Over at the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, my current SciFi Encounters column is about making science fiction romance audiobooks. I’m talking to actor Michael Riffle and actress Mary Fegreus, the stars of Escape From Zulaire, my newest book to be made into the audio format. The’re discussing how they prepared to bring the book to life and how it was to work together, including on the steamier scenes!
I’ve interviewed Michael before on this blog, when he narrated my Wreck of the Nebula Dream in 2013. I thought it might be fun to pull a few tidbits from the Archives, regarding things he shared with us then, about himself and that novel.
Excerpted From the March 2013 Archives:
Did you have a favorite scene in Wreck of the Nebula Dream? A scene that was especially challenging?
I think the most challenging scene was (SPOILERS!) in chapter seven when [Character X] didn’t survive. I have a really close relationship with my mother, and when the Character thought Nick was her son at the end I visualized my mother saying that and I actually had to stop recording for a few minutes because I got choked up. The dangers of making the work too personal, I guess!
VS: I remember when you were doing the recording you’d tweeted that Chapter made you a bit sad. I’m touched that the scene had such an effect.
I really enjoyed the way you brought each of the characters to life – not only Nick the hero but also wide variety of people he was trying to save from the wrecked ship. What goes on in your mind as you create each unique voice?
I think the biggest influence on what I try to do with my voice comes from your description of the characters. Not just how their voice is described, but how they hold themselves, what sort of personality do they have, how they are feeling during the whole process. I try to equate each character to someone I know, or a character I’ve seen in a movie or television, something to ground it in reality. I might be a little selfish by giving my own voice to Nick. It’s hard to NOT want to be the modest, able-bodied hero who gets the girl.
VS: I had a number of auditions submitted for the book and I have to say I knew you were Nick from the first word you said! It was amazing to “hear” my character and I was in no doubt who I HAD to have narrate the book LOL.
I came up with some unusual words and names, given that Wreck of the Nebula Dream was a science fiction novel. Was there anything or anyone you wished you could rename? (I promise it won’t hurt my feelings LOL)
Hahaha, I was so worried about mispronouncing things. I said D’nvannae wrong so many times when I started this. I think if I could change anything I’d change Mellure, and only because I had a terrible habit of adding a Y to it for no good reason. My mouth always wanted to say Meh-lyoor.
VS: And even though we did some advance discussion about pronunciation, we never discussed the name of the alien pirate race, Shemdylann. You say it differently than I heard it in my head when I wrote the book but the first time I heard how you said it, I knew you had it right, not me!
MR: Haha, and I changed my mind about it halfway through the chapter and had to go back and rerecord a big section.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
My mom said to me (on more occasions than she should probably have had to) “You only truly fail if you don’t try.” It’s a lesson I have a hard time learning, but it’s damn good advice.
A few quickfire questions:
Can’t live without: Technology – I’m a nerd to the bone.
Would love to work with: Nathan Fillion VS sez: Wouldn’t we all 🙂
Show I can’t miss: I’ve got Netflix, HuluPlus, and Crackle. I binge watch whole seasons of anything.
Best dinner I ever ate: Went outside of my price range to Cube on La Brea. Good lord. Delicious.
Nick drinks interstellar brandy and ice planet vodka (not in the same glass) – what’s your favorite drink?
I learned this one at the Irish Village in Brighton, Mass.
1 part Powers Irish Whiskey, 1 lemon wedge with cloves, 1 barspoon full of raw sugar, splash of Sandeman port
muddle in glass
add 4 parts boiling water
You have yourself a Hot Whiskey (or Hot Toddy) – Cures all ills, improves ailing throats, and is basically magical.
Buy Links for the audiobooks: