This has been a year of firsts, and I’m excited to add first historical fiction audiobooks to that mix with The Winemakers from Ideal Audiobooks, read by award-winning narrator Erin Bennett and directed by Amy Rubinate, who founded Ideal Audiobooks in 2015 with the motto, “Stories with Heart.” It’s available on Amazon, Audible, and other retailers in November, with pre-orders open now.
A couple of days before recording began, I had brunch with Amy and Erin–both of whom have recorded hundreds of audiobooks and have huge fan followings. They were as thrilled to sit with me to understand nuances and name pronunciations as I was to hear their view on the books. I learned that it’s a rare opportunity for narrators and authors to meet and talk as we did.
We became fast friends, and I’m pleased to announce more collaborations ahead. With Amy directing and Erin narrating, I can’t imagine a better team for the audiobooks. Erin has a beautiful voice, and as soon as I heard her, I knew she was perfect to bring Caterina and Danielle and the entire cast of characters to life.
The Power of Synchronicity
As I mentioned, it has been a year of firsts, and among those, my first RT Convention in Las Vegas last April. It was a whirlwind, and I barely had time to pop into the last part of a session on audiobooks. I was intrigued with the possibility of creating more accessible forms of my books. And there was Amy Rubinate, speaking on the panel.
I closed my eyes and listened to the panelists, who were all narrators. Amy’s voice resonated with me, and when the session was over, I approached her and introduced myself. As soon as she heard my name, her eyes widened and she said, “I’ve been trying to get the rights to Scent of Triumph forever!” Actually, unable to get through the Macmillan maze, she’d given up.
Well, you could’ve knocked me over with an Apple earbud.
Amy had been looking for books with uplifting endings, and somehow she’d found Scent of Triumph. After we spoke, I promised to find a way to make the historical fiction audiobooks happen. So, seconds later, leaning against wall as hundreds of people filled the hallway, I called my agent, who immediately started the process.
However, it wasn’t quite as easy as that. Months later, after I placed many follow-up calls and emails to my agent and to coordinate the parties, Amy finally secured the rights to record Scent of Triumph and The Winemakers, both historical fiction audiobooks.
Had I not attended the RT Convention, had I not decided to cram into the standing-room-only session in the last few minutes, had I not decided to speak to Amy in particular, none of this would have happened. And what are the odds that the author of the book she’d been trying to wrangle the rights for would appear before her in Las Vegas?
This is why one of my favorite quotes is: “Chance favors the prepared mind” (Louis Pasteur). Or, you get lucky when you work hard enough…and dress up and show up.
Audiobooks & Accessibility
As many of you now, my mother contributed many of her memories of WWII to Scent of Triumph, and more of everyday life in the 1950s to The Winemakers. At the time, she’d been in an independent living facility, and later, in an assisted living facility. Among these residents, large print editions and audiobooks are very popular and important for accessibility. Years ago, I contributed my book, Fabulous Fragrances, for Braille transcription, so I was especially pleased when the large print editions of my books came out. (Hoping for Braille editions, too.) Audiobooks are even more exciting. In busy LA traffic, I find myself listening to more audiobooks and podcasts. Another girlfriend listens to audiobooks on her walks. In our busy lives, audio can fill dull gaps with good listening material.
As the season of Thanksgiving approaches, I’m thankful that The Winemakers and Scent of Triumph will soon be accessible to new audiences, and I’m thankful to have made new friends in Amy and Erin.
Available on Amazon, Audible, and other retailers.