As John Scalzi so aptly stated in his recent blog post discussing the success of Lock In, particularly in its audio format, “audio has its own audience, with its own set of desires and expectations, and that’s something you’ll want to factor in as you create you [sic] work.” While this sentiment was directed more so at other writers, it is equally important to keep in mind the listeners’ expectations from the perspective of producing an audio program.
When selecting narrators for the Tor.com publishing program, one of the foremost considerations for the audio group was finding voice actors who were not only great storytellers, but who would also best represent the diversity that is central to many of the works on the list. For example, the first work we’re sharing as an audio excerpt is Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. This tale centers on the sorcerer (Demane) and a caravan of men whose African American vernacular could not be pulled off with any sense of authenticity by just any reader… enter the vocal talents of Kevin R. Free.
Free—who is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner several times over and recipient of an Audie for being the Best Voice in Young Adult & Fantasy for his work on The Cruisers: Checkmate—came highly recommended for this project. One of his strengths as a narrator comes from having done away with the fear of going too far; as he told AudioFile in 2011, “I really characterize and really use my voice to go the full distance. I think it’s easier to see those characters if they’re fully formed voices.”
Listen to an excerpt of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, read by Kevin R. Free below. (Warning: some explicit language.)
Critically acclaimed author Kai Ashante Wilson makes his commercial debut with The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps—available September 1st in paperback, ebook, and audio formats from Tor.com! From the catalog copy:
Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors’ artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.
The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.
The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.
You can find the audio edition at Audible or pre-order the ebook edition at the links below!
Danielle Prielipp is the Assistant Manager of Digital Marketing for Macmillan Audio.