A new take on the Hunger Games.
Pawn (The Strategy, Book 1) by J.C. Ahern, narrated by Patricia Santomasso and Sean Patrick Hopkins, is a Science fiction story.
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Seventeen-year-old Rogue has always classified herself as socially awkward, preferring video games over a trip to the mall. When she wakes up in a forest, she finds that life as she knew it has changed forever, and she cannot remember how. In fact, she can’t remember the last six months at all. As she navigates this new world she soon discovers a talent for combat and survival she’d never had before. A handy ability in a world where humans compete in a game governed by rules she can’t remember.
Ronin, a talented 19-year-old, was wrenched from his Midwest home and forced to compete with a Skaki set. Despite the set’s repeated losses, Ronin has proven himself a powerful player, his sights set on surviving each match – no matter the cost. When a new pawn is added to his set to replace one they lost, Ronin begins to break out of the shell he built around himself and reexamines what he and the other humans have become.
About the Author: J.C. Ahern
J.C. Ahern was born and raised in the Midwest. From a young age she watched her older siblings playing videogames. She also developed a passion for reading and playing those same games herself. It wasn’t long before her immersion into the different worlds of Fantasy and Sci-fi that she was inspired to create her own worlds and write her own stories. She began her craft in the sixth grade and continued that passion into college where she graduated from Stephens College with a degree in Creative Writing. She went on to get a degree in Nursing, which led her to become a Nurse Practitioner. She now uses the experiences of her life and the things she has learned to enrich her stories to take her readers on flights for the imagination.Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook? It was actually super easy, I posted my pitch on Acx.com and had several interested voice actors contact me with auditions. They sent me clips of them speaking. It was a difficult decision, choosing the actors, but when I did I was not disappointed in the least. I chose a husband/wife combination to do the voices of my two main characters, and I couldn’t be happier.
Hi J.C., and thank you so much for being here with us today.
Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook?
It was actually super easy, I posted my pitch on Acx.com and had several interested voice actors contact me with auditions. They sent me clips of them speaking. It was a difficult decision, choosing the actors, but when I did I was not disappointed in the least. I chose a husband/wife combination to do the voices of my two main characters, and I couldn’t be happier.
Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
It was on my mind, but not until after I had published Pawn. Mostly that’s because I didn’t start listening to audiobooks until around the time I finished Pawn.
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?
My narrators live half the country away, so I gave them their creative freedom, mostly. We communicated when they had questions, or I had edits, and I did give them a pronunciation guide, because I made up a lot of names and words.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
If I get tired of writing, I give it a little break where I go and do something else. Additionally, I have a writer’s group that is great at giving inspiration back to me. I find my best writing happens the few days after we meet.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Yes, I love audiobooks. I am a multitasker, so I will always be doing something while listening to audiobooks, even playing videogames at the same time. I tend to go towards audible because I have a membership there, but other formats work too.
Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
Definitely the action scenes. While reading, those sections can get glossed over because you’re reading so fast, but with audiobooks they really seem to come alive for me.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
The only time I would say it was cheating, is if it is for school. The brain functions differently when reading than when listening, and you aren’t going to get to have a test read aloud to you unless you have certain disorders, so regular reading practice in school is a good. BUT, reading for school, rather than reading for pleasure are totally different things. If the pleasure of the story is what you are looking for then choose the format that suits you best and don’t judge someone else for their choices. They’re still going to get the same story. In my case, I actually get more out of the story when I listen to audiobooks because when I read I tend to skip sections of the book, but I don’t when I listen.
What’s your favorite:
Food – Mom’s homemade fried tenderloins
Song – Carry on My Wayward Son
Book – Homeland by R.A. Salvatore
Television show – Supernatural
Cartoon – TMNTAnime – DBZ
Movie – The Return of the King (LOTR)
Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
Oh yes, my work is riddled with references to the pop-culture I geek out to. And those are only a few things that get referenced. I have a lot of favorites, it’s hard to pick just 1 or 2, so most of them make it in, in someway.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t get it right, get it written, because you can always go back and edit your work to make it right.
About the Narrator: Sean Patrick Hopkins
A student of neuroscience and speech pathology, Sean Patrick Hopkins has translated his understanding of human behavior & vocal performance into a career in storytelling. His classical training and versatility with dialects has helped to create distinct and varied characters across many genres. In addition to narrating over 150 audiobooks, he has been seen and heard on film, television, video games, and stages in NYC & across the country. When not in the booth, you can find him buried in genealogy research, out exploring our National Parks, and raising an amazing daughter alongside his wife, fellow narrator Patricia Santomasso.
About the Narrator: Patricia Santomasso
Patricia has always been an avid reader and storyteller. In college she politely smiled hearing the age old question: what on earth are you going to do with a BA in English? Patricia pressed on, thinking what can’t you do? Realizing she should get some practical training to fall back on, she also pursued a degree in theater. After working for years on stages around the country (where she met her husband, narrator Sean Patrick Hopkins, doing a production of As You Like It) she has merged her two loves and happily tells stories for a living from the comfort of a booth. To date, she has recorded over 100 audiobooks. Patricia’s youthful voice and comic timing give heroines a warm relatability and her surprising dips into baritone make her male characters engaging and believable. Patricia and Sean have a sweet baby daughter Lyra Róisín, who isn’t much interested in hearing either one of them read to her.
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