Sunday, April 25, 2021

Lord of Order by Brett Riley - Audio Book Tour

Author: Brett Riley

Narrator: David Doersch

Length: 12 hours 14 minutes

Publisher: Imbrifex Books

Released: March 9, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction; Horror

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The Purge is here. New Orleans must die. Long after the destruction of all electronic technology, the Bright Crusade rules the world as a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. Gabriel Troy is Lord of Order for the New Orleans Principality. For years, he and his deputies have fought to keep their city safe from the attacks of the Crusade’s relentless enemies, the Troublers, heretical guerillas who reject the Crusade’s rule and the church’s strict doctrines. As their crowning achievement, Troy’s forces capture the Troublers’ local leader. The city has never been more secure. Alarming intelligence leaks from Washington: Supreme Crusader Matthew Rook plans to enact a Purge - the mass annihilation of everyone deemed a threat to the Crusade. Rook orders his forces to round up all but the blindly loyal and march them to New Orleans. Once the prisoners have been chained inside, the Crusaders will wall off the city and destroy the levees. The resulting deluge, reenacting the Biblical deluge of Noah’s time and the city’s devastation during Hurricane Katrina, will kill everyone inside. Forced to choose between the Crusade and the city he has sworn to protect, Troy and five other conflicted conspirators gird for battle, fully aware that the looming apocalypse will demand horrific choices, test their faith, and require them to join forces with their sworn enemies.

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 Brett Riley is professor of English at the College of Southern Nevada. He grew up in southeastern Arkansas and earned his Ph.D. in contemporary American fiction and film at Louisiana State University. His short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including "Folio," "The Wisconsin Review" and "The Baltimore Review". Riley’s debut novel, "Comanche" was released in September 2020. He has also won numerous awards for screenwriting. Riley lives in Henderson, Nevada.
David has worn many professional hats over the 30+ years of his career: actor, director, fight choreographer, recording artist, touring musician, and audiobook narrator of dozens of books. A gifted storyteller, David has always had a facility with accents and character voices. Since being introduced to audiobook narration some ten years ago, he has recorded books in a variety of genres: fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, children’s, mystery, crime, thriller, romance, etc. He is an audible approved narrator and in 2012 was a finalist for the coveted SAG-AFTRA Foundation Audible Contract. 

Q&A with Author Brett Riley
  1. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    1. I don’t think in terms of, “I think this would sound good in an audiobook.” I do try to construct sentences with some sense of rhythm and musicality, though. I think paying careful attention to sentence-level writing probably helps make a book more conducive to audio format. Plus, most writers participate in public readings of their works, which means it’s always good when you don’t stumble over your own sentences. I’m sure that helps an audiobook’s narrator.
  2. 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?
    1. I worked with Imbrifex Books to produce a pronunciation guide. In New Orleans, you don’t deal with only “generic” Southern accents (which Hollywood often gets badly wrong anyway; most of us actually don’t sound like Foghorn Leghorn). Some New Orleanians sound more or less typically Southern. Others sound almost as if they’re from New York. You’ve got uptown accents, Yat accents, thick Cajun accents. In this book, we didn’t want the accents to be too thick; otherwise, general readers might have a hard time understanding them. But we did want to preserve some of that south Louisiana music and the city’s specific pronunciations of certain words.
  3. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    1. I lived in Baton Rouge during Hurricane Katrina. We watched in horror as the Gulf Coast suffered and the government fumbled its response. Poor people and people of color were disproportionately affected. That wasn’t even the first time that a Southern flood led to those kinds of results, so the idea of an authoritarian regime using a flood to further its own ends isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. I’ve also been dismayed to see how Evangelical Christians flocked to support politicians whose actions and words seemed at odds with Christian ethos. Those are at least two influences on the dramatic situations in the book. I didn’t consciously base the characters or specific plot points on real-life people or events.
  4. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    1. So far, I’ve never had to worry about maintaining enthusiasm, thank goodness. I love what I do. I think it’s what I was meant for. In fact, if I don’t get to write on a given day, I feel low and grumpy. I’m probably not easy to live with, so I’m grateful that my family puts up with me.
    2. I do get tired, though. I’m a college professor and a family man, so fitting everything into my daily schedule is always challenging. On some days, I just don’t have time for everything, or maybe all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch movies or Netflix. I try to minimize days when I get nothing done, but when it happens, or when I have a less productive day, I try to let myself off the hook. I also give myself a day or two off here and there, longer if I really need it. That lets me come back to my desk feeling refreshed and excited.
  5. If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    1. I’d love to time travel, just to see the past and the future. At the very least, it would make for excellent research. Beyond the usual answers we’ve probably all thought about—could I stop Hitler? could I do something to help enslaved people or child laborers? and big questions like that—I’d love to visit the Old West (especially the hot spots like Deadwood, Dodge City, Tombstone, etc.) and any time/place where great writers were doing their best work. Can you imagine getting to tell Herman Melville not to worry because Moby-Dick would turn out fine? Or popping in during the Harlem Renaissance?
    2. I’d also like to go back to see my twelve-year-old self and tell that kid that he doesn’t have to follow the paths of anger and pain, because one day, things will be okay.
  6. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    1. I’d suggest they open their minds to new and different experiences. Audiobooks open more opportunities to engage with texts at times and places where traditional reading isn’t even possible—while you’re driving long distances, for instance. And it’s not like reading an audiobook means you have to stop reading physical books or eBooks.
  7. What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    1. If I find myself in a writing slump, I usually put that piece away for a while—a day, a week, however long it takes—and work on something else. When I come back to that first piece, the work usually goes better. If I’m having trouble getting into the mindset to write anything, that’s a good sign I need at least a day or two off. Since I’m not a journalist who has to file by the end of a given day, I usually have that luxury. And the good thing about feeling guilty when I don’t write is that taking those days off jumpstarts the process where I feel more and more that I should be working.
    2. As for a reading slump, my college years forced me to read a bunch of texts at once, and thus far, I’ve never been able to break that habit. I still generally read several books at the same time, so if I’m just not feeling it with a given book on a given day, I just come back to it later and read something else in the meantime.
  8. Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    1. Not that I remember, but I’d love for that to happen. I’d be interested in hearing what they have to say. Well, maybe not the ones I killed off. Or the zombies. Zombies are seldom good for insight and conversation.
  9. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    1. Get used to rejection. Unless you’re Stephen King or Joyce Carol Oates or someone like that, you’ll hear “no” a lot, probably even most of the time. You can’t let that stop you. When I get a rejection, I file it and move on. If the editors/readers have advice, I consider it with an open mind. Unless you’re both really talented and very lucky, you’re going to deal with a lot of rejection. You have to believe in yourself and the work. Revise carefully with clear eyes. Keep going.
    2. I’d also tell them to respect every step of the writing process. I see a lot of young writers who believe in the sacred first draft, but most first drafts are pretty bad. Sure, make the first draft as good as you can, but realize that the very nature of rough drafts is that they are rough. Revision and editing are crucial. Don’t mistake proofreading for true revision.
    3. Read widely. Pay attention to technique, structure, how different writers use language and the elements of storytelling, how characters are established and developed. Note the balance of storytelling elements in a given scene and the proportion of scenes to summaries. Note how good writers use setting, figurative language, and so forth. Read a lot, and read actively. You’ll learn a lot about what you want to do in your own work and what you want to avoid.
  10. What’s next for you?
    1. I have two YA novels coming out next year, the first two in a four-book series: Freaks and its first sequel, Travelers. As for what I’m currently writing, I’m working on a second Lord of Order book and the third in the Freaks series. I hope you’ll join us on these journeys. Maybe we can listen to some good audiobooks while we ride.
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