A Conversation between Grace Callaway, #1 National Bestselling Regency Author of “Her Husband’s Harlot” and audiobook narrator Erin Mallon

her husband's harlot

Erin: What was the experience of listening to the Her Husband’s Harlot audio for the first time? This is your first title to be released as an audiobook, right?

Grace: I got tingles all over! It is a very special experience to hear one’s work performed … to literally have life breathed into the words. I have to confess that not only was this my first title to be released in audio format, but also the first audio book I’ve listened to. Given that Her Husband’s Harlot is an erotic Regency romance, I wasn’t sure how the work would come across read aloud. But after I got over blushing at the steamy scenes (gee, did I really write that?), I was truly impressed at how your performance evoked a spectrum of emotional responses, from titillating to humorous to heart-warming.

To return the question, when you first read the book, which scene came alive for you the most? Which one did you think would be the most challenging to perform? And which came to you most readily?

Erin:  The opening scene hooked me in immediately! I love when writers trust themselves and their readers enough to forgo a lot of exposition upfront and instead dive right into juicy conflict, so I was excited to find that on the first page we were already wandering the halls of a brothel with Helena in hot pursuit of her husband.  That opening chapter has so many rich layers for a narrator to explore.  I mean, a disguised woman trapped in a dark closet with her new husband who doesn’t recognize her while they watch a bawdy threesome who don’t realize they’re being watched?  Does it get any more fun than that?

There are several times in HHH when a character chooses to disguise his/her voice.  This was definitely a challenge! I wanted to honor these moments of the story while staying certain that the listener was always hip to the charade (and clear on who was speaking).  This meant keeping the core components of the voices consistent in those situations and yet altering them just enough to convincingly dupe the other characters in the scene.  The moments where Nicholas’s anger and shame cause him to slip into his native accent created similar challenges.

Chris and Rob, the amazing guys who run Brick Shop Audiobooks have the sharpest ears around, so they kept me on track and let me know if I’d missed the mark and needed a do-over.

As for which scenes came easiest, I have to say any and all between Marianne and Helena.  Marianne was such a treat to play!  I found her character to be equal parts love and disdain, and the opposite of Helena in so many ways, that switching between the two roles became a fun little roller coaster ride for me.

Did the characters sound the way you “heard” them in your head while writing them? Were there any surprises?

Grace: I was amazed at how you got the nuances of all the characters. The heroine and hero were exactly how I heard them in my head. No real surprises … which I think was a good thing!

Given that there are quite a few characters in the story, I was also impressed by how unique they all sounded . What was your process for figuring out how you would perform a character?

Erin MallonErin: I find constraints can be a great boost to creativity.  Knowing I only have my voice to work with teaches me to be very specific and intentional with the choices I make.  Though, even without the physicality I rely on in stage work, there are many avenues to explore in creating character in audio books.  There’s pitch, gender, rhythm, dialect, and most importantly the abundance of clues great writers such as yourself give to us narrators.

For central characters like Helena and Nicholas I wanted to create voices that sat easily in my vocal range but even more importantly, voices that were easy on the listeners’ ears.  After all, they’ll be listening to them for a solid 12 hours and 14 minutes!  Once I had the main characters established, I had a great deal of fun figuring out the supporting cast, though the choices were always sparked by the writing itself.  For example, when I was investigating Paul Fines I picked up on a haughty yet lovable air he seems to carry with every word he says, so I felt I could take his voice to more dramatic places and still keep him grounded.

There’s a lot of freedom and fun in the confines of that tiny booth!

You mentioned that the HHH audiobook somehow helped you in writing your next book (this made me very happy to hear). Can you explain what you meant by that?

Grace: I was working through a scene in Her Wanton Wager (the next installment of the Mayfair in Mayhem series) and felt that something in the heroine Percy’s reaction did not ring true. I happened to be reviewing the audio of Her Husband’s Harlot at the same time, and hearing your performance of Percy (a secondary character in that novel) brought home to me one of the traits that I love best about her: her playfulness and the way she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Hearing Percy’s “voice” inspired me to take the scene in a different direction—one that ultimately proved so much fun to write and was authentic to her personality. So thank you!

And from the point of view of a narrator, what draws you to a script? What aspect of a written piece inspires your best performance?

Erin: I think what draws me to want to hang out with friends is the same thing that draws me to want to narrate a book.  Do I want to spend time with these people?  Do I enjoy their company?  Do I want to learn more about them?  For me, falling in love with the characters is a prerequisite to doing great work.  We narrators spend hours (sometimes days) alone in a dark little room, and thanks to the company of your fascinating characters, my days spent working on Her Husband’s Harlot were happy days indeed!

009_rtGrace’s Bio: Grace Callaway writes steamy historical romances set in the Regency and Victorian eras. Her debut manuscript, Her Husband’s Harlot, was a 2010 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Finalist and a #1 National Regency Bestseller.

Outside of writing, she holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan and practices clinical psychology in a medical setting. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and has a passion for hiking, cooking, and all things BBC.

Buy: Her Husband’s Harlot (Mayhem in Mayfair #1) [ebook], [audiobook]

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of Grace’s e-book is up for grabs! Open to all. Enter by leaving a comment – why do you love audiobooks? Last day to enter is Dec 23rd, 2012.

Review: The Dark Desires of the Druids 1: Murder and Magick by Isabel Roman

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Mmm-mmm delicious. I love the plot to this novel, which looks like it will drive the second in the series. I also love the romantic conflict- it’s simply too yummy. Roman certainly has a way with storytelling, twisting and weaving different threads into one cohesive whole. I listened to the audio version of this book and was tempted more than once to click double speed just so I could devour this novel faster. Of course, I didn’t, that would take out half of the fun. Medea Carter Beckett is truly the best narrator Ravenous could have found for the job.

Magickers are being hunted. In the age of the English witch hunts, known as the Great Purification, one man rises above the rest to the head of the assault. Nobody is safe while Corwin continues to breathe. He is clever and charismatic, wooing people to his viewpoint. A bill is in parliament and if the Magickers are to have any hope at all for survival it must pass.

Malcolm Wargrave, earl of Preston, is on the fence. He is neutral and has not taken a stance, either agreement or disagreement to Corwin’s speeches. He is Lady Raven Drake’s lover. They started their affair almost immediately after their mutual friend’s house party began. She was a virgin when they met, and while she gave him her virginity she could never be his as she belonged to another. That and because she kept a secret from Malcolm.

Gareth, Viscount Moore, is Raven’s intended. They are engaged for several purposes. Not only were they well matched as both were Master Magickers, but they also stood as the only defense for their people. As the heirs to two of the very last powerful lines of Magickers, their alliance would create a new line of Masters. Their children would be powerful. United in marriage, their union would be a beacon of hope to their people.

Raven will face the toughest decision of her young life – will she give into her heart or into duty?

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy the audio version here.

Review: Maestro’s Butterfly by Rhonda Leigh Jones

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Listening to the Maestro’s Butterfly is an experience that will leave you flushed and begging for more. You’re in luck too because there are two more books after this! Rebecca Rogers is a truly phenomenal narrator. Her character voices are a treat and she’s a real actress. Quivering sighs, harsh words, moans, groans, she does them all without ever breaking form. Rogers draws you into Jones’ secret world of vampires and you can not escape… just like Miranda you are trapped, captivated and set a fire.

Jones’ mythology is unique. Her vampires have heartbeats, never get sick, can’t reproduce, and fangs that extend. The feeders once bitten become the perfect meals, producing more blood, become slightly stronger, and live longer younger. Holding one’s breath even ruins the flavor of blood. To be taken by a vampire is to know the true meaning of sex as they love to combine feeding with intercourse.

In the Maestro’s Butterfly, Rhonda Leigh Jones sets a sexy stage and does not fail to deliver. If you’re into dominant/submissive power plays, vampires, and kinky sex you will love this story. There are elements of S&M, including whipping, public/stage sex, voyeurism, sex with multiple partners (not at the same time unless you count in sync with watching others), and anal sex. Very hot!

Miranda wants to be dominated. She wants to include fear, surrender, and the unknown in the bedroom. She longs for it and is afraid of her desires. Her dreams involve running down darkened streets and being caught and forced upon by the mysterious hunter. In her day life she’s a musician and with a lucky break gets Claudio du Fresne to tutor her for half price. One night after a performance of his, he invites her back to his place and along the way they strike a bet. He will be the partner she has always dreamed of and if at the end of 30 days he will make her his forever… if not she will allowed to leave and he will continued to tutor her at the prearranged deal.

But there is a darker side to this story. Miranda is unaware of Claudio being a vampire. That’s not all… in addition Claudio has struck another bet, this time with his brother, Victoire “Jack” du Fresne. If at the end of 30 days Miranda stays with Claudio, Jack will pay for Claudio quarter of a million dollar performance piece. If however, she bolts like Jack suspects, Miranda will belong to Jack… whether she wants to be or not.

[rating:4.5]

Get the audio version here.

Special Features at Love Romance Passion

lrp2It has come to my attention that some readers of Love Romance Passion are unaware of certain features here. In case you also were unawares, I have compiled and shared them below.

Book Reviews:

You have the standard book reviews, but did you know that Love Romance Passion provides a space for guest reviews and advance review copies? You can submit your book reviews directly to me or through the submission form. Authors and publicists promoting review copies can email me at loverompass@gmail.com with an inquiry. Learn more about review requests and Love Romance Passion’s policies under advertising.

Movie Reviews:

Occasionally, I review movies. I tend to share the newest viewings, which can mean current theatrical releases. Just as I can’t read all the romance books out there, I can’t watch all the romantic movies. Readers are welcome to share their movie opinions through the submission form outlined earlier.

Interviews:

There are several types of interviews at Love Romance Passion. The first is the author interview, which you see the most of around here. Another form of the author interview is the Kiss and Tell blog series. Any romance or erotica author may submit an article to it by emailing me. Lastly there are the Between the Sheets interviews with professionals related to the romance industry, but aren’t necessarily authors. So far Love Romance Passion has featured model and audio book narrator interviews; we would love to have you too!

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Many guest bloggers here at Love Romance Passion are authors. I love having them here and I hope you do as well. I am always looking for guest bloggers, and you don’t have to be an author to contribute.

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Carnivals are a newer feature. They come out every Sunday. I have three in rotation right now to which bloggers can submit related articles. They are: love of movies, author love , and romancing the novel. Currently offline as interest seemed to be small.

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LRP highlights readers every Sunday. They are bloggers, commenters, guest reviewers, and more. Check them out and learn some fun and cool things these ladies love about their romance.

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Love Romance Passion also has a forum for readers, authors, and bloggers. This tucked away feature deserves some attention! You can register here. Currently offline as interest seemed to be small.

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This is an ebay run book store that helps readers find romance books in print and audio format. It’s also a great way to contribute a little towards the running of this site.

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10 Reasons Why I Can’t Read Georgette Heyer

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By Zarabeth, guest blogger

I know a lot of people like Georgette Heyer and this post isn’t meant to step on your toes in any way if you do, but I really can’t read her! I am a huge fan of historical romance novels and was excited to try the genuine article. I tried, I really did, but she’s not for me and here’s why:

  1. The Language. I can’t read Regency speak, it’s not only another time period it reads like another language!
  2. The Diction. Not only do I need a Regency dictionary, I need an Oxford-English dictionary to get through the book! Talk about over my head. I would read and re-read, get frustrated with myself, the book, and the story. I put it down and vow never to force myself through another novel.
  3. The Turns of Phrase. Thief Cant, Dandy Cant… I cant, cant, can’t! Can you say yikes?!
  4. The Dialogue. What on earth are the characters saying? Really?
  5. The Format. Why is all the dialogue ending in exclamation points!!!!!
  6. The Descriptions. Down to the tie of the cravat and elegantly style coiffure… honestly who knows what they look like?
  7. The Historical Accuracy. The difference between Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer is that Austen transcends Regency and becomes universal. Heyer is so wrapped up in Regency she can never leave it.
  8. The Writing Style. Is it me or does Heyer read like narrator omniscient? A plot twist (and I use that word very lightly) occurs and I know all to well where it’s going.
  9. The Manners. I thought I liked Regency manners, but honestly in a Heyer all I want is for them to shake it up a little. So regimented.
  10. Wasted space. Side characters get way too much time to talk and dither about. I want more focus on the main characters and their love story!

I think it is simply time to walk away, without the disappointment and state that I am just not smart enough to read her! I will stick with my guilty pleasures, Thank You!

P.S. Stay tuned, in a few days Keira will be posting her differing opinion in 10 Reasons to Love Georgette Heyer.

How do you feel about Georgett Heyer romances?

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