Friday, September 28, 2018

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The Enigma Factor by Charles Breakfield & Roxanne Burkey - Audio Book Tour

Author: Charles V Breakfield, Roxanne E Burkey

Narrator: Steven Jay Cohen

Series: The Enigma Series, Book 1

Publisher: Enigma Series LLC

Released: Jun. 9, 2017

Length: 12 hours 15 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction; Technothriller


Rogue cyber-criminals want Jacob Michaels, a brilliant young programmer, to join them. He just doesn't know it yet. Jacob has the brains, expertise, and programming methods to get them what they want without discovery. With his best friend, Buzz, and a distractingly beautiful encryptionist in tow, Jacob enters the world of the Dark Internet here in the 21st century where the computer is the weapon of choice! With the cyber criminals engaged in international hacking, it's easy to have your identity slip through your fingers. No one, including Jacob, believes it when he learns he has been targeted. Jacob finds the space between cyber good and cyber evil difficult to navigate as well as highly deadly.

Jacob has settled into a quiet routine of a techno geek after his mother dies. The plans he made are disrupted when he discovers his life is in danger. He sets off on a mission that takes him into new technology views and exposes to him the inner-workings of unknown global technologists. Jacob learns that safeguards for technology are always evolving and being exploited. His challenge becomes how to keep ahead of the criminals and identify who to trust.

Book one of The Enigma Series brings relevant technology elements of programming, encryption, crypto-currency, identity theft, and hacking to highlight the professional excellence of Jacob, more so perhaps due to his sheltered upbringing. Explore the horrific damage cyber criminals can inflict as the award-winning authors, Breakfield and Burkey, weave a complex tale of danger, intrigue, and international cyber combat in their debut thriller, The Enigma Factor.




Breakfield is a renowned technology solutions architect with 25+ years of experience in security, hybrid data/telecom environments, and unified communications enjoys leveraging his professional skills in these contemporary TechnoThriller stories. His love of World War II history from multiple viewpoints, extensive world travel, and cultural exchanges are a part of his DNA. Charles’ love of wine tastings, cooking, and Harley riding has found ways into the nine books of The Enigma Series. Being the son of a military father allowed early exposure to various outposts, which has positively contributed to Charles contributions to many characters and the various character perspectives explored.
Burkey is a renowned customer experience professional, she is adept at initiating business solutions optimizing existing technology architecture to positively impact business outcomes. Her 25+ years in technology and business has allowed her to be a featured speaker on customer experience, subject matter expert, interviewer, instructor, and author of technology documents, as well as creator of the award winning stories within The Enigma Series. She recognized a few years ago, after several white papers and non-fictional technology books that writing fiction is a lot more fun, creative, and yet leverages relevant technology. As a child she helped to lead the other kids with exciting new adventures built on make believe characters which she brings to the stories in a grown up manner. Rox enjoys family, listening to people, any kind of travel, sewing, gourmet cooking, and imagining the possibilities.
Breakfield & Burkey – Combining their professional expertise, knowledge of the world from both business and personal travels, many characters whom have crossed their paths and are now a foundation for the 150+ characters which are a part of their series. They find it interesting to use aspects of today’s technology that people are actually incorporate into their daily lives. They will openly claim this experience and knowledge of people is a perfect way to create these adult good guy/bad guy stories. Relevant technology is combined with travel, romance, intrigue, mystery, and humor design for each book to be enjoyed alone or in sequence. Reviewers have positively compared Breakfield and Burkey to the works of Tom Clancy and Clive Custer which are some of their influencers.
The nine books currently in the series include The Enigma Factor, Rising, Ignite, Wraith, Stolen, Always, Gamers, Broker, and Dragon have received awards individually as a series, and audio books. They have also created some award winning short stories including one for The Enigma Chronicles focused on how one of the founding family was fractured due to the greed for information superiority.
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1.         Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
When we decided to venture down the path of audiobook production it began as an information gathering activity. Neither of us had listened to audiobooks, but our kids were saying it was the easiest way to multitask. Then one of our friends indicated they were unable to read our stories they were ADAH and that we should record them. Burkey attended an author event and spoke to some folks about their offering of audiobook production, but the cost was so high we avoided for another year.
We had another friend who wanted to narrate our first book and tried, to produce several chapters. We really liked her interpretation, but she had not used a production facility. ACX tested the content and it sadly failed the needed sound quality levels.
            Then we crossed paths with an expert in both narration and with creating audiobooks, Richard Rieman, who explained the process of finding a good narrator, the different ways to pay for the process, and approaches we might take. We listened to auditions and secured a renowned narrator, though we did not recognize that at the time. Again, we still had not listened to a full book via audible. The book was produced and over time we listened to our story being told one chapter at a time. We did not realize the finer points of how to secure changes, tools we should have provided, and the time it might take. It was a huge learning experience for us.
We had hoped we would be able to use the narrator for the subsequent stories, but we found ourselves at the cost prohibitive point. The ROI just did not work for us, so we had to find a new narrator. With book 6 currently in production, we are still learning how to help and support our narrator, Derek Shoales, who is doing a fabulous job of bringing our characters and stories to a new dimension.
           
2.         Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
Any writing can be translated into a great audiobook format with the right narrator, open discussion/exchanges between the authors and timely feedback. Only a picture book with no words would have an issue. Burkey has started to listen to audiobooks and her appreciation for the effort continues to grow.
3.         Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
When we started writing and getting reviews we were hoping for the big screen with our series, like a Netflix, or Amazon series. We write about applied technology because it is what we know from our professional background. In answer to your question, we deliberately wrote each story with the idea in mind that we would port it to another media type.
4.         How did you select your narrator?
We loaded up a sample of our story into ACX and solicited for narrators to essentially audition. We listened carefully to the way they told the story and selected the one we thought would bring the best voice to our series. When you have a character universe of 160+ like ours, it is important to make sure your voice actor can properly cover the range.  This isn’t like reading to your young ones at bedtime but really a narrator who can become the character(s) and deliver an enriched story to the listener.
5.         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?
With the first book we did not work closely enough. We were still new to the process and changes which we would have liked seemed daunting. Without directions or author notes to guide, different narrators will deliver the work in their own ways.
After the first one we have started to provide pronunciations on words, insights to the characters, and locations as well as catching the time in a given recording where we would like a change. This has made the process into an amazing partnership.  We feel like our narrator is part of our team.
You should know that not everything easily translates from the written word to a compelling audible.  Derek caught a conversion problem when taking it to the audible format that we completely missed. Look for that skill in your narrator.
6.         Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
We both work in technology and have for many years. We bring our knowledge of technology into the stories along with our travel all over the world and the crazy good and bad people who have crossed our paths. Many of the characters are patterned off people we have known. One particular favorite is John C, an Irishman first appearing in The Enigma Wraith, who is a friend we worked with in technology for many years.  Lots of fun people. By the way John C liked the Irish voice characterization our narrator did for his character.
7.         How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
We both work full time for very demanding companies. We set aside time for writing, marketing, and strategizing where to take the next book. Part of our continued enthusiasm for writing stems from the technology aspects we leverage in the stories. We are so lucky that technology is an ever changing element and we are close to the edge of the newest innovations and possibilities it can bring. While Book 10 is in its final grooming stages for publishing we are working on the concepts for the next story. Now and again we might get a bit down but then some idea will spark our conversation and the ideas will be everywhere.
8.         Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
This media is something Burkey is working with from a listening perspective. One of the best parts is the start, stop, and restart aspects. A different way of keeping your place. Ideal for long airplane rides.
9.         Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
As a reader you need to imagine the sentiment and feelings of the character in the context of the storyline. With the right narrator emphasizing the feelings of the characters in their tone it makes it somehow richer. We found in listening to our own stories during the review portions before they are finalized that we like our stories more than when we wrote them. That seems a little egotistical, but you asked.
10.  If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
Time travel would be an ideal way to meet characters in the context of their life so sure. It is almost like name the top five people living or dead you would like to have as dinner guests. Likely we would enjoy going a bit into the future to verify that how we position technology adoption actually occurred or not.
But to your first question, no we wouldn’t use time travel because of the temptation to make changes to past events.  We wouldn’t be the same people here at this point in time with changes to our past mistakes no matter how trivial they may seem.
11.  If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
We have over 160 characters in The Enigma Series universe. So a few of the cast we would enjoy using (and meeting) would include:
Jacob              Chris Pine
Petra               Keira Knightley
 Quip               James Franco
Wolfgang         Christopher Plummer
Stalker             David Boreanaz
Carlos              Santiago Cabrera
Juan                Jake Gyllanhaal
Julie                 Gemma Atherton
Gretchen         Kirsten Dunst
Brayson           Jeremy Renner
Mercedes        Moon Bloodgood
12.  What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
We try not to have a prejudice for the media type that people want to consume. Clearly it is a matter of preference, time, and these days age. People with different ideas often belittle others who take a different path. We think it is worth trying. When we are children listening to stories was our first exposure to reading.
13.  How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
To be honest, each novel completed allows for Chinese food or pizza and possibly a bit of sparkling wine. When book 10, The Enigma Source, is released in summer of 2018 in ebook and paperback it will be a fun discussion. When book 6, The Enigma Always, is released in audiobook format around that same time it will be its own celebration.
14.  What gets you out of a writing slump? Stepping away or talking about the issue with my co-author typically helps move it along. Usually this occurs because our work interrupts the time we have for writing. Work is first as we have a responsibility to our jobs which we both take seriously. What about a reading slump? Neither of us have a good answer here as it hasn’t occurred to this point.
15.  In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
In a series the author gets to continue character development over time. Humans grow and change over time which is fun to explore. We also write short stories designed as standalone. In these it is more important to focus on your goals as an author for that story. As a series we get to withhold some story elements for a future member to our series.  If you are only crafting a single standalone book our feeling is you need to “bake in” all the story elements needed to satisfy a reader.
16.  Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
Yes. Sometimes it helps work out a way we want to take a character.  Dreaming is a very useful tool.
17.  What's your favorite:
a.    Food-We each have different favorite foods, though we both like Chinese, salads, and sweet potato fries. And of course, wine.
b.     Song-There are so many great songs.  We both enjoy rock ‘n’ roll so Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd are always high runners.
c.      Book-War and Peace comes to mind as well as “Green Eggs and Ham”
d.    Television show-Burkey doesn’t like TV shows. Breakfield is real fond of Game of Thrones
e.    Movie-Burkey’s would be Live and Let Die. Breakfield’s would be The Wind and the Lion.
f.       Band-Okay now we are back to Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Steve Miller Blues Band
g.     Sports team-Neither of us are really into sports, but agree the competition at the Olympics is great.
h.     City-Burkey likes New York City. Breakfield likes Istanbul.
18.  Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
Our books have scenes or events which take place all over the world.  We have each traveled extensively so the various cities like Istanbul, São Paulo, Barcelona, and New York City do appear. Wine and good food are also highlighted especially if there is a local food to highlight.
19.  What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write if you wish and enjoy what you write. It is always easier to write about things you know. You will not get it right the first time, but you need to keep at it. Don’t let your friends read it as they will only tell you what you want to hear. It is always better to try and fail, than to fail to try. Everyone has a story.
20.  Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
Research is important. Take a look at various groups which take about the pros and cons of audiobooks. Invest wisely as it is an expensive endeavor. Many folks like to tell their own story which is great if you have a recording studio available and have a voice actor inside of you. Listen to a few books to help understand the voice you want to tell our story. ACX has some great tools. AudioBookReviewer.com is one avenue to look at. Richard Rieman (AudioBook Revolution) and Jocqueline M Protho (The Audio Flow Podcast). Another tip might be to read Richard’s book, The Authors Guide to Audio Book Creation.
21.  What’s next for you?
We want to have the rest of the series, Books 6-10, in audio book format, and we are just starting to form the plans for Book 11.
 



THE ENIGMA FACTOR
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THE ENIGMA RISING
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THE ENIGMA IGNITE
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THE ENIGMA WRAITH
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THE ENIGMA STOLEN
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