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June 19, 2012

An Interview with Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times bestselling author of novels including LOOK AGAIN, LADY KILLER,THINK TWICE, SAVE ME and EVERYWHERE THAT MARY WENT. She also writes a weekly column, “Chick Wit,” with her daughter Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa lives in the Philadelphia area. Here, she talks about the process of recording BEST FRIENDS, OCCASIONAL ENEMIES.

How long did it take you to record your book?

It took a few days and it was totally fun! What woman doesn’t like to hear herself talk? Plus, the books I recorded were about me, so it was me talking about myself! I quickly discovered why I’m divorced twice.

How did you keep your voice “in shape” during the recording sessions?

I didn’t. Our audio reviews were wonderful (thank you, AudioFile Magazine) and they all said my voice was down-to-earth and raspy. Because I’m down-to-earth and raspy. I sound like a pack-a-day habit and I’ve never smoked a day in my life. It’s my swag.

What word(s) did you stumble over?

Marlboro. For some reason, that showed up in one of my essays and I can’t say it. I had to be taught. It’s the R’s and L’s.

What did you enjoy about the recording experience?

Everything!  Obviously the best part was recording with my Daughter Francesca because she wrote many of the stories about our life as a typical mom and daughter. It was great to hear her tell stories about me that were so funny, yet so true, and also terrifying. Maybe I’m not as adorable as I thought?

Did your book “feel” different to you as you read it?

Honestly, no. It is my secret that I read every book I write aloud, as I’m writing it. That’s true whether it’s my thrillers, memoir, or more emotional stories.  I’m always my first audiobook reader, but I’m not always the one you hear, that’s all! So saying it aloud makes the writing better, and I believe that when people read, they essentially read aloud to themselves. So the coolest thing ever is that the audiobook felt the exact same – smooth, natural, true, and funny. If I don’t say so myself.

Any funny stories to share?

It’s a memoir of funny stories, so that may be redundant.  But I will tell you a surprise I had – which was that when I read the story about my father’s passing, I cried, and when I read the story about daughter Francesca’s college graduation, I cried, too. I blubbered like a baby through my own audiobook. That’s so Italian, no?

Did you find yourself wanting to edit/rewrite? Did you? (Any funny stories from producers?)

I totally changed the text as I read. I made it all better. I saw things and fixed them because, again, the reading of a story aloud shows its flaws. As a result, my audiobook is the best version of the books. Ha!

For authors who have had more than one book recorded: Did the experience of recording your audiobook change your writing process for your next book?

Not for me, because I do my secret audio at home, but I’ll tell you what did change - my recording. I recorded three of my audiobooks now, and I was much more nervous in the beginning and a little more stagey. I relaxed in the process and now it is completely natural, like talking to a girlfriend!

Did you imagine any voices for your characters while you were creating them for the page? If so, what was it like trying to create those voices in the recording studio?

The only voices I had to do were Daughter Francesca’s and Mother Mary’s, and I can do those in my sleep. And the great thing is, nobody knows if they’re right or wrong. What daughter can’t imitate her mom? What mom can’t do an impression of her kid? 

Do you like to listen to audio yourself?  If yes: where do you listen?  What types of books do you listen to? Do you have any favorite narrators?

I love audiobooks and listen when I walk the dogs, for an hour every day. I love all types, and it makes the walks fly by. It also keeps me calm when the dogs yank me around. Audiobooks are good for the soul!