William L. Hahn Chronicler Of The Lands of Hope

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Newly-graduated imperial officer Justin is convinced he has no future, and when he’s assigned a secret mission to rescue the Empire from the brink of Civil War, he finds he could be literally correct.

In 2002 ADR, the Empire of Argens is still reeling from the usurpation of its centuries-old throne by a ferocious dwarven warrior named Yula and his sorcerous human allies. Not only did they defeat the flower of elvish knighthood, but they exposed the former dynasty as demons in disguise.

Now a young captain, ruined by his loyalty to the old regime, has one last chance to redeem his family name in the officer training corps that’s being established by the hated new emperor. Newly-graduated, Justin is convinced he has no future, and hearing the details of the secret mission he’s assigned won’t change his mind.

Civil War threatens the North Mark. Justin must race against time to form a company, and lead his men into the center of the web; but what happens when his loyalty to the Empire means the death of those who follow him?

The Ring and the Flag is the first story in the “Shards of Light” saga set in the Lands of Hope. It is followed by Fencing Reputation, Perilous Embraces (July 4th, 2017), and Shards of Light (coming in 2018).

Audible Kindle

Today, I welcome William L. Hahn, Epic Fantasy and Indie Author to my Spotlight. Hi Will,

Okay, this is exciting. I have had fun exploring your website, looking at all the goodies to find some good questions to ask you. Your website is such fun, from the way you look, a medieval knight or jouster like one of your characters in the books, to learning about your writing journey, and all the other information about the Lands of Hope.

I just finished listening to your audiobook, The Ring and the Fire (Shards of Light Book I), featuring your character a newly graduated Imperial Officer Justin. We start with a lot going on. The Lands of Hope are on the brink of Civil War. There is a hated new emperor.

Despite the changes in regime, Justin feels loyalty to the old dynasty and sees no future for himself when he is given a secret mission, one he is not sure about at all, and worried that the mission goal may not be worth the sacrifices.

Anyways… I will stop there. You need to listen to this to really get the full effect. The sounds and narration are fun and entertaining. Audible

I thoroughly enjoyed the audio adaption. (There is an eBook too. Kindle)

This story is part of a four-book set, it is one character’s story in a more epic tale. Check his Amazon author page.)

All the little sound effects really made the tale. What readers might not know is you read and produced the story yourself, in your home studio, using Audacity and distributed through Findaways.

You have a great voice, so well suited for verbal storytelling. Your dramatic acting voice was quite entertaining and fun.

I could see you out on a grassy field participating in one of those dramatic reenactments of history (or renaissance fair) in costume and fully entrenched in the part you played.

Your love for the story was in your voice, so that made me enjoy it that much more. I can tell you, the longer you listen to the story the better it gets. The demon part with sound effects was one of my favorites giving the tale such life. You meet him, chapter 2.

I can’t wait to listen to the next book in the series.

Will Hahn Interview

How hard was it to do your own audiobook?

WLH: I think I now understand what a labor of love is. Honestly, it’s been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve encountered since I started chronicling the Lands of Hope. Having said that, I was absolutely floored by how time-consuming it is. There are sections of this first book that had to be resubmitted three times, and each half-hour chapter probably takes me two to three hours from opening narration to the final edit. So sure, “hard” in the sense of time-consuming, and a little bit like chess in that you can keep discovering ways to play better and sharper. In the end, though, recording your own voice for a tale you’ve written is a very immediate, very intimate experience and I have found it immensely fulfilling.

What equipment do you need?

WLH: Tip-top priority is a good microphone: that is non-negotiable. I started out, like a fool, with a hand-held mike that came for free with a computer game we never played. It was “Made in the Philippines” and I think also I saw “Hail Marcos” scratched on the back… I thought it was fine, but when compared later on to other a-books, I realized it sounded like I was reading from the bottom of a washing machine. On rinse cycle. My invaluable publisher hooked me up with a terrific Pronomic microphone and all the problems I was having with a background, white noise just disappeared. It almost picks up too well- I had to redo a take once because my back door was open and you could hear songbirds across the yard a football field away!

Other than that, the Audacity program is a free download, and I use the Kindle-app on my tablet to read the narration (because turning pages makes no sound, and I can make the font bigger for easy reading).

How did you set up your studio to do the recording?

WLH: I tried lots of different rooms, and various ways to face, such as speaking into a clothes-closet to help deaden the sound. But the big thing is to eliminate house noise and background sounds as much as possible. I settled on my basement for a half hour each morning. That gets rid of the appliance-buzzing, and cats whining for petting, and I start really early before anyone is up to flush the toilet. The walls down there are cement which is not ideal, but I hit upon the idea of backing down the record level and then sitting pretty close (around 6–9 inches from mouth to mike) which worked pretty well. I’m lusting after one of those mini mike-shields you can get, like a box-shell to put behind the stand and improve the sound even more. Maybe Santa…

How did you decide what sounds to use? Give us some insight on creating sound effects and placing them in your audio.

WLH: I have to say I start from a very thorough understanding of how the story goes, and what I want to put into it. Because love. All of the voices, singing, most music and some of the other incidental sounds like snaps and slaps I put in myself. You just replay the soundtrack and lay down a new track in the right spot (and re-record until you get it right). For things like crowds, battle scenes, monster screams and so on I use org, which allows you a creative license for sound effects that other folks put there in a searchable database. You will get asked for a contribution (I donated now that I have a few sales, and intend to channel a portion of my earnings back to the site to support the people who provide this resource). Some of the sounds require mingling, cuts, and distortion effects- it can be time-consuming but I find it very fun.

Was it expensive?

WLH: Is time money? Because I spent the entire year… seriously, the microphone is absolutely mandatory: I’m not a sound engineer, but if you don’t have this yet I think you should plan on setting aside anywhere from $100–300 to get a good one. Mine came with a stand and spit-ring, you might also want a sound screen if you don’t have a good space in your home (or access to a studio). Just as with an e-book or paperback, you will need a cover with artwork, and it needs to be formatted a bit squarer, like the cover of a CD (so your e-book thumbnail will not be right). The editing utility and sounds effects library are freemium; my distributor Findaway Voices works off the same kind of royalty-split that Amazon and Smashwords do.

How long did it take to do from start to distribution to readers?

WLH: My first effort, the book you heard, was rejected twice for technical reasons. I learned some hard lessons there and they are reflected in my blog series below so you don’t have to trip over the same rug-edges. Assuming you do it right, I’m guessing it takes me anywhere from 2–3 hours to narrate, edit and prepare a half-hour section. Findaway Voices will put your book into around 30 different outlets in return for their fee, and the full distribution takes several weeks. I’ve named a date for distribution but it has always taken longer so far (with my second and third books).

How did you like your experience with Findaways?

WLH: This is a very exciting opportunity in my opinion and I think it’s definitely worth it to work with them. They do take a long time to process and distribute the finished product (Audible, not surprisingly, has the toughest requirements and seems to take the longest to approve). The technical staff has been knowledgeable and kind, and the frustrations I experienced with them were mainly due to my newbie status. I cut my teeth with Findaway Voices and it’s been a great experience overall.

When does the next audiobook in the series release? And where can readers find them?

WLH: Shards of Light is a four-book set, of which The Ring and the Flag is the first. The second book, Fencing Reputation, is being distributed now and I think it may only be Audible that I’m still waiting on with them. Other sites include Apple, Kobo, Scribd and various library catalogues (if you borrow it from your local library, I still get paid! A little). Book three, Perilous Embraces, has been submitted and is working through the system. I’m in the midst of editing book four, the finale, and it should be submitted by around mid-December. So stoked!

Now a bit about the story. What compelled you to tell this story? Your inspiration and why?

WLH: This is actually a tough question. I don’t regard myself as a writer, just a chronicler. So I tell it the same way any witness would, some incredible events occurred and I feel honor-bound to let folks know what happened. But I will admit I was having trouble figuring out HOW to tell the story of three separate heroic persons, unaware of each other but being drawn into the web of a dangerous conspiracy. One day a notion came to me “Surrounded Plot”- which doesn’t sound like much but it led me to write the first book only about Captain Justin, the first hero, in third person voice. Then the second book, concerning a very different character the Stealthic Feldspar, covers events almost at the same time and in the first person voice. Book three, you might guess, looks at the heroine preacher W’starrah, again starting overlapped with the previous books in time, but now from her point of view in the second person (and the answer to your question, about second person voice, is yes. Brutally difficult). So in the finale, as the conspiracy comes crashing down and the race against time ends, I have only to signal to the reader which voice I’m using and they automatically know which hero they are with!

The name of your tale is interesting. Is there any symbology or real-world references in the choice?

WLH: Symbolism, certainly. The series title is Shards of Light, and there is actually more than one way in which separate, glittering bits of the larger picture contribute to the action of this tale. Each of the first three book-titles is meaningful too, but I think it should become more obvious as you read or listen.

You have an about me video that is a little cartoon. I loved it. What gave you that idea and how did you make it?

WLH: Isn’t that just genius! And I get no credit for that, the mega-talented artist Teddy Newby is the author of that work. He asked to interview me about my chronicling career for a final project in his studies at college. He taped me blathering on for probably a half-hour, cut it to two minutes, and illustrated the entire thing. I cannot imagine a better piece of collateral for an indie author than that video piece: I stop strangers on the street and force them to watch it. Policemen too, sometimes, like in the squad car…

Anything you would like to say to other authors, new, Indie and so forth, and your readers?

WLH: You can do this. Being an indie author, especially, means YOU control what projects to take on, and there are fewer barriers than ever before to putting your work out, if not right in the reader’s hands or ears, so close that you could smell their cologne. I’d be happy to help you if you have questions, about audiobooks, or writing and publishing. We’re in this together!
 And thank you very much Juneta for YOUR great support!

My pleasure. I had a lot of fun listening to this story. I was impressed with the quality and entertainment value of the audiobook. William L. Hahn has a series of articles about creating your own audio on his website.

  1. Audio Adventures: Getting Start
  2. Audio Adventures: If At First
  3. Audio Adventures: Going For Effect
  4. Audio Adventures: Prep to Post

About William L. Hahn

Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.

Will didn’t always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-stick-like object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.

Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). His first tales include “Three Minutes to Midnight” a slightly-dark sword and sorcery novelette, and the first two tales in the Shards of Light series, entitled “The Ring and the Flag” and “Fencing Reputation”.

You can find a free Compendium of information about the Lands, including maps of the Lands, on his website at http://www.WilliamLHahn.com.

Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon Page

Audible Kindle

Newly-graduated imperial officer Justin is convinced he has no future, and when he’s assigned a secret mission to rescue the Empire from the brink of Civil War, he finds he could be literally correct.

In 2002 ADR, the Empire of Argens is still reeling from the usurpation of its centuries-old throne by a ferocious dwarven warrior named Yula and his sorcerous human allies. Not only did they defeat the flower of elvish knighthood, but they exposed the former dynasty as demons in disguise.

Now a young captain, ruined by his loyalty to the old regime, has one last chance to redeem his family name in the officer training corps that’s being established by the hated new emperor. Newly-graduated, Justin is convinced he has no future, and hearing the details of the secret mission he’s assigned won’t change his mind.

Civil War threatens the North Mark. Justin must race against time to form a company, and lead his men into the center of the web; but what happens when his loyalty to the Empire means the death of those who follow him?

The Ring and the Flag is the first story in the “Shards of Light” saga set in the Lands of Hope. It is followed by Fencing Reputation, Perilous Embraces (July 4th, 2017), and Shards of Light (coming in 2018).


Originally published at Juneta Key.