Authors: Aria Cole and Mila Crawford
Narrators: Rachel Woods and Luke Parker
Length: 1 hours and 58 minutes
Series: Worth the Fight, Book 3
Released: Apr. 21, 2020
Publisher: Aria Cole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Now a Top 100 Best Seller on Amazon! Being infatuated with my childhood best friend was a beautiful curse. Our lives were an uphill struggle against every odd, but as long as we had each other…we had everything. Then it was all gone. Now I’ve built my life to perfection yet still yearning for that boy I used to know. Then one night, through a chance encounter, I see him. Riot James. He’s an MMA fighter with a beastly body, roped and corded with muscle and gleaming with sweat. His nose, reminiscent of a Roman gladiator, was bent a little like it’s been broken. A few times. It rattles me the way his intensely dark gaze lingers with mine. He’s familiar, determined, damaged, and there’s no escaping him. But with Riot, nothing is what it seems, and in the span of a single heartbeat, my perfect life is turned inside out. Again.
Aria Cole is the pen name of an Amazon Top 20 and USA Today bestselling author who published her first book in 2012 and began writing contemporary romance long before that. Her books always feature possessive alpha men and the sassy, curvy, nerdy heroines who love them, along with a healthy dose of irresistible insta-love and happily-ever-afters sweet enough to make your teeth ache. Follow Aria on Amazon for new release updates, or stalk her on social to see which daring book boyfriend she’s writing next!
Mila Crawford loves romance, especially dirty short stories that are safe and have a happy ending. So she decided to start writing her own. What can you expect form her books? No cheating, no OW/OM drama, always celibate or virgin characters, and of course a HEA … An all around SAFE book! I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Aria Cole & Mila Crawford. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrators Rachel Woods and Luke Parker
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- Luke: When my son was a brand new infant, his mom and I would find free audiobooks from Librivox.org to play for him to lull him to sleep. Listening to some of the books there that are, to put as diplomatically as I can, not of marketable quality, I wondered how I would fare doing the same thing. Librivox is a site where volunteers read public domain works and is a very accessible, free and friendly way to get schooled in the basics of producing audio for audiobooks. I already was working as a media producer, putting together ads for radio and TV, and that meant I had access to equipment, a studio, and experience in the technical side of things. When I found that some of the more skilled readers on Librivox were getting projects published on Audible through ACX, I started auditioning and picking up paid projects there, and now I have a fun side career producing audiobooks to supplement my ad work.
- Rachel: I’ve always loved to read aloud and thought a “books on tape” job would be amazing. (I might be showing my age a bit here…!) I have a theatre degree and had planned on heading out to one of the coasts to pursue professional stage and/or screen work, but life doesn’t always go according to plan, does it? ☺ Honestly, I’m grateful that I didn’t ultimately choose that path and found my way into audio instead. I didn’t seriously start looking into it until 2012 when I discovered ACX as an offshoot to my volunteer work at Librivox.
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
- Rachel: A close working relationship with my authors is absolutely essential. Communication and honesty is the most important thing to me. In fact, I oftentimes become friends with my authors and the repeat work just kind of flows in. Fostering that relationship and being able to provide my best performance while working hand in hand is incredibly special to me. I may be bringing it to life, but they created it first. It’s a huge privilege to breathe life into someone else’s characters.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- Luke: My favorite part of narrating audiobooks is creating a diverse cast of characters and getting attached to them as they go through their stories.
- My least favorite part is becoming hyper-aware of every little noise around my booth, every noisy engine that passes on the road, every heavy step or outside conversation that bleeds through the walls, followed closely by the millions of breaths and little mouth noises that need to be edited out when creating clean audio.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- Luke: It undoubtedly helps! There’s a reason the trend in audiobooks is going towards well-known actors doing the reading and not an artificial text-to-speech program, and that is that narration is acting! Theatre trains you to look at stories and events through perspectives outside of your own. You learn how to play a character as they are interpreting the events unfolding in front of them and imagine what they do as someone who comes out what they have experienced. The way you yourself would behave in regards to events in a story probably differ from any given character’s, and through Theatre you gain the experience of living in another space as someone else, and behaving as they would. A good narrator knows how to deliver the words of a story and the dialogue between characters in a way that conveys the emotions and motivations behind the words naturally, just as a good author knows how to choose and formulate the words on the page towards the same emotional and tonal effect. I would advise anyone who wants to do narration, voice acting, or even announcing to take acting and theatre classes, or even better: get involved in your local community theatre program. It trains your voice, your presence and your emotional insight, and it has the added bonus of getting you around people after being isolated in your booth all day!
- Rachel: Speaking as someone who has a theatre degree, I think it’s definitely an advantage. It can be easier to place yourself in another’s shoes and really get yourself to the place of feeling what they feel, thinking how they think and all that comes across in your performance. I do think it’s less “essential” in nonfiction work as one generally does not do character voices for those particular pieces, but any training you have to connect to the words being spoken is beneficial.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- Rachel: I’m a bit of a workaholic so burn-out is always a challenge personally. Aside from attempting to force my type A personality to take a day off, I do work with another organization producing dramatic works as full cast recordings and that’s always a wonderful break from long form narration. It seems to boost up the thrusters on the narration rocket and gives me enough of a breather that I can dive back into the work.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Luke: I am an audiobook and podcast listener. Podcasts when I feel lonely and miss conversation, and audiobooks when I need an escape. What I enjoy about audiobooks is that it gives my mind something to be occupied by when doing tedious things like dishes, laundry, cooking, working out or commuting. Also, I have never been able to just sit and read quietly without falling asleep after like ten minutes! (I don’t know how I got through college!) Reading aloud, being my own audiobook, has always been my means of staying engaged in a book.
- Rachel: My favorite audiobooks are full cast recordings. The Online Stage does beautiful work of public domain classics and some living author works as well and all as full cast recordings. In the romance genre, however, hands down duet is my favorite format. It brings consistent characterizations and less awkward love scenes.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Luke: I wish I had the same kind of time to just sit there as you do. 😉
- Rachel: I think a book is a book. Our society is so hustle and bustle and go-go-go that any opportunity someone has to get lost inside a story is a wonderful one.
- If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
- Luke: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; it’s highly imaginative and has a great range of characters in its cast.
- Rachel: The book that stands out the most to me would be Beyond the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy. I read that ghost story countless times growing up (and usually providing the voices for all the characters each time!).
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- Stay hydrated
- Find what your unique voice is best suited for and provides the most success and pursue that with most of your attention, but leave a little room for branching out
- If you have small children, be prepared for a CHALLENGE
- Become a mimic when you hear a unique voice and practice building a character based on that voice. You never know when it could come in handy. Just don’t let the source person hear you, they’ll think you’re mocking them.
- Rachel: It is not a get rich quick kind of job. It requires hustle and dedication and putting yourself out there. If you have a family, prepare them for the patience required. If you have a young child, it’s incredibly challenging but not impossible. Everyone is not going to like you or your narration style. You cannot please everybody. If you are happy with it and the author is happy with it, be proud. Be prepared to put in the hours, choose stories that you enjoy, keep the lines of communication open and honest with your authors and don’t give up. You won’t book every project and that’s okay. There will always be another one.
- What’s next for you?
- Luke: Rachel and I are getting set to record “Pile Driver”, also written by Aria and Mila, as well as a couple other steamy and downright naughty titles down the road, so be sure to check those out as well!
- Rachel: Luke Parker and I are working on Pile Driver and Taming the Mountain Man, both by Aria Cole & Mila Crawford. We also just started work on Book 3 in the Rosewood High series for Tracy Lorraine. I am also finishing up the Hot Daddy series for Angel Devlin and Tracy Lorraine before diving into more projects with other authors. See? Workaholic. ☺
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.