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If you’ve read any of my books, you know how much of a role color symbolism plays in them. Blue for peace, green for life, red for danger and fear–and that’s just scratching the surface!
Spring is in full swing here in Northern Virginia, and everything has turned so green and fresh and new–I absolutely love this time of year!
I’ve been spending most days editing and taking walks in the forest near my house, so I thought I’d just send a quick update this start-of-month (a little late) to let you know what I’m up to.
My most exciting news is that I’ve finished the first draft of Elliot, which I’m now officially naming Dream Scout! The editing has begun, and a cover reveal and preorder announcement is coming soon! If you want to get into the world easily, check out Songspinner. The plots of these two books take place in tandem.
Red Everywhere An interview with Audiobook Narrator Andy Cresswell
Q. How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
Andy: I was a Computer Programmer for the first 10 years of my working life. I retrained as an Actor at the Birmingham School of Speech & Drama in Birmingham, UK.
I then spent the next 10 years or so working predominantly in Theatre, touring the UK and Europe in various plays and musicals including one fateful production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in which I met my now wife, Penny Scott-Andrews. We married in 2010 but it wasn’t until the first of our two children arrived in 2012 that we both realised that the touring theatrical life – living out of suitcases and travelling the length and breadth of the country – was not conducive to a lack of sleep!!
We still wanted to perform and tell stories but wanted to do so in a more stable, home environment. I started looking into audio narrating, which Penny and I both had a brief experience of during our studies and working lives.
I also had an interest in the practical, recording side of it and was lucky enough to have a few contacts who could advise me. So, we started narrating stories in a tiny cupboard in our bedroom and loved the whole process of bringing stories to life.
Nearly 10 years on, we are lucky enough to be recording full-time and have a dedicated professional studio which is in constant use. I sometimes forget how far I’ve progressed and how lucky I am to be able to narrate such wonderful stories for a living.
Q. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
Andy: I think getting out every day to do some form of exercise is so important. Particularly if you’re recording for 8 hours a day. We live in a beautiful part of the country with both the sea and woodland on our doorstep so I am often to be found traipsing around one or the other to prepare myself for another chapter.
I have also found a new love – gardening! I wouldn’t say I have green fingers… yet, but I’m getting there and hope that this years’ vegetable plot will be a little more ‘fruitful’ than the last!
Q. What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
Andy: I’ve always been a sucker for swords and magic basically! It was actually through helping Penny with the editing on the first book in the series: “Call of Kythshire”.
I was really carried along through the arc of the story. The characters were so well-written and believable and nuanced – something that is occasionally missing in this genre. When it was mooted that I might narrate Tib in the next part(s) of the series, I jumped at the opportunity.
Q. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
Andy: I think that a good story is a good story! Whatever the method of delivering it, human beings have always enjoyed stories and storytellers.
Some people struggle to find the time to read a book but would be able to listen while they are doing something else such as exercising or gardening. It doesn’t really matter how the story is delivered – what matters is the story!
Q. What’s next for you?
Andy: I have a part in an audio drama coming up soon so I shall be working on that and brushing up on my Welsh accent!
Q. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Andy: I do enjoy an audiobook from time to time. If I’m out running it helps to take my mind off the fact that my legs are burning and the fact it’s broken into chapters is useful too – I can usually time it to fit one or two chapters in. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks in the car – my guilty pleasure being Winnie the Pooh!
Q. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
Andy: My least favourite bit is narrating the first Chapter! I find it takes takes me a while to get my brain in tune with the authors. It’s much easier when the writing is good quality but it still takes a while to ‘get into the groove’.
My favourite parts of narrating have to be action sequences – I love narrating big dynamic scenes. I find I can get quite lost in them and can allow myself to enjoy the storytelling!
Q. What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
Action – all the big, juicy, dynamic scenes. Especially if they involve magic… and swords!!
Q. How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
Andy: It’s always really useful to get feedback from an author and so the better communication you have with them, the better the end result. If I am secure in the knowledge that they are comfortable enough with me to say that they do or don’t like the way a particular character is heading, for example, it makes me more confident in my narration.
That said, I have also found that some authors want to leave it entirely up to the narrator to read it as they see fit. So I suppose it depends on how the author wants to play it.
Title Update: Mya
Mya has a new name! In order to appeal to a wider audience who may be unfamiliar with the characters of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, I decided to rename the title of this prequel, “Mya” to “Songspinner” The book has also recently been polished and updated to correct a handful of errors overlooked in previous versions.
When a young minstrel discovers her power within, she must make the impossible choice between kinship and destiny.
Mya Songspinner used to be certain Pa loves her, but now, she’s not so sure. When he leaves her to work at a miller’s, his promised month’s absence drags into several weeks. She wonders if he’s ever coming back, until his new companion arrives to lure her aboard a pirate ship with shady promises. Mya tries to keep her guard up and her voice down, but an attack by evil sorcerers forces her to step out of the shadows…
Saving them all with the magic of her voice, the would-be minstrel is upset when her vagabond father fails to meet her once ashore. Stirring suspicions she might be part siren, and forced into a singing contest with the prize a fortune richer than she can fathom, Mya begins to fear someone close to her might have sinister plans for her extraordinary power.
Will she make an impossible choice between kinship and destiny, and finally find a place to call home?
Songspinner, formerly titled “Mya”, is the thrilling stand-alone first book in the “His Majesty’s Elite” young adult fantasy series. If you like immersive worlds, vibrant characters, and coming-of-age fantasy adventures, then you’ll love Missy Sheldrake’s captivating tale.
Join my Street Team!
So much exciting news is coming up, and I really need your help! I’d love for you to join me on my street team to spread the word about upcoming releases!
Being on the street team means you get exclusive preview copies of upcoming releases in exchange for promoting and reviewing titles (audiobook and/or text) on your social media as they’re released.
You’ll also be looped in to my secret Street Team communications list to get the inside scoop. I hope you’ll join me!
Recording for Call of Brindelier, book three of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, is well underway, with about 50% of chapters recorded! Fingers are crossed for a release in July or August! I’ll keep you posted.
In April I read the Cursebreaker Series which I highly recommend. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling that blooms a life of its own. My favorite aspect was the main protagonist, a fiercely determined young woman from Washington D.C. who has cerebral palsy.
By far, A Curse so Dark and Lonely was my favorite read of the month. To check out what I’m reading now and for more detailed reviews, check me out on Goodreads.
That’s all for now. If you’ve read this far, thank you!! You deserve a cookie!
Here’s a picture of my Cali instead. Isn’t she the cutest? ❤