At Meilori's it was that eerie hush between the dying of the night and the resurrection of the dawn.
Francene Lockett sat in the shadows opposite me.
"I want my face to remain unknown, Roland.
If your readers know what I look like,
they will picture my face and not the faces of Alice Wentworth and Victor as they listen to UNDER A VOODOO MOON and BURNT OFFERINGS."
"I can understand that," I said. "I've never asked - what do you do first when you start to record an audiobook?"
"When I receive a manuscript for audio book narration , I first read the entire book before making any decisions about who the characters are and what their voices sound like."
Francene started as Victor Standish jauntily sat down beside her. "That would be hard to do with my book. It would be hard not to read my dialogue and not know how gypsy I sound!"
"And modest," scowled Alice in her Victorian librarian accent.
Alice lightly patted Francene's hand as she sat down like a fairy princess on the other side of the suddenly pale voice actress.
"Do not mind Victor, Francene. His bark is worse than his bite."
"While the opposite is true about Alice!" Victor winked.
Alice frowned. "Which is something you are just about to find out, Mr. Standish!"
To give Francene something else to think about than how her digits would look as finger sandwiches, I asked, "What next?"
"Then I decide:
What the story is about and in what style it is written in.
Who the characters are beneath the surface.
Where the story takes place - what dialects are predominate there and what is the tempo of speech in that locale."
Victor arched an eyebrow. "Hey, that sounds like a lot of work before you even hit the "Record" button."
Alice smiled. "Yes that dirty four letter word for you -- work!"
"There is no time to make any of these decisions once in the studio so I go through the book again and color code each of the characters
so I can quickly do the voice I have decided upon for each of the characters."
Alice cocked her head. "How long does it actually take to record one hour of narration, Mrs. Lockett?"
"Francene, Alice. Call me Francene.
After three books, I feel like I know you. It takes about 6.5 hours to produce each finished hour of audio book.
It needs to be proofed and edited more than once with corrections So it is a big time commitment to produce a book."
"Wow," breathed Victor. "So UNDER A VOODOO MOON took you 40 hours to record!"
Alice breathed in amazement, "That means my END OF DAYS took you 72 hours to complete."
Francene smiled, "It is worth it to achieve a completed book so that all who listen will take the story's journey with me and listen again and again."
Victor said, "Well I hope people buy END OF DAYS what with THE HOBBIT coming out. It has only one dragon. But, Alice, you and Captain Sam took on a whole skyfull of dragons in a Blackhawk helicopter."
Alice turned to me, showing all her sharp, sharp teeth. "Roland, would you encourage your friends to buy Francene's audiobooks. I should think they would not want me to visit them and do the encouraging!"
Francene cleared her throat.
"Alice ... that is so ... you. But they can buy them for free if they join Audible for a free 30 day trial and then cancel before the month is up."
Alice sniffed, "Then, they have no excuse to give me should I persuade Elu to have me visit them through their mirrors."
I cleared my own throat. "Ah, Francene, thank you for this ... lovely interview. Francene? Francene?"
She was gone. Meilori's and Alice has that effect on some people.