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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hostage of the Heart by Linda Acaster – from Ebook to Audio download

Some time ago I interviewed Linda Acaster about her Mediaeval romantic suspense Hostage of the Heart, when I reviewed the ebook. Today it is being launched as an mp3 audio download and I’ve invited her back to talk about the process.

How did this come about?
I followed a couple of links. Writers need to allot time to keep abreast of news and possible opportunities, just as they spend time publicising their work and activities. This new era of digital publishing is expanding at a rate of knots and, as I discovered, it’s not confined to the printed word.

Audiolark is an audio book publisher based in Canada which concentrates on all sub-genres of Romance, from short fiction to full novels. At the time I followed the link it was looking for a sweet romance to augment its list - not everyone wants erotica bellowing out of the car stereo system during the school run – and Hostage of the Heart was snapped up within days.

Remind us of the storyline
The novel is set in 1066 on the eve of two devastating battles that change the course of British history. On the Welsh borderlands Rhodri ap Hywel sweeps down from the mountains to reclaim stolen lands, taking the Lady Dena as a battle hostage. Tutored to believe the Welsh are barbaric, she finds herself abandoned by her Saxon kin and used as a pawn by the Welsh. Amid the intrigue and power-plays, dare she place her life in the hands of a warrior-knight shielding secrets of his own?

A Mediaeval novel with North American accents?
It’s what I braced myself for, but when the first proof arrived I was delighted to hear an English voice. Audiolark takes great care to match its narrator to the text, and I was asked to consider both the pronunciation and stresses placed on the sentence structure, and report back.

This was an interesting exercise. I’m used to proofing galleys of print books, and checking the html formatting for ebooks, but it was my first experience of proofing an audio download. I had to be very accurate in noting the timings – what at first sounds odd might take up less than a second; I kept having to ask myself whether it was just me being pedantic or whether there was a possible problem – and then I had to be specific in describing what I thought was the problem.

Just as proofreading text is not simply a matter of reading it through, proofing audio is not simply a matter of listening for enjoyment. I found it far more taxing than proofreading text. The list of queries, thankfully short, went back to Audiolark where each query was checked against the master. I thought that would be it, but no, I was sent a second proof. I love this level of professionalism. Audiolark wants the best for its customers and its authors, which is wonderful for us all.

Hostage of the Heart launches as an 8-hour DRM-free mp3 download on 21 June at the discounted price of $3.49 for one week, $9.99 normal price.

Hostage of the Heart ebook:

To catch up with Linda Acaster’s other fiction:
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