A Q&A with Steve Matchett

Many of you know Steve Matchett the Grand Prix mechanic, T.V. Broadcaster and writer. With the release of his new audiobook, The Mechanic’s Tale, we wanted to take a closer look at Matchett the narrator.

Tantor: Can you tell us the challenges of transitioning from being an F1 mechanic to being a writer, and later, a broadcaster?

Matchett: In both broadcasting and nonfiction writing, the biggest challenge is finding a way to explain a complex issue in a way that will appeal to a wide audience. Not all motor racing enthusiasts are engineers – but all are interested in learning more of the technology, learning more of race strategy et al. Orwell’s lesson is invaluable with this: share your knowledge with your audience, never preach to your audience.

Tantor: Did you always know that you wanted to put your books on audio? What was it like listening to it for the first time?

Matchett: The publishing landscape is changing by the day. Audiobooks are the future of publishing. No question about that. Personally, I’m keen to narrate my own works because my readership is already familiar with my voice from my twenty years of television broadcasting. It seems only natural for that same audience to hear my books narrated in that same voice.

Tantor: Tell us about narrating your own books. Has it been the experience you thought it would be?

Matchett: A very pleasant experience. The main difference twixt television announcing and book narration is one of pacing – audiobook narration allows me to tell the story without any time constraints. Typically, a television feature lasts no more than four minutes. The Mechanic’s Tale audiobook runs for thirteen hours. The pacing of the delivery, the cadence, the rhythms of audiobook narration are entirely different.

Tantor: How did you prep for a day in the booth?

Matchett: I removed my shoes.

Tantor: What would you say is the best part of narrating your own book?

Matchett: No one knows an author’s intent like the author. The memories of the episodes are all firsthand; the emotions revealed in the voice are, therefore, all perfectly genuine. An audience senses this; will always sense this.

Tantor: What do you love about audiobooks?

Matchett: A good audiobook narration envelopes the listener, the whole story, every nuance takes on an intimacy. The voice of the narrator, the inflection and cadence of the voice carries the story along – there is no need to reread a line of printed text to understand the author’s intent – the narration does that automatically, and so the story effortlessly carries itself along from chapter to chapter.

Tantor: What can we expect to see or hear from you in the future?

Matchett: I’ve just published my latest work, These Desired Things, a collection of short stories. The book has been very well received, and this title will be my next audiobook project.

Tantor: When you are not writing or recording your own books, what are your go-to genres and favorite authors?

Matchett: I’m a fan or Orwell, and a Hemingway enthusiast.

Tantor: What book could you read over and over and why?

Matchett:  Nineteen Eight-Four – Orwell. This book introduced me to literature, enthralled by it from the first time I read it in high school. Forty years later I still find time to read it once, twice a year. Entirely gripping. Especially the sections on Newspeak, where Orwell describes a dystopian world where information is constantly being stripped from the English language, making the populace less able to express themselves. Lamentably, I see and hear examples of just this every single day. Over and over, the tragic themes of this unendingly pessimistic novel have proved truly prophetic.

 

Listen to the audiobook today: http://bit.ly/2zpMq3R 

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July Audiobook Giveaway-Copycat

Read by Stephanie Bentley

Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novel’s biggest fan, she’s thrilled when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, giving her inside information others would kill for.

“Addie and Maya feel authentic; their charming interpersonal dynamic and the escalating pace of the plot result in a quick read. ” – Kirkus

 

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Jayne” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by July 31, 2018. Open to US only.

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Congratulations to Janie McGaugh, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
She Caused a Riot. Thank you to all that entered!

Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit

By Elizabeth Sylvia

Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit

Written by Jane Morris

It’s that time of year again. Trees are green with leaves, flowers are springing from the ground, and winter coats and boots have been banished to the back of the closet. In schools across the country, teachers and students alike are counting down the days (hours? seconds?) until the end of the school year. After a long ten months, summer vacation is almost here! What better way to celebrate than by kicking back and listening to Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit by Jane Morris?

This book is a frank, funny, and at times frightening account of the day-to-day life of a teacher working at a school located just outside a major American city. Be forewarned: this book will raise your blood pressure and make you fear for our future! But don’t let that scare you away, this is a highly entertaining book, and impossible to put down. Everything the author writes about seems so ridiculous, I had to keep listening to find out what else the students, parents, and administrators at this school could possibly do to top what she’s already described. And top it they will – every story is crazier than the last!

The occurrences she records range from the hilarious (classroom exchanges about highly inappropriate student questions), to the infuriating (helicopter parents haggling endlessly over grades), to the downright horrifying (cyberbullying and threats). In one memorable instance, Morris writes about a student who sells drugs in her class, and who tries to convince Morris that this would be a good way to supplement her teacher’s salary. On top of this, the student admits to plagiarizing a research paper. The student received no consequences for either infraction!

Narrator Amy McFadden provides wonderful wit, sarcasm, and sincerity in her delivery, bringing life to the unbelievable experiences of the author. This book was written by a teacher, but you don’t need to work in a school to appreciate (and commiserate with) the crazy, heartbreaking, and infuriating happenings that come with education in the 21st century. Download your copy today!

June 2018 Audiobook Giveaway She Caused a Riot

 

Read by Hannah Jewell

From badass writer Hannah Jewell, She Caused a Riot is an empowering, no-holds-barred look into the epic adventures and dangerous exploits of 100 inspiring women who were too brave, too brilliant, too unconventional, too political, too poor, not ladylike enough, and not white enough to be recognized by their shitty contemporaries. Read the full description.

“Jewell narrates the lives of these women with a righteous comic and conversational tone, and her enthusiasm is contagious…galvanizing and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is a riot on par with the women it presents. ” –Booklist

 

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Justice” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by June 30, 2018. Open to US only.

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Congratulations to Shiidon Hawley, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
I am Justice. Thank you to all that entered!

May 2018 Audiobook Giveaway I am Justice

Read by Dara Rosenberg

Diana Munoz Stewart presents the first book in the Band of Sisters series. Read full description

“A high-octane adventure…Muñoz Stewart discusses such sensitive topics as human trafficking, sexual violence, and sexism, which are rarely examined in romantic suspense, while the diverse members of the Parish family and their mission to protect women everywhere give these topics a little more hope than usual” – Booklist

 

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Justice” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by May 31, 2018. Open to US only.

________________________

Congratulations to Peter Berkrot, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Thank you to all that entered!

April 2018 Audiobook Giveaway The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Read by Chris Andrew Ciulla

The enthralling debut from bestselling novelist Michael Chabon is a penetrating narrative of complex friendships, father-son conflicts, and the awakening of a young man’s sexual identity.  Read the full description.

“Astonishing. . . . The voice of a young writer with tremendous skill as he discovers, joyously, just what his words can do.” —Alice McDermottNew York Times

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Pittsburgh” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by April 30, 2018. Open to US only.

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Congratulations to S Day, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
Walking the Americas. Thank you to all that entered!

March 2018 Audiobook Giveaway Walking the Americas

Read by Barnaby Edwards

Levison Wood’s famous walking expeditions have taken him from the length of the Nile River to the peaks of the Himalayas, and in Walking the Americas, Wood chronicles his latest exhilarating adventure: a 1,800-mile trek across the spine of the Americas, through eight countries, from Mexico to Colombia. Read the full description

“So often books on great treks seem to relish recounting only maladies, sexcapades, or drunken capers. Not so with Wood; he focuses on the people and places he and Alberto encounter, which makes for great reading.”Library Journal, Starred Review

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “America” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by March 31, 2018. Open to US only.

________________________

Congratulations to Linda Townsend, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of Heart Berries. Thank you to all that entered

Interview & Giveaway with the Narrator of the Aegis of Merlin Series, Joe Hempel

 

With the upcoming release of The Chimera Jar, book 3 in the Aegis of Merlin series written by James E. Wisher, we wanted to get to know its narrator, Joe Hempel. How did he prepare for the role beginning with book one, The Impossible Wizard?

What was it about the book that originally peaked your interest?

The Impossible Wizard and the entire Aegis of Merlin series peaked my interest due to its genre.  I love Urban Fantasy and this seemed to be just a bit different to not be pigeonholed into a typical Urban Fantasy standard. You still had the young sarcastic hero, but it seemed to have a bit of a darker edge surrounding what might be considered typical YA Urban Fantasy fare. That was my initial impression anyway, and I think I was right on that.

How do you prep before recording? Do you research the book/series or just dive in?

I prep the books just simply by reading them to get a feel for the story, how characters develop and also to mark any special character accents.  You don’t want to go in cold and find out on page 200 that your main character had an accent all along!  When it’s a series, and I know I’m doing more than the first book or so, I try to look at the descriptions of the other books in the series to see what’s being set up and see where the “overall” story arc is going.

How do you get into character and create character voices?

When getting into a character I tend not to just go “oh this character voice will work great”.  I don’t tend to think in those terms.  How does the character act, what could the speech patterns be like? Those are more of what I look for.  I mean, if it’s written in the text the guy has a deep foreboding voice, I don’t make him have a soprano voice, that wouldn’t work, but for the most part, I try to only slightly differentiate and “cast” the book based on how they are presented in the titles.

Is there a character that you enjoyed most in the book?

I think I enjoy, oddly enough, Lin Chang, one of the secondary characters, that actually has a bigger part in this particular book than the main character.  I relate a bit more to him I think.  He’s the guy that has zero magical ability that has to work side by side with women who DO and has to figure out how he can contribute, because he, for the first time really has nothing to offer.  So he’s trying to make himself useful in pretty much any way he possibly can.  This comes more into play as you move into books 2 and 3.

What can people look forward to in book one of the series?

I think the first thing people should know is that this book actually doesn’t take place around the main character of the series Conryu.  Most of it revolves around Lin Chang and his partner Terra.  Once the story is set up and you find out that Conryu Koda is the first male to have magical ability, everything hits the fan and people who don’t like that are out to kill him, so it follows them in trying to protect him.  You will find out more about Conryu though as the series goes on.

Describe this book [Impossible Wizard] in three words to prospective readers?

Fast, Fun, Sarcastic

How did you get started in narration/know you wanted to narrate?

Before I started, I was a book reviewer, I read and listened voraciously.  Having friends in the podcasting industry, doing podcast novels I always wanted to give this a shot.  It wasn’t until I wrote a review for an audiobook in an unfavorable light, and then got a response from the editor or author or narrator (I don’t really remember), that said “Well if you think you can do better, then you do it”,” that I decided to take the plunge.  I found that it suited me. I really enjoyed it.  And for the next 18 months, I threw myself into the work, getting coaching, going to workshops, getting into the author communities and making connections, etc.  And now, another 18 months later and this is my full-time job and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I get to work with so many wonderful people and great authors. I get to go not be myself for hours on end.  It’s an acting job, and it’s still kind of a marvel that I can do this for a living, I’m very grateful.

Do you only narrate books that you personally like or have read?

When I started out I would only do books that I liked. I mean, if I was going to do this part time I wanted to “enjoy” the books that I got.  As I moved into my career, I do take books that might not be as entertaining or books that I “personally” don’t connect with, because this is a job.  At the end of the day, you have to use your acting ability to connect with those moments that maybe you personally don’t agree with.  That’s okay!  To be 100% honest though, I haven’t done a book that I haven’t liked by the time I started in the booth and recording.  There is always “something” to connect to, and I think that only helps the listener connect to the material.


GIVEAWAY!!

And with the release of Book three, we want to give 2 winners a digital copy of book 1 and one grand-0prize winner will receive a digital copy of books 1, 2 and 3.

Send an email to contests@tantor.com with the word “Wizard” in the subject line. Last day for entries is Friday, March 2nd.

Congratulations to our grand-prize winner Rich Miller, and our book one winner’s Mandy LaMountain and Zib!

February 2018 Audiobook Giveaway Heart Berries

 Read by Rainy Fields

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Read the full description.

“I am so grateful to Terese Marie Mailhot, a fiery new voice, whose words devoured my heart.” —Kyo Maclear, bestselling author of Birds Art Life

 

 

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Berries” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by Feb 28, 2018. Open to US only.

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Congratulations to JB Aldrich Tantor, winner of last month’s giveaway of The Outcasts of Time. Thank you to all that entered.

Around the World in Eighty Wines

By Kaleigh Lawson

My love affair with wine started out  just because I really enjoyed drinking wine. At the time I couldn’t tell you much about the stuff. It wasn’t until I started blogging about fermented grapes that I started to realize how complex and quite fascinating wine really is.

My interest in wine has only continued to blossom, and to this day I continue my journey to learn more about wine and try different varietals. Did you know that a grape from one country can and does taste different from a grape grown in another country due to the climate and soil?  Naturally, when I came across Around the World in Eighty Wines I had to listen to discover more about wine and which wines that Mike Veseth sampled along his adventures.

The book is exactly what you think it is. It’s a detailed account of wine from different parts of the world with some fascinating facts and stories about wine—80 to be exact. While Veseth obviously wasn’t able to taste every single wine from the regions he visited (as cool as that would be) he was able to sip on varieties many of us will never have the opportunity to try. I guess I will have to just live vicariously through his description of Venissa wine produced in a lagoon in Venice, Italy and the Domaine de Bargylus made in Syria.

As far as the audio goes, I thought Eric Michael Summerer’s narration was very clear and easy to follow along. This is definitely something I recommend adding to your listening list!