Audio Spotlight: Little Men Big Treasures + Interviews

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Title: Little Men Big Treasures

Author: J. Edwards Holt

Narrator: Simon Maeder

Length: 3 hours 43 minutes

Series: Little Men, Big Treasures, Book 1

Publisher: J. Edwards Holt

Released: July 16, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

O’balin, son of Blorn, is an eager young dwarf and a native to the mysterious Mountain Realm. Having been a treasure hunter for most of his life, O’balin is overjoyed when he hears that the king of the Mountain Realm is offering a vast reward to the one who finds The Lost Treasure of Undur, a long-lost treasure that has been missing for generations.

Despite warnings from his neurotic brother and others around his home, O’balin is unable to pass up such a grand opportunity and thus gathers a handful of his family and friends to accompany him on the journey of a lifetime. Along the way O’balin and his comrades experience grand adventures, incredible battles, fun and laughs, sacrifice, and even loss in the first to come in a series of epic tales by Author J. Edwards Holt.

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Born in North Carolina, United States, J. Edwards Holt always knew that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating high school, he attended college and pursued a degree in education, but later decided to change course and follow his dream to become a novelist and children’s author.

Now a full-time writer, editor, and blogger, Holt spends his free time dreaming up stories and reading. He is passionate about spreading Christian messages through his writing, watching science fiction and super hero movies, and collecting comic books.

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Q&A with Author J. Edwards Holt
  1. Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    1. It was an interesting process, for sure. “Little Men, Big Treasures” was the first book I ever published but it actually ended up being the third to make it to audio. When I first found out about Audible, I had no idea it was even possible to get my books on there. I did a lot of research and spoke to some fellow authors and they told me how to get my books on audio. And I’m glad I did! I’m proud for everyone to hear these books and there’s really nothing like hearing your own story read by a professional narrator!
  2. Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    1. I think it all depends on what you like listening to. If you like mystery, then you’ll enjoy a mystery audiobook. Or if you like documentaries, you’ll enjoy that kind. It all depends on the reader and of course, the narrator.
  3. How did you select your narrator?
    1. For each of these books, I had a number of narrators audition. There was something about the narrators I chose that really stood out. All three did a great job of reading and bringing the characters to life.
  4. How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    1. I definitely gave them some help with pronunciations. Most of the names I just told them to pronounce how ever they like (since that’s what the readers do) but some I have them ideas for, and they were very cooperative.
  5. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    1. Certainly. I listened to my first audiobook back when they started becoming available on iTunes. My favorite thing about them is that you can just sit back and let your imagination take the wheel.
  6. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    1. I don’t completely agree with that. I mean there’s no denying how good reading is for you, but sometimes we’re in situations where we can’t read a book or we just want to listen. So, I believe that the audiobook is a great addition to the reading experience, rather than a total replacement.
  7. How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    1. I really didn’t! I actually dived right into the second one and was busy with promotion so I didn’t have much time to celebrate.
  8. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    1. So far I have written one trilogy and am working on book two of another. I enjoy writing a series but after this next trilogy I plan on mostly doing stand-alone books for a while.
  9. Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    1. Yeah they have, actually. In fact, some of the ideas for these very stories came to me in dreams.
  10. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    1. Go ahead and write the book! Don’t wait around, just do it. Even if you don’t think you’re ready, go ahead and start.
  11. What’s next for you?
    1. I’m currently working on my second trilogy. It’s called “Barrenworld” and its a sequel to the “Little Men” series.

Simon Maeder is a UK based voice actor with a professional grade home recording set up. He also has links to London studios if you prefer. He produces his own young adult fantasy podcast called ‘Benlunar’ which he writes and records on his home set up. He has a warm and enthusiastic voice and enjoys bringing life to characters with a variety of tones and accents.

Q&A with Narrator Simon Maeder
  1. When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    1. I started doing audiobooks at the end of 2019. It started out as a bit of an experiment, I wasn’t earning much from it but I had this mic and I was starting a podcast and a friend told me what he did to earn some money narrating books. I realised I had all the skills and equipment already so why not give it a try? I’ve mainly done stage work for the past 10 years, so when the pandemic hit I had to find new ways of making money, so I gave audiobooks another try and it went well!
  1. How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    1. I grew listening to audiobooks so I always loved the medium. I just had no idea there was such a demand and that I could do it from my own home. To me, audiobook world was one where you’re already an established actor in TV or film, I didn’t have that, but people always told me I had a nice voice so I started moving more towards audio in my work.
  1. Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    1. I learned as much as I could from Youtube and friends who already did it. I have a close friend who makes music for audiobooks sometimes so he helped me a lot on the tech side of things. I made a few mistakes when I first started but I learned quickly!
  1. A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    1. I think that’s because we all start our acting lives doing theatre! That’s certainly how I got into performing: school plays. Narrating an audiobook is definitely a performance so it’s useful to have that background in stage work. Theatre forces you to interrogate text and bring characters to life, it’s no different in the audiobook world, only you’re the one doing all the characters…
  1. What type of training have you undergone?
    1. I have a BA in English literature from the University of York and an MA in performance from the Jacques Lecoqy School of Movement and Theatre in Paris.
  2. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    1. I space out readings. When I first started I didn’t know exactly how long I could read for at one time. I would read for a couple of hours every and getting very frustrated that I was making so many mistakes! So I started limiting my time and spacing out readings. The work is better and I produce more than when I was trying to get it all done as quickly as possible.
  1. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    1. Oh yes! I love two things: books and performance. When you find a book where the writing is great and the performer suits the world perfectly then you get a unique audience experience. It’s very immersive!
  1. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    1. My favourite part is finding the voices. I’ve always done accents and voices and so trying to bring a character to life my find their perfect tone and accent is something I really enjoy. My least favourite part is probably editing…
  1. What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    1. I think I’ve got good pacing and I like my voices. I don’t have the deepest or most recognisable voice but I think my strength is in my interpretation and voices.
  1. Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
    1. There are certainly genres I haven’t done yet… I’ve never done a sort of steamy, romantic book and they are popular books to listen to so there are a lot on the job market. I’ve auditioned for them but they mainly use female voices so I think I’m unsuited! I don’t think I’ve ever declined a project… I have stopped an audition halfway through and thought: I fundamentally disagree with these ideas so I’m not going to want to read the whole thing. I won’t sell it.
  1. What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    1. I always look out for fantasy books, I love the genre, I write fantasy and I have a good voice for it. So when I saw the cover art and read the subject matter I was already like: I’m in!

 

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