Author: X. Culletto
Narrator: Lori Prince
Length: 5 hours 45 minutes
Publisher: Xela Culletto⎮2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Alexandra Blackwood is minding her own troubled life when she unknowingly gets caught up in an extraterrestrial conflict. Ronan, a human with his own alien-entangled past, has been keeping an eye on her and sets out to help her escape looming abduction, and maybe win her heart.
Xela is a working mother of three, living in the Utah. She teaches secondary English and after talking to students for years about following their dreams and doing whatever it takes to achieve them, she decided to take her own advice and complete her lifelong goal of writing a novel. The idea of life on other planets has always fascinated her, and she wondered what they would think of humanity, which is what spawned the idea for the plot of “Understanding the Stars”. When she’s not playing with her kids, or sorting through the endless laundry, you’ll find her watching The Walking Dead, horseback riding, or working on her next book.
Lori Prince is a classically trained actor with a BFA from Syracuse University. She has performed Off-Broadway as well as at top regional theaters including; The Denver Center, Alliance Theater Company and PlayMakers Repertory Company among others. She has also appeared on Television in Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and Are We There Yet?. Her voice work includes various characters in the feature film Epic, as well as additional dialogue recorded for over 50 feature films and TV shows.
Ronelle Antoinette on May 30:
When did you know you wanted to be an author? What drew you to this genre?
I’ve always had an aptitude for writing, and completing a novel has been on my bucket list for a while now, so finishing Understanding the Stars after three years of work, was quite an achievement for me. I have always loved reading, but there are some stories that I would like to read that I have never found at the bookstore, which is why I turned to writing. The young adult genre has always appealed to me, which is a big part of the reason I became a secondary English teacher–YA books are so fun to discuss with people!
What appealed to you about having an audiobook version of “Understanding the Stars”, in addition to the print/ebook copy?
When I finished Understanding the Stars, I had no intention of making it an audiobook until a friend asked me about it. I began looking into the process and was amazed at how big the market was for audiobooks. Wanting to reach a new audience was my primary reason for having it converted to audio.
I’ve always thought to get to know what makes an author tick, you have to get to know them as a reader. So, what were your favorite books growing up? Was there one you read over and over?
Great question! I read thousands and thousands of books growing up (the result of an early bedtime and no wifi). Ones that stick out to me are Wait ‘Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and The Black Stallion by Walter Farley.
Have you evre had reader’s block? What did you do to get past that?
Writer’s block? I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, because I always begin with the end in mind. The general shape of the story–the major milestones–are set before I begin a story, but I allow the details to form as I go.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Now that I have one book out, I’m finding the second one that much easier to write. Writing the first book is something of a blind process, as you aren’t sure what’s going to happen or what should happen when the writing process if over. Now that I know how to go about releasing a book, I think my subsequent novels will benefit from that knowledge.
What have you learned about the audiobook process that you didn’t know/wish you knew before?
I had no idea how many eager narrators are out there looking for their next project. I also wasn’t aware how much is involved in creating an audiobook for the narrator–with the varying voices, editing, etc.
What resources (finding a narrator, promoting, etc) have you used that you’d recommend to other authors looking to create an audiobook?
ACX, the biggest audiobook creation website I’m aware of, is SO user-friendly, so that’s an excellent place to start. I would also recommend AudioBookBoom for getting the ACX codes into the hands of willing listeners.
As a reviewer, good editing is sorta my soapbox. What was your editing process?
I love editing (the English teacher in me). I love to write and rewrite a sentence until it sounds exactly the way I want it to. I tend to do this as I write, so when I go back to look over the book as a whole, I don’t find I have a huge editing project on my hands.
I always like to turn the floor over to authors so they can introduce themselves to my readers in their own words.
Writing Understanding the Stars and having Lori work with me on the audiobook has been a dream come true for me! It was a lot of work and sacrifice (I’m as addicted to Netflix as the next person), but it’s been SO fun getting a story out there and having readers and listeners respond.
On a personal note, I am a mother of three children, live in Utah, and my hobbies (other than writing) include painting, cooking, and horseback riding.
May 29: Read Day and Night
May 30: Ronelle Antoinette
May 31: Chapter Break
Jun. 2: Reading for the Stars and Moon
Jun. 5: Lomeraniel
Jun. 6: The Bookworm Lodge
Jun. 8: SMADA’s Book Smack
Jun. 9: The Book Addict’s Reviews
Jun. 10: Jorie Loves A Story
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