Author: Gwen Mitchell
Narrator: Daniela Acitelli
Length: 11 hours 52 minutes
Publisher: T. M. Miller
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Skydancer, Book 1
Release date: Feb. 14, 2018
Thanks to her family's tragic history, Bri is a pariah in her hometown, and the only other witches she can turn to are her childhood best friend, Astrid, and Kean--her first love. They are convinced it's destiny that has reunited them and determined to help break the curse on Bri's bloodline.
But the longer she stays, the more people die.
Tortured by chaotic visions of fire and blood, Bri must harness her magic and navigate the dangerous waters of her past--and past life--to unmask the evil hunting in her shadow before it kills the only loved ones she has left.
Because she has a secret of her own. One she already died to protect. And as memories of her ancient rival become clear, so does her grim future...unless she can change it.
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I enjoyed the story being brought to life by narrator, Daniela Acitelli, but she made Bri come off as weak and whiny. I didn't take from the story that the MC was weak and whiny but the narrator made her sound that way. Aside from that issue I thought the narrator did a good job with the other characters.
I began writing this book in 2007-2008, so it was the farthest thing from my mind at the time; ebooks were just becoming a thing, and audiobooks were still on CD and very expensive. When I finally published it in 2015, I knew I would eventually look into audio, but if it weren’t for ACX, it would have been several more years.
How did you select your narrator?
It was really Kismet! Daniela was one of the first few narrators to respond to my posting on ACX, and I immediately fell in love with the richness of her voice. We chatted a bit, had plenty in common, and she was very enthusiastic about the story, which is an author’s dream. I went with my gut and cut the audition process short because it just felt like the right fit.
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?
The tricky part of writing fantasy is that you have a lot of made-up words, so we did go back and forth quite a bit about pronunciation, even had a few mishaps (my fault) where she had to go back and re-record several instances of names, etc. I provided Daniela with character bios, story spoilers, and links to my Spotify playlists and Pinterest boards for inspiration, then I let her work her magic. We both have a healthy respect for the individual creative process, so it worked out well.
Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
In this book I definitely wove a lot of my personal history into the world; family names, locations, small details, and some of the characters are inspired by people I’ve known. The locale of Evergreen Cove is greatly modeled after San Juan Island, Washington, where I spent many summers growing up (it’s also where Practical Magic was filmed).
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing? Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Until recently, I had only ever listened to one audiobook! When Order of the Pheonix first released, I was a goon and didn’t pre-order, so the only thing I could get was the $60 CD set. I didn’t want to wait, so I sprang for it (and loved it!) but they still weren’t very economical so I never went back for more. My favorite thing about audiobooks is that I can be up moving around while listening; exercising, doing chores. I know longer have to make the choice between reading or getting things done.
Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
I love the way Daniela handled the romance in the audio version. She captured the mood perfectly. While it’s a good portion of the story, when reading the book it feels more secondary, less important, but by breathing life into the characters, Daniela made me reconnect with the heartbreak that Bri and Kean both feel.
Physical Description: Tall, dancer’s build, green eyes, wild auburn curls (that she usually keeps tamed/straight) and freckles.
Profession: Concert Pianist
Zyne Rank: 13th Degree Oracle
Magical Gift: Death Omens
MBTI Type: ESTJ
Likes: classical music, art & culture, museums, spas, organizing/planning
Dislikes: cooking, roughing it, dangerous/thrill-seeking activities
Favorite movie: Casablanca
Favorite food: Astrid’s clam chowder
Sits down at a bar and orders: Iced Tea with Lemon
Physical Description: Tall, ruggedly built, shaggy sandy brown hair, hazel eyes, boyishly handsome.
Zyne Rank: 9th Degree Ward
Magical Gift: Fading (at great distances and blind)
MBTI Type: ISFJ
Likes: outdoor activities (rock climbing, kayaking), crime thrillers, playing with his dogs, big family dinners
Dislikes: paperwork, tattletales, and anyone who dates his sister (or Astrid)
Favorite movie: Gladiator
Favorite food: Grilled steak
Sits down at a bar and orders: Local Microbrew
Physical Description: Petite, deep blue eyes, platinum blonde hair dyed several colors, piercings and tattoos to harden her eternally youthful looks.
Profession: Chef / Pub Owner
Zyne Rank: 10th Degree Summoner
Magical Gift: Weather Control
MBTI Type: ESTP
Likes: all animals, cooking, running, any and all community gatherings, festivals, and parties
Dislikes: being alone, sports bars, hot/dry climates
Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction
Favorite food: anything you can wrap in a pie crust
Sits down at a bar and orders: asks the bartender to make their signature cocktail
What kind of Zyne Witch are you? Take the quiz & find out!
Gwen is living her happily ever after in Seattle. She's a nature lover, science geek, and spiritual explorer, with a nose for well-aged tequila and a pin-up fashion obsession. When not chasing butterflies to hidden waterfalls or cavorting through the Emerald City, she can be found in a cozy chair reading, or brewing up tales of magic, adventure, and romance.
Daniela Acitelli is a professional Audiobook Narrator / Voice Over Artist with a Theatre, Film, Cabaret and Circus background. You can find her on Audible, Itunes and Amazon. She also narrates for the RNIB, SpokenRealms, Deyan and Whitehouse publishing.
Daniela is an actress with a stage background trained in the Meisner technique and Lee Strasberg's “Method” acting. She has a background in and a great love of Cabaret and Vaudeville including the old time concert saloon, minstrelsy, circus acts, dime museums, and literary American burlesque shows.