Greg Wilkey’s “Growing Up Dead” Audiobook Blog Tour Day #5-Interview with Maxwell Zener, Narrator for Growing Up Dead audiobook


Being a part of Bibliophile’s Workshop’s many different blog tours, will give you the opportunity to read various novels, spanning many genres and writing styles, along with helping share new, promising titles with readers all across the internet.

    Growing Up Dead  Audiobook Blog Tour Monday, April 27,2014 – Ends Saturday May 2,2015

Information About the Book:


SPECIAL BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY: There’s a chance to win one of three complimentary digital downloads of the Audiobook edition of Greg Wilkey’s Growing Up Dead.

Keep your eyes peeled for two cover images of the sequels in Greg Wilkey’s Mortimer Drake series below that  both carry  links to a special Rafflecopter Widget, from where you must complete different tasks in order to earn entries, to increase the chances of possibly winning an audiobook. All winners are chosen randomly, so your cumulative number of entries does not automatically qualify you as a selected winner.  It only increases the probability that you may be one of the chosen winners.

Fortunately, the contest is open to everyone, worldwide, since we are giving away digital editions of the audiobook, not physical CD or cassette copies as those do not exist. The contest ends at Midnight, May 2nd 2015, and the three winners will be promptly informed via email, bearing the very exciting news that they are one of the lucky winners of this dramatic audio-recording  from Auspicious Apparatus Press of the first book in Greg Wilkey’s four book Mortimer Drake series.

Click either the two cover photos of the two sequels to Growing Up Dead, to access the Rafflecopter Widget, allowing you to enter for your chance to win the Growing Up Dead audiobook!! 

 Day #5 Interview with Maxwell Zener, Narrator for Growing Up Dead audiobook

Initial Key-BR-Bibliophile’s Reverie; MZ=Maxwell Zener

1)BR: How did you first get introduced to Greg Wilkey’s Mortimer Drake series? Did you know about the book itself before trying out for the spot of being an audio-book narrator?
MZ:Actually I didn’t know about Greg’s work until I saw Growing Up Dead on ACX. The more I looked into the series, the more excited I got about the prospect of working on the audiobook.
2)BR: When first reading the story, what element of Growing Up Dead made you immediately think, “Yes, this is something I want to do.”
MZ:Greg really expressed the emotional life of an early teen so well. Right from the first interaction between Mortimer and his mother I could tell how old Mortimer was, and felt myself getting pulled back to myself at that age. It’s so hard to write that age well, and Greg just nailed it.  I definitely wanted to get inside Mortimer’s head — and since I’m a parent myself, I also knew I would love seeing things from their perspective as well.
True story: I played the first chapter for my eight-year-old daughter, and at one point – when Mortimer drags himself down for breakfast – she said “ecch, teenagers”. So there you go — evidence of Mortimer’s authenticity!
3) BR: What did the recording process itself involve? Is it terribly difficult, how long does a certain amount of audio take to record, modify, re-record, repeat process?
MZ:It is more involved than people sometimes think. There are always mistakes when you record, so you have to go back and fix those.  Then once you’ve got that done, you have to “master” the recording — ACX has some very particular technical requirements that an audiobook has to meet or else it won’t be accepted. Then I sent a “finished” chapter to Greg and to Todd Barselow of Auspicious Apparatus Press, who would inevitably catch errors I missed, so then I would have to re-record, edit, and re-master that chapter.
All in all, every hour of finished audio probably takes me about three hours to produce.
I love doing it though, so it doesn’t feel like “work” to me. Probably the biggest challenge is staying relaxed during a long day of recording so that my voice stays fresh.
4) BR: How long have you been recording audio-books, is this the first project like this? How long have you been a member of Amazon’s ACX site?
MZ:I’m a relatively new narrator, having recorded my first audiobook about six months ago. But I’ve recorded a number of audiobooks in that time through ACX — anyone who wants can check to see them.

5) BR: How do you come up with the different intonation or inflections for each of the characters? Is this process spontaneous, or did you have to thank carefully about how each character might sound?

MZ: It really helps that Greg writes these characters so well — with this book I got a feel for each character pretty quickly, because you can tell from their different syntax, attitudes, and descriptions what’s going on with them psychologically.

And while I’m relatively new to audiobook narration, I have been a professional actor for twenty years — so telling stories and creating characters is something I’ve been doing for a while.
Probably the most challenging scenes in terms of characterization are scenes when multiple people of similar age and gender are talking, so I did consciously look for ways to make those easier for the listener. For example, I took care to make Mortimer’s voice different from his friends William’s and Tofer’s voices. But the flip side is that when an audiobook narrator’s characterizations are too wild, it can be jarring — you have to strive to find the sweet spot in which the characters are all distinct and the listening experience is smooth.

6). BR: What was your favorite scene from Growing Up Dead to record?

MZ: There are so many good ones it’s tough to choose. I think my favorite scenes were ones in which Mortimer’s relationship with his parents stands out. Mortimer is at such an awkward time of life, when we are trying to separate from our parents yet we still need them, so love and irritation and ambivalence all swim chaotically together. Greg captured that very honestly.
There’s a scene near the beginning when Mortimer and his dad just don’t know how to talk to each other that I found very touching, and one at the end when — well, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it plays on Mortimer’s feelings for his mom.
7). BR:In the future, what other projects of yours can we expect? And what is your dream book to serve as a narrator for?
MZ:I’ve got a number of audiobooks in the works. Two are nonfiction books about the Civil War (one a history and the other a biography), and one on Al-Qaeda.
I’m soon to complete Michael Jasper’s Finders, Inc., a very compelling mystery. Look for it on Audible. Amazon, and iTunes in about a month.
But as for a “dream book” — that’s a tough question. I’ve always been a voracious reader of many genres, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. Honestly, Growing Up Dead fits the bill pretty closely — a compelling story with rich, well-drawn characters.

8). BR:Do you have a message for all the avid fans of Greg Wilkey’s Mortimer Drake books, and also the devoted readers of A Bibliophile’s Reverie?

MZ: Give audiobooks a try — many avid readers can be suspicious that books might lose something in the translation to the audio format. But when I discovered audiobooks I found just the opposite, that it can be just as vivid and compelling. When listening to audiobook versions of stories I’d already read in print, I would often discover new aspects to the story or characters I hadn’t picked up on the first time around.
And audiobooks let me get absorbed in the story at times when I can’t hold a book — while cooking, doing housework, commuting, etc. Amazon’s WhisperSync lets you pick up on a Kindle edition right where your audiobook left off, and vice versa, so now we don’t even have to choose between the two formats.

Thanks so much to Maxwell Zener for taking the time to answer the above questions, and participate in this post for our continuing blog tour, celebrating the release of Greg Wilkey’s “Growing Up Dead” Audiobook.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Laurie C says:

    It seems I was one of the lucky winners! Just received my prize through Audible today! Looking forward to listening to it!


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