THE NAKED TRUTH With Noah Michael Levine
RomanceNarrators.com is shining a light on the Narrators and Authors
who received Audie nominations for Romance.
This Week …
A twist of fate....
When Aestrid Karisson escapes for an afternoon of adventure, she never suspects to alter her destiny forever. Captured by Veleif Kollsvein and his fearsome warriors, Aestrid is mistaken as a slave. It isn't until they reach Veleif's stronghold that her true identity is discovered.
A battle of wills....
Determined to torment him until he returns her to her home, this vixen wages a personal war with the dark and dangerous Viking prince. When Veleif's high council decides the two must marry, he embarks on a campaign of his own.
Can the wicked heat in Veleif's game of temptation melt Aestrid's combative heart? Or will the Viking prince find himself tamed by his rebellious bride?
His Viking Bride is a love story filled with folly and challenge, wit and passion...with two iron-willed characters who share more than their explosive traits, the ecstasy of all-consuming love.
Noah Michael Levine: Olivia … Greg … big congrats on the Audie nom. Very exciting!. That’s awesome. How did you both feel when you heard the news?
Olivia Norem: Wait a minute, We’ve been nominated? (stands up and does the side-to-side happy dance) Just teasing you, Noah. I’m still trying to process the news. It is humbling, utterly fantastic, and bizarre all at once.
A woman like me doesn’t think about (or dare to dream about) something like this happening when I started writing the first draft of the book back in 2016. At the time, I had no social following, no prospects, no other books published… just a laptop, an empty room, and endless amounts of coffee (i.e. scotch).
NML: Haha – ahhh yes … creative lubrication!
ON: No doubt! Two years later, when my father, who is legally blind, still wasn’t able to experience my work, I was determined to put His Viking Bride in audiobook. I was blessed to have my producer and narrator, Greg Patmore take a chance on me. His talent made the characters leap off the pages, and his style is so engaging you can practically feel the salt spray on your face as you sail in a longship…
I’m so proud for Greg, being recognized for his outstanding work. It is surreal to think among the thousands of audiobooks produced each year His Viking Bride is nominated. For an Audie!
NML: Surreal as it may FEEL – it is DEFINITELY REAL! So – Greg, sounds like you made quite an impression on Olivia. How did you feel about the nom?
Greg Patmore: Very proud. I’ve really only been working in Audiobooks full time for a couple of years, and to be nominated alongside some of the biggest names in the business, in and among all the biggest publishers is a very real honour. Coming so soon after my 2018 Voice Arts Award nomination in the Thriller category, it’s very exciting, and I’m really happy that this fantastic book is getting the recognition it deserves.
NML: Well, it sounds like you two were perfectly paired for this project! So – let’s get into some of the details of the book. Were there one or two favorite scenes for you? Oliva?
ON: Oh, that is a tough question, to narrow down my favorite scenes to one or two… however, I do have a few favorites (winks). His Viking Bride has a lot of characters, and this element truly challenged me as an author.
One of my favorite scenes is the four-way conversation between our hero Veleif (vell-ef) and his men. They architect a plan how Veleif will marry the lady Aestrid without her knowledge. While this scene is peppered with plenty of quips and humor, I imagined how it would unfold on the big screen and used that framework of images to assist with the writing. Think of the opening diner scene in Reservoir Dogs with eight men talking around a table. Easy to write? Well, no.
Later, when His Viking Bride was in audiobook production, I spent a few nail-biting weeks worrying about the horrendous challenge for a narrator – executing a multiple conversation without the benefit of visuals. Greg Patmore nailed these voices, as well as the humor, so the listener is completely clear and, most importantly, entertained.
Of course, the wedding scene is also a favorite, which takes place in a crowded hall… when I first reviewed the soundtrack, I was blown away how Greg interpreted the humor, the heartfelt emotion, rhythms, and the shock Aestrid felt in this scene.
Now I could continue on about the axe-throwing scene (hey, what’s a Viking book without axe throwing), or the “special dinner” Aestrid prepares for Veleif, or the snowball fight under the lights of Aurora Borealis, or the baby delivery… (laughs).
Better yet Noah, give His Viking Bride a listen and afterward we will commiserate which is your favorite scene. I’ll bring the ale.
NML: Well, my curiosity is certainly piqued about the “special dinner.” Haha. One’s imagination goes many places. Greg – what about you? Favorite scene?
GP: I think my favourite scene is when Aestrid reveals who she really is. The scene builds to a superb climax, and having followed her through near death, capture, poor treatment, slavery... a teenage girl subjected to unimaginable terror... suddenly she stands proud in defence of a helpless old man, in the face of a huge, terrifying Viking warrior, and we see her true nature. It’s a great moment, beautifully written with Olivia’s characteristically sharp dialogue!
NML: That sounds amazing. I love those kinds of defining moments in a character’s arc when who they REALLY are shines. Switching gears a little bit, I know reviews can be a tricky thing. Olivia … were there any favorite listener reactions or reviews that grabbed your eye?
ON: Ah reviews. (giggles) It is more terrifying to release your work to the world than the angst you suffer the first time you tuck your child onto a school bus. You worry and pace and second guess yourself, then reviews come in and I admit, some of them leave me open-mouthed in shock.
I read every review, good, bad, or indifferent—soak it in, even. During production, I had no idea the impact taking my book to audio form would have upon me. When I first heard it, I was able to enjoy it as a fan, so much so I kept wondering if I’d actually written it.
The very first review that came in for His Viking Bride left me in tears. In a totally good way, Noah.
NML: That’s SO good. There are some reviews that might bring a different kind of tears. What was their reaction?
ON: The listener expressed the same sentiment I felt when I heard it for the first time. “When you press play, it’s like popping open a lovely champagne-bubbling over with effervescence and life. Within the first 5 minutes of the opening salutation, I was completely bewitched by the irresistible combination of a well-written story given sparkling animation by a truly gifted voice actor.”
NML: That’s SO great – a testament to the both of you!
ON: I’ve since borrowed the reference and when I mention Greg Patmore, I use “a truly gifted voice actor.”
Others reviews include:
“The narrator was incredible! … it was [like] listening to a play…”
“If you like historical and very strong characters, fun and interesting secondary characters this is the book for you!”
“A rare historical romance gem! … I wasn’t expecting the depth of world building and the charm of the main characters. My heart was pounding in the first chapter...”
You can take a look at His Viking Bride on Audible and read the ratings and reviews, some are quite entertaining. Of course, I always say, if you dislike my work, tell me. If you love my work, tell everyone. Ha!
NML: Hahaha. I LOVE that! So, it’s getting to closing time in the Romance Narrators’ Bar and Listening Lounge. Greg … what’s up next for you?
GP: Next up an epic fantasy series of 3 books, ‘Heir to the Crown’ by Paul J Bennett, thriller/detective series ‘Dark Yorkshire’ by Jason Dalgliesh, and two epic historical romance series’ by Anna Belfrage, ‘The Graham Saga’ and ‘The King’s Greatest Enemy’, which will be distributed by Blackstone. Then a YA series and the third part of another fantasy series... Basically I’m booked until summer!!
NML: That’s great, Greg!! Well thank you, both, for taking some time with me to talk about His Viking Bride. Wishing you, and all of the nominees, the best of luck. I’ve included some of your social media links below so any of our readers can follow along with your journey.