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!∎
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