Ideal Audiobooks & a giveaway

I have BIG, EXCITING NEWS to share this morning, and a giveaway to celebrate because … my books are going to be available for the very first time IN AUDIO!

:: throws confetti! ::

:: dances around the room! ::

That’s right, my friends, you’re going to be able to LISTEN to my books in addition to READING them!

::  more confetti! ::

:: more dancing! ::

No, I’m not excited.

Not one bit.

(Liar, liar, pants on fire.)

ABSOLUTELY TRULY has just gone live, thanks to my new friend Amy Rubinate at Ideal Audiobooks.




Next up, releasing in July, is THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, and there will be a book a month released after that. Stay tuned here for an announcement when each book is available.

I’ve just started listening to ABSOLUTELY TRULY, and boy are you in for a treat. Amy’s a fantastic narrator. She’s also the founder of Ideal Audiobooks, and she’s here today to talk to us about her new venture, and about her career as an audio book narrator. In fact, we’re doing a twin Q&A this morning to kick off our new partnership. Click here to hop on over to Amy’s blog and read what I have to say. Meanwhile, continue reading below for more about Amy and Ideal Audiobooks…


Amy Rubinate

This is Amy. Isn’t she gorgeous?


Q: So first of all, how on earth did you come to be an audio narrator? Tell us about the path that brought you to this profession.

A:  I started as a voiceover actor and singer in San Francisco about ten years ago. I was the voice of Tad for LeapFrog toys, and I drove about an hour to LeapFrog twice a week. Then I started doing video games, and went all over the Bay Area for work. It was worth it because once I got there I transformed into a 3-year-old frog, an evil alien queen, an elf, a robot, an angry teenage warrior, and even dogs, cats, chickens, and cows. Once, a director even recorded his dog barking and asked me to mimic the sound! Listening to audio books saved me from being miserable as I drove many hours in a car with no air conditioning. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get in the car to find out what happened next in whatever story I was listening to. Since I had studied reading books aloud and acting onstage in college, I realized that narrating audio books was a perfect fit!

Q: Is there any training for what you do? What kinds of preparation would be helpful for someone who aspires to be a narrator?

A: Acting training and experience is a must. The acting comes first. It’s also important to know how to use your voice safely (the sessions are long and demanding), and to be skilled enough to get the characters exactly right and hit the right tone in the narration. A group of my friends and I studied with acting teacher Pat Fraley. He helped give us our start, and we are all making a living in audio books now. But we also worked together and separately to hone our skills after the class was over. I wouldn’t recommend doing this work without an acting background and many hours spent listening to great narrators and practicing this very specific skill set.

Q: How do you go about preparing to read a book aloud? Any tips you can share with us?

A: I used to sit on my couch juggling a 10-pound paper script and a dozen colored pens. Now, I prepare my books on an iPad. It’s so much easier. You have to read the book before recording. Imagine what would happen if you recorded 200 pages, and then suddenly saw that the author wrote, “he said in his twangy Texan accent?” I also like to mark my script with little notes to myself. When I’m focused on the story, these marks give me a hint of big changes ahead so I don’t roll right over them. I mostly mark sudden shifts that happen without warning, or conversations where it’s not clear who is talking.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: Sometimes I go to a studio in another city or state to record with a publisher’s director and engineer. At my studio, which I rent so I can have absolute quiet and air-conditioning, I usually start recording at 9:30, and I record in 45 minute sessions until about 3:30 – though sometimes I record late into the evening if I’m on a tight deadline. Some of my friends can record for up to two hours without a break, but I do better with shorter chunks of time. I work with an engineer who is helpful and very funny, and we make each other laugh all day long.

Q: What are the best parts of the job for you? The worst, if any?

A: For me, the best part of the job is when I get a story with a heroine who feels familiar to me in some deep way. I don’t have to think, I just plunge into that character’s story, and I can feel myself turning into her. It’s not always that immediate or that easy, but when it happens, it’s like magic. The worst part of the job is that it’s really hard to sit motionless in a dark room talking to yourself all day long. Having an engineer makes a big difference, because you have someone to act for, but you still have to record alone in your booth. On the other hand, I get to play all the parts!

Q: Do you have any funny stories to share from your experience in recording?

A: I have a weird tendency to mix up body parts when I’m narrating. I don’t know why it happens, but I think it comes from misreading the words “head” and “hand,” which sort of look alike when you’re tired and staring at the page after hours of recording. But it’s really random and funny sometimes. Instead of saying, “The princess lifted the frog up with her hand so he could kiss her on the lips,” I might say, “The princess lifted the frog up with her foot so he could kiss her on the elbow. I always think how lucky it is that I’m not a doctor. Can you imagine? I might operate on the wrong thing!

Q: Did you listen to a lot of audio books growing up? How about now? How does the experience differ for you from reading?

A: It may be hard to imagine, but audio books didn’t exist when I was a kid. We had what were called “story records” of Disney movies. Basically, they were an audio-only version of the movie with character voices and a narrator. I listened to THE RESCUERS hundreds of times, and the character voices and storytelling on it were superb. My sister and I used to spend hours mimicking The Muppets while doing chores. I realize now that when I thought I was having fun, I was actually training for this career. As an adult, I grew to love audio books even more than print books, because it’s soothing to have someone tell you a story, and the actors add something extra to the words on the page. If a story is already great, a good actor can make it even better.





Q: Now let’s talk about Ideal. Tell us about how you came to start this new audio publishing company.

A: I loved audio books so much that I always wanted to be a part of making them from beginning to end. I enjoy narrating audio books and will continue doing that work, but I also wanted to build a collection of books that I found compelling, and hire the perfect narrators to bring them to life. When I discovered your middle-grade books, I knew these were the kind of stories I wanted to publish. I called my business Ideal Audiobooks: Stories with heart, because I wanted to make something wonderful, and I realized that by collaborating with the right authors and narrators, I had the power to do that.

Q: Are there certain kinds of books you’re looking for? Why?

A: I like books that don’t shy away from a sad or difficult story, but that have a sense of hope. I try to choose stories that might acknowledge the darkness around us, but also let in the light. I love authors who lead with humor and wit, and I also enjoy stories that make you feel the main character’s story as if it were your own.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of this venture so far?

A: I found a quote in a magazine ad just before I started my business. I think it was for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The quote was, “Your story can change someone else’s.” I thought it was the perfect idea to focus on as I built a business based on storytelling. I have loved learning how Ideal Audiobooks has inspired other people to follow their own dreams, or changed their experience in some way. One actor told me, “I am finally narrating a book I can share with my daughters,” and that made me happy.

Q: What do you have up your sleeve for us in the coming months and years?

A: This year, we have some wonderful women’s fiction and young adult books scheduled, as well as a lot of fun, magical children’s books. Check our website for new releases!

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Amy. I couldn’t be more THRILLED to be working with you! 

Visit for more information about Amy and her impressive career. The audio versions of my books are available through the Ideal Audiobooks website, and also on I hope you’ll listen to them, review them, and most of all ENJOY THEM!

And now, for the giveaway: one of you will receive a free download of the new audio version of ABSOLUTELY TRULY! All you have to do is comment below, telling us about one of your favorite experiences being read to, or reading aloud to someone else. 

Winners will be chosen at random at midnight on June 17th. US and Canada only, please. Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook or Twitter or other social media for additional entries. (If you share on social media, please leave a link in the comments below so I can assign you an extra entry.) 

:: one last toss of confetti! ::

:: one final whirl of dancing! ::






39 thoughts on “Ideal Audiobooks & a giveaway”

  1. My favorite memory, is at night, my parents would always read to me. I think it’s why I became such a book worm (and author). Some of my favorite books they would read to me is: Big Bear Little bear, the beach is busy tonight, and Dr. Seuss.
    One night when they were reading the beach is busy tonight, I saw a puffer fish, and there was only one. Thus we started calling the book ‘one’

  2. My favorite memory of being read to is by my kindergarten teacher. She would read first to us and then we would talk about the story at the end. Afterword, she would have us do a craft related to the story! Loved it!

    I’m super excited about the Audio books! 😀

  3. So excited with this news! Love all your books and love audio books, so a perfect match for me!

  4. My favorite time reading to someone was a couple months ago when I read to a Pre-K3 class Green Eggs and Ham for Dr. Seuss’ birthday. They were so cute and loved hearing the story and seeing the pictures.

  5. My favorite read aloud memory was the summer driving trip we took when I was in junior high. I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to the rest of my family, and we were all moved by how beautifully it read aloud.

  6. That’s great, Ms.Frederick!
    P.S. Today my sister Amy and I found your letters in our letter box. Thanks so much!

  7. Ooh. This is awesome! I hope I win! I can’t wait to check out the books in audio.
    I was wondering when we are getting more news on Mother Daighter Book Camp? Thanks!

    • The manuscript is with the copy editor now, and when I get a green light I’ll post a sneak preview…

  8. I was voulenteering apin a kindergarten classroom at my school a few months ago and I read to some of the students. I enjoyed seeing how excited they were to read.

  9. For me, my favourite memory would be when I got the book, This Is Me, from my uncle. It got read to me so many times that I memorized it and was able to read it to my sister, who recieved her own copy a couple of years later. I still remember some of the lines and pictures! 🙂

  10. HEY! I need more book suggestions! I’ve already read most of Shannon Hale’s books…. and the other suggestions…. so do you have any other ideas? Thanks ladies!

    • Okay. Harry potter is amazing. And so is Percy Jackson. Gale Carson levine’s books are good and like Shannon Hales books. Soul Surfer is inspiring. Soccer land is pretty good. The Hunger Games are amazing. The pendragon books are good. The Giver Quartet Is awesome. City of Ember is pretty good. I haven’t read Just Ella but I’ve heard it’s good. Airborn( and the rest of the series) is pretty good. The Uglies is really good( the title is unafortunate but the series is really good). Those are all the books I can think of of the top of my head.

  11. It’s not so much a single memory as a compilation of reading memories- I love reading to my little sisters and other kids that I babysit!

  12. My favorite memory is reading to a little Kindergartener that I mentor. She is really sweet and she pays such good attention!! And after the book was over I asked her some questions about the book and she answered them all correctly!! Then she asked me to read another book and we kept on reading and reading until it was time for both her and I to go back to class. I love reading and especially reading to other people because they focus on you and it’s a way for you to share some of your favorite books with some of your favorite people!!

  13. My favorite memory was when I first got a Disney Princess megabook, and it came with an audio DVD. I listened to it so many times (even my brother got interested), and we both had it memorized by heart. I still have it with the DVD, on my bookshelf. Hmm….maybe I’ll take a look at it tonight.

    Thank you so much Mrs. Frederick for your amazing books and keep on writing! 🙂

  14. My favorite memory was when I wrote a story about Halloween in the sixth grade and then read the story to a kindergartener. It was a really fun experience, to read and spread around the joy of literature!
    And that’s awesome that Absolutely Truly will now have an audiobook!

  15. One of my many favorite memories of reading to my children started on a long car ride. About two hours into a thirteen hour trip, my younger two started getting antsy. I grabbed the first book in the series “Ranger’s Apprentice” by John Flanagan, as my older two had each read it on their own and had brought it along, and started reading out loud. Our whole family got caught up in the story and our trip flew by. Even stopping for gas became unbearably long to my youngest. “Keep reading, Mom,” he would demand as soon as the car door was closed. We finished the first book on that leg of the trip and the second one on the return trip. What a wonderful way to travel!

    • It means that they have to know and invite you to submit a manuscript to them for review. Best bet is to attend some literary/writing conferences, meet agents and editors there (and possibly get your work critiqued), and see if someone asks you to submit something to them!

  16. My favorite memory is reading aloud to my sister. My goal was to make her a big bookworm like me. I would read her the American Girl books. After a couple of chapters, I would ask her if she understood what was happening and she did. She likes to read, but not as much as I do.

  17. Absolutely Truly was the first book I read to my 10-year- old daughter in a long time. She usually reads by herself before going to bed at night. The cover drew me in and so I curled up next to my daughter and we fell in love with Pumpkin Falls. I enjoyed the birding aspects and literary references. She enjoyed the characterizations and similes and has started incorporating them more into her writing. We have recommended it to all our friends. My husband liked seeing us share something together.
    We are currently reading The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed and can’t wait to find out what happens next.
    Thank you for giving us something to share together.

    • Love hearing this! Love love love it! What could be better than reading and sharing?! 😀

  18. Every once in a while, I go and babysit this three year old, and five year old. When I read to them when they get tired, I look at them, and see how absorbed they are in the story, even though they can’t read yet. Sometimes, the five year old is able to finish the sentenced of the books from wanting to read the books so many times. I just love how they can enjoy the books when they are only in preschool.

  19. Your Mother Daughter Book Club books have been a wonderful find for my daughter and me! She is that age when there can be more conflict than harmony as she emerges into being a young lady. While our days could be speckled with disagreements, the books became our common ground. We read the first two aloud together and it was wonderful. We laughed and talked and shared our thoughts on how the characters were relating. It was therapeutic for us! She has forged ahead without me, and in roughly 3 weeks she has finished the last four! She keeps me posted on how everyone is doing.

    Thank you for such an engaging and delightful series. We have been inspired to maybe start a book club of our own. I hope my daughter reads them again and again and one day shares them with her own daughter. I also look forward to reading them again with my younger daughter when she is a little older.

    Thanks again!

    • I’m so happy to hear this, Heather! My books as “common ground” — no higher compliment. 😉

  20. My favorite memory of someone reading with me is… When my grandma used to come out for summer visits when I was younger, and she would read my sister and I books before our naps. And when I got to old for naps she would keep reading to me while my sister slept. It made me feel really special, like it was our little secret.

  21. My favorite memory was when my mom read aloud to me. She read me a lot of delightful stories but if I had to share some of my favorites then I would say that I liked Dr. Seuss books and disney princess stories. They are so inspiring and perfect for children. I also loved the stories she read me from Beatrice Potter such as The Adventures of Jemimma Puddle Duck and the Fox.
    My favorite memory reading to someone would be playing teacher and reading to my mom or my dolls. Currently, my mom started a book club with me and we read Mother-daughter Book Club. It was such fun sharing this book with my mom! Thank you for writing this series! I never get tired of reading it and I can’t wait for the 7th book to come out!!!!

  22. Hi Mrs. Frederick, (this doesn’t have to do with the give away, but) I am a teenager and just finished reading Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland and I found it very inappropriate. I saw it on a previous blog post and I don’t think it is a good book to advertise to young girls. . .

    • Well, I wasn’t advertising it — just informing blog readers (many of whom are adults, including teachers and librarians) about Leila and her books. It’s clearly listed as YA (“young adult”), as opposed to middle-grade, which is the category I write for. I’m sorry you found the book inappropriate.

  23. My favorite memory is when my dad and mom both would make up their own versions of Jack and the Beanstalk. For some reason I never got tired of that story until I was like 7.

Comments are closed.