Interview with Lis Wiehl, Author of ‘Hunting The Unabomber’

If you’re a true crime aficionado, then you’ve definitely heard the story of the Unabomber. This case captivated the masses in the 90s, but there’s so much more to the story that Lis Wiehl, author of Hunting the Unabomber, has brought to light.

We got the chance to pick her brain about audiobooks, the recording process, and what inspired her to write about the Unabomber for her latest release. Keep reading to see what she had to say.

Audiobooks.com: What can readers gain from listening to the audiobook version of  Hunting the Unabomber that they might not necessarily get from reading the print version?

Lis Wiehl: Through my tone of voice, readers will get a heightened sense of drama and excitement on the hunt for this notorious domestic terrorist. As I read the pages I relived the hunt with the FBI agents, profilers, and all the other sources who made this book come alive. Reading the actual words I’d written was a very personal thing, and I think that personal experience comes through in an audiobook. If you listen closely, you can hear my smirk, chuckle, and sigh. You can’t read those expressions in the printed version.

Audiobooks.com: Was your initial plan to narrate your own book, or was this one of the roadblocks you met with COVID-19?

Lis Wiehl: It was absolutely my initial plan to narrate this book. Even as I was writing the book, I knew I wanted to narrate it. I had recorded most of the book before the COVID-19 shelter in place occurred. But, after shelter in place happened, it looked like we might have to hire a professional audio reader or actor who had a home studio, and who could record the book from scratch.

Fortunately, my amazing audio producer, Gabe Wicks, ultimately secured a safe studio where I could record the last installment of the audiobook. I am extremely grateful to the editorial team at Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins for sticking with me through COVID-19!

Audiobooks.com: How would you say this recording experience differed from narrating your other audiobooks?

Lis Wiehl: Other than the scare surrounding COVID-19, this recording was different because I was creating an important historical record by telling the story through people who had lived and experienced the events. I felt they were counting on me to get it right. I had only my voice to convey the tenor and tone of the whole operation. That was a big task!

Audiobooks.com: Did you ever consider narrating one of your fiction titles? Is this something you might do in the future?

Lis Wiehl: I’m not an actor. I’m not a professional audio reader. I read Hunting the Unabomber because this is nonfiction, and I thought my voice could convey raw emotion, changing tone, and personal connection in a way a professional reader might not. But I’ll leave reading my fiction titles, which require different voices for different characters, to the audio professionals.

Audiobooks.com: What made you decide to research the Unabomber for your latest release in the “Hunting” series?

Lis Wiehl: The Unabomber represents the longest domestic terrorist hunt in FBI history. That makes him a natural subject for me. For nearly two decades, the Unabomber terrorized a nation from a remote cabin in Montana. And Kaczynski was a mathematics wunderkind, going to Harvard at a young age, and even teaching at the college level, so he was a puzzle to figure out. I was fascinated to study the motivations behind his descent in to destruction. And the Unabomber is relevant today. What he did changed the way the FBI conducts its investigations even now.

Audiobooks.com: Are you currently working on anything new that you can share with us?

Lis Wiehl: I am deep on the hunt in my next installment of the Hunting series! The target of my hunt not only cost lives, but also endangered national security for years. Through interviews with key players involved in hunting my subject, I’m uncovering new mysteries, solving puzzles, and unlocking secrets that will make this book a thrilling ride!∎


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Audiobooks.com Interview with Ainissa Ramirez, Author of ‘The Alchemy of Us’

Have you always been interested in inventions, technology, and engineering, but could never get into any books on the topic because they were too dense or didn’t dig into the topic enough for you? Well, Ainissa Ramirez’ latest release, The Alchemy of Us, is the perfect next listen for you. It features several important inventions and how they shaped our culture. Plus, she touches on some inventors who had a huge impact who you might not know.

We got the chance to pick Ramirez’ brain about her most recent audiobook. Keep reading to find out what was her favorite invention to research, what she thinks of future of inventions, and more.

Audiobooks.com: What can readers gain from listening to the audiobook version of The Alchemy of Us that they might not necessarily get from reading the print version?

Ainissa Ramirez: The Alchemy of Us is a great book, but the audiobook version is a great experience. The audiobook provides an adventure that is richer than just words on a page.

The narrator, Allyson Johnson, doesn’t just speak the words, she performs them and brings them to life. With her artistic phrasing, energy, and personality, her narration will magically transport a reader to a world that existed not long ago. By listening in, readers will be entertained with the audiobook; and with her warm and kind voice, they will feel like they are spending time with an old friend.

Audiobooks.com: How involved are you in the narrator casting process and what do you look for in an audiobook narrator?

Ainissa Ramirez: I was very fortunate to work with such a supportive audiobook publisher like Gildan Media, because they took the lead in selecting a suitable narrator for my book, which was one of MIT Press’s big titles for the year. When they narrowed down their choices to one name, they sent samples of her work to me. As soon as I heard her voice, I was instantly enchanted. After listening to just a few minutes of her work, I asked, “How quickly can we hire her?”

I wanted a voice that mirrored my book. The Alchemy of Us is a warm invitation into the world of science. As such, I wanted a narrator who could be both smart and inviting simultaneously. The mission of my book is to explain science in an engaging way and make a reader feel included. I got all of that and more with the book’s narrator. The narrator possesses a voice that is cozy like a blanket. And with her artistry and narration, she makes a world where not only does a listener feel included, but she also creates a world a listener doesn’t want to leave.

Audiobooks.com: Did you find it hard to present the full story and facts for each invention while also keeping the material accessible to readers of all levels?

Ainissa Ramirez: Actually, this balancing act of keeping the material accessible to all readers while also presenting the full story is a challenge I enjoy. At my core, I am a teacher. As such, I am an advocate for my readers, desiring to make them all feel included in this unfamiliar world of science and invention.

When writing The Alchemy of Us, I made sure that the science was understandable and that a reader got just enough information so that they could move with ease in this new world. I honed this skill not only from teaching undergraduates for many years, but from explaining science to my grandmother when I was young. My grandmother was always interested in what I learned in school. While my science lessons might have been beyond what she might have known, I wanted her to feel included. To do so, I would describe science using things she knew.

In The Alchemy of Us, I make science understandable with a similar approach and zeal, often by using analogies and by telling stories, so that readers can feel included, too.

Audiobooks.com: Which invention was your favorite one to research and write about in The Alchemy of Us?

Ainissa Ramirez: If I had to pick one, it would be the discovery that took the most effort to research, which was the story of the work done by scientist J. J. Thomson. J. J. Thomson was a little man who made a huge impact on the world. He discovered the electron and did so by watching how a cathode ray (like the rays in old televisions) moved in a strange-looking glass bulb.
In order to get materials to write about J. J. Thomson, I had to venture to England and visit old libraries to uncover his story. It was important that I travel to these archives so that I could learn about Thomson’s work as well as learn about his personality. From early on, I knew he was a genius. But, from his old letters, I was able to find that Thomson was very accident prone. His wife would not let him use a hammer in the house! I loved learning how this Nobel Prize winner moved in the world and when I found interesting facts, such as these, I also found a way to make this great man of science relatable. These details were hard to get, but made Thomson seem more human. It is for these reasons that I am fond of J. J. Thomson and his entry in The Alchemy of Us.

Audiobooks.com: After analyzing these inventions through history and their impact on society, what do you think this lends to our future innovations?

Ainissa Ramirez: To be honest, I wrote about past inventions as a way to prepare us all for the future. The gadgets I highlight are simple ones, like the telegraph, the clock, and the light bulb, to name a few. But in The Alchemy of Us, I show readers the surprising outcomes that came from these inventions, particularly how they modified language, our sleeping patterns, and even our health. At this present time, it is hard to predict how future innovations will change us, but what is certain is that they will. That is why it is my hope that readers of The Alchemy of Us will feel empowered to ask questions to make sure that future innovations will fashion us in the most beneficial way. The Alchemy of Us encourages readers to put all inventions under the microscope so that, ultimately, we can all create a better future.∎


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

April’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to last month’s most popular fiction and non-fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.


Fiction

If It Bleeds by Stephen King, narrated by Will PattonSteven WeberDanny Burstein

Publisher Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author, legendary storyteller, and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new and compelling novellas—”Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” “The Life of Chuck, Rat,” and the title story “If It Bleeds”—each pulling you into intriguing and frightening places.

The novella is a form King has returned to over and over again in the course of his amazing career, and many have been made into iconic films, including “The Body” (Stand By Me) and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (Shawshank Redemption). Like Four Past Midnight, Different Seasons, and most recently Full Dark, No Stars, If It Bleeds is a uniquely satisfying collection of longer short fiction by an incomparably gifted writer.

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, narrated by Jennifer Lim

Publisher Summary:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

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Walk the Wire by David Baldacci, narrated by Kyf BrewerOrlagh Cassidy

Publisher Summary:

When Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, they instantly sense that the thriving fracking town is ripe for trouble. The promise of a second gold rush has attracted an onslaught of newcomers all hoping for a windfall, and the community is growing faster than houses can be built. The sudden boom has also brought a slew of problems with it, including drugs, property crimes, prostitution—and now murder.

Decker and Jamison are ordered to investigate the death of a young woman named Irene Cramer, whose body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open—which is only the beginning of the oddities surrounding the case. As Decker and Jamison dig into Irene’s life, they are shocked to discover that the woman who walked the streets by night as a prostitute was a teacher for a local religious sect by day—a sect operating on land once owned by a mysterious government facility that looms over the entire community.

London is a town replete with ruthless business owners, shady government officials, and religious outsiders, all determined to keep their secrets from coming out. When other murders occur, Decker will need all of his extraordinary memory and detective skills, and the assistance of a surprising ally, to root out a killer and the forces behind Cramer’s death . . . before the boom town explodes.

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Camino Winds by John Grisham, narrated by Michael Beck 

Publisher Summary:

Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.

The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are leveled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people lose their lives. One of the apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death: He has suffered several suspicious blows to the head.

Who would want Nelson dead? The local police are overwhelmed in the aftermath of the storm and ill-equipped to handle the case. Bruce begins to wonder if the shady characters in Nelson’s novels might be more real than fictional. And somewhere on Nelson’s computer is the manuscript of his new novel. Could the key to the case be right there—in black and white? As Bruce starts to investigate, what he discovers between the lines is more shocking than any of Nelson’s plot twists—and far more dangerous. 

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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks

Publisher Summary:

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

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Non-Fiction

More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys, narrated by Alicia Keys featuring Oprah WinfreyMichelle Obama, Jay-Z, and more

Publisher Summary:

As one of the most celebrated musicians in the world, Alicia Keys has enraptured the globe with her heartfelt lyrics, extraordinary vocal range, and soul-stirring piano compositions. Yet away from the spotlight, Alicia has grappled with private heartache—over the challenging and complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection.

Since Alicia rose to fame, her public persona has belied a deep personal truth: she has spent years not fully recognizing or honoring her own worth. After withholding parts of herself for so long, she is at last exploring the questions that live at the heart of her story: Who am I, really? And once I discover that truth, how can I become brave enough to embrace it?

More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. The result is a 360-degree perspective on Alicia’s path, from her girlhood in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem to the process of growth and self-discovery that we all must navigate.

In More Myself, Alicia shares her quest for truth—about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth. With the raw honesty that epitomizes Alicia’s artistry, More Myself is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to listeners: to define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity.

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Untamed by Glennon Doyle, narrated by Glennon Doyle

Publisher Summary:

This is how you find yourself.

There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves.

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.

Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

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Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker, narrated by Sean Pratt

Publisher Summary:

Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don’s work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins–aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony–and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after another, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family?

What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.

With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family’s unforgettable legacy of suffering, love, and hope.

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The House of Kennedy by James Patterson, narrated by David Pittu

Publisher Summary:

The Kennedys have always been a family of charismatic adventurers, raised to take risks and excel, living by the dual family mottos: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected’ and ‘Win at all costs.’ And they do—but at a price. Across decades and generations, the Kennedys have occupied a unique place in the American imagination: charmed, cursed, at once familiar and unknowable. The House of Kennedy is a revealing, fascinating account of America’s most storied family, as told by America’s most trusted storyteller.

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Open Book by Jessica Simpson, narrated by Jessica Simpson

Publisher Summary:

Jessica reveals for the first time her inner monologue and most intimate struggles. Guided by the journals she’s kept since age fifteen, and brimming with her unique humor and down-to-earth humanity, Open Book is as inspiring as it is entertaining.

This was supposed to be a very different book. Five years ago, Jessica Simpson was approached to write a motivational guide to living your best life. She walked away from the offer, and nobody understood why. The truth is that she didn’t want to lie.

Jessica couldn’t be authentic with her readers if she wasn’t fully honest with herself first.

Now America’s Sweetheart, preacher’s daughter, pop phenomenon, reality tv pioneer, and the billion-dollar fashion mogul invites readers on a remarkable journey, examining a life that blessed her with the compassion to help others, but also burdened her with an almost crippling need to please. Open Book is Jessica Simpson using her voice, heart, soul, and humor to share things she’s never shared before.

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New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Discover Audiobooks and Their Podcast Counterparts

If you’re an avid audiobook listener and you found an audiobook that you totally loved, but now you’re sad that it’s over, this is for you! And for podcast lovers who want more from their favorite hosts, this is for you too!

Team Audiobooks and Team Podcasts unite for this list of audiobooks and their podcast counterparts. If you loved the audiobook, you’ll definitely enjoy the podcast, and vice versa! Plus, did you know that you can listen to all of these podcasts in our app for free if you’re an Audiobooks.com subscriber? It’s true. Keep reading to see what piques your interest!

Audiobook: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, narrated by Gillian Flynn, Gabra Zackman, Patton Oswalt
Podcast: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: The Podcast

If you tore through I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (as most of us did), then you’ll definitely want to check out I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: The Podcast. The podcast gives you the story behind the publication of the book and features interviews with some of the people involved like McNamara’s husband, Patton Oswalt, and more.

Read more about the audiobook and sample the audio →


Audiobook: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, narrated by Brené Brown
Podcast: Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

Named one of the best books of the year by Bloomberg, Dare to Lead shares the tools anyone can use to step up and brave leadership. Now, Brené Brown has launched her own podcast called Unlocking Us, which is a real, unpolished, and honest podcast that reflects the madness and the messiness of what it means to be human.

Read more about the audiobook and sample the audio →


Audiobook: The Hot Young Widows Club by Nora McInerny, narrated by Nora McInerny
Podcast: Terrible, Thanks for Asking

You may have heard of Nora McInerny from her popular podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking where she talks honestly about pain, awkwardness, and being human. If you’re a fan of her podcast, The Hot Young Widows Club is for you. In a span of a week, McInerny had a miscarriage, lost her father to cancer, and lost her husband due to a brain tumor. In her book she provides a caring roadmap for those dealing with the loss of a loved one or even just going through a difficult time in life.

Read more about the audiobook and sample the audio →


Audiobook: The World of Lore by Aaron Mehnke, narrated by Aaron Mehnke
Podcast: Lore

The Lore podcast has been around for a while, and has provided us with dark historical tales, which feature mysterious creatures, tragic events, and unusual places that fill the pages of history. Now, not only has Lore been adapted into a TV show, but its tales are also available in a book series too! There are a lot (and we mean a lot) of Lore episodes to work through, so if you’re just looking for a few great stories, check out The World of Lore audiobook series.

Read more about the audiobook and sample the audio →


Audiobook: Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt, narrated by Michael Hyatt
Podcast: Lead to Win

Free to Focus from New York Times bestselling author, Michael Hyatt, touches on productivity and how to achieve more by doing less. If your productivity was revolutionized by Hyatt’s three-step system, then you’ll want to get your ears on Lead to Win. In this podcast, Hyatt talks about how to succeed in your personal development, self-leadership, team leadership, and just winning at work and life in general.

Read more about the audiobook and sample the audio →


Audiobook: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, narrated by Caitlin Doughty
Podcast: Death in the Afternoon

If you’re curious about death then you may know Caitlin Doughty from her Ask a Mortician web series where she talks about death practices, death in different cultures, and answers viewer questions. In her book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Doughty offers a new perspective on death while simultaneously relaying an unusual coming-of-age story of her journey into the world of the macabre. If you’re still itching for more, check out her podcast Death in the Afternoon where Doughty, Louise Hung, and Sarah Chavez dispel myths about death and dead bodies and hopefully make you less afraid of the inevitable.

Read more about the audiobook and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Audiobooks.com Interview with Sophie Kinsella, Author of The Shopaholic Series

Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic debuted in 2003 and since then has snowballed into an extremely popular and successful series that not only boasts 10 books in its line-up, but also has a movie adaptation of the first book starring Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusak, and John Lithgow – to name a few.

Now, Kinsella has released the 10th book in the series, Christmas Shopaholic, where Becky is faced with the daunting task of hosting the big family holiday celebration at her place. With every step she takes to make everything perfect she worries if she can really pull this off.

We were able to catch up with Kinsella recently to ask her a few questions about her latest release and what she sees on the horizon for both Becky and the Shopaholic series.

Audiobooks.com: What do you look for in an ideal audiobook narrator?

Sophie Kinsella: I love to hear characterful voices. When I write, my books are all first person and so the voice is very clearly in my head. I love it when an audiobook narrator taps into the narrative voice I have had in my head when writing.

Audiobooks.com: What do readers gain from listening to the audiobook that they miss out on if they just read the print version?

Sophie Kinsella: When I read books that I like, I often whip through them very quickly, and think afterwards that I’ve missed some of the subtlety and wit of the writing. With audiobooks you have the opportunity to luxuriate in the writing.

Audiobooks.com: In Christmas Shopaholic, Becky’s family has long-standing holiday traditions. Does your family have any similar, fun traditions that you’ve kept up over the years?

Sophie Kinsella: We play a brilliant game where you have to put on hats and gloves and scarves and eat a chocolate bar with a knife and fork. We also read ‘Twas the night before Christmas every Christmas Eve before we put out mince pies and sherry by the fire for Father Christmas to find.

Audiobooks.com: Becky is tasked with hosting the holiday festivities and chaos ensues. Did you draw on your own personal experiences with hosting family over the holidays? And if chaos ensues, how do you deal with it?

Sophie Kinsella: I don’t know what you mean – there is never any chaos when I host Christmas… Seriously, I think it’s easy to panic over Christmas arrangements but I’m lucky that we as a family are all quite forgiving of each other – and a box of candy and a small glass of sherry will always smooth things over!

Audiobooks.com: In this installment of the Shopaholic series, in typical Becky-fashion, she strives to host the perfect holiday get-together and get everyone the perfect gifts. What do you think it is about Becky that causes your readers to have such a soft spot for her?

Sophie Kinsella: It absolutely thrills me that Becky has such an enduring appeal. I think she feels real to a lot of my readers – she certainly feels real to me! She has grown and matured over the years, even though she is the same Becky and still gets into trouble. And although she has flaws, she also has many qualities which are inspiring – her optimism, her good-heartedness, her ingenious solutions to problems, and her relationships with her family and friends. She always tries her best, even if her best usually backfires.

Audiobooks.com: And more personally from your own perspective, what is it about Becky and her story that makes you want to keep returning to it again and again?

Sophie Kinsella: I love Becky like no other character! She’s the only heroine I’ve created that I keep returning to. I just love writing in her voice and seeing the world through her eyes. She’s so optimistic and can-do and has her own special logic.

Audiobooks.com: Where do you see Becky and her family in 10 years?

Sophie Kinsella: I’m sure Becky will have given up shopping and she and Luke will be a sensible ordinary couple… or not!∎


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