Featured Interview: Project Tau by Jude Austin (Audiobook just released)

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Featured Interview: Project Tau by Jude Austin (Audiobook just released)

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Today's Chat With Sarah features Jude Austin author of both Project Tau and Homecoming. Project Tau, incidentally, was book of the month in April of 2020.

To view the official review for Project Tau, click here.

To view the official review for Homecoming, click here.

To view Jude Austin on Amazon, and thus get to both books, click here.

To view the book of the month discussion, click here.

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1. First of all, welcome back to the "round table." I hear you have some exciting news you'd like to share.

I do indeed! The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 has finally started to air in Japan, and Netflix has commissioned Season 5 of Cobra Kai!

Wait...no, that's not it.

Oh yes: my debut novel, Project Tau, which was previously BOTM on OBC, has been adapted to audiobook format and is now available on Amazon!

2. What was the process of producing an audiobook like? We want to know it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The first word that springs to mind is "intense!" (laughs) The thing is, there can be no discrepancies between the book and the audiobook. So Matt Weisengerber (the narrator) would record a chapter and I'd have to listen to it and go through it sentence by sentence. Whenever there was a line to be redone, I'd have to note down the time-code and notes for that line. Only ACX's playback doesn't allow you to jump back in seconds, and my own isn't much better, so I'd end up listening to the same few lines 3-4 times. A thirty-minute chapter would take me about ninety minutes to run through, and that was if I didn't have too many notes.

There turned out to be quite a few discrepancies. I didn't want to be draconian about sticking to the text word-for-word, so wherever I could, I simply changed the book's text to match the audiobook's. In some cases, Matt's minor improvisation was better than my writing. I also found a few continuity errors, so poor Matt also got the odd note from me along the lines of, "Hey, I know the script says this, but I really want/need to change it to THIS. Can we do it?" I really tried to keep those to a minimum though. And then there were discrepancies that were fine when listening, but which critics would probably slaughter me for if I included in the text, so I also had to contact him and say, "Look, I'm fine with this little change, but readers won't be, so please can you switch it back?"

So there are changes, chapters have been moved, entire scenes have been inserted, cut, rewritten; basically, if you read this book prior to August, you don't have the definitive version, which means you can enjoy the audiobook in a whole new way ;)

The ugly would be Chapter 6. And Chapter 14, purely because it was so long. (This is because I rearranged the chapters in later editions, moving the Prologue to the start of Ch 14, so the audiobook and Kindle book now starts with Kata at college). Most of the chapters are around 30-45 minutes long, but 14 is about 1 hour 10, and the first time around, there were a lot of lines that needed redoing. I think the first round of notes on Ch 14 took me about five hours to do.

As for Chapter 6, there was some kind of jinx on that chapter, at least at Matt's end. He later told me that he had to call his sound engineer friend in, because ACX just would not accept the file. The same thing happened again in the final quality check. And when I listened to it for the final final check, it turned out that a handful of words had vanished into the ether, never to be heard from again, so I had to ask him to fix it again. Luckily, there weren't so many problems that time and the audiobook went ahead.

3. Did you have much say over the narrator and the way the book was read?

Oh yes; I was the one auditioning the narrators and, for want of a better word, directing the final product. I was able to narrow the field a little by specifying the accent I wanted (General American) and the style/age range. Having specified American, though, the job actually went to a Canadian narrator, Matt Weisengerber.

A little background here: when you create an audition, you have to provide an audition script. ACX's guideline is a few scenes. So I picked four scenes from Project Tau, all showcasing different emotions and different characters. (If you're curious, they were: a) the scene between Dennison and Mason at the beginning, when Mason reveals his plan for Kata; b) the scene where Renfield comes to Kata's room before leaving on his little investigation - that was added a little later, so some readers may not have come across it; c) the fight between Kata and Tau; and d) the confrontation between Kata and Chatton, when Kata goes out looking for Tau.)

I picked those scenes for two reasons. One: I wanted to see how the narrators would voice the different characters. This wasn't exactly a deal-breaker, as voices can easily be changed, but I'd also provided character notes with the audition script and I wanted to see how closely their ideas matched mine.

Some of the auditions – even a few I'd invited to audition – were easy rejections; poor recording quality, bad acting, things like that. A couple insisted on giving Mason a broad Southern twang, which was obviously inappropriate for the setting: Earth's gone, all its nations are gone, so there's no American South for him to have a twang from. Plus, the first narrator to do that made Mason sound exactly like Yosemite Sam, which meant I was giggling too hard to take any of the scenes seriously. I couldn't get the image out of my head of Yosemite Sam leaping up and down and brandishing his pistols on top of Mason's desk XD

So in the end, I had it down to three possibles: one invited auditionee and two who had auditioned on spec. One of the on specs was marked as Audible Approved, which means he's one of the best on the site, and he was actually the first to audition. I liked his vocal samples on his page, and he seemed pretty approachable, so I was very excited to hear his audition.

When it came in, it turned out he'd only done the first half of each scene, resulting in a six-minute audition (the actual audition was about 10-11 minutes). I thought there might have been a glitch at his end or something, so I sent him a reply saying I loved what I'd heard so far – which was true; his voices were great – but I hadn't heard enough, and by cutting out the ending, he'd also cut out the emotions. I'd given a little lead into the scenes, so the narrators weren't expected to go in cold but could work up to the big explosion/climax etc. Bottom line, I knew he could narrate and do voices, but I had no idea if he could handle the huge emotional range that the characters go through.

His reply can only be described as the politest hissy-fit I've ever encountered. Note the emphasis on polite; he was never rude or personal toward me, but he said that he was only "obliged" to provide me with 3-5 minutes of audition, and he'd given me the extra minute out of the goodness of his heart and because he wanted to be generous. If I wasn't prepared to give him the job based on this extra effort, then it was clear that we couldn't work together and he wanted his name to be withdrawn from consideration.

I already had the other two strong contenders at that time, and every other person who auditioned – good, bad or indifferent – had sent in the full script with no problems, making his comment about how wonderful and generous his extra one minute was sound ridiculous by comparison. So my only two thoughts regarding his withdrawal were, "Well, that makes choosing my narrator a lot easier!" and "YAY, I dodged a bullet!" That said, I'm pretty sure he did as well; I'm a perfectionist, and I don't think he could have handled my style of directing.

In the end, it came down to those two narrators: a guy called Michael Mola, whom I had previously invited to audition on Findaway Voices only to find that the site wouldn't process my payment, and another narrator called Matt Weisengerber. I was struggling hard to choose between them, but what finally tipped the scales in Matt's favor were two things: the way he delivered two lines in particular on the script, and the fact that he has a very unique voice. It's hard to describe, but I kept replaying his audition script over and over because I wanted to listen to him, and Michael didn't do that for me. So Matt got the job and he did amazing work!

I listened to each chapter, made notes on things that needed to be changed and sent them back to him for a retake. There were a few lines that took more than one retake, but Matt was always patient, pleasant and great to work with, even at times when I think he probably wanted to strangle me! (laughs)

4. Is the rest of the series eventually going to find its way on audiobook as well? Is it going to be read by the same actor?

Yes and yes. Matt did such an amazing job of voicing the characters that I invited him to commit to the rest of the series and some of the spinoffs before we were halfway through, and he agreed. Well...he agreed to do Homecoming (Projects Book 2) at any rate. I'd love to have him as the narrator for all Projects and Projects-related books.

I'm polishing Homecoming to a blinding glow and adding several scenes/encounters that weren't there before, mostly toward the end. This is because I can't make any changes to the book once the audiobook is released, so I want to get them in now.

5. Let's discuss the characters. Kalin Taylor enters GenTech on a dare to get into a fraternity. Can you tell us something about him that's not in the books?

He's an animal lover. When he was fourteen, he volunteered at an animal shelter every Saturday. He really wanted to adopt one of the cats there – he's definitely a cat-person – but his parents refused on the grounds that he'd be going off to college in a few years and wouldn't be able to take a pet with him.

6. What is Kalin's biggest pet peeve?

Being called Kalin probably tops that list. (laughs) The only time he ever uses his original name is for legal purposes, and even then he's very clear in both Project Tau and Homecoming that he hates his birth name and plans to change it to Kata by deed poll just as soon as he can. To him, Kalin represents the past and everything he hates, while Kata is proof of everything he's survived and his own escape. That doesn't mean he thinks of himself as a Project – he really doesn't! – just as a human whose name is Kata. He'll tolerate being called Kalin by Alan, who uses it as a grounding technique, and by Alan's family, but nobody else.

7. Another main character, Tau, is a clone. Having lived most of his life in a lab, he's new to the world and to relationships. Do you think he will ever be romantically involved?

Not in a million years! (laughs) Kata's a different story – I have detailed plans for his future – but never Tau.

But before I answer that in detail, there's one thing I'd like to clear up: a lot of people seem to view Tau as a main character. He's really not. He's been a supporting character right from the start. He has his own dedicated chapters right through Homecoming, and one of the last chapters and the final part of the ending chapter is Tau's POV, but once he's back with Kata, there's not a whole lot going on with him. It's the same with Book 3; it's not Tau's story anymore. Tau's in it and there are Tau-centric chapters – the book is split into two novels, with Kata's story in the first half and the other story in the second – but Tau's pretty much got what he always wanted, which was freedom from GenTech, and so his story is over and he plays a much smaller part in the world. I have no plans to write him out entirely, but nor am I going to shoehorn him in just to meet an invisible Tau quota XD Doing that would result in a much poorer book, and that's not something I'm willing to do.

Okay! Now, back to why Tau will never be romantically involved: there's something very unsettling about him. Based on reviews, some people seem to consider Tau a sweet, gentle, rather simple guy, and he's really not. Tau's quiet and he's polite, and he has a childlike sense of wonder when it comes to exploring the world...and all those traits do a very good job of masking the fact that if you really stop and analyze his behavior throughout both books – particularly Homecoming – he's also entirely without remorse. The only time he shows something approaching guilt is once in Project Tau. (I also have no idea where people get the simple thing from, since Tau is shown in both books to be capable of outwitting humans. There's a huge difference between simple and uneducated/inexperienced.)

Throughout Homecoming, we see that Kata feels a crippling amount of guilt over what he did in GenTech and afterward. In contrast, Tau doesn't care. The only emotion Tau ever shows in connection with killing or hurting people is fear of punishment, because Projects (clones) aren't supposed to hurt humans. He has no remorse and he doesn't have much of a moral compass; after all, in Homecoming, he's perfectly willing to torture the bounty hunter through starvation, which is an idea that would horrify Kata.

Don't get me wrong. Tau's not a monster, he's not a sadist and he's not going to end up as the bad guy in any of the books. He's never going to go over to the dark side, and he's never going to turn into Dennison 2.0. But the negative traits I mentioned would make him very bad boyfriend material, and I think any potential partner would spot that very quickly. It's likely that he'll develop/rediscover more humane traits as the series progresses, but "Tau Learns How To Say Sorry" isn't the kind of book I'm interested in writing (laughs)

8. What is perfect happiness for Tau?

I think we see him achieve it at the end of Homecoming: being left alone to live in peace (with the possible exception of Kata and Kurai) and with no threat of GenTech. Unlike Kata, who's far more driven, Tau's content with what he has. He has simple tastes. Part of the reason for Tau and Kata's slight estrangement in Books 2 and 3 is because they're approaching Tau's situation from opposite viewpoints: Kata believes it's disgusting for anyone to own Tau, but Tau himself has no moral objections due to his background. Freedom's great, but if he can't have that, he wants an owner who'll treat him well. Kurai is hardly ever there and never gives Tau orders when he is, making him Tau's owner on paper only.

9. Dr. Dennison is one of the main evil characters, if you will, in Project Tau. Does he have any redeeming qualities, and, if so, what are they?

Well...he's quite polite. Even when he's dealing with Tau and Kata, although he makes no secret of his contempt for them, he very rarely resorts to verbal abuse. Granted, he's clever and manipulative enough that he doesn't have to, but he's usually fairly professional and polite to his colleagues as well.

One good thing about him is that he's not a hypocrite. If he makes it a rule that Projects aren't permitted to use profanity, he also makes a point of not using it himself.

I think part of the reason for the antagonism between Kata and Dennison – besides the obvious – is that they both see themselves in the other. Dennison was the nerdy outcast at school, and Kata sees the kind of guy he could have become if he'd stayed in college, and both hate having to face that.

10. Let's talk about a new character in Homecoming, Alan Morgan. He and Kata develop quite the friendship. What about Alan makes Kata start to trust him?

Great! Alan's the first new MC to join the series, so I've been looking forward to talking about him!

And that's a very good question. Trust is an alien concept to Kata when it comes to adults, as the message he's internalized right from his childhood is that adults can't be relied upon. At best, they're useless; at worst, they're the enemy. So it's not just that he has to learn to trust again; it's that he's never really learned to trust at all, and a huge part of his story in Homecoming is all about that.

Alan's the first person who's ever showed any genuine concern for Kata's well-being and treated him like an actual human being with thoughts and feelings of his own, instead of an animal (Dennison) an embarrassment (his father) or a walking brain on legs who can make his school look really good and who should be yelled at and lectured for failing to 'live up to his potential' right from a very young age (every adult he meets) or a freak to be ostracized and/or bullied (every kid he meets).

Alan's also the first person to not only see Kata as exactly what he is – a severely traumatized, damaged and very angry kid who uses his attitude and profanity like a shield to avoid being hurt again – but to care about what he sees. While both Noll and Adrianne are well aware of Kata's trauma, neither of them care about it; they just see his potential as an assassin and have no interest in how much they might be screwing him up psychologically by forcing him into that role.

So Kata really struggles to understand why Alan cares about him at all. I mean, he gets it from a medical point of view – he was injured and Alan's a surgeon, so it's his job to patch Kata up – but in his own mind, he's always been a freak and a failure. Now he has to cope with the added perception of himself as a monster after GenTech and Sedna, and he can't wrap his head around the idea that other people might not share his opinion of himself.

I think the first hint he gets that Alan isn't the same as all the other adults he's encountered is when he's caught sneaking into Alan's office and, instead of the brutal punishment Kata's expecting, Alan takes the opportunity to talk to him and they have a small bonding moment over coffee. It's also notable that compared to his usual manner of talking under stress, Kata uses much less profanity whenever he's speaking to Alan. Not no profanity, but less :P It also culminates in Kata letting his guard down and breaking down when Alan asks him if he's okay. It's such a simple question, but it's one that nobody's cared enough to ask Kata before.

The first time Kata displays genuine trust is on the ship heading to Conclave. He's been holed up, not eating, not speaking to anyone, under truly phenomenal levels of stress, and it's Alan who makes a point of bringing him food, sitting there with him and giving him a hug. And at this point, he and Alan have reached a stage in their relationship where Kata not only accepts Alan's hug without flinching, he returns it. For a traumatized kid who's suffered the outcast and bully-victim lifestyle and who has severe body and rejection issues, this is a much, much bigger thing and a far greater show of trust than I think many people realize.

There are also plenty of other tiny clues scattered throughout the story. For example, as a doctor, Alan offers Kata painkillers several times over the course of the book. Initially, Kata's too jittery after his experiences at GenTech to accept any kind of medication, no matter how innocuous it may be, but then in the hotel room, he allows himself to be persuaded, and at the very end, he trusts Alan enough to just take the pills without hesitating or questioning him.

Or in the hotel room before Conclave, when Kata sneakily swipes a couple of Alan's fries. To most people, that's nothing, but for Kata to let down his guard to the extent of playfulness is a massive, massive indicator of trust. I mean, can you imagine what Dennison would have done to him if he'd tried that in GenTech, particularly since Tau and Kata – as Projects – were forbidden to eat 'human' food? Even his own father would have had a fat-shaming thing or two to say about it, but Kata trusts Alan to let it slide and his trust pays off. It's a tiny thing on the face of it, but that's how trust is built: through a lot of tiny, seemingly insignificant acts that come together.

At the end of the day, Homecoming is like Project Tau in one respect: if you skim it or just do a surface read instead of really thinking about what you're reading and how it relates to all the characters and the world, you're going to miss a lot of those tiny acts, as well as all the subtle details and layers to the story and the characters.

11. Alan puts up a good fight for Kata. What in his nature makes him stand up for Kata? Is it just Kata, or would he fight for anyone that's oppressed or unsafe?

Alan's not afraid to stand up for what he feels is right, and he's basically a caring, compassionate guy. He has a very strong sense of justice, so he'd fight for anyone – we see this a little more in Book 3 – but there's also the fact that Kata returns to help defend the field hospital during the attack. He doesn't trust Alan much at that point, he thinks Alan is going to lock him up or try to exploit him and hurt him if he tries to defend himself, but he still puts saving the field hospital above going after Tau. Kata puts his life on the line to warn and protect the people he believes are his enemies, he saves four lives, and that leaves Alan seriously impressed. This marks a huge stage in Kata's character development as well; it's the first time he's acted out of pure altruism. From a writing point of view, it was also why I didn't just have the attack happen when Kata was in the hospital; he has to make the conscious decision to do the right thing and go back when he doesn't stand to gain anything from it, otherwise there's no development for him.

But the first time Alan meets Kata, it's only been a week or so since the events in GenTech, and Kata's spent a lot of that time in cryostasis, so he's still battered and scarred from his treatment in GenTech, and Alan's an experienced enough doctor to recognize the injuries for what they are. So there's that aspect as well: he wants to help an abused kid escape from a terrible situation. He doesn't realize how terrible it was until Kata really begins to trust him and open up to him, but that makes no difference to him; he helps Kata like he would help anyone. The strong father-son bond that develops between the two of them throughout the course of the book just happens naturally; it certainly wasn't something Alan was planning or even expecting to happen.

12. What in Alan's past has most shaped his future?

I'm not sure. His upbringing, perhaps? Unlike Kata, Alan has great parents who supported him and continue to support him throughout Book 3 and future books. Kata rather disparagingly refers to Alan's family as "one of those sitcom families" in Book 3, which probably isn't too far off the mark, really.

13. Will Alan be part of the third book, and if so, how big of a part?

Oh yes; Alan will be a huge part of all future books in the Projects saga. From the moment he joined the cast of main characters in Homecoming, Alan's been set up as a permanent MC. He plays an equal part with Kata and we also get to meet some of Alan's family in Book 3. He has a life and background outside of Kata, after all ;)

Alan makes a great counterpart for Kata. They're both very different in terms of personality, and the age difference means they have very different ways of tackling problems, yet they're similar enough to have a genuine bond and shared interests.

14. There are quite a few so-called minor characters. Which is your favorite and why?

Well, I like Kurai, but my favorite minor character would have to be Alex Noll (Diamond Ten). He's only in the beginning of Homecoming, but I'd like to have done more with his character, because he has so much to him and he's very different from the typical "bad guy." For example, he doesn't speak politely because he's trying to lull people into a false sense of security; he speaks politely because his parents raised him to have good manners.

It was fun to write him because he's so completely honest about who and what he is: he's a crime lord, and he's fine with that, and he never attempts to justify it or hide it. There are no tricks with him. It's never confirmed in the book, since Kata would have no way of knowing, but when he offers to make a deal with Kata, he has every intention of honoring his side of it.

For a crime lord, he's also quite compassionate. He knows Kata's been through hell, and yes, he plans to turn him into his personal attack dog, but – outside of hurting him once with the seeker – he's fairly sympathetic in the way he treats him. His argument is never do what I say or get hurt, but okay, I want this from you, so what do you want from me in exchange? And again, it's a serious offer; he's not a double-crosser and he doesn't make promises he won't keep.

It's like when he wants to examine Kata's claws more closely. He doesn't just grab Kata or threaten him into obeying; he asks for permission to handle him and lets Kata decide for himself, putting him in control of the situation. As soon as he sees that Kata's not comfortable with being handled, Noll respects that by backing off and giving him his space. And again, none of this is a trick on his part; he genuinely respects personal boundaries like that.

So yeah. Noll's definitely one of my favorite minor characters because he's a fairly complex character: a crime lord who's willing to use pain to force cooperation, yet one who clearly shows hidden depths of empathy and compassion during his brief appearance in Homecoming. Honestly, if I ever get famous enough for there to be fanfic of my work, I would love for someone to write an AU where Kata actually accepts Noll's offer and see how they work together.

15. Are there going to be any new and notable characters you can tell us about in book 3 (which I don't think we've gotten a name for yet)?

The name's been up on my website and mentioned in my newsletter a few times, but for those of you who haven't subscribed, first of all, please feel free to join up, and second of all, I can satisfy your curiosity right now :P

Projects 3 is officially called Nowhere to Hide. It's really two books in one: Kata's Part 1 is complete at 115,000 words, and Part 2 is about 30% done. The final book is going to be a monster. Honestly, I thought about splitting it into two books at one point, but it seemed like a bit of a cheap gimmick to have people pay twice for two halves of the same story. I know a certain indie gaming company that tried that and it lost a lot of followers. I don't even know if it's still going.

And in answer to your question: yes, there will be plenty of notable characters! It's time the playing field grew beyond just Kata, Tau and Alan. So in Kata's story, we have Neil, a young man of mystery who doesn't speak or understand any of the only three languages to exist in the books' setting (English, Akkhenian and Trandellian) but who's deadly with a gun and plays a mean electric guitar. There's also Jessica Cane (I can't separate those two names in my head no matter how much I try) the quintessential gamer girl. She plays a much smaller role, but she proved to be popular with my beta reader and editor, so she might make appearances in future books.

On the other side, we have two opposing factions: the Akkhenians at the field hospital on the planet Atthiras, and the Trandellian strike troops that have been sent in. War hasn't happened for centuries – there's no real reason/need for it, for several in-universe reasons – and so this is a terrifying, monumental occasion. So on the Akkhenian side, we have Nicole Bridges, who's just taken over command of the field hospital from Alan and is struggling to find her feet in her first command posting, and Agnetha Nyberg, who's been in command of the training camp next door for the past two years. On the Trandellian side, we have Ingal, who's been dragged into this whole strike troop thing against his will and is in a long way over his head. One thing I'm loving about Part 2 is that it gives me the perfect chance to develop both the Trandellian and Akkhenian cultures further.

16. Out of all of the characters that you've written in the series, which one was the hardest to write? Which one was the easiest?

The easiest is probably a tie between Kata and Alan. Alan's ethnicity was the hardest to get across, though. If he were in our time, he'd be Latino, but he's in a future time when ethnicities as a whole don't exist in society: nationality is defined by a person's planet of origin, not their skin color, so a person is just "Akkhenian" or "Trandellian" or "Basarrian" and that's it (plus Earth ethnicities/nationalities no longer exist and are no longer even known).

The hardest is Tau, which is why I was so happy when he got most of what he wanted at the end of Homecoming (laughs) I'm very fond of him as a supporting character, though. That said, he and Kata will be joining forces again in Book 4, so he'll probably have a much bigger part there.

17. Project Tau would make a great movie. For my sake, please tell me that someone has approached you about turning it into a movie?!

I wish I could! Believe me, I really wish I could, but it hasn't happened yet, and I don't know anyone in that industry who can help. Ideally, I want the whole saga to be serialized on Netflix or something, but a movie would be just as awesome!

So if anyone reading this has connections in Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, or knows someone who knows someone, I really hope that person will take pity on a struggling indie author! I'm not going to be draconian over sticking to the story. So long as any adaptation follows the world's rules and is true to the setting, I'm fairly easy on what it does with the characters.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott
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Khalisa Masuku
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Post by Khalisa Masuku »

I enjoyed reading this interview as it gave me clear insight in the process of making amaudio book. Which is something I have been wanting to do for a really long time and now I feel I got a special in-look to something I have been curious about. What I enjoyed most of all is the in-depth answers she gave to each question, it shows how much she loves her book and how dedicated she is to its success. Which is an admirable attitude especially from someone who is aspiring to become an author. I have not read the book yet but I am now especially excited to read it right now! It sounds like something I would love reading and honestly if it was turned into a movie, I would definetly watch it!
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Khalisa Masuku wrote: ↑11 Sep 2021, 09:21 I enjoyed reading this interview as it gave me clear insight in the process of making amaudio book. Which is something I have been wanting to do for a really long time and now I feel I got a special in-look to something I have been curious about. What I enjoyed most of all is the in-depth answers she gave to each question, it shows how much she loves her book and how dedicated she is to its success. Which is an admirable attitude especially from someone who is aspiring to become an author. I have not read the book yet but I am now especially excited to read it right now! It sounds like something I would love reading and honestly if it was turned into a movie, I would definetly watch it!
Thank you so much! I love getting comments/follow-up questions to my interviews, as it's one of the few ways I can interact with my readers (and, indeed, potential readers!)

There was more behind-the-scenes stuff to do with making an audiobook, so if you (or anyone reading this!) have any questions about that or the series in general, feel free to ask me right here :D
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Post by MARJORIE obeso »

When I read this interview about how to become an audiobook narrator, how difficult it was been that kind of job which we know pay a bit high salary of that kind job. Nowadays, that we need to stay at home due to the pandemic, that whole world suffering it really affects all people of the world right now. But then we all know that this pandemic will end soon. Then when while reading the interview Tau is a clone who never be romantical does not care ever or ever shows in connection with killing or hurting people is fear or equal punishment( project clone ) are not supposed to hurt a human. Tau- as for me in the character of the novel he is like the Afghanistan country that all the Taliban want to rule their own country that affects their own countrymen and women, children's for their future. As I have seen on the T.V. and other social media, on my part I feel hurt and depressed and scared for those innocent people, sad especially those children's they don't even understand it happen. And what are the causes and effects on the coming days when that war will end? Supposedly we need peace and unity in every country in order that our economic business will do a new normal and need survive each country and the daily needs of all people, I hope Tau is not a clone for he can experience how wonderful the world he lived now. before I ended up love and peace of the whole world. thank you.
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Jude Austin
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Post by Jude Austin »

MARJORIE obeso wrote: ↑13 Sep 2021, 06:05 I hope Tau is not a clone for he can experience how wonderful the world he lived now.
Thank you for your interesting comment :)

Context is important here ;) First of all, just because Tau doesn't feel remorse about hurting humans (most of who, to be fair, have treated him abominably!) it doesn't mean he can't appreciate beauty and it doesn't make him any kind of violent psychopath. Part of his reason for wanting to settle where he does is because of the natural beauty of the planet (not our Earth, as that's long gone in the books). Basically, if you don't make problems for him, he won't make them for you. He just has a very negative - if somewhat justified! - opinion of humans :D
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Post by Susan Frances »

I enjoyed this interview particularly the depth of the answers. It was interesting to read about how an audiobook is made and I admire your stamina. Having enjoyed reading Tau, I got the audio version and am about halfway through. It's very good and the narrator has the characters spot on. Well done!
As a fellow author of a historical family saga, I am intrigued about how much future vision you have for the series. Your books are character-driven and you obviously have great empathy with them. Are the characters more important to you than the plot/issue? Do you plan the characters' development first and fit the plot/issues around them or does the plot come first or do they evolve together?
Finally, when do you know you are ready to pick up the pen for the next book in the series?
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Post by Jude Austin »

Susan Frances wrote: ↑14 Sep 2021, 07:55 I enjoyed this interview particularly the depth of the answers. It was interesting to read about how an audiobook is made and I admire your stamina. Having enjoyed reading Tau, I got the audio version and am about halfway through. It's very good and the narrator has the characters spot on. Well done!
As a fellow author of a historical family saga, I am intrigued about how much future vision you have for the series. Your books are character-driven and you obviously have great empathy with them. Are the characters more important to you than the plot/issue? Do you plan the characters' development first and fit the plot/issues around them or does the plot come first or do they evolve together?
Finally, when do you know you are ready to pick up the pen for the next book in the series?
Hi Susan! (Glad you could stop by in between your bouts of riddle-solving ;) ) Thank you so much for your comments; I'm so happy you're enjoying the audiobook. Matt did an amazing job with the voices; I can't wait to hear how he tackles the new characters (particularly Alan :D )

Also, thank you for your questions; I love it when people ask me stuff :P Here's hoping more people will weigh in with more questions for me! ;) (Hint, hint!)

Are the characters more important to you than the plot/issue?
I'm not sure what you mean by issue. Do you mean the topics that arise such as mental illness, the importance of recognizing emotional/verbal abuse etc?

For me, I write reality, not fantasy. Even my fantasy novels are dictated by reality...Okay, that's kind of confusing. Let me break it down a little!

Homecoming: The FANTASY 1
Kata emerges from his two years of being locked up, gaslighted (gaslit? I'm never sure on that one :lol2: ) and brutally tortured with nothing but the occasional nightmare and picks up his life exactly where he left off. You'll see this a lot in fiction; the characters go through horrific experiences and brush them off with nary a mental scratch, except the occasional nightmare for dramatic purposes.

Homecoming: The REALITY 1
Kata emerges a psychological wreck, not just because of the unbelievable hell he suffered, but because he was also a kid at the time (barely 17 when GenTech took him). PTSD is a very real thing among military veterans, even with their training. Realistically, what chance did Kata have of coming out of that situation unscathed? We also learn that, thanks to poor parenting and his hell at school, he already had a few psychological hangups before he ever set foot in GenTech. He's going to need a lot of very specialized therapy before he can even begin to heal.

Mental health and trauma are fascinating minefields to write about. Given that you never know who exactly is reading, I wanted to treat the subject with the respect it deserved, so I did a lot of research while I was writing, to the point of taking an online course in teen therapy and reading psychology textbooks to try and better understand what might be going on inside his head.

Basically, the reality is that if I want to put my characters through situations like that, I'm either going to have to show the effects of the trauma or stop writing about that character completely. It's like Kata's leg injury: even with the advances in medicine, it's going to take a lot of time and physiotherapy to heal, and we see in Book 3 that it's still giving him some problems. Actions, even fictional ones, have consequences, after all ;)

Do you plan the characters' development first and fit the plot/issues around them or does the plot come first or do they evolve together?
They evolve together. I never start a book knowing what's going to happen or how characters are going to develop unless it's so blatantly obvious that I can't not have it happen (Kata's trauma was a given for me in Homecoming. His eating disorder, less so).

Finally, when do you know you are ready to pick up the pen for the next book in the series?
I never stop (laughs). Right now, books 4-5 are partially written. A lot of the stuff I've written will never be used, a lot more will be recycled for future books or even completely different settings, and maybe about 10-20% of what I currently have written for the future books will make it into the book it was intended for.

I also have 2-3 spinoffs in mind. I want to write some stories set in the Projects universe, but completely separate from the Projects characters and arc (kind of like how Terry Pratchett had the Watch, the Lancre Witches and sometimes completely unrelated characters).

I will be taking a short break from the Projects series after Book 3 is published, however, as I really want to concentrate on finding an agent for my comic fantasy series, which will hopefully let me make some actual money out of writing!

I hope that answered your questions! If not, feel free to ask again. Or you can just ask me some more anyway. Questions make me happy! :D
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