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Looking for Dei by David A. Willson - Audio Book Tour

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Author: David A. Willson

Narrator: Tanya Eby

Length: 10 hours 5 minutes

Publisher: Seeker Press

Released: Mar. 30, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Join Nara and Mykel on a journey through the Great Land....

Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never been good at keeping secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious adoptive father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.

A gifted youth has not been announced in the poor village of Dimmitt for decades. When Nara uncovers the reason, she uses her own powers to make things right. The decision sets her and her friend on a path of danger, discovery, and a search for the divine. In the process, she learns the truth about herself and uncovers the biggest secret of all: the power of broken people.

David A. Willson has worked as a restauranteur, peace officer, and now, author. Taught by his mother to read at a young age, he spent his childhood exploring magic, spaceships, and other dimensions. In his writing, he strives to bring those worlds to his readers.

Much of his material is inspired by the "Great Land" of Alaska, which he has called home for over 30 years. He lives there with his wife, five children, and 2 dogs. He is passionate about technology, faith, and fiction--not necessarily in that order.

Looking for Dei is Willson's debut novel, set in a land where many more adventures will take place. Stay up to date with his ongoing efforts through the Looking for Dei Facebook page or visiting the website at
Narrator Bio

Tanya is a member of SAG/AFTRA. She is a narrator and has over 500 titles to her credit. She also narrates under the name of Tatiana Sokolov for books that are particularly saucy (AKA erotica books). When not narrating, she’s working on her own writing. Check out her books: Easy Does It, Blunder Woman, Pepper Wellington and the Case of the Missing Sausage, Foodies Rush In, Tunnel Vision, and Synchronicity. She also has a food blog at

1. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?

Yes it was.  I considered an audiobook to be essential to crafting the story I wanted to tell and I believe it is the best way to experience it.  As part of that effort, I built very distinct characters, all of them, so that interactions between them would have very different voices.  In almost every scene of dialogue, the participants sound very different from one another.  This is essential to making the interaction clear and advances the story by eliminating the confusion that sometimes occurs in dialogue scenes between characters.

2. How did you select your narrator?

I listened to dozens and dozens of narrators.  I emailed a few of the better ones, and thought I had settled on an excellent narrator.  Then, I put the manuscript on ACX’s website to audition narrators and a very special one submitted a clip.  It was Tanya Eby.  I was shocked at her versatility, and surprised that I hadn’t yet listened to her work.
I sought out Tanya’s clips all over the internet, and found one on her website where she is trying to crank out ten distinct dwarf voices.  It was really funny.  It’s a beautifully candid look into the process of crafting different sounds and her humanity really shone through the audio.  I was endeared right away and there was no going back.  I wanted Tanya.

Listen to Tanya’s dwarf voices here:

3. How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

Yes, Tanya was great at soliciting feedback from me and then doing amazing things with it.  I wrote substantial pronunciation instructions, then recorded how I wanted them to be done and sent the audio file to her.  Her first crack at the manuscript was amazing, almost nearly error-free.  I was astounded at her skill - an absolute professional and I highly recommend her work.

4. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

In my day job, I work as a law enforcement officer here in Alaska.  Most of my career has been supervising major crimes investigations  Many of those cases involve child exploitation.  In this kind of work, you come in contact with some pretty heartbreaking situations, where children have become victims of some selfish, broken person.  As I've chased these villains and sought to protect the wee ones, the journey has made the pathos of the human condition powerfully real for me.

Pain is a big part of life, and fear of pain seems to hold so many people back.  Selfish people spread the pain around, creating more pain.  Faith, however, seems to have the power to overcome much of the negative aspects of these adverse experiences, often reversing, to some degree, the damage that is done.  I'm talking about faith done right, not faith done wrong.  There are plenty of examples of the latter in our world.  I hoped that my book could touch on these things, and maybe help heal some hearts.

5. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

Yes, I am an avid listener.  I began enjoying audiobooks several years ago when I tired of music and talk radio during my commutes to work.  One of the best things about audiobooks is the ability to enjoy the story while doing something else, like driving!  I have treasured the ability to enjoy these stories while I travel, as I don’t always have time to read but need the adventure that these stories provide.  Must have it!
Another aspect I enjoy is the magic that comes from a great narration.  It really takes one away.  Good voice acting is precious in a story, especially when performing different voices, and Tanya Eby is great with this. 

6. Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

Yes, I really like the scenes between Nara and Bylo.  There is so much about that relationship that many of us can relate to.  It’s about a man and his feelings for his little girl.  It’s about a young lady, almost a woman, and her relationship with her father.  It’s about a larger world and it’s future.  It’s about prophecy, and scripture, and the great unknown.  For me, it all comes through much better when I hear the dialogue rather than just imagining it, and I’ve imagined it many, many times.  Real voices, talking about important things.  Voices laden with emotion.  Loved those scenes.
7. If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the  primary roles?

Annalise Basso would play Nara.  My wife found her online, and I agree.  Besides, Suzanne’s judgment is usually better than mine on this sort of thing.  Basso has an innocent look to her that we think would be perfect.
For Bylo, we like Jeff Bridges.  He is a little young for the role, so the makeup artists would need to age him a bit, but his personality is so endearing and I’ve always enjoyed his amazing talent.  The trouble might be if Bridges began to upstage the other roles; the style of Bylo’s character is more that of a support character than a lead, even if he does play a huge role.  It’s an odd dynamic.
We haven’t found a Mykel, although we’ve looked.  That’s a hard role to cast.  I’d prefer to see a new talent, a Native Alaskan for sure, but we haven’t seen one yet that we think would work well.
Vorick was a fun one.  I think Alan Rickman would have been perfect - he was a genius, but alas, we lost him.  Miss that man, he was brilliant.  From Die Hard to Galaxy Quest, he was one of my favorite actors for sure. Almost as good would have been Tim Curry.  Curry is brilliant, but he might be a little too old for the part - Vorick is middle aged.  Tom Hiddleston would be perfect, however.  His role as Loki in The Avengers and the Thor movies showed how easily the audience can be led to hate him, yet his excellent performances on the stage and in his non-superhero roles showed his versatility and skill.  Hiddleston is perfect.
8. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
How many of us learned to love books while sitting on a parent’s knee or laying our head on a pillow during a bedtime story?  Listening to a novel being read is one of the greatest joys in life, and while it may a friend or family member performing, it can be just as magical.  And we can listen to books anywhere!  I’ve listened while driving, exercising, or doing chores around the house.  I remember listening to Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss while I was building shelves in my garage one weekend.  You can’t do that with a printed book.
The purpose of reading is to be transported to another land, to experience a different world, to hear about different people, and to open our minds to new ideas and perspectives.  When properly assembled, words do that for us, but they don’t have to be brought to life by the voice in our head as we read - other voices can do that just as well.
I would say that audiobooks fans are the truest fans of literature - we read books all the time, not just when we can sit down and hold a novel or eBook reader in our hands.

9. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Writers write, so just do it.  Write. Write a journal.  Write a report at work.  Write a blog.  Write something. Practice your craft. Get used to seeing how words fit together, how they inspire, what works and what doesn't.  Get feedback. Don’t seek praise, because that doesn't help you very much.  Get critical feedback.  Get disappointed in yourself and then struggle through it.  I've never learned anything in life by doing it right the first time. Failure is your teacher, but you have to have the courage to fail.  The courage to learn.
And there is no better time to start than right now.  Don't wait until you're almost fifty years old (like me) to start doing what you always wanted to.  It's a marvelous journey, and the highs and lows of building a story are hard to describe other than to say that if you don't do it, you'll regret it forever.

Don't let fear hold you back from doing what you want to do.  Suffer.  Heal.  Grow. Then do it again. This isn't just good advice on writing, this is good advice on how to live.

10. What’s next for you?
Another story in The Great Land, of course!  Nara and Mykel have a lot of work to do, and I can’t wait to see how they accomplish it!

May 24th:

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