Author: TH Leatherman
Narrator: Russell Archey
Length: 7 hours 59 minutes
Series: The Burning Son, Book 1
Publisher: Fivefold Publishing LLC
Released: Aug. 12, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction; Space Opera
Pilot Mark Martin must flee his homeworld of Yale when the Erethizon theocracy overwhelms the defenses. His father, an influential senator, is captured. Now Mark must find a way to save his dad before the resistance is crushed, and with it, all hope of ending the occupation. A chance encounter with a smuggler captain may be his only hope. Will they help, or will the crew sell him to the alien invaders?
TH Leatherman is a writer from Firestone, Colorado. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, winemaking, and the Rocky Mountain lifestyle. When not busy writing his next book, he can be found hiking with his wife and two sons or walking his rescued dogs. He worked as a stockbroker for twenty years before he started writing full time. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Regis University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Psychology. He has released four books, The Burning Son, Marque of the Son, Son Rise, Twin Sons and The Son Set, an omnibus edition of the first three books. I’ve read a few space operas this year and The Burning Son is definitely one of my favorites so far! It’s got a lot of action, a ragtag set of characters, and just a really good flow. Basically everything you could wish for in a space opera! Plus it’s got all of those traditional elements you expect in a space opera, but it’s fresh enough to feel new and not a carbon copy of a standard space opera.
This book also definitely really worked as an audiobook. There was so much clever dialogue throughout the story that it was such a great experience to read this story as an audiobook. It in a sense helped these characters come to life and helped enhance all of the races and locations in the book.
This was an excellent start to a new series and I really look forward to seeing where these books lead. I also look forward to learning more about the characters and maybe meeting some new alien races along the way. But yeah, this was a fun read and reading in audiobook format really helped me along. I find that sometimes I struggle with reading space operas because I get so caught up in the words and taking a step back and listening to the story really helped me to enjoy it even more.
Q&A with Author TH Leatherman
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- Oh, don’t get me started. I tried to track down voice talent on my own. Two guys I lined up to do it flaked out on me. I got the equipment to do it myself, but it took too much time away from writing. I found another narrator through AUdible who ghosted me. I lucked out when an author friend of my suggested I contact Russell. He’s used him for some of his books and thought he’d be a great fit for mine. Turns out he was right!
- 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?
- I write sci-fi, so I have a lot of made up words, so I worked with Russell to get the pronunciation right. I also have a sprinkling of different languages thrown in, so he was great in getting the Arabic and other languages right.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- The Burning Son grew out of a desire to see a Merchant Freighter in a Star Trek universe. Shortly after I began work on it Firefly came out and I shelved the project for a few years.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- Write every day. No excuses. When you get in the habit, the words come easier. I’ve always got a ton of creative ideas flowing, so the trouble is staying with a project when I really want to be writing something else. LOL.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Yes. I love that I can listen to books while driving, doing yard work, and walking my dogs.
- I know it sounds kinda cheesy, but I would love to have seen the Library of Alexandria in it’s heyday. I LOVE libraries and that would be my holy grail if I had one.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- Wow, that’s tough. It changes, so what I think today might not be correct tomorrow. Maybe Paul Rudd or Nathan Fillian for Mark, Dichen Lachman for Sara, Ellen Page for Racy, and Cassidy Nugent for Pythia.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- I’d say that whatever way you choose to consume books is great for you. I’m a fan of them all!
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- I love to cook, so I put together a fantastic dinner for my family. Steak with sauted mushroom and onions, baked tilapia with roasted veggies, whatever sounds good at the time.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- I’m a big fan of series. I think as a professional author, if you want to make a living at it, a series is the way to go.
- Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
- Often. But strangely enough, not Mark.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Above all else, the most important tool in an author’s toolbox is a critique group. But it has to be the right fit. It is the single most important thing for an aspiring writer to help them improve their craft.
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- Talk with other authors who have published audiobooks. Get in with them and the narrator community. As tempting as it may be to do it yourself, the learning curve is very high, so hire a professional.
- What’s next for you?
- Write and publish book 5, publish a book of puns, publish a financial self help book, push the other Burning Son books out to audio.
Q&A with Protagonist Mark Martin
- What’s your name, age, and race?
- Mark Martin, 26, Terran
- What do you do?
- That’s a bit tougher. I’m a navigator, but with the war going on, I haven’t really had a ship to navigate. The need fighter pilots, so that’s what I am now.
- What is your goal?
- Protect my family, protect my homeworld, and drive the Erethizon from the galaxy.
- What was life like for you growing up?
- My Dad’s a senator, so my childhood was kinda nice. I went to private schools and played sports. I grew up on Yale, so an arts education is required. I learned to play the guitar, and I can sing pretty well.
- What do you do for fun?
- Um, flying, playing pod ball, and singing folk songs. Although lately it seems all I do is fly missions.
- What is your biggest fear?
- Oh, man. I really hope that we don’t lose to the Porcu-bears, the Erethizon I mean. If the Theocracy takes over the galaxy, their priest will turn it into a police state with mandatory worship five times a day, every day.
- What do you feel are your strengths?
- Wow, um. I guess I’ve got guts. When things go sideways, I’m the first guy to jump in and fix stuff. My sister is a doctor and super smart, so I’ve never really thought of myself as in her league. Um, oh! I’m pretty good a poker. My Grandpa taught me a lot about reading people’s body language and I’m pretty good at reading people.
- Where could you improve?
- Ugh. Politics. Reading people is not the same thing as being able to get them to do what you want. I just don’t have the patience for those kinds of games.
- What is your relationship status?
- Single. I mean, I’ve had girlfriends, but my last girlfriend cheated on me and I only found out because my friends told me. I’ll probably find another girlfriend someday, but with the war and everything, it hasn’t been a priority.
- What is your relationship with your parents like?
- My Dad is pretty cool. I mean, he wants me to follow his footsteps and go into politics, but that’s not really my thing. My Mom died when I was pretty young. I don’t remember much about her. My sister and Dad don’t talk about her that much, so I often wonder what she was like.
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*I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by TH Leatherman. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.*