all enhanced hearing a human voice
give life to those feelings. Even a silent pause, in the right place,
can convey more about what is happening in a scene than many, many words
“The Middle of Somewhere”, written and narrated
by a very talented woman, is a prime example of how hearing an author bring the
accents of a local population to life, greatly enhances the
story. Whether it is the shady characteristics of one person,
or the adorable crush one character has for another, those human traits
are instantly captured in the tone of a skilled narrator.
Me: What projects do you see happening
in the future?
Karen: We have three more titles waiting impatiently on
our computers for editing. By this, I mean sound editing, where we clean
up any extraneous noises that may have shown up, splice in re-takes, and then
go through an exhaustive listening process so we can correct anything else we may
have missed on the first go-round. All of our books are unabridged.
We recently signed an agreement with a download
distributor who will be getting us into the larger, mainstream distribution
networks like Audible.com, eMusic, Simply Audiobooks, Spoken Network, and
I’ve always wanted to have our audiobooks
available in libraries across the country, so we will be taking a short
hiatus in recording additional titles, in order to establish those
connections with libraries. Having these wonderful stories available to
everyone is one of our goals.
Some women have sight problems, so we want to spend more
time letting them know we are here and that lesbian literature can be still
enjoyed even if the printed word does not work for them.
Me: Tell us a bit out your solar operation and why this
Karen: For the past 17 years, I have been a solar
(photovoltaic) installer for remote, off-grid homes. Our own home, including
all our computers, and especially the coffemaker, are powered with energy
captured from the sun. Because our sound files are so precious, we trust
the reliability of our own power over anything that could come from the
grid. It is better, cleaner energy.
We live in such an amazingly beautiful state, with
those legendary cobalt blue skies, that we like to keep our carbon-footprint as
small as possible.
This summer I hope to make some renewable energy videos
to help educate folks on what solar energy can do, and then maybe my partner
can finally get to use her own soundbooth.
we will continue to produce lesbian audio books from www.dogearaudio.com,
for all who want to enjoy a good story while driving, walking, or just doing