Author: Sarah J. Sover
Narrator: Christopher J. Dusky
Length: 9 hours 10 minutes
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: May 26, 2020
Genre: Fantasy; HumorRent in New Metta is through the cavern ceiling. When Granu barely survives her first gig teaching students who attempt to fillet her for lunch, the baby-eating troll ends up unemployed and facing eviction. Granu’s only prospect for income is grueling work in the tar pits. That is, until her playboy best friend devises a perfect, if suicidal, scheme — a heist! The Covered Bridge, the largest source of income for the city, has New Metta well under hoof. In a week, TCB Corporation pulls in enough cash to buy a small country. It’s the ideal target, but security is top-notch. Granu needs three things to survive this heist: a crew of specialists, impenetrable sun protection, and gallons of grog. There’s just one thing Granu doesn’t plan for — those damn meddling billy goats.
Sarah J Sover’s debut novel, Double-Crossing the Bridge, released in 2019 by The Parliament House, became an Amazon Best Seller in humorous fantasy. Her short fiction was published in Jordan Con’s first exclusive anthology and has been accepted for the second, releasing in 2021. Sarah was featured in September 2019’s issue of Writer’s Digest in the “Breaking In” column and subsequently wrote a guest post about leaning into your weird side for WritersDigest.com. Additionally, Sarah’s background in ecology aided her in crafting multiple articles for Dan Koboldt’s Science in Science Fiction, Fact in Fantasy blog series. Sarah lives in John’s Creek, GA with her husband, two demanding little people, seemingly immortal snake, and rescue pup Gandalf the Grey. She enjoys blues dancing and a good IPA. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Sarah J. Sover. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
The Crew:Granu Scoria—Small and not classically attractive for a troll with bright green eyes and a slight frame. She graduated from Vinkle U with a degree in Early Trollhood Education at the top of her class. After an unfortunate incident when two young trolls attempted to fillet her for lunch, she became unemployed and is now facing eviction if she can’t come up some cash fast. Her love life is non-existent, in part because she never believes that anyone finds her attractive. Fillig Schist—A troll of average size and attractiveness with dark hair and eyes. All he wants is a nice mate to settle down with, which he would have no problem attracting if he weren’t so clingy. He holds a Masters of Destruction in Demolition from Vinkle U, where he met Granu, and works at the quarry hauling boulders. Kradduk Chert—A hulking hunk of a troll with a bankroll to match and Granu’s oldest friend. He’s a consummate playboy, but he has hidden depths. When he’s not pursuing new conquests, he works an executive level job at The Covered Bridge, the shining jewel of the cavern city of New Metta. Len Dirtwater—A small, unattractive troll who pines after Granu. He’s a tech whiz and considers himself a “nice guy” who always finishes last. He harbors feelings of superiority and ambitions beyond what life has dealt him. Lyssa Tuff—A smoking hot troll who is probably smarter than all the others combined if they could see beyond her boulder breasts and tree trunk thighs. She works at The Covered Bridge on the demo team and her looks and brains make her the perfect grifter to add to the ensemble cast.
The Goron’s Staff:Kell—A molent bartender whose small, pink body is covered in tattoos. He’s gentle and quiet but a badass when the situation arises. Dreatte—A grawback (upright, bird-like underling) cocktail server with a sharp tongue and a kind heart.
Sarah J. Sover’s Top 10 Classic Heist Flicks Referenced in Double-Crossing the BridgeOne of my favorite parts of writing Double-Crossing the Bridge was binging classic heist flicks with a good beer and my husband. For my own entertainment, I hid over 20 easter eggs throughout the book, but I lost my master list! I’ve only been able to rediscover 13 of them, and nobody ever took me up on a competition to find the others. Here are my favorites. 10) Ocean’s Eleven This fun gateway had to make the list considering the way it opens up so many conversations about my book. 9) The Bank Job It may not technically be a classic, but it’s based on a true story, and that makes it awesome. 8) The Usual Suspects So many questions, such great visual story-telling! This movie provided inspiration for the cover of Double-Crossing the Bridge. 7) The Asphalt Jungle Oh, the noir. It speaks to my heart. 6) The Hot Rock I must confess, I enjoyed the Westlake book more than the movie. But this story was integral to the development of the pacing for Double-Crossing the Bridge. 5) Reservoir Dogs Tarantino heist. I don’t need to say more. 4) Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels I’m a sucker for all things dark and funny, so of course this gem made the list. 3) The Sting This beauty helped cement the concept of the great caper for me. “I don’t know enough about killing to kill him.” Freaking fantastic. 2) Snatch Snatch was a family favorite long before our binge sessions and was part of what hooked me on the heist genre. My husband and I quote it all the time, and the kids have no idea what we’re talking about. 1) Hudson Hawk So many people missed the brilliance of this masterpiece. It’s everything I want in a heist flick: Action, Intrigue, and Hilarity. I’m dumbfounded at the low rating on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. What is wrong with you people?!
Q&A with Author Sarah J. Sover
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- I hit the narrator lottery! Double-Crossing the Bridge is published through The Parliament House, a small, indie press, so we went through ACX. At first, my publisher had it listed for a female narrator only, and that makes sense since my main troll Granu is female, but that didn’t fit with what I heard in my head for this book. My publisher is always supportive of authors’ visions, so when I asked them to open it up to both male and female voices, they agreed. The next morning, we had Christopher James’ audition, and it was PERFECT! I didn’t think this book could make me laugh again after the number of revisions I did, but I was in stitches! ACX took their sweet time at the QA stage, but CJ was awesome throughout the process, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.
- 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?
- So, this is a funny story. The audition was amazing, and I was beyond excited about the audiobook when the first section came in. My publisher sent it over to me, and there was that perfect voice again, only this time, the pronunciations were different. I didn’t want to reject the sample because everything else was so perfect, but the main character’s name and a couple others were not pronounced the way I’d intended. So, I stressed over making a pronunciation video. It was really awkward and took about 5,000 takes. My publisher sent it over to the narrator. As it turns out, there was a misplaced email from him in my publisher’s inbox asking about those specific words. Thankfully, CJ was really cool about re-recording, and we communicated directly after that point.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- I sometimes call Double-Crossing the Bridge a cross between How I Met Your Mother and Oceans Eleven with a cast of trolls. Fun fact: there are so many classic heist flick references in Double-Crossing the Bridge, even I can’t find them all! I misplaced the master list some time ago and have only discovered 13 of the over 20 I know are hidden in there. Aside from the artistic inspirations, I’ve got loads of social commentary layered into the Double-Crossing the Bridge world. It’s always interesting to me when readers identify with a character I wrote to be awful.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- I write in bursts of superhuman productivity sandwiched between dry spells. It’s that ADHD hyper-focus, I suppose. When I’m in the right headspace, all I want to do is get the story out, but I’ve got young children, so my writing is shoved into stolen little pockets of time. I frequently burn out, but then I reignite.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- Some of the graphic scenes are fantastic in audio format, in my opinion. There’s nothing that brings the visceral yuck more than hearing it described in intricate detail by a voice like CJ’s.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
- Nope. Too many paradoxes to avoid and unintended consequences with going backwards, and forwards has the possibility of tainting the now. I think I’ll just take on each new horror as it comes, thank you.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- I honestly can’t tell you. I’ve written three books so far, and they are all firsts in potential series. I write fantasy, and when you’ve built an entire world, there’s always more than one story lurking in it. I think it might be nice to do a one-and-done, but that’s just not my style. Even though none of the sequels are written yet, those stories are still bouncing around my already cluttered head.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Don’t listen to everyone’s shitty advice. Do whatever you have to do to get the words down with whatever strategies work for you, and tune out all the noise. A community is necessary at the publication stage, but when it comes to writing process, only you know how to get the best out of yourself.
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- Control what you can and then let the rest go. And definitely work with the narrator directly if you can, especially if you’re writing speculative fiction with unfamiliar pronunciations.
- What’s next for you?
- I’m currently querying my noir fantasy Fairy GodMurder, about a fairy godmother who goes rogue to hunt down the serial killer who slaughtered her first princess. I’m also working on the sequel, making appearances at conventions (COVID allowing), and working on a few side projects. If you follow @Comedic_SFF on Twitter, you’re supporting one of them!
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