Author: Day Leitao
Narrator: Winona Owen
Length: 12 hours and 22 minutes
Series: Portals to Whyland, Book 2
Publisher: Sparkly Wave
Released: Jun. 14, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Kiss him. Don't fall in love. Break a spell with a kiss. Karina has heard and seen enough weird stuff for this request to sound legit. At 16, Karina has a shot at adventure--and an odd first kiss - when she's called to Whyland, a kingdom in another dimension, to save a guy she barely knows. Why her? No clue, but she's happy to help, and kissing Sian isn't torture, even if he isn't to be trusted. Karina's smart enough not to fall in love - or at least to tell herself not to. Once in Whyland, she realizes that risking a broken heart is the smallest of her problems. When truths are unraveled, Karina will need to stand between an ancient darkness and the kingdom. But what hope does she have against mysterious powers when she can't even control her own heart? If you like fantasy and adventure with a dash of romance, give Kissing Magic a try. This novel is recommended for listeners 13 and older. This is book two in Portals to Whyland series but you can jump straight into it without listening to book one.
Q&A with Author Day Leitao
- Why did you decide to turn your book into an audiobook?
- I got an email from a reader one day, complaining that the books weren’t available in audiobook format. That’s when it clicked that I had readers who would be interested in hearing it in audio, and then I decided to take the plunge.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- Not at all. That said, now that I’ve heard my writing in audiobook, I’ve noticed that certain things sound better and I’ll incorporate them in my future writing.
- How did you select your narrator?
- I opened auditions and I thought Winona Owen had a pleasant voice.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- I gave her some pronunciation tips. That said, it made me realize that I need some more “anglo-friendly” names urgently. I think I have a lot of influence from Portuguese and even French in the names, so I need to give an Anglophone speaker a break and understand there will be a slight difference. I emphasized some names, but not all, and other than that I gave her freedom to do her work and have her interpretation.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Not consciously, but… If you want someone who’s a cynic, closed off, sarcastic and disconnected from their feelings, I guess that’s me. It means I identify a lot with one of the characters. I myself was surprised when I noticed it.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- I don’t usually celebrate. I get anxious until the reviews start to come. Overall they’d been positive for Kissing Magic, so I guess it was OK. I wrote a novella between finishing this novel and writing the sequel, because I wanted to get a sense of the feedback before moving on.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- I think series are nicer because you get to stick longer with the characters and you have more time to develop them.
- Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
- Not dreams, but they sometimes bug me asking when their book comes next. I tell them to stand outside and wait for their turn. I have a couple characters getting really pissed at me. I don’t know. One day they’ll have a mutiny and take over their writing. Hang on. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not already happening.
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- The sequel to Kissing Magic is coming out soon. It’s Within Magic, and I’d better get back to writing it.
Q&A with Narrator Winona Owen
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
- I think it has always been a part of me, because I have enjoyed reading aloud ever since I was in elementary school as a child. Every week during the Summer, I would ride my bike to the local library and check out books that I would read aloud outside to my Mom as she was sunbathing. She really enjoyed it and I loved having an audience with her. It later progressed to me reading aloud to my husband when we would go on road trips when we first got married. But it wasn’t until I discovered audiobooks through amazon prime myself last year after I was out of work for 8 weeks recovering from surgery. I was hooked as a listener and wanted to find out how I could do this myself.
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- Very similar to the above question, I fell in love with listening to audiobooks while I recovered from surgery last year in 2018. My husband has been a voice actor for over 3 years and has a recording studio in our home. He has mentioned to me for years that I should do voice overs as well. It wasn’t until I discovered audible that I knew it was something I wanted to do professionally. My husband took time to train me with the software and techniques, and I found ACX online to get me started with audiobooks narration.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
- I did not find it hard to break into audiobook narration and I firmly believe a few things helped me with this. Listening to audiobooks, especially ones narrated by females gave me a very good understanding of what an amazing audiobook is like, with different characters and inflections. Having a high quality recording studio in my home all ready to go was a huge blessing, along with my husband being able to guide me through any technical issues.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- I think it certainly helps, being able to have that background as padding but I do not feel it is necessary to be successful. If you have an amazing reading voice, are able to communicate well with your author and/or publisher, and are comfortable reading for a long period of time, I believe you can do it! Personally, I want to learn even more with theatrics than I already do, to add to my set of skills with narration. I love learning and growing with what I am passionate about.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- Balancing your life will seriously take a life time to master, but I am doing my best to make sure that I have family time and fun, mixed in with my day job and my career of voice narration. I plan out my time in the studio and make sure I take breaks in between recordings and editing.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Yes! I love audiobooks and there is something about listening to a good book, that makes the story come even more to life than just reading it. I subscribe to audible and every month I get new books to enjoy! I also consider it course work to study those who record as well.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- My favorite parts of narrating an audiobook would be to bring the story to life with my voice. To create a real voice for the characters and get lost in the story as I record. I truly feel like I become a character and am lost in that story while in the studio. It’s awesome! My least favorite part of recording would be when there are many typos and grammatical errors, resulting in re-recording the sentence and more work on my part. It is very frustrating when a part of the writing makes absolutely no sense due to a lack of good editing.
- Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
- Yes! I was recording one night when a thunderstorm had started. I didn’t realize it until I was almost done. When I listened to that take of the recording, there was a perfectly timed sound of thunder roll across. Oh how I wanted to keep it in the audio, but didn’t.
- I would also say, that my 3 cats like to come downstairs to our studio and at times meow and paw at the door. Of course I have to pause my session, but it’s so cute.
- And never record when you are hungry, because the mic will pick up those lovely rumbles in the audio lol!