Author: Miss Mae
Narrators: Stephen Mendel, Dave Mallow, J.W. Terry, Toni Attell, Robin Riker
Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
Publisher: Miss Mae
Released: Nov. 11, 2016
On an island bordering the coast of South Carolina, a convention is planned for “Catch Me” game enthusiasts. The game, designed by Stuart Harrington, wealthy businessman, is the genius behind the hottest game craze. But only ten guests are able to arrive before Brian, a category four hurricane, makes landfall. Lois Steinberg washes ashore on the beach. Amongst strangers, she has no idea who to trust and when Paul, the cook, is found murdered, events happen too eerily reminiscent of any “Catch Me” game that Stuart Harrington could ever conceive.
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Miss Mae is all about romantic mysteries. With her writing style compared to the likes of Agatha Christie, her books “Said the Spider to the Fly”, “When the Bough Breaks”, “Dove Island”, “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred” and “See No Evil, My Pretty Lady” are award winning best sellers. The novellas “Miss Penelope’s Letters”, and “Through a Glass Darkly” have received top rated five-star reviews. Her latest murder mystery, “Catch Me If You Can”, in audio format, has won the platinum award in the 2017 Hermes Creative International Competition. Tantalizing trailers, and more information, is readily available at her website.
She’s also penned three tales in the ‘Ahoy, Mischaps!’ children’s/humor series. Book #1 is “Ahoy, Gum Drop!” followed by Book #2 “Ahoy, Out There!” with Book #3, “Ahoy, Mummy Mia!” In these slightly cracked stories, readers are introduced to a cast of intriguing, extraordinary and downright bizarre characters, accompanied by the one and only I.B. Nosey, the ‘official unofficial’ reporter. To learn more about the ‘Mischaps’ and cyberspace’s only Pukelitzer Award winning interviewer, visit ‘Feeling Nosey?’
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Miss Mae. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Catch Me If You Can is an old-fashioned whodunit. There is supposed to be a convention in Jenna’s hotel but only 10 people show up before a hurricane hits the island off the coast of South Carolina. Lois washes up on shore and is taken into the hotel but quickly realizes that she’s not safe after someone is murdered.
The characters are all interesting and they all have secrets. No one is who they seem to be in this mystery with nonstop action and suspense. There is a twist at every turn including a surprise ending. There’s even a touch of romance.
This isn’t a typical audiobook. There’s not just a narrator. There are sound effects and a different person speaking for each character. It’s a fun book to listen to and is reminiscent of radio before the days of television (or so my parents have told me).
Q&A with Producer Roger Rittner
- How did you first decide to make “enhanced” audiobooks?
- I’ve been a big fan of classic radio for many years. I was approached by an audiobook marketer to do some books for him. I saw the opportunity to move audiobooks to a new level – like fully produced radio drama. I decided that’s the way I wanted to create a unique experience for listeners.
- Had you produced radio dramas before?
- Oh, yes. I created a stage show of classic radio shows recreated live as a theatrical production. It ran for 10 years at a variety theatre in downtown Los Angeles. At the same time, I used my troupe of actors to produce actual drama for radio. We did quite a bit for local National Public Radio stations, plus two audio adaptations of the popular Doc Savage pulp novels and a full-fledged original musical comedy for radio called Charlie Sent Me. Both were broadcast by National Public Radio stations across the U.S.
- How do you prepare for audiobook production?
- I take the print book and completely script the entire audio version, indicating where sound effects, background accents, and musical underscores go. That becomes my working blueprint when it comes time to put all the pieces together in the audio edit. It also helps the voice actors to be performing from an actual script, getting them away from the feeling of reading from a book.
- How do you select the proper actor for each role?
- Voice acting is a very specialized talent. You have to be able to portray character, emotion, and the environment of the scene through voice dynamics alone. So first and foremost, I select actors who have that kind of experience. Some are professionals, and some are talented amateurs. Of course, they also have to have the voice quality of the character(s) they’ll be portraying. Some are very versatile and can play more than one character.
- What’s it like when you record the dialog?
- Before we start, I work with the actor to set the voice for the character. We may go through quite a few variations of tone, placement, voice quality before we find one that best suits the character. Then when we start recording, I concentrate on pacing and character emotions. I make sure plot points are clear and obvious. Since most of the actors are working alone, I make sure that dialog that is interactive with other characters sounds conversational.
- How do you select the appropriate music?
- I work with the book author to decide the tone they wanted to establish for the story. Is it suspenseful, or dramatic, or humorous? There may be sections that are different, but there is usually a single emotive tone overall. Then I go through my music library to find music tracks that have that feeling. But I don’t make a final selection until I’m actually editing all the pieces together. Sometimes the feel of a scene is turning out slightly different than the way I originally envisioned it. So I’m sensitive to how the scene is actually playing out in the edit before I select the best piece of music.
- You must have an enormous library of sound effects. How do you sort through them all?
- I have them all categorized into about two dozen types of sounds. Mechanicals, weather, human-produced sounds, etc. Also some specific categories like footsteps, creaks and squeaks, and automobiles. Here again, the pacing and “feel” of a scene can influence the particular effects I use.
- What’s the hardest part about the way you create the finished audiobook?
- Well, I have to work around the actors’ schedules, so most often they’ve recorded their dialog separately. Putting it all together and making it sound like they’re all in the scene together takes time. With Catch Me If You Can, there were often six or more characters in a scene together. That’s a lot of juggling. I also make sure everything is spacially correct.
- “Spacially correct”? What’s that?
- I want the story to sound as if it’s happening in real space. In a room, or in a jungle, like that. On an audio “stage”. So I place the characters on that stage in specific positions, and make sure the dialog and sound effects are coordinated not to break the illusion of their location in that space. If a character moves during a scene, their dialog and accompanying sound effects (like footsteps) move with them. I call it being true to the “geography” of the scene.
- I understand you offer physical CD sets as well as digital versions. Why’s that?
- I just like the look and feel of a physical package. It sort of establishes the quality of the production. Also, I know there are some people who prefer the permanence of CDs, or who may need CDs for most convenient listening.
- What’s been the most unique book you’ve done so far?
- We just finished a wonderful book aimed at middle schoolers called The Case of the Cursed Dodo. It’s a throwback to the film noir era, with endangered animals as all the characters. There’s lots of action and lots of humor. I saw the potential to make the audio version sound like a 1940s movie serial looks. I think we accomplished it very well.
- And what’s next?
- Miss Mae’s Ahoy, Out There! A charming book for children. Lots of very unique “storybook” characters, in far-flung locations. It’ll be fascinating to see how it comes out.
- Lois Steinberg – washes ashore the beach of Hanibel Island during a category four hurricane. Who is she? What’s her history? Glimpses are given during flashbacks at various scenes. She finds herself attracted to the man who rescued her, Victor Helm.
- Victor Helm – Handsome, flirty, with his own secrets. He suspects there’s more to Lois’s story than what she reveals, and he intends to discover whatever it is.
- Jenna Milford – owner of the historic resort where Lois washes ashore. She’d scheduled a ‘Catch Me’ game convention, but Hurricane Brian decided otherwise.
- B. J. – guest at the convention, loving grandmother, arrived from Jacksonville just in time before Brian struck.
- Tia – another guest. Lovely Asian woman. Maybe has her eye on Victor?
- Jared Steele – all brawn, and smug conceit. Just the kind of guy who enjoys taunting Victor.
- Pete – another ‘Catch Me’ enthusiast. Or not.
- Paul – the cook. Murdered by someone using a southern iron skillet as the choice of weapon. Maybe they didn’t like him using lard in his recipes.
- Bob – loud mouthed, intolerable jerk. He didn’t come to make any friends.
- Rajah – definitely not one of Bob’s friends.
- Cookie – blond, curvy, moral character questionable but tough as nails. Maybe.
- Stuart Harrington – New York millionaire, creator of the ‘Catch me’ game series. His purpose at the convention was to award his newest game, “Catch Me If You Can” to one lucky winner.
- Mite – Victor’s golden retriever. The game wouldn’t be complete without him.
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