My Love Affair With Audio Books


I don’t know which came first — me falling in love with audio books, or audio books falling in love with me.

As a writer, my first novel featuring fire investigation, Origin and Cause, was purchased by Blackstone Audio Books. This happened before I had ever listened to an audio book or anticipated that one day my novel would become one.

Since then, my other crime novels, Weeping, Tabula Rasa, and The Skirt Man, have also been given a voice through that same fine company.

But no audio book sale has ever excited me as much as my most recent one, which was brought about entirely by my association with

Through a series of amusing and fortuitous convolutions, I provided with a manuscript for The Man With The Glass Heart. This was a huge departure for me, because all of the books for which I have received recognition (nominations for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards) had to do with arson, crime, or skullduggery.

The Man with the Glass Heart - Audio Books

The Man With The Glass Heart, however, is a fable. The story is about risk-taking, adventure, betrayal, laughter, and love. On top of which, the action transpires in a totally unrealistic setting with a totally realistic subtext of rebirth and joy.

After I announced the publication of my fable to readers and friends, Blackstone Audio Books contacted me, and again offered to produce and distribute my words through the spoken form.

Needless to say, I am ecstatic.

Which pretty much covers the “audio books falling in love with me” part of this story. Now, I will tell you about me falling in love with them.

Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams, “I cannot live without books.” In a slight twist on those sentiments, I cannot live without audio books.

I have to eat. Right? And in order to eat right, as in correctly, it is healthier and cheaper to prepare my own meals than to eat-out or to order-in. Sadly (where’s my magic wand?), cooking takes time. And unless you are Julia Child, cooking is boring. By which I mean really, really boring.

Enter: Audio Books.

I have a stack of them on the table across from my kitchen stove. Which means that I not only endure adding garlic powder and chopped onions to my stew pot, I positively thrill at doing so when I am listening to Mark Twain’s autobiography or the adventures of O. Henry’s ex-patriot Americans in Cabbages and Kings.

And driving.  Oh … I drive all the time. To my country house, where I do my writing, and to fire investigations, which I do in my other life as a private detective.

Before I discovered audio books, a four-hour drive to New England or Pennsylvania seemed a thousand miles away. Now, I am just a third of the way through my twelve-CD audio edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I arrive at my destination … and Aunt Sissy hasn’t even married her third husband yet!

All of which means that, as a writer I am fortunate to have had my novels translated into a verbally-articulated medium that gives me great pride.

And as a listener, I am an addict. If audio books were human, I would be a stalker.

Bottom line, I am a lucky writer, a devoted fan, and a very happy reader.

This post was written by guest contributor Shelly Reuben. Her fiction has been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. Later in the week, we’ll be looking at HOW you can produce and distribute your very own audio books.


Copyright © Shelly Reuben, 2013

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