Friday, January 11, 2008

Two cool things

Cool thing the first:
Today I spoke for the first time with the folks at Recorded Books, who will be making the audiobook of Blackbringer. So cool! My agent has managed everything with them thus far, and now that the deal is all concluded, it's on to the creative part: casting the voice talent. It makes me a little giddy. An actress is going to be acting out my book, doing voices and accents, rendering it into drama. This kind of talent amazes me. Next week I will get to hear samples of a few different actresses reading a few pages of the book. We've agreed a Scottish accent is our choice, and I'm so looking forward to hearing what we hear! After an actress is selected, I will have some input into rendering of particular characters' voices, but I don't know how much. Anyway, they're the experts. I'm just looking forward to the experience of hearing my book in a new voice. It'll be the nearest way to hearing it "fresh." I've read on Shannon Hale's blog about her experiences hearing her books on Full-Cast Audio for the first time, in some cases three or four years after she has last read the book, and how it feels all new, like it didn't even come from her. Sounds like magic!

By the way, Shannon Hale and Libba Bray are coming together to Powell's (the Beaverton one) on January 26th. Can't wait to go and be a fan-girl and get them to sign my books!

Cool thing the second:
Yesterday in the dark of dawn, I drove across the Columbia River to Washington to speak to three creative writing classes at Mountain View High School. I had a blast! The kids were really cool, and the teachers too, and I begin to think maybe I can get to like doing school visits, and possibly even one day be good at them! Hearing Marcus Zusak a few months ago was an inspiration -- the way he kept the whole thing very conversational and fast-moving, and focused on exciting subjects (like robberies and getting revenge on his brother) that teenagers might find interesting. Well, I didn't talk about brother-vengeance, I kept things to the topic of writing, and since these were writing classes I think there was more interest in that than there would have been to a general assembly of students. May I say, we had no creative writing in either of the high schools I went to!

I did show a silly slide show on my lap top, and I think in the future I will beef that up and use it as a mainstay, because it's a good way I found to keep my place with telling stories without having to have notes in front of me. Also, I think it's cool to show kids pictures of publishing offices and editors to demystify them a little. They are real! And, to show pictures of my glamorous writing life (bundled up in pajamas, on the couch, with my feet on the dog and my computer on my lap. SO glamorous!) Of course, I also gave out "Not A Robot" buttons, and was pleased to see one student left me a comment there! I also have some new MySpace friends. (Hi guys!)

So, that was great fun, and I'm less afraid of teenagers now than I was before. Ha ha! I'm not really afraid of them. I'm afraid of boring them. But with the exception of a few eyeballs fluttering shut here and there, they didn't seem super bored. Yay, me!

Having a shut-in writing weekend. (Big shocker there). Hope all is well out there!


Anonymous said...

A long time ago I read my faery book onto tape for a friend, doing all the voices and accents, and plugging in bits of instrumental music between chapters. It was so. much. fun, and she said she enjoyed listening to it on her way to work very much (although sometimes I talked a bit too quickly, and she was listening so hard to catch what I said, that she nearly drove off the road!). Still, I can't imagine how much MORE fun it would be to hear one's book read by a real professional.

I also think the choice of a Scottish accent will be brilliant for BLACKBRINGER -- it makes me want to order the tapes right now!

Erin said...

When you meet Shannon, wish her a happy one! The 26th is her birthday. :)

(I get to meet her on the 24th!!!)

Amber said...

Oh, I can't WAIT to hear your book on audio! I love audio books. We listen in our car when we drive home to see the fam. This would be perfect with the kids, maybe? Although I knwo Wyatt would be asking me a million zillion questions, lol! Anyway, that is so cool. Congrats!


Deirdre said...

It's so cool that a highschool would bring in an author to talk about writing. My highschool had a creative writing program but there was an audition process that found me lacking, so I didn't get in. I hope times and attitudes have changed.

A book on tape!! That's wonderful and exciting. The Scottish accent is perfect. What a great idea.

Anonymous said...

I was in one of the classes you visited at Mountain View on Thursday. It was great! Thanks for coming!!

Unknown said...

Hi, Laini! Congratulations both on the publication of your novel and the upcoming audiobook production! As an audiobook narrator, I loved reading your views about the selection of voice talent for your book. A writer's talent amazes me; after all, you're the ones who dream up the ideas! It's up to the voice talent to transparently interpret the author's words and remain true to the author's spirit.

As it turns out, I wrote a blog entry a few days ago about obtaining the audio rights to books. I would be so grateful if you could share your insight about this process at this link:

Also, kudos on the excellent marketing with the "Not a Robot" button and web site! You have found a fabulous mechanism for branding yourself and making your work memorable.

BTW, I agree with your statement that our dreams are REAL THINGS. We can make our dreams come true by thinking and speaking in the most positive vein possible, making each decision on the basis of whether it propels or hampers our dreams.

Laini, I have enjoyed reading your blogs and send you best wishes for your continued success!

Karen Commins

Disco Mermaids said...

Scottish? Yes!!! That is going to sound so cool.

And it's true, hearing my book on audio, it was almost like listening to a story I'd never heard before. Sometimes being a writer is kinda freaky...

- Jay

Alex S said...

It appears that the publisher didn't bother to tell you that the decisons have actually already pretty much been made. Your input is just a fluff, a technical and silly formality but we will still listen to what you have to say. We just won't be taking it seriously. one ear, shooting right out the other. Anyway, sorry I totally forgot to tell you!!! Yes, I will be reading the parts of not only Magpie but I will be performing Blackbringer with a Bulgarian accent as well as Vesper with a French-Japanese accent and last, but certainly not least, I will be the voice of the wonderful, wonderful Batch (in an Antarctican accent obviously). We can listen to the rough first copy on Finger Sandwich Mini Cupcake Day!!!! yay!!!!

tiny noises said...

I can't wait to hear all the smathering in Scottish!

Congratulations to you and Magpie and Calypso and Talon and Batch and. . .you get the idea. You do have very cool things going on, and it's only the second week of january!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear your book! I heard from Carol that the Mt View trip was a huge sucess. See you in a couple of weeks.

Jamie said...

Fantastic! How exciting it will be to hear your words come to life in another new way! Very, very cool.

And yay you for sharing all your gifts with those students and letting them know it IS possible to make your dreams come true. I'm imagining one day in the very distant future, when you're sitting in a rocking chair, eating cupcakes and wearing fuzzy slippers, you'll open up piles of letters from the kids you've inspired and how you changed their lives. WTG, Laini!

Kim G. said...

What another fun piece in this journey that your book is taking! (And I can't wait to hear the Antarctic accent Alexandra is promising!) And thanks for the head's up on the Austen re-broadcast tonight - I missed it on Sunday!

Sustenance Scout said...

VERY cool on both fronts, Laini! I'm sure you're a natural with the high school kids; enjoy! K.

Sarah Beth Durst said...

Ooh, cool! Looking forward to listening to Blackbringer!

Hope all's well with you.

Vivian Mahoney said...

Wow! I bet the audio version of your book will be brilliant! In Scottish voice, no less. Congratulations!