Reading with Your Ears: Audiobook creation from an author’s perspective


Random occurrences. They never cease to amaze me.

I finished my fourth novel in the summer of 2018. It had taken me almost two years to write it. More than double any of my previous novels. By then, I was desperate to get the damn thing in the pipeline.

BUT . . .  something held me back. My Muse. She was telling me the story wasn’t right. I tried to put my finger on what it was, but couldn’t. So, I rewrote the story. It was my constant companion for the next two months.

When I finally penned The End on the last page, I sent it to my agent. Her opinion? It needed another rewrite. It was at that moment of “Oh, no! Not another rewrite” despair that my beautiful wife said to me, “You know what you should do? Forget this novel for a month and produce an audiobook of your first story.”

“Brilliant,” I opined. “Can you get Tom Hanks to be the voice?”

“Hah,” she replied, “Don’t need him. I got you, babe.”

Creating-Audiobooks_Dennis-KollerA week later, I found myself seated at a small table in the middle of our walk-in closet with a microphone staring at me. Watch out, Tom Hanks! I thought.

I picked up the copy of my first novel, The Oath.  Publishing the book, I recollected, was akin to kissing my first girlfriend: even before arriving at her house, I knew exactly how I was going to play it. I began the foreplay by sitting close to her; then holding her hand; then leaning over and kissing her full on the mouth. It was a magical moment. I remember being filled with an overwhelming sense of wonder and awe, followed by a peace I had never experienced before.

And so it was for me that day sitting in the closet in front of the microphone with book in hand. Not at all nervous. Knowing exactly how I was going to play it. Reading the novel into the microphone was no different than reading stories to my kids at bedtime.

Ruth Wasserman had been a news reporter and syndicated columnist for various San Francisco newspapers for the past twenty-years. Today she would generate the biggest story of her career. Too bad she had to die to do it.


Perfect, I thought. I am really good at this. — Then I coughed!

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