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Authors From AUDIOGO

Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman believes that in times of pain or uncertainty, even in cheerful times, “we need to find enriching ways to transcend.” For Ackerman--poet, essayist, and author of such inspiring and passionate works as AN ALCHEMY OF MIND: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain and THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE--transcendence has always meant losing herself in the wonders of nature.

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Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright

In her new book, THE MIGHTY & THE ALMIGHTY, Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and American Ambassador to the United Nations, reflects on the convergence of politics, religion, and morality in the modern world. At a time when differing religious concepts clash throughout the world, she believes we can transform religion into a force for global stability. It’s an important and serious book written by an important and serious woman who knows how to leaven the analysis with humor. Early in the book, she quips that as a woman of Jewish heritage who was raised Catholic and married Episcopalian and who has worked frequently in the Muslim world, she may be uniquely qualified to write about religion in world politics.

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Stephen E. Ambrose

Stephen E. Ambrose

Stephen E. Ambrose is a patriot, arguably the most brilliant, compelling and least abashed patriot publishing history in this country today. He’s also a partisan of the spoken word.

“I’m a great fan of audiobooks,” said Ambrose, who had most recently listened to a Shelby Foote Civil War history. “I do a lot of driving across the country, and I always listen to a book. Reading a book on a computer is going to ruin your eyes. I think audiobooks are a leap forward.”

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood—internationally acclaimed novelist, poet, winner of numerous literary awards, champion of women's rights, and passionate environmentalist—tells AudioFile, "Print is a score for voice, the way a piece of paper with music on it is a score for music. Until somebody is reading the page or playing the music, those marks just lie there. Reading the book out loud is the bridge between the oral storytelling tradition and the book in print."

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Jean M. Auel

Jean M. Auel

Fans of Jean M. Auel’s hugely successful Earth’s Children series have been waiting 10 years for the fifth book about Ayla and her companion, Jondalar, in Pleistocene Europe.

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Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg, known for her life-affirming books about people in crisis, likes to listen to audiobooks with one exception: her own works. “The truth is I don’t listen to my own tapes because it’s hard to hear someone read your work in a way that you wouldn’t. So with my own work I tend to just listen a little to hear what the voice is like.”

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John C. Bogle

John C. Bogle

A career as an author is not something John C. Bogle ever envisioned.

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Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian

For as long as he can remember, Chris Bohjalian has loved stories—reading them, writing them and hearing them. So it was with great pleasure that the 39-year-old author discovered the world of audiobooks a couple years ago. He was especially grateful because, as a relative newcomer to rural Vermont, he found himself spending huge amounts of time in the car. With audiobooks, though, it was like having a storyteller in the passenger seat riding along with him.

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Barbara Taylor Bradford

Barbara Taylor Bradford

When she had the idea for her first novel, the rags-to-riches story of the indomitable Emma Harte, Barbara Taylor Bradford sat down and wrote a 12-page outline, which she showed to a friend. By chance, he happened to be seeing an American editor who "was looking for a big, old-fashioned family saga." Bradford met with the editors, who said they wanted 200 pages. When she appeared with two shopping bags and 1,592 pages of manuscript, they were overwhelmed. However, she had to wait only two days before they bought the book. After some editing, A Woman of Substance exploded onto the publishing scene in 1979.

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Simon Brett

Simon Brett

“Do you re-read your own books, Mr. Brett?” It’s a question which, as an author, I’m asked surprisingly often, and it’s one to which, these days, I tend to give the answer, “No and yes.”

No, I’m not one of those writers whose idea of a pleasant evening is luxuriating in his own prose, marveling at the euphony of its juxtapositions, the aptness of each sparkling image. I don’t have that kind of attitude about my work. I enjoy the writing process, but I also enjoy drawing a firm line under the end of a book and getting the wretched thing off my desk. For months of composition I live and dream with the book’s characters. But the minute I finish, I depart abruptly from their world and return to my own.

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Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson

The hardest part of recording audiobooks, author Bill Bryson told AudioFile, was learning to keep very still when he speaks. “I tend to gesticulate.” The noise of his clothes rustling as he moved was captured on tape. “Each time I did it, I had to go back and repeat,” said Bryson, who has now recorded five of his books, including the new IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY, about his Australian travels.

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James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke, as listeners might expect, grew up in Cajun country. He and his cousin, the brilliant short story writer André Dubus, were born four months apart. Burke’s own literary accomplishments are no small feat. Referred to by Jonathan Kellerman as “the Faulkner of crime fiction,” Burke started his career with the publication of Half of Paradise in 1965. Not until his 1987 novel, Neon Rain, did he introduce Cajun cop Dave Robicheaux, who has consistently put Burke on the bestseller lists. Burke’s writing has a slow, methodical pace, like the flow of wind across the bayou, the vice and violence never gratuitous or sensational.

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Augusten Burroughs

Augusten Burroughs

With snappy patter, self-deprecating humor, and sharp-tongued wit, Augusten Burroughs has explored his life, from tortured adolescence through rehab to recovery. His personal remembrances, RUNNING WITH SCISSORS (2002), DRY (2003), and MAGICAL THINKING (2004), have become international bestsellers. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Massachusetts, Burroughs credits lying on the floor and listening to his mother’s recordings of old radio shows for some of his happiest early memories. “Audiobooks bring back that experience.”

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Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros is not only the award-winning author of two novels, countless essays, and poetry, she’s also the narrator of her own work on audio. A devoted audiobook listener, Cisneros prefers hearing authors narrate their own work. “I like to hear the writer. I feel angry when I find the narrator isn’t the person who wrote the work. Even in fiction.” She notes that not all authors will be good narrators, but she still feels strongly that “you find out something about the author just in the way that she expresses herself.”

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Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell

“In the end,” says Bernard Cornwell, “we all write what we like to read.”

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Catherine Coulter

Catherine Coulter

For 30 years Catherine Coulter has been entertaining fans with widely popular novels, including historical romances, romantic suspense, and suspense thrillers. In 1988 she hit the New York Times Bestseller List for the first time with her historical novel MOONSPUN MAGIC. She has now made the list 59 times.

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Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie

How did an American girl who grew up in Texas wind up writing one of the most critically acclaimed British mystery series being published today? “I’ve been asked that question so many times I really ought to have a pat answer by now,” says Deborah Crombie, author of the enormously popular Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series.

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Sandra Dallas

Sandra Dallas

As her readers may suspect from the quilting scenes in her books, Sandra Dallas is a quilting fan. But she hasn’t practiced the skill in years and says she never was an accomplished quilter. Her appreciation is for quilting as an art form.

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John Dean

John Dean

Author and political analyst John W. Dean—yes, that John Dean, of Watergate fame—has listened to audiobooks for decades. “I listen all the time,” he says. “I listen when I shave in the morning. I listen when I brush my teeth at night. I listen in the car and when I’m exercising.” With a gentle laugh, Dean adds, “I guess that makes me an audio bibliophile, or it is biblio audiophile? Or whatever.”

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E.L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow

THE MARCH opens with the advance of Sherman’s army on a Georgia plantation. It is “a creature of a hundred thousand feet,” a “rhythmic tromp,” a “symphonious clamor,” but to the band of slaves waiting outside the plantation house it is the sound of freedom. Like all E.L. Doctorow’s novels, THE MARCH is rich in language, characters, and story lines, and is a feast for the eyes, ears, and imagination. On the eve of the publication of his tenth novel and the unabridged audiobook, narrated by Joe Morton, Doctorow talks about the ways his new work evokes the voices of the Civil War and nineteenth-century literature.

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Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

“I’ve been a lifelong reader,” says Roger Ebert in his blog (blogs.suntimes.com/ ebert/2011/08/my_new_voice_belongs_to.html). “My love for physical books is old and deep. I also love audiobooks and have listened to probably 300 of them. Sometimes they stay with me better than the printed ones.”

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Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan, author of the novels THE INVISIBLE CIRCUS, LOOK AT ME (a National Book Award finalist), and THE KEEP, and the short story collection EMERALD CITY, thought she wanted to be an archaeologist--until she went on her first dig.

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Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich

The Voices of Janet Evanovich: Conversations with Lorelei King and C.J. Critt Janet

Evanovich’s hugely popular Stephanie Plum series and romances have an avid following on audio. AudioFile recently caught up with narrators Lorelei King and C.J. Critt to ask them what it’s like to bring these audiobooks to life. - 2009 Update

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Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler likes to immerse himself in his subjects—spending whole years in Japan (LEARNING TO BOW, 1991), at Oxford and Cambridge (LOOKING FOR CLASS, 1993), in the circus (THE BIG TOP, 1995), and on the road with Garth Brooks and Wynonna Judd (DREAMING OUT LOUD, 1998). With his 2001 book, WALKING THE BIBLE, Feiler explored the meaning of Western religion by traveling through the Middle East, using the Pentateuch as his guidebook and identifying the physical locations associated with the Garden of Eden, Noah, Abraham, and Moses by visiting them and walking in biblical characters’ footsteps. The next year he followed up with ABRAHAM, a study of the patriarch from the points of view of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Just weeks before the television series based on WALKING THE BIBLE began airing on PBS, AudioFile caught up with the author and world traveler.

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Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder

After listening to author Joseph Finder a while, you realize he has the thriller instinct. When he describes his love for writing mainstream mysteries, his voice becomes animated. “I wanted to write ever since I was about 9,” he says.

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Nicci French

Nicci French

In most of their novels, the husband and wife duo of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (alias Nicci French) entertains readers with clever, suspenseful tales of damsels in distress. Awful things seem to happen to the nicest women. “A lot of our heroines,” Nicci Gerrard explains to AUDIOFILE, “don’t want to be in the thriller they’re in. They really want to be in a romance novel.”

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Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Technically, the first person to hear Neil Gaiman’s new novel, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, was his wife, musician Amanda Palmer. Gaiman handwrote the first draft of the novel while Palmer was far away in Australia.

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Lisa Gardner

When one imagines the type of person who writes dark thrillers about FBI agents and serial killers, abduction, abuse, and violence, Lisa Gardner is not the kind of person who comes to mind. She’s the kind of person you’d expect to meet at toddler time.

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Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen had published nine romantic suspense novels when she began formulating a medical thriller. Then she was told publishers only want medical thrillers written by doctors. Gerritsen responded, “ I am a doctor!” What followed was a string of highly successful medical thrillers: Harvest (1996), Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), and Gravity (1999). The Surgeon, Gerritsen’s latest novel, introduces Boston detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli, as well as trauma physician Catherine Cordell.

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Daniel Goleman

2009 Best Voice in AUTHOR-READERS: Ecological Intelligence

Getting into journalism was a “complete accident,” says the author of SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE, an exhaustive and important study on the neuroscience of human interactions, released last year. After finishing his Ph.D. at Harvard in the 1970s, Daniel Goleman didn’t find a psychology teaching job he really wanted, so he abandoned academia when offered an editor position at Psychology Today. Writing advice from his managing editor led to 12 years as a science writer for The New York Times and seven books, most of which are available on audio.

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Robert Harris

When one thinks of ancient Rome, one tends to think of gladiators facing off against wild beasts. But as Robert Harris reminds us in his new historical novel, IMPERIUM, Rome in 1st century B.C. was a hotbed of devious politicians facing off against each other. They may have had names such as Pompey, Caesar, and Marcus Cicero, but their intrigues are familiar to anyone who reads today’s headlines. In IMPERIUM, Harris brings to life the rise of famed orator Cicero and his battle against corrupt politicians, including Julius Caesar.

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Ursula Hegi

“I very much wanted these books on audio,” Ursula Hegi said. In fact, the author is so committed to audiobooks as an art form that she has abridged two of her own books herself, STONES FROM THE RIVER and THE VISION OF EMMA BLAU. Speaking from her home in New York City, Hegi explained, “Originally it was planned that someone else would abridge STONES and then I would do the narration. But I felt that I knew it so well—from the inside—that I should create the abridgment myself.” When she writes, Hegi said, she revises each manuscript fifty to a hundred times. “I treat my writing as if it were poetry,” she said. “There cannot be one superfluous word.” When working on her abridgments, Hegi does about three passes on the work—excising whole characters and scenes in some spots, cutting down sentence by sentence in others. The last pass moves in on the “final count,” which reduces the book to about 30 percent of the original.

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Carol Higgins Clark

Carol Higgins Clark

It takes a lot of moxie to model your main character’s mother after your own, especially when your real-life mother has earned critical acclaim in your chosen field. Carol Higgins Clark, however, sees more fun than competition, more affection than comparison in her relationship with bestselling mystery author Mary Higgins Clark. So when Carol’s editor suggested she make private detective Regan Reilly’s mother a famous mystery writer, the daughter laughed and said, “Why not?”

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Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark

It takes a lot of moxie to model your main character’s mother after your own, especially when your real-life mother has earned critical acclaim in your chosen field. Carol Higgins Clark, however, sees more fun than competition, more affection than comparison in her relationship with bestselling mystery author Mary Higgins Clark. So when Carol’s editor suggested she make private detective Regan Reilly’s mother a famous mystery writer, the daughter laughed and said, “Why not?”

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Alice Hoffman

Though many listeners have discovered the work of Alice Hoffman through her most recent books —TURTLE MOON; LOCAL GIRLS, made into a movie; and HERE ON EARTH, an Oprah selection — she’s no overnight sensation. She’s been writing and publishing for 25 years. A trip to the fiction section of Borders reveals nearly a whole shelf of her work.

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P.D. James

P.D. James says that the detective novel is the modern equivalent of a medieval morality play. A fearful act, namely murder, is committed, which tears the social fabric and damages individual lives. Through the actions of a judicious investigator, the killer is identified and peace is restored.

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Iris Johansen

In the early 1980s, with her children leaving home for college, Georgia homemaker Iris Johansen began filling her empty nest with the array of fictional characters who populate the romance novels she wrote for the Bantam Loveswept series. Today, more than 60 books later, Johansen is well known as the author of contemporary romance, historical romance, and forensic thrillers. This spring marked the publication of her twelfth thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan. Hot off the presses this summer will be SILENT THUNDER, a stand-alone thriller and her first collaboration with her son, Roy.

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Edward P. Jones

“That 1901 winter, when the wife and her husband were still new to Washington, there came to the wife, like a scent carried on the wind, some word that wolves roamed the streets of the city after sundown . . . ” So begins Edward P. Jones’s new collection of short stories, ALL AUNT HAGAR’S CHILDREN. It is no mistake that that first line evokes the cadence of an oft-told fable. For, while the stories in Jones’s collection are specifically about black people moving from the rural South to Washington, D.C., they explore common and enduring themes of love and longing, kindness and loss, understanding and misunderstanding.

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Robert Jordan

Decorated Vietnam War veteran Robert Jordan began putting quill to parchment in 1977, and hasn't stopped since. Storytelling is in Jordan's blood. The South Carolina native, who taught himself to read at age 4 and began reading Jules Verne and Mark Twain at age 5, has written novels set during the American Revolution, a dozen adventures featuring Robert E. Howard's Conan, and, most notably, 12 epic novels (11 primary novels and one prequel) in his Wheel of Time fantasy series. "The spoken word is the basis for all storytelling," he told us from his 1797 home in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina. "My father and my uncles were storytellers. When we went fishing or hunting, there was always storytelling at night. I grew up with that oral tradition. I've always thought that my writing lends itself to being read aloud for that very reason."

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Vernon E. Jordan Jr.

One could say that the new memoir of civil rights leader and lawyer Vernon Jordan began life as an audio production. After developing an outline, he says that he turned on a tape recorder and “just talked and talked and talked.” The result, written in collaboration with author and law professor Annette Gordon-Reed, is Vernon Can Read!, a moving and enlightening journey through pre- and post-civil rights America.

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Sebastian Junger

When the audio version of War was being produced, author Sebastian Junger decided to do the reading himself.

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Stuart M. Kaminsky

“What makes me an effective storyteller? That’s a good question,” says Stuart Kaminsky. “I don’t know. I’ve loved stories since I was 12 years old. I loved movies. I loved radio. I loved reading. I always read, and telling stories was what I wanted to do. My mind was always overflowing with stories.”

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Cassandra King

Audiophiles, meet one of your own: the delightful Southern author Cassandra King. “I listen all the time while traveling, “ she says. “To me, it’s a way of enriching a book.”

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Ross King

Ross King’s THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS is not only a well-structured narrative that encompasses a dozen dramatic years of French art history and controversy. It is also a richly detailed tour of France’s colorful Second Empire, a period of high taste and high tragedy, dramatic on the page and even more dramatic to the ear.

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Michael Koryta

Suspense novelist Michael Koryta says there are times when audiobook narrators are able to interpret his work in ways that add layers he didn’t realize were in the story.

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Beau L'Amour

Like his father before him, Beau L'Amour is a master of detail. Louis L'Amour's legendary and persistently bestselling body of work created a lasting and convincing sense of authenticity by getting the details just right. And it's in the details that one finds good audio drama.

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Elmore Leonard

Quintessential crime novelist Elmore Leonard has been clearing the criminal underbrush of Detroit, Michigan—with side junkets to sunnier climes like California and Florida and such foreign venues as Rwanda and Cuba—for more than a generation. Scams and murders have alternated and meshed as tawdry tapestries upon which he’s sprinkled his rowdy band of lowlifes with their deliciously economical chatter. Like the late Ted (Dr. Seuss) Geisel, Leonard began telling tales on the printed page while toiling as an advertising copywriter. "I wrote in my drawer," the writer, 78, says. "I didn’t want to get caught writing something else when I should have been writing Chevrolet ads—which were hard to get into, I’ll tell you."

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Elinor Lipman

Elinor Lipman has been asked the darnedest questions while out on tour to promote I CAN’T COMPLAIN, her first collection of personal essays. “They want to know: ‘What is the first line of your match.com profile?’ or ‘Are you dating anyone?’ What am I supposed to say? ‘Oh no, that’s private?’” laughs the author, who is best known for perspicacious funny novels featuring sharp social satire and happy endings. “I blush, but I figure I asked for it.”

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Ed McBain

Ed McBain is a man who knows no rest. With more than 80 novels to his name—50 that have been adapted to audio-book—he continues to put in a full day’s work despite having recently completed his latest book, Candyland, co-written with another award-winning author, Evan Hunter. What makes this collaboration unique is that Ed McBain and Evan Hunter are the same person.

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Geraldine McCaughrean

"I should declare at the outset that I am a passionate fan of audiobooks. I devour them. So I'm not an impartial witness," says popular author Geraldine McCaughrean. "A well-read book is like a theater performance mounted just for the listener--especially multivoiced recordings, such as Full Cast makes in the States." McCaughrean declares, "I have a passion for nice voices. A well-spoken and mellifluous voice is as much music to me as Elgar or Copland."

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Jacquelyn Mitchard

Jacquelyn Mitchard’s third novel was supposed to be a ghost story. “And it was a real good ghost story, too,” she says. But she ultimately abandoned that project when a dramatic legal case in Wisconsin that raised questions about family and family bonds began to haunt her. The new novel, A THEORY OF RELATIVITY, tells the story of 24-year-old Gordon McKenna, who is devastated when his beloved sister and her husband are killed in a car accident, leaving behind a baby girl. In the aftermath, both he and his parents find solace in his decision to adopt the baby. But when the child’s paternal grandparents begin a fight for custody, the ensuing battle reveals that the young man is not considered by state statutes to be a blood relative of the child because he himself had been adopted.

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Christopher Moore

How does a nice boy from Toledo, Ohio, heavily influenced as a sixth grader by the satire in Mad magazine, become a bestselling author living the Northern California and Hawaiian lifestyle and have so much fun doing it? Spend some time talking with Christopher Moore, author of FLUKE, THE STUPIDEST ANGEL, YOU SUCK, and LAMB: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO BIFF, CHRIST’S CHILDHOOD PAL (among other provocative titles), and you will soon find that all of this seems to make complete sense in the wildly odd world he inhabits.

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John Mortimer

Novelist/playwright John Mortimer’s writings share a preoccupation with lawyers (he himself is a barrister), a satiric
edge softened by the gentleness of his wit and a whimsical melancholy underlying his humor. Moreover, he writes for the ear. He composed his first play, The Dock Brief, for radio; only later did it gain success with Michael Hordern on the West End and Broadway. Even his novels and memoirs seem designed to be read aloud. Perhaps that’s why he’s one of England’s most “audiobooked” living authors. Somewhere around 30 Rumpole of the Bailey titles alone are currently available. Mortimer’s favorite narrators of his own works are Leo McKern and Martin Jarvis. He, too, has stepped to the mike from time to time recording his memoirs. (Alas, Mortimer’s readings are available only in the U.K.) AudioFile was, therefore, pleased to ask Yuri Rasovsky, who produced the first American radio production of The Dock Brief, to phone him on our behalf.

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Deborah Norville

Two weeks before her high school graduation, Deborah Norville’s ambition of becoming an attorney changed abruptly after watching a national television crew working hard to set up a telecast. “They enjoyed it and were just as chipper and friendly at the end of the day, and I thought, ‘Whoa, there’s something about this business!’” After graduating magna cum laude from a journalism school in her native Georgia, she held TV anchor jobs in Atlanta and Chicago until NBC tapped her at age 28 to head a morning news program.

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Joyce Carol Oates

"Audiobooks are wonderful inventions," says the award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates. "People are often so enthralled by them that they’re disappointed when their trips end. I’ve often sat in our driveway listening to the ending of something—reluctant to break the spell. Obviously, we all love to be told stories, especially by skilled professional storytellers."

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Nuala O'Faolain

Sharing the good news of middle age is Nuala O'Faolain's purpose in her new memoir, Almost There. It's meant to be a celebration of life. She says, "I hope that listeners hear through the Irish accent to the universal story of potential and happiness in the middle years." A work of passion and optimism, this is the second autobiographical work O'Faolain has recorded; the first was Are You Somebody? Although she doesn't listen to audiobooks--"I've never made it a habit," she says--she thinks it's important for listeners to hear the author's voice.

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George Pelecanos

George Pelecanos knows the seamy streets of Washington, D.C., far from the government and legal offices of K Street, and he feels the rest of the world should know them as well.

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Louise Penny

When Louise Penny left a successful career in journalism with the CBC to pursue her dream of writing, she had writer’s block “for about five years.” She ended up on her couch eating gummi bears and watching a lot of “Oprah.” “And then,” she recalls, “a few things happened.”

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Douglas Preston

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

"Reading out loud is the purest and most ancient form of storytelling," says Douglas Preston, half of the Preston-Child team that has so far created nine novels. Their books cross the boundaries from thriller to horror to science fiction to mystery, creating a challenge for booksellers to pigeonhole them into a single genre. Co-author Lincoln Child explains, "In difficult times people seem to frequently turn away from real horrors to invented ones--horrors they can switch off when they feel like it. Our books aren't horror; they're techno-thrillers with a frisson of the supernatural."

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Bill Pronzini

Narrator Nick Sullivan interviews author Bill Pronzini about his work. Sullivan has narrated 17 of Pronzini’s novels.

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Ian Rankin

Sound emanates from Ian Rankin’s novels, whether in print or on audio. His books, featuring Detective Inspector John Rebus, are dark and edgy police dramas set in the author’s native Scotland. But instead of bagpipes you’re more likely to hear the Rolling Stones or The Cure.

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Kathy Reichs

How does Kathy Reichs manage to be both an accomplished forensic anthropologist and a bestselling author? It takes “organization and discipline; whenever I’m not on a case, in court, or on the road, I pretty much write all day,” says Reichs. “So far I’m able to do it.” Indeed she does. In her new adventure, GRAVE SECRETS, Tempe Brennan is sent to find the truth about a brutal massacre that happened in a Guatemalan village in 1982. Similarly, Reichs went to Guatemala in the year 2000 as part of a human rights research team with Clyde Snow, a renowned forensic anthropologist. She says, “My stories are derived from real cases I’ve worked on. The situation in the book was modified somewhat, but villagers really came and watched the excavation and removal of the bodies from the well.” As for the background of the village massacre, Reichs said that it was “pretty much as described; men had fled the village, and the women and children were rounded up by the soldiers and killed.” Many people she worked with had to flee the country, and things aren’t completely cleaned up there yet. She says, “The world is not aware of what is happening there.”

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Ruth Rendell

There’s no mystery about how celebrated mystery writer Ruth Rendell feels about audiobooks: “I think they’re wonderful.” But there’s a mystery surrounding the future of Rendell’s most famous creations, Kingsmarkham--that’s a small town south of London--and Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford, the main character in her long-running series of police procedurals. One news report recently suggested that after 22 cases for the venerable inspector, including his latest in THE MONSTER IN THE BOX, Rendell planned to put an end to him. But Rendell says that’s not the case.

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S.J. Rozan

S.J. Rozan is a Chinese buffet of delightful contradictions. Her books are probing and profound, but like her namesake, S.J. Perelman, her humor is witty and infectious. This pint-sized New York architect is neither. Chinese-American nor a macho male, but she writes effectively and credibly from both points of view. Of her five novels, three are written from the perspective of Chinatown private eye Lydia Chin, and two from that of corn-bred tough guy Bill Smith. NO COLDER PLACE was nominated for a Shamus Award and won the Anthony for Best Novel in 1997.

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Richard Russo

When Richard Russo does a book reading, he holds the crowd in the palm of his hand. The great warmth and humor of his writing come through abundantly, and he is always a hit.

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Simon Schama

Few Americans know anything of the history of the slaves who joined the Tories during the Revolutionary War. Excluded from the liberty their masters so prized, they fought for England. The English, unlike the Colonists, promised manumission to slaves who would take arms in their cause. A monarchy that offered freedom seems to have been infinitely more attractive than a democracy that did not.

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Lisa Scottoline

When bestselling author Lisa Scottoline writes, she surrounds herself with sound. “I have on satellite radio and the Olympics, and dogs are barking in the background. It’s all good for me! At one point, I even had a baby monitor in the chicken coop so I could hear them, too!” Scottoline believes these sounds contribute energy and rhythm to her work. “I like the cacophony. I like voices. They help me think better.” Listening, she believes, helps her tap into what she calls the aural component of writing, helping it “ring true. When the writing rings false,” she explains, “you feel it in your ear.”

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Carol Shields

Carol Shields, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has narrated all three of her books—THE REPUBLIC OF LOVE, THE STONE DIARIES, and now her newest, LARRY’S PARTY. She always wanted to be an actress. “I always tried out for parts in the school play, but I was too self-conscious, and I didn’t have a loud voice.” When her publisher, Viking, offered the chance to read her works, she thought, “Here’s something I can do!”

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Anita Shreve

Author Anita Shreve told AudioFile that when she writes, she hears the language—the dialogue of her characters—in her mind. Whether it’s nineteenth-century voices and language, foreign accents or broken English, her muse communicates aurally, giving the author the rhythm and patterns of speech. The scenes and relationships she creates are vivid and uncontrived. The dialogue flows. This perhaps explains why Shreve’s books, and in particular FORTUNE’S ROCKS, set at the end of the nineteenth century in a New England seaside community, have such a finely tuned sense of time and place. They succeed as audiobooks because of these origins.

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Karin Slaughter

Mystery writer Karin Slaughter, whose latest is BEYOND REACH, wanted her Grant County series to have a Southern narrator who didn’t sound like a hillbilly. “Joyce Bean’s narration,” she says, “is close to the voices that I heard in my head. She does well with the subtleties of colloquialisms and accents. And she doesn’t make anyone sound like they’re from a trailer park.”

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Wilbur Smith

Historical novelist Wilbur Smith is “riding high on the wave” of popular and critical response following the release of THE QUEST, the latest in his bestselling Egyptian series. Smith admits he doesn’t listen to his books in the audio format, but he appreciates the fact that audiobooks are a boon to people who want to keep up with the adventures of his colorful and fantastic characters.

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Gary Soto

Award-winning poet, young adult novelist, and children's author Gary Soto still remembers the pleasure of being read to as a child. "In school I got dreamy every time my first-grade teacher, Miss Sue, would read to us. I just loved being read to. Later on, I recall our fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Sloan, reading PINOCCHIO to us after recess. We'd come in all hot and sweaty; then we'd just be chilling, listening to the story unfold."

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Julia Spencer-Fleming

Growing up a military brat, mystery author Julia Spencer-Fleming did a lot of traveling. She spent her childhood living all over the globe, from Mobile to Rome, from Stuttgart to Syracuse. Having finally settled in rural Maine with her husband and three children, she still doesn’t let the dust settle. Book tours, conventions, bookstore and library visits all mean a lot of time in the car. “And I listen to audiobooks when I do that. A lot!

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Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson may not be your average New York Times #1 bestselling author. He’s staked a claim to having written some of the most intricately detailed, philosophically dense, and tightly plotted novels of the past 25 years.

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Charles Todd

Sixteen years ago, not long after returning from a trip to England, Charles Todd, a native of Virginia, and his North Carolina-born mother, Caroline, set out together to write a book. They didn’t follow any rule book for collaboration. They aren’t the typical writing team. Rugged and wry-mouthed Charles is no momma’s boy by anyone’s definition. Neither is Caroline an overbearing mother. When they finished writing A TEST OF WILLS (1996), they had no idea whether anyone would read their book. Eighteen novels later, writing under the name “Charles Todd,” the pair has garnered multiple awards, several New York Times Notable Books inclusions, and other accolades.

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Adriana Trigiani

Audiobook narration is grueling work. I know. I've done it. You have to get in the booth and figure it out while you're inside."

Adriana Trigiani, one of seven children born to first-generation Italian-Americans, was born in Pennsylvania to a stockbroker and architectural librarian. The family moved when Adriana was young, to Big Stone Gap, Virginia. A big reader from an early age, she began reporting for a rural Virginia radio station when she was 16. She studied theater and founded an all-female comedy troupe while in college in Indiana, going on to TV comedy writing for Lily Tomlin and Bill Cosby, among others.In the late '90s, she began delving into fiction.

From the stories her dad would read to her when she was young to the audiobooks today, Trigiani believes "it's all theater, basically. Just the mode in which it comes to the audience is different."

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Lynne Truss

Lynne Truss says that people who care about grammar are generally thought “to have no sense of humor and to be hell to live with.” But if the author of EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES has her way, all of us will soon be able to use a semicolon correctly without feeling that we have become nigglers. In fact, says Truss, “Loving precise grammar may even make you a good person.”

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Minette Walters

A few years ago, British suspense novelist Minette Walters packed up the audio versions of all her books and sent them to the woman who had been headmistress of her childhood boarding school. “I got this sweet letter in reply.” Transforming her naturally exuberant tone into the precise diction of a 99-year-old retired schoolteacher, Walters recites the words from memory: “Dear Minette, I have listened with great interest to your books on audio. I couldn’t believe it; they are very imaginative. But I was a little concerned about the language. You used to be such a nice girl.”

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Jacqueline Winspear

In early October of 2006, mystery author Jacqueline Winspear was featured on the “CBS Morning Show,” highlighting how her success as a novelist was a dream come true. The native of Kent, England, who had variously worked as a flight attendant, a marketing rep, and in the academic publishing world, moved to the U.S. in 1990. One day, while stuck in traffic in San Rafael, California, a daydream began to solidify into the character and the story that became her first novel, MAISIE DOBBS (2003).

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Tom Wolfe

It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall—or on the leaf of a tree—a few years ago when novelist-essayist-social analyst Tom Wolfe strolled through the dorms and along the verdant terrain of a handful of university campuses to research I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS, his latest dissection of American society.

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