This just in from the good news bureau. Yesterday, I learned that my wonderful audiobook narrator, Nicola Fordwood, has been nominated for a Voice Arts award for her performance of my debut YA novel, Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze. Bringing the audiobook to life was a true labor of love. Since my publisher doesn’t do much audio just yet, I knew that if I wanted an audiobook of my novel, I would need to do most of the up-front work. That meant finding a narrator, creating a schedule, fronting all the advance costs, and seeing the process through to the finish without any prior experience. But I couldn’t do it alone, of course. Someone had to read the damn thing.
Luckily, I found a home run collaborator in Nicola Fordwood, a Bay Area based voice actor who, lucky for me, fell in love with Rainey Cobb and Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze. I knew going in that Nicola was a pro and that, once contracts were signed, would do a great job, submit her work on time, and all the rest. What I didn’t expect was the level of passion and dedication she would bring to the role, which went way beyond the paycheck. In her performance of Rainey Cobb, and all the book’s characters, Nicola went deep, getting to know the characters inside and out and putting every ounce of her talent into bringing them to life so that the listener could truly disappear into the world of the story. Audiobook narration is difficult, painstaking work that takes a powerful brew of artistry and stamina to pull off, and as I listened back to the final recording, I found myself so immersed that I almost forgot I was listening to a book that I wrote. I’m gushing, but Nicola is that good. And I’m so proud of her for this well-deserved nomination. The winners are announced in December, so keep your fingers crossed.