Coast to Coast Romance

Audiobook production with special guest Joe Arden

October 18, 2021 Ann Jensen & Skylar West Season 1 Episode 10
Coast to Coast Romance
Audiobook production with special guest Joe Arden
Show Notes Transcript

Interview with Joe Arden audio artist and owner of Blue Nose Audio

We ask him:

How did you get into Audio Narration?
What do you look for in narrators?
What are the benefits of using and trusting an audio company.?
What projects are harder than others?
Audio tapes – back in the day – the narrative, the voices never shifted. When did that start to evolve and how did you get involved?
Are their any favorite narrating projects?
What advice do you have for independent authors looking to create their first audiobook?
What is it like working with crazy first timers like Ann Jensen? :P

You just co-authored your own book. How was that experience and will we be seeing more from you?

Contact Information:
Joe Arden
@TheRealJoeArden everywhere 

Blue Nose is @BlueNoseAudio and for queries and submissions. 

Ann Jensen

Skylar West

Hi, I'm Ann Jensen coming to you from the east coast of New Jersey. Hi, I'm Skyler West coming to you from the west coast of Canada. We are two romance writers using our life experiences to break down and share with you all things romance, how you find your next book boyfriend, discovering genres and troops, and looking at what works and why and what doesn't work and why. Welcome back to a special midweek episode of coast to coast romance. In celebration of my audio book coming out, we decided to do an episode on audio books. And so we have a very special guest with us here today. Joe Arden goes wild Yay, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe. Joe and I work together he has a wonderful audio book production company called Blue nose audio. So we're gonna ask him some questions about the mysterious topic of how audio books get produced. So Joe, what made you decide to start your own production company, the production company was really born out of necessity, because I'm very grateful to have been approached by so many different authors over the years. And eventually my schedule got to a point where I couldn't record any more books than I already have on my schedule. I think last year I did 75 titles show so so I mean, that's just really sort of all I can do. But as I was talking to these authors, I was like, you know, I'm immersed in this world. And I know who the other great voices are. And I know who's trying to find a corner for themselves in this market. And I know who's got good recording equipment. And I know who takes this seriously. And I know who you know, I know the talents. And I think anybody that does voiceover will tell you that the audio book, narrator community is probably the single most supportive vo sub genre that I know of. And I've done a lot of different kinds animation, commercial looping, I've done a lot of voiceover and there's nothing like a roomful of fucking narrators, man, everybody is just so good to each other. There's such a shared sense of camaraderie, and respect for the difficulty of the craft. That really just is so great. So when some authors came to me and say, can you do my book, I finally was like, I can't, but I know who can. And I'd love to help you navigate that process. And I gotta say, it's easily one of the most rewarding things about my job to be able to hire colleagues whom I respect, and partner them with authors whose work I admire. Like I just think that's the best so that's amazing. Yeah, so this was born bluenose audio. I think I may have mentioned this before, I forget where or when, but the original name for my audio production company was gonna be treat money productions, because I have blue nose Pitbull. And whenever I go into the office, she's always staring at me. Like, why are you leaving me? What are you doing? And so anytime I close the door, I always tell her that I'm going into the booth to make her treat money. This is my jobs. I'm here to make you money. And after kicking treat money productions around for a while, I decided to just definitely sounded like a sort of like hip hop porn studio. Like that sounds like it's just not that's not it doesn't sound like what it actually is. I know I get some of the treats. I think Exactly. So I decided, I was like, Oh, just called Blue nose audio for my blue nose pity. So Oh, that's really sweet. That's amazing. So you probably started with your friends. But now that you've expanded, what do you look for in like narrators or that you recommend to your authors? Yes, that's a great question. And I think it's one of the most important things that an audio professional and that a producer can provide for an author who is spending most of their time focusing on the written word as they should even authors who are fans of audio are still really only going to know a fraction of the folks that are in that space, and some of their skills and I hope very soon that the academy jumps on this and makes casting an Academy Award. I think the Emmys are doing it now or they're close to doing it. But getting the right voice for a project. Finding the right people to play, the main roles in any piece of entertainment is critical to the success of the final product. If you fuck up the casting, it doesn't matter how good the writing is, it doesn't matter how good the direction is, you are not going to have a solid final product because you didn't find the acting voice that is really best suited for that work. So that's one of the things That I spend a lot of my time doing every day. Every week, I'm constantly listening to people samples, narrators that get in touch with me and my company, fill out an informational form that lets us know some of the accents that they're really competent, and in control of, and send samples of their work in various backgrounds. And that way, if I talk to somebody and they say, you know, well, this book takes place in Texas, and like the East Texas accent is really important, like, I know, okay, well, I know some narrators that live in Texas, so I'm gonna say it, um, see if they've got time. And then I know some other folks that are great at not just a southern accent, generally, but are good at differentiating between Texas and Virginia and Georgia. And so those that happen to Yeah, so so those are some of the things and then I also try and ask narrators just to sort of like, give me some information about themselves. Like, do you love baking in your free time? Are you a certified yoga instructor? Do you have four cats, I don't like just anything that kind of like gives you a third dimension, because so much of this work is now done remotely and via email. And so any chance we get outside of like, annual mixers or parties, when those return, hopefully, with like award shows and stuff, we don't really get a chance to like break bread or get to see each other face to face. So when narrators give you that kind of information, it sort of helps paint a more rounded picture. And then it really allows me and my casting team, the ability to really craft those voices for those stories. So yeah, I know, that was one of my favorite parts of the process was when you sent me that list of Okay, you know, I gave you what, like five pages of description on the different characters. And then you gave me a list, you're like, Okay, here are the different listening to them all and going, all right. It's kind of a thrill, as an author to be like, Alright, what, who's going to be the personification of this character, as well, I love that. And it's, it's one of the reasons I think so many authors are starting to negotiate to retain their audio rights. One of the reasons that I think romance authors in particular are having so much fun navigating that space is that you have this whole new way that fans and a marketplace can consume and enjoy your work. And you're able to engage with it in a way that you were never able to before. And so one of the things that I tell authors is, I'm set up in such a way here for this company to be as sort of hands on or hands off as you want us to be, if you've got some really strong ideas about what these characters sound like, where they come from, who it should be, where they live vocally, where they live, geographically, feed me those notes. And I will find you some voices if you've got a really loose idea. And you just say, like, hey, I want the best voices, the strongest, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whether it's social media presence, or an aptitude for dialect or whatever, I can tap into those things for you as well. You don't have to focus on that. So it's super fun to find those voices, particularly fun when I know that there are some super talented people out there. My dad used to say this, to me all the time that like work begets work. Like if you're working hard, if you're out there and you're able to sort of make a name for yourself, that name can then sort of build on its own reputation, there's a way to sort of snowball your work in any craft in any field. Like once you're there, as you're able to build on it, there are so many people for whom that door is still kind of closed or barely open. And so if I'm able to find an author that is open to some casters, Justin's and introduce them to some of these fresher voices of these newer faces. It's very exciting to me as well. So yeah, it is terrifying. I mean, I retained the audio rights for mine and romance, there are so many books out there. And because there's so many, there are many that were not well recorded, or the listening experience is not as enjoyable as it could be. And I was terrified that that was going to happen to me, which was why I looked for a production company because I was like, there's no way I can go through. Like I don't know what all these voices, I don't know how to contact them. I don't know how to do any of that. So yeah, I tell I tell authors all the time. I'm very upfront about this, I tell them if you want to find somebody to do your audiobook cheaper than the price, I'm going to quote you, you can do that you can do that. What I promise you is that the quality of the product that I turn into you is going to be professional level as good as anything anybody else is doing in the audio marketplace. Even if I'm not the voice in that project. I have vetted every person that works for us, and every engineer that is touching that audio. So can you find it cheaper somewhere else? Yes. Can you end up with a great final product, possibly. But if you work with myself or a couple of other production companies that specialize in romance, we do our due diligence and we make sure that what you're getting is a professional grade products that is as good as anything that's being done by any of the Big Five or anybody else in that space. Because frankly, we as narrators are working for those companies to getting the same audio that we're able to do for independently produced titles. So that's. So what makes say one project harder or easier than another project? Kick it on? Sure. Yeah, I like that question. Because there is a lot that goes into producing every audio book. And some of the things kind of blindside you to nowhere more often than not in romance, you're now working in the sort of dual or multi POV space, that by itself already adds a layer of difficulty. The easiest book to produce is a single POV, contemporary romance that takes place in California or Colorado, where the characters are named Jake and Ashley, that's, that's the easiest book to produce. We don't get a lot of those. And as I've navigated the authorial space and romance a little bit, I figured out that names are really important because as readers and listeners, you need to find something sort of unique. So there are a lot of fuckin crazy names out there. And, and because we're dealing with multiple narrators very often, we need to make sure that they are all on the same page with pronunciations. One of the things that can add a lot of stress is difficult names, complicated or specific regional accents that they're looking for in works. And then anytime we don't get enough information upfront, that can make a project really difficult. I love it when an author comes to correct and tells me what their book is about, you know, this is a second chance romance that's a little steamy, but like totally clear on consent. And it's a young relationship. And they're both whites. And you know, the more information I get front loaded with the better job I can do, casting it, producing it. And the better job we can then do by putting out fires before they even get lit. If we cast somebody in a book, and then they find out in chapter 18, that there's like a bondage scene, and they're not comfortable doing bondage work. If I didn't know that up front, and I couldn't get that far in the prep of the scripts on my end, then all of a sudden, we're shuffling and trying to recast late in the game, you know, so right? So authors that are upfront about the content make the job a lot easier. And look, there are some narrators that we use more than others. And one of the reasons we do is because they're fucking good at their job. Yeah, I have to say I respect not just the fact that they're willing to do it, but the fact that they can sometimes read certain things that you're like, Whoa, that would be complicated for me to say that out loud. And I and I know some authors that like cringe at having to listen to their own work, they're like, I don't want to listen to this. And other authors are like, I cannot wait to hear this read out loud. Like I spend so much time on it. And it's so fun to hear, like, how somebody interprets something the same way you did. And then another passage that's interpreted totally differently. And the emotional stakes change. And you're like, Oh, I hadn't seen that side of this character, even though you fucking created that character, right? They get to bring this creative energy to it. And it can be really symbiotic and really fun. And fresh for the author who's sort of seen these words and heard these words many, many times. So yeah, and I want to actually like sort of, for any narrators that are listening, like I want to impress upon them, the fact that like, professionalism gets you really far in our business. I tell people this all the time. In order to do this job, you have to be talented, and professional, and nobody is talented enough to be unprofessional. Yeah, that's, that's a great bit of advice. We won't work with you. I don't have the time or tolerance to deal with people that can turn audio in on time that are terrible at communicating with me or their co narrators, right. You're making everybody else's job harder, because for some reason, you think you matter more, and you fucking don't. So do the job with a smile on your face, be easy to work with and fun to have around. And we'll have you play with us all the time. So Joe, I have a question for you. Yes. Hello. Nice to meet you. Oh, thank you. It's very nice to meet you too. And I'm finding this very interesting as I have not delved into the world of audio as yet, however, my question kind of stems from a different angle because I grew up listening to back in my day, I am dating myself. We had audio tapes, the proceeds were recorded stories where you you know you could buy leave it out. I had like classic British stories that were told by a gentleman with a lovely English accent, like Hound of the Baskervilles. And so it's interesting because back then there was I'm assuming that how this was done was they just found someone that it sounded credible to have someone English celebrated story, but they didn't. Change the narrative, like the narrative was that the voices never shifted. So I'm kind of curious because I've listened to several audio books now. And like you're saying, the first POV, if the story is told from, you know, one perspective, really simple California accent or lack thereof, versus having multiple characters telling a story, and this boy's constantly changing, when did that start to evolve in the industry? And how did you get involved in all of that? Yeah, that's a great question. I was just thinking of us, you came in the like the was all sort of like, A Tale of Two Cities by chapter one. And it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It isn't really what I'm talking about. Chapter 44. And then it doesn't even matter. Some of those books were just like, hey, they were doing things like Wuthering Heights, even though it's like, Heath Cliff won't leave me alone. And I don't understand, like, why am I Why is this old white guy talking to me about this young girl's marital was? Yo, and I remember those two, I remember when audible literally sent you CDs in the mail. So I think a lot of people point to the smartphone as a real turning point for the industry. And when people were able to download books to their phone directly, rather than having the sort of cumbersome nature of CDs, because the fact is CDs only handle so much time. So you'd have like, if you're doing Warren Piece or a dose to ask you, like you've got this fucking jacket of CDs with you. And so that's, that can be cumbersome. And I think that being able to carry those stories around in your pocket, made access much greater, it made the ability to produce the content a lot easier, better software to do. Audio Engineering also helped tremendously. And so once you have the ability for more people to do something, you're going to inevitably find people that are finding better ways to do it more imaginative, creative, and culturally appropriate, gender sensitive, takes on the same material. So I think that's what you have now is an industry, particularly in the romance sub genre of audiobooks in general, that are focused really hard on finding representational voices, finding the right kinds of voices, whether that's somebody's cultural background, gender, background, sexual identity, wherever we can make space for more people to tell stories authentically, we have an opportunity to raise voices up and make room with a table. And that's fuckin wonderful. Now, you mentioned earlier the trend that's, I think I only really have seen it take hold in the last two years of having dual narrators or more. And recently, I've started hearing, like production style where every character has a different voice and their sound effects and all that kind of stuff. What do you how do you feel about? Well, the first the just the multiple narrators. And then I think if you're telling a first person narrative, it's important to have somebody that can do that narrative justice. I believe that actors are empathetic creatures, and that there should be room and space for somebody that has not necessarily lived a specific experience to be able to tell a story from that perspective, with sensitivity, compassion, and honesty. I really believe that. And I think that what we're seeing is a real interest in defining the performers background as it relates to the character's journey, or their specific background. And I think to a large extent, it's great because as I said, it makes room for more people and for marginalized voices, and folks that frankly, have not had the kind of access that straight white men have had access to everything. If I can speak as candidly on that as possible. That's great. But at the same time, I think it's important to remember that the human storytelling enterprise is just about listening and understanding and feeling what somebody else feels. And I do think that there's room for people from a variety of backgrounds to share a sense of what something feels like, where pain resides, how love makes you feel, those things can be kind of universal in a way that some other things can't. So with respect to multicast, or fully produced titles, so let me start by saying, most stories are told either single POV, just one narrative doing the whole book or dual POV, which is, if the first person narrative shifts from chapter to chapter, you'll have two narrators, but they'll tell the whole story from within those chapters. Then there's something in our industry we call duet narration which is can fusing because I know in romance authors write two books, they call them duets. Yes. So when narrators are working on a title, and it's being recorded duet, that means that all of the male lines are read by a male narrator and all the female lines are read by a female narrator or at least the hero and heroine POV their lines throughout the book are covered by the person cast to play that role. I want to try and like the gender that without exact right gendering it. So look, is that exciting to me to see people want to find the most dynamic and exciting ways to tell their stories? Absolutely. As long as those authors are aware that every element of production you add to the process is adding time, talent and money to the back end. So folks that are doing that with music and sound effects and all this other stuff, an audio engineers creating those sounds, there's somebody that needs to get paid for that creative work as well. When you do do it narration your engineers job gets twice as hard. Because now it's not just editing a chapter it's editing in lines of dialogue in between every and you're recording in different spaces. So your sounds a little different. So that means your gains need to be altered and adjusted so that at the end of the day all sounds like one smooth product. So when done right and done by an author that's got the fan base and the budget to make that happen. I think he can be very fun and dynamic. And at the same time, I think he can also be an incredibly intimate and powerful experience to put on a pair of earbuds turn off the rest of the world and let one person tell you a story. That's awesome. All right, let's ask probably the question that I wish I had had someone to hold my hand, what would you tell people to be careful of when they're either selecting a production company or a narrator on a cx or something like that? Because I know before I found you, I had some interesting experiences. But it's almost a buyer's beware, you don't know what you don't know. So we're really excited to have you, Joe. It is and I I was talking to some of my colleagues recently about this very interesting shift in the sort of entire world's perspective on audiobooks, which is this several years ago, if I went to a party, and I told somebody that I was an audiobook Narrator The most common response would be something like, people tell me I have a great voice, or my kids really love it when I read stories to them. Or you know, I've always thought that I'd be great at that. That was a very common refrain, which I find ridiculous, because it's not like if I had a doctor at my house on Thanksgiving, and I carved the turkey, and then I'd been like, I think it would have made a really fucking great surgeon. Am I right? Yeah, it's, it's a little more than that. Now. I'm like, No, no, look at this Turkey, it's fine. I could totally do surgery. So that was the trend several years ago. And that has shifted. In the last, I'd say, a year or two. And admittedly, I've talked to far fewer people in social settings. But I now get this response. Most common when I tell somebody, I'm an audiobook narrator, they Now tell me, they know somebody that does that. Oh, interesting. I almost every time now, instead of my kids think I'm a great storyteller, or I'd love to get into that, or Oh, that'd be a great side gig or some other mildly insulting. I now get I know somebody that does that. And while it's possible, that they know somebody that does it very well, or at a professional level, the number of narrators that are doing it in that way, at that level in that capacity is still pretty small. I mean, we're talking about hundreds, not 1000s. And so buyer beware, I think is a great sort of adage to take into that space, anybody with a microphone can now tell you that they're capable of making an audio book, right. And I will tell you that I almost blew my career before it got started. Because I told a major production company, I had a home studio, and I didn't, and I thought it could fake it in the corner of a room and you can't, you cannot. Also, I gave myself a pretty quick crash course in sound design. And I paid money to get a space for that first book so that it would sound good, and then took some additional money and bought the right kind of equipment to make a space so that I could do it and do it right. But there's nobody out there telling folks on sex that they are not actually capable of doing something. And and for anyone who's gone through some of the auditions on sex, some of them sound like they're sitting in their bathtub. So yeah, and the first thing you can do as an author of me if you put that thing out there is ask for them to send you a final product. And, in your audition, copy asked To send you both the raw and the mastered file, so that you can hear what their finished product is going to sound like. Even if they're talented performatively. If it sounds like they're recording it in a bathtub, you're, you're screwed. I mean, I can see, like, I can see Skylar, you have like a headset microphone, and like, get a great voice, everything's fine, but like, my microphone is nicer than yours. And so like, my voice is already gonna sound a little better because it's going through like a technical chain that's just vastly superior to a headset mic. Yours is great at like keeping other noise out of the room. So it's like very close to your face. And it only picks up what's right in your ear, which is perfect for using it for. But a professional storytelling microphone needs to pick up a lot of the human voice in a variety of range and still do it as quietly as possible. Yeah, I'm or I'm missing the sexy filter that you have on your microphone. That's not a fucking filter. Audio. So to summarize, though, I liked what you said, because there's two points. So there's there's buyer beware for not necessarily the talent, but for that recording devices that the talent is using. Yeah, the technical elements. Yep. And how often do you think is it more of a technical glitch than it is a talent glitch? I think it can be quite a bit because there are $99 microphones out there and people that have closets that think that they can get this done and look in the right space, you can make cheaper equipment and go far I believe, Billy Eilish won four Grammys on like $100 microphone. So is there room to do great work on less than stellar equipment? Absolutely. But her brother is an audio engineer, and figured out how to make that microphone work in their space. Right. And a lot of people just don't have that if you're living I mean, you you wouldn't fucking believe the noises that you don't think about in your day to day life that pick up on a microphone. Can air conditioners on another floor, somebody footfalls that you almost can't hear with the naked eye and then all of a sudden, you're like, why is there rumbling in my audience, a leaf blower down the block is a sneeze from the next room over. Like you just you don't think about it. Even a refrigerator home from across the hall, it's it can all find its way into your audio. And I tell students of mine. This is the most intimate storytelling experience there is no acting endeavor like this, where somebody invites you into their head alone. And the only way you have to get this story across to them is with your voice. So if there's an air conditioner home underneath it, or the sound of footfalls or dogs barking, you got a problem. And I know I've listened to 1000s of audio books. And I can't tell you as listener, when I hear a dog bark, or a door close, and it's not, you know, a sound effect. I'm like, really, really, that's wild, really. But it's interesting, they're listening. And I think that's what you're talking about. Because as a yoga instructor, so I taught yoga for years. We teach people file, so I have it for casting. Okay, don't forget that. So I modulate. I'm used to modulating to allow people to relax. And so as I do this, I asked people to begin with the sounds that are most distant. And it takes a long time for people to tap into those sounds because we're talking sounds that are, as you said, a block away. And as we go through a meditation process, we bring those sounds closer and closer and closer until it's the ones that are most prominent, which would be obviously one of those would be my voice. But it could be yes, the tech and the heating duct. Or someone could be tapping on the floor, then they never noticed that before. So the realm of sound is remarkable. Yeah. And like you said, it's many of us who listen to audiobooks if we're not in the car or out in the world, which really, I have to admit, I've listened to some racy romance in places I probably shouldn't have been, we're usually in the quiet about, you know, laying down in bed laying on the couch. So it is, like you said, a very intimate experience, and it can be completely ruined by those crazy things in the background. Yeah, one of the other things that I tell authors as far as working with blue nose or working with a production company, a lot of folks that are on a CX, they can tell you that they're narrators but then they're also producers. So then they're also engineer so you have this one person handling a job that we have handled by 3456 different people. And what does it mean when you get different eyes and ears on a project? It means you've got more people that can find more errors. You know this as authors. You can't copy it at your own work. You're gonna read the sentence correctly every fucking time. Yeah. And it's missing the verb. Somebody says back to you like, how did I not know that the verb wasn't in the sense, I've done this, you know, I've read it 10 times, yeah. So the same is true for audio, you can't record it, and then listen to yourself and catch the mistakes you making, you just need other eyes and ears on the project. And so that's what we're going with a production company affords you bluenose has got dedicated engineers, and production coordinators, and proofers and beta listeners. And all of that goes into so that the narrator also can then focus on what narrating just telling the story, it's hard enough to do it, like by yourself in a studio, because you still have this technical element of recording yourself, you have to be aware of the glorious thing would be we have directors all the time, they just go into a studio and they handle all that. And then you really are just focused on the storytelling. That of course gets very cost prohibitive and time prohibitive, because you just got more things you need to sort of schedule that way. But yeah, I and I will say from the author perspective, as a crazy author, which I will call myself, it's nice to have someone to be like, is this the right thing I'm supposed to be like, because I want I must emailed you with the first book like 10. just freaking out. And then below that, like how, what's it like dealing with nervous authors? Well, it's, it's a space that I really enjoy, because I come creatively from a similar place where I actually prefer to work collaboratively, the background in comedy, and I did some stand up. But most of the stuff I did was improv and sketch with a group of people, because I love finding people I trust and respect and being able to bounce ideas off of them, it creates this, both this sort of safety net, and also this motivator, I want to be great in front of them. And I also feel more confident about my work when they have vetted it. And so I think it's really great to have authors that care about what the final product sounds like, you can go to some other production companies sell your audio rights, take your small chunk of change, and then the final product is in their hands. And it is what it is. And that works for some people. And other folks say, look, I, these heroes, this woman, these are people I created, I spent time with these folks, and I want to have some say over how that story comes to life in audio. And we provide that service, we have the kind of care and the sort of time to give those authors. So you may think it's crazy. But for me, I just see somebody that has created something they're proud of that wants to make sure that this other element of their creation is also something they're going to be proud of. I got no problem with that. Hey, thanks for not thinking I'm crazy. All right, now we've gotten through most of the technical stuff outside of producing and narrating and everything Do you read romance, I don't read fucking anything. It is an occupational hazard that I never saw coming. And that is that I don't really get a chance to read for pleasure. And one of the one of the problems is, even when I want to, like I'll pick. So if I'm going to read for pleasure, I read a physical book, or I read a magazine, a physical magazine, because our job gets done entirely on iPads because they're quiet, there's no page turning sounds, and it's very easy to send PDFs back and forth. And you can annotate inside of PDF programs really easily all of my work is done, I really miss the tactile experience of reading. That's what I love. A lot of my retention as a reader comes from knowing where I am on the page, also where I am physically in the book, I can remember sentences because I remember O's in the top left third of the page, I was probably a third of the way through the book when I was holding it there. And it was that line about oceans or whatever. Like those physical cues helped me now I'm just fucking scrolling. And it's just a white screen with black letters all the time. So if I'm going to read, I want the physical experience, it's extremely important to me. And I have found that I, I'm just a very anxious person. I'm a perfectionist and I if there's a project that I have upcoming, and I have the script for it, if I've not prepped it, and I'm reading something a pleasure the whole time. I'm just sitting here thinking, why are you reading this book for yourself? You need to read somebody else's book so you can record it later. Great. Thank you. So I've also found I think, yeah, it ruins it. So magazines have been helpful for me, just because the slightly shorter form content I can take in and then I can see where the finish line is right away and then we can get to there and then I can get to work. Whereas if I get myself immersed in a great book, then I'm like whoa, now I'm way behind and now and then I'm like, why am I not narrating this book? Like that's awesome. I'm a voracious, voracious reader. I have reading has been such an important part of my life. So on the one hand, of course, I am so over the moon that reading is a part of my it's still Part of my life and it is my career. So I love that part of it. And then I also kind of miss not getting to read for pleasure, but then also, I end up getting to read a lot of books that I never would have found on my own. And I'm like learning crazy, cool shit, or I find some author that I really respect and I'm like, dude, I would never have been down this rabbit hole and never would have found this sub genre, I never would have figured out that this area era of history or science river is of any interest to me. And here I am fascinated by it. So that part of it can be kind of cool. Is that what made you decide to dip your toe in and become a co author yourself? I have to say, I've talked about it on other episodes. Your book was the first pure male POV book that I've ever read. And, and I have to be honest, I avoid them. And not love Lauren Blakely, so much I would have read and realize that it was male only and I would have been like, I don't know, I'll just pass on it. But that I started listening. This is awesome. What made you decide? Well, so so I think it's interesting that you say that and I two things that I learned. Even though I've read literally 500 romance novels at this point, there's certain things that even though you see certain tropes and ideas and styles and I don't know, sort of modes, populate book after book, a lot of the times I guess I still wasn't really quite sure why some of the things were happening. And one of the things that Lauren was really great about impressing upon me is this understanding of the female gaze, in the book, and even in a male POV, there still needs to be some access to the female gaze and some sense of what the female perspective of this moment is. Because I talked to her about how sometimes when I'm doing some of the male sections, it comes across as like very feminine to me, I'm like, dude, like, up like, I'm like, okay, but like, this is, I don't know, any guy anywhere that thinks these thoughts or comes at this moment this way. And, and Lauren pointed out again, that we you've, you still need to find a way to incorporate the female gaze into the male perspective. And that is tricky. That's what I do. I like that term. When we discuss it here. We call it being reality adjacent. Like, we want our men realistic, but not really. But even if there's, it's so weird, it's fluid, you know, and some of those things go back and forth. Because when she and I were writing, like, I would send a draft of a section over to her and she would write me back and be like, no guy, no guy recognizes shoes, or, you know, the cut of her top that way. And I was like, fucking this guy does, I just wrote it, I wrote that. So like, some guy did notice it. This one, just like now it's too much. It's like enough with the shoes. I'm like, okay, I don't know. So again, still, it's still kind of goes back and forth a bit, I think the writing of how to get lucky was sort of, part of it was kind of putting my money where my mouth was, and like having read so many of these, and you get this feeling in your head, as you're narrating, you're like, I could do this, or like you read one book healing, I could probably do this better than this person. And it's like, Okay, then do it accurately. And it really helps. Lauren is one of the most like fiercely organized and professional people that I've ever met. And so I knew, like, if she wanted to work with me, I was like, this is gonna get done. If she wants to do it, it will get done. And it was very important for me to have that kind of structure and schedule, and basically to have somebody that I respected because it meant that I was never gonna not turn something in that I had to work on. Because I was like, I'm not gonna tell her that I didn't do it. So yeah, that's awesome. You think you'd do it again, I've got two ideas, both for projects that I want to write by myself. One of them I've got a couple 1000 words and a full outline. And if I can learn to say no to enough projects, and carbon enough time for myself, or create the schedule that needed to create, then I'm really excited. I found a plotline that I'm really galvanized by and I feel as a story, I should tell, so I need to stop talking about it and start writing it. That's awesome. All right. Well, we've come to the end of our time, it has been great spending time with you and learning all the back doings of audio production. This is flown by thank you so much for having me. I yeah, I'm I tell people in my personal and professional life all the time. I love my job. I love it. And I'm so thrilled to be able to do what I do. And I can't thank you guys enough for giving me a platform to talk about it. Yeah, I just I'm excited to be able to collaborate with you and and excited to get these books out into the world and all of it's just fabulous. So thank you guys for doing what you do. And I really appreciate the invite. Thanks for having me. Wonderful. All right. Thank you everybody for listening to coast to coast romance. Joe's links will be in our show notes. Thanks for joining us tonight. Joe. It's very nice to meet you for having me was a pleasure. Thank you for listening to coast to coast romance. I'm Ann Jensen, and I'm Skyler West. If you'd like to contact either of us, our links are located in the show notes. Have a great week. Thanks so much for joining us.