Authors and narrators greatly appreciate the people who take the time to listen to our audiobooks and then write thoughtful reviews. In this first installment of a new series, I’m excited to interview audiobook blogger April Holgate from Eargasms Audiobook Reviews to find out about her review interests and process.
I have always been a reader in one form or another. I generally get through a book a day. I just cannot help devouring stories! I was the kid whose favorite teacher was the librarian. She always let me borrow more books than you were allowed. As a kid I was very introverted. I loved going into my books and living an adventure in my head. As I grew older I started coming out of my shell and getting into theatre. Turns out reading and theatre are a perfect combination!
My career has varied from being an artist to working in Broadway theatres to working as a kid’s talent agent then back to being a starving artist again. I have loved every minute of my journey!
10 Questions For April
1. When did you start listening to audiobooks?
I have been listening to audiobooks for several years now. I started here and there while working on art projects or playing video games. I thought it was a great way to make that time more productive. Later I listened during my long commutes to and from work, 2-3 hours each way. Now I have a new job where I am on the computer all day, perfect for listening to books.
2. What prompted you to start writing audiobook reviews?
I started writing book reviews several years ago when I discovered Goodreads. It started as a way to keep track of books I had already read and my thoughts on them. Amazingly enough people started liking the reviews and asking for recommendations. I write a review for everything I read, the good, the bad and the eh. I only started including narrator info in the reviews a few years ago. I realized they were an important part of the experience that I left out. A narrator really can make of break a read.
3. Where do you write your reviews? If it’s a public place, why did you choose it? If it’s at home, describe the room and/or stuff on your desk. A picture would be fabulous!
I am a very fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl. I write reviews on my Kindle, on my iPhone, sneak them in while at work and at my desk. I have written reviews while lounging in bed, on the subway, in the bubble bath, waiting in line and most often at my messy desk. Wherever I am that gives me a moment to think and get those thoughts out. I am almost afraid to show you a picture of my desk because it looks like an episode of hoarders! LOL What can I say, I like chaos.
4. How do you decide whether to read a book or listen to it? Do you ever do both for the same book?
My traditional reading time is very limited due to work and life, so I am very picky about what I physically read. Mostly those are books from authors I am already invested in, who have not made the jump to audio.
Selecting an audiobook is easier because I can listen while I work, commute or pretend to work out. I have plenty of authors and series that I stalk, um follow. I am always watching for them to release. Other books will catch my eye because of the cover art, I like pretty. Then I read the blurb to see if the story interests me. From there I will listen to the sample to determine if I like the narrator. If everything looks and sounds good, I will spend one of my precious credits or accept the offer to review.
I have read a few books both in traditional reading and them in audio. Most of the time it is because the author has made the transition to audiobooks, other times it is because I need to reacquaint myself with a series that I read in ebook and am now switching to audio. I love experiencing the book again in a very different way. Many times I pick up things that I missed the first go around.
There is also the rare occasion when I switch to an ebook because I am not enjoying the narration. It has only happened a few times.
5. Do you have a go-to genre?
Do I ever! I have my top three favorite genres.
Romance, pretty much every sub-genre, I read anything from the sappy sweet to YA to naughty erotic to romantic suspense. I am a sucker for a good love story; smexy steam is always a bonus.
Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, especially if it involves shifters! I love me some yummy shifter crack! My favorite thing about the genre is the way it can rebuild the world you thing you know. It is fantasy but modern as well.
Mystery, love them all, especially a cheesy Cozy Mystery. I love playing detective and trying to solve the crime before all the clues are revealed. There have been a few that gave my inner Sherlock Holmes a real work out!
6. What is your review policy? Do you accept review requests from narrators?
I welcome any offers for audiobooks. I have submission from authors, narrators and publishers. You will find I do a fair share of indie/self-published audiobook reviews. It is important for me to showcase more than just the NYT Best sellers. Generally my policy is just ask, you never know what might catch my attention. I have ever changing book moods!
7. Describe how you approach your reviews. Do you have different criteria for different genres?
For me a review is about liking the book or not. I hate reviews that regurgitate the book blurb or give spoilers. You will not see that at Eargasms. My philosophy is Keep It Simple. I go over what I thought of the book and characters in general. Was there a story, was it any good? How steamy did things get? What kind of narrative was it, single POV or mixed?
I spend at least a paragraph of the review is dedicated it the narration. Again, keeping things simple, commenting in the pace, tone and energy of the read. I have pet peeves about bad accents, background noise and weird pauses.
I do not have a lot of criteria as far as the genres, except for Romance. I need a story with my steam. I am not a fan of thin stories wrapped around oodles of sex. Give me a quality story with my smut!
8. Do you multitask when listening to books? If yes, what else do you do while you listen, and how does listening to books affect the other activity?
I listen while I work, I think it makes me more productive. Oddly enough splitting my attention tends to make me more focused. I get through more work when I am listening to an audiobook . I also listen while I am editing photos or creating props/costumes. Again, I think the audiobook helps me focus more on my task. I don’t usually need to think too hard about work or art, listening is a nice way to let my mind wander.
I also listen at the gym, but we are not going to talk about that torture chamber!
9. Looking back through the reviews you’ve written, please share the link(s) of 1-3 that were favorites of yours and explain why they are special to you.
So hard, it is like picking a favorite book! Impossible! Here are a few more recent ones that I really enjoyed.
Jitters is a favorite review because it was a book I was expecting to adore. There was such a sense of theatricality about the read, I fell in love! I do not usually enjoy full cast narrations; this was a very happy exception.
Better Nate Than Ever is a favorite because I loved the combination of writer/narrator, and Nate really reminds me of so many friends. I can just imagine them as him in their youth.
The Selkie Spell was such a beautiful read. It was one of those books you want to crawl inside and live. Loved the Irish accents!
10. As a narrator, I sometimes feel I have a spiritual connection to some of the characters in the books. If you were a character in a novel, who would you be, and why?
I am going to show exactly what a classic book nerd I am here. I think I would be either Elizabeth Bennett of Emma Woodhouse. I think I have Lizzie’s forthright attitude and spunk. Emma is my more playful side. Ms. Austen really did know how to craft an awesome character!
I think I could easily relate to most of Shakespeare’s heroines as well. Katherine, Beatrice or Rosalind; all strong, independent and sassy as all get out!!
Connect with April on these sites:
Thanks, April, for a peak inside your world! Also, I thank you for all of the narrator interviews on your blog this month, including my interview today!
Do you have a question for April? Please leave a comment!