As a back-to-school treat, I’m giving away THREE signed copies of Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze. Just a fun way to help you celebrate a book loving TEEN, TEACHER, LIBRARIAN, or FRIEND in your life. I’ll inscribe it however you want and send it off to them. Everybody loves getting books as presents, and now you don’t have to do the hard work!
There are two easy ways to enter:
Enter right here by sharing your favorite book read from this summer in the comments below. A comment = an entry. Easy.
Go to the giveaway post on my Instagram page, and follow the instructions.
The giveaway ends Sept. 7th at midnight so enter now. Winners will be chosen at random. If you win, I’ll reach out directly with details.
This is going to be awesome. Ready…go!
**Must be willing to share your address with me **U.S. residentws only
First off, have you gotten your copy of Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze yet? Click HERE to order the paperback, e-book, or audiobook! Also remember to add it on Goodreads HERE.
Now…on with the program!
Collaborating with voice actor Nicola Fordwood to bring the audiobook for Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze to life was one of the most joyful and surprising parts of the publishing process. I sat down with Nicola to talk about her journey into voice acting, what it’s really like to record an audiobook, and whether she would consider taking the plunge again.
How did you become a voice actor?
It was actually a friend who introduced me to the VO world. I was working a corporate job and kind of losing my mind because I wasn’t being creative. My friend thought doing voice acting would allow me to act again and release some of that creativity. I took one character class and I was hooked!
This was your first audiobook. What made you decide to take the plunge?
First, audiobooks have always scared me a bit because they are a big commitment. You also need to have great stamina to keep your energy up throughout the book. But when you step outside of your comfort zone and try the things that scare you or intimidate you, that is when the magic happens. Second, I got a small sample of the book to audition and when I read it, I could just feel it. I could feel Rainey. I know it sounds insanely cheesy. But I wanted to tell her story. I wanted to know more about her journey. I also LOVE the 90’s, thoroughly enjoy young adult/coming of age books and feel very strongly about the power of a mixtape.
How do you stay focused while recording for long periods?
I am an introvert. I love silencing the outside world and just concentrating on one thing. I think both of these things really help me with being in a small dark booth for hours by myself everyday. Once I am focused on something that I really enjoy, I get hyper-focused. I would do most of my recording in the morning to early afternoon and then I couldn’t stop thinking about anything but the book and the characters. I would fall asleep just wanting to wake up and continue working on it. It was kind of exhilarating.
How did you approach creating the voices for the characters in Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze?
Acting, even voice acting, is a very physical thing. So for me it was first talking with you (Benjamin) about the characters and then actually standing and playing with the voices. I stood how I thought the characters would stand. Do they lean back on one hip when they talk? Do they hunch over? Do they fidget with their hands? I would then write down any of those notes of how I was standing or the placement of my mouth or hands to help me get back into that character.
What surprised you the most about this process, both good and bad?
How emotional it was. How attached I got to Rainey and also how much I enjoyed it. I recorded this book every day over the course of 2.5 weeks and on the final day when I finished the last chapter, I cried. Not a sad cry, but almost that overwhelming, surprised cry when you finally complete something that has been your focus for so long.
How was voicing an audiobook different from other kinds of voice work?
Voicing an audiobook was like performing a play just instead of one role. I got to play all the parts/characters, including the director. It was the closest I have been to being in a play in a long time and it reminded me of why I love acting/performing. I love bringing a character’s soul to life and sharing that with an audience and hopefully making them feel something.
How did it affect your process to have access to me (Benjamin) to talk through things?
It was amazing! I have never had that opportunity before where I can ask the author about each of the characters: what are their dreams, what are their biggest fears, etc. For most character work I have to make a lot of it up if it isn’t obvious in the script, but instead I got to go to the source. It was so nice.
How did you consider the audience/listener while you were recording?
Audiobooks are so intimate. Most of the time you are literally sitting directly in someone’s ear telling the story. So as a narrator, you have to keep that in mind. That being said, I found this book to be very intimate. It is told in the first person through Rainey, so the listener is hearing her innermost personal thoughts. The listener is basically her daily diary entry. There is an emotional rawness to that and especially to Rainey herself that I really wanted the listener to hear and I hope comes through with my delivery.
Rumor has it that a sequel to Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze may be in the works. Would you consider voicing Rainey again?
My heart just jumped a bit when I thought about getting to see Rainey again and continuing on her journey with her. This book is one of those books that has just stuck with me. I still think about it a lot. About a lot of the characters, but especially Rainey. Yes, absolutely. I really would be honored to.
Click HERE to learn more about Nicola’s voice acting and hear samples of her work.
Click HERE to listen to Track 1 of Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze for FREE!
I love audiobooks. The immersive experience they provide, especially when in the company of a good narrator, creates a literary journey that’s second to none. I struggled for years to get through Moby Dick, that is, until I started listening to the audiobook narrated by the peerless Frank Muller, whose raspy voice sends the sea spray right into your eyes and makes the quarter deck slick with whale blubber. That’s what a good audiobook can do.
So, from the moment my debut novel was accepted for publication, even though my publisher doesn’t yet do much audio, I knew that an audiobook version of Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze was a must, even if much of the legwork fell on me.
The process wasn’t easy, but once I found my dream narrator in the amazing Nicola Fordwood, whose work ethic and friendship inspired and humbled me, I knew that we had a chance to create something special. A uniquely immersive way to experience the world of Rainey Cobb and her journey through being fifteen. Listening to the final audio files…well, let’s just say tears were shed. That’s how good Nicola is at making the words sing, at making you feel these characters all the way down to your tippy toes. It was almost like experiencing my book for the first time, or as if it had been written by someone else.
All this as a very long way of saying I’m beyond thrilled that the audiobook is now available and ready for your ears.
I’m so excited, in fact, that I want you to hear the first chapter right now. Click HERE to listen to Track 1 for FREE! Try not to get hooked.
Then, once you are hooked, click HERE to listen on Audible or purchase your copy today!
As always, thank you for being here and supporting me and my work.
Dear readers, this one is for you. My debut novel, Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze, is out now in paperback, e-book, and audiobook. To illustrate my excitement, I’m sharing this cheesy, somewhat embarrassing picture of me holding my book for the first time.
Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze is about a girl named Rainey who’s like a lot of us, just trying to find her way through the chaos. Trying to figure out who she is. Where she fits. And why it’s sometimes so hard to know.
I can’t wait for you to meet her.
Thank you so much for being here and supporting what I do. As an independent artist on a small press, making meaningful connections matters so much. Word of mouth is my greatest asset in helping my work be seen, shared, and reviewed. So thank you, thank you for all the love. I’m so grateful.