You may recall that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to explore audiobooks. I have sung their praises on this blog before, and I’m sure I’ll do so again—I’m a big fan. I have a lengthy commute to and from my day job, and I have found that this time on the road is ideal for reading. Well, I have an exciting announcement to make. The first three books in the Jessie Black legal thriller series, Burnout, Informant, and Deadly Evidence, are being produced as audiobooks by Tantor Media. Burnout should be released very soon, with the other books to follow.
Equally exciting for me is that Tantor was able to get my first-choice narrator for this project. In early 2016, I listened to The Ex, a legal thriller by Alafair Burke. (Highly recommended, by the way.) The narrator of The Ex so impressed me that before I was even a few chapters into the book, I went to the web to find out who she was. Her voice, I thought, would be perfect for Jessie Black.
I found out her name was Xe Sands. I did a little research to see what other books she’d narrated. The results were both impressive and disheartening. Impressive, because I learned she was a multi-award-winning narrator, one who had narrated books for numerous best-selling authors. Disheartening, because I thought it unlikely she’d work with a relatively small-time writer like me. But I’m an optimist by nature, so I wrote her name down in my journal for future reference.
Fast-forward to January, 2017. I received an email from an acquisitions editor at Tantor Media, an audiobook publisher. I was familiar with the name Tantor, both from contacts in the writing industry and from my own audiobook library, so I knew they were legit.
When I ‘d originally made a goal for myself to get some of my books into audio this year, I had been intending to use Amazon’s ACX platform, which provides a mechanism for writers and narrators to work together without a publisher. However, I had read about how much work was involved in the process, and although it sounded fun, I was concerned about overextending myself when I was already late on delivering the fourth Jessie Black book, Fatal Defense. So the offer was attractive. After some back and forth with Tantor, we reached a deal.
The casting coordinator from Tantor asked me if I preferred a male or female narrator for Burnout. I thought of Xe Sands again, and decided to ask for her specifically. (Optimist by nature, remember.) Imagine my excitement when the response came back that Tantor, acting on my request, had engaged Xe to narrate all three books.
In the coming weeks, I will post an interview with Xe, to better introduce her and let her speak for herself, but right now, let me just say how honored and thankful I am to know the audiobook versions of the first three Jessie Black books are in the capable hands of Tantor and Xe Sands. I could not ask for a more professional team.
Watch this blog for more news coming soon!