Interview by Angie Taylor
I’m so happy and excited to feature you, ER Arroyo, on BOD’s author spotlight interview. Especially in light of your recent release of Sovereign as an audiobook. I listen to audiobooks all the time. They are one of my favorite ways to become immersed in a story, so I can’t wait to learn about the process from book to audiobook. And I’m also excited to introduce narrator, Corinne Bupp. Thank you both for joining us, and for sharing your talents with us.
ER: Thanks Angie! Great to be here again. 🙂
Corinne: Glad to be here!
First off, ER, can you tell us a little bit about Sovereign?
ER: Of course. Sovereign was my debut novel. It’s a young adult dystopian/post-apocalyptic book that features a teenage girl named Cori. She’s trapped in a rigidly controlled colony of survivors and wants out, but she isn’t sure what could be out there. She’s been taught that the world was obliterated by warfare and the only people on the outside are savages.
When did you decide that Sovereign should become an audio story?
ER: Honestly, just from seeing some BOD authors discussing audiobooks. It piqued my interest so I did a little digging. I didn’t know it was as accessible as it turned out to be. I’m so glad I went for it!
What was the process of making this happen, and what were some of the challenges to accomplishing this goal?
ER: It started with creating an account and opening up the book for auditions. I received, I think, around 30 auditions and nothing was really working for me. Then I came across Corinne and asked her to audition. I loved her audition and something about her voice just felt right, so we signed contracts within a couple of days.
I would say the biggest challenge we faced was the timeline of completing the project. We had a 60-day deadline and got a little behind right at the start. There’s surprisingly a lot of back and forth between author and narrator before it is finished. In short, it’s a lot of work! Especially for Corinne.
How did you go about choosing a narrator? What was the process for even deciding who to audition?
ER: Basically, I listed my project on a site called ACX and then opened up for auditions. My project page included a brief script and an explanation of what I was looking for from the character. Narrators came to me, for the most part. I did search the site myself as well and I wrote a few people asking them to audition based on samples they had up from other auditions.
Ultimately, what made you choose Corinne to represent the voice of Cori?
ER: Lots of things, but basically it came down to her tone. I could tell from her audition that she would be able to voice Cori just right—not high-pitched, not too feminine, not too proper.
Are there any plans for making The Offering into an audiobook? Can you tell us about any other writing projects you’re working on?
ER: Corinne and I will be discussing The Offering in more detail here really soon. 🙂
Yes! I will be in an anthology called The Doomsday Chronicles coming out on February 19th. Aside from that, finishing up a couple short stories that are prequels to Sovereign will be my priority. After that, I think it’s time for a new novel.
Thank you, ER. I can’t wait to experience Sovereign again in audio.
Now, Corinne Bupp, how fun to be a narrator! I have always wanted to narrate books, but my voice is way too whiny when recorded. So, I’m going to live vicariously through you. Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in narrating?
Corinne: Yeah! My background and degree is in musical theatre but it has been a dream of mine to work on an audiobook since 2009. While I was in college, I started working privately with a voice and speech professor with the sole goal of doing an audiobook. Since then I have been primarily performing onstage and not actively pursuing voice over. It wasn’t until this year, when I auditioned for E.R., that I really started to make that dream a reality.
Is it hard getting into character? How do you do it?
Corinne: I love it. Most of it is intuition, analysis of the story, and the author’s tone. E.R. and I actually worked together a lot on the characters. We met and talked about other characters and actors that the characters of Sovereign were similar to or even sounded like.
What was it like working with ER?
Corinne: Great! She is so thoughtful and brought such insight to each character. She provided specific ideas for their relationships, backstories, and even their voices. We worked very closely throughout the whole process. 🙂
How did you feel when you discovered that the main character of Sovereign shared your name?
Corinne: I may have freaked out a little bit. I already get really excited when I meet another Corinne – especially spelled the same! Honestly, it made me want to be a part of the project even more. It just felt meant to be!
What was it that made you connect most with Cori?
Corinne: Most of the way she handles her relationships felt very familiar. I think we can all relate to protecting ourselves by putting up walls, just not with such severity. That being said, her closeness to her father was probably my strongest connection to Cori.
What was your favorite part of working on this project?
Corinne: My favorite part of this project was definitely the character study. I just thoroughly enjoyed “being” Cori.
Can you tell us about any other narrating plans you might be involved in?
Corinne: E.R. and I are in talks for The Offering in the coming year! I’m very excited!
Oh, that’s exciting. Both of you will have to keep all of us at BOD updated.
Thanks again, ER and Corinne, for spending time with us. Congratulations to you both!
SOVEREIGN AUDIOBOOK TRAILER