Guest Post “It was an unbelievable collaboration from the word go.”—Author Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock on THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES audiobook

Being a teenager in Alaska isn’t like growing up anywhere else. Transport listeners to America’s Last Frontier in this unique and spellbinding YA debut, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, and Sherman Alexie. Read by Alaskan Native Erin Tripp and a full cast, the audio delivers an authentic representation of a young Inupiaq girl’s life—a perfect addition to your audio diversity shelf. Find out how this special production was cast and hear a clip from an audiobook that the author called “a first of its kind collaboration.”

Author Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock loves the audiobook so much, in fact, she told her producer Diane McKiernan that she’s been listening to it every day! And she even wrote about the experience on her author blog. Check it out below…

“Our Voices Will Be Heard”
By Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

ERIN TRIPP. Alaskans are going to be hearing this name a lot. This Tlingit actress from Juneau is currently starring in the lead role as Kutaan in Our Voices Will be Heard, a brave, important play by talented Alaska Native playwright Vera Starbard. The play premiered in January at Perseverance Theater in Juneau and will be at the Sydney Laurence Auditorium in Anchorage through February 28.

Erin Tripp is also the voice of Dora in the audio version of THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES. Here she is in the spacious production studio in Juneau, getting ready to record:

Erin Tripp at Studio A in Juneau, AK (Photo credit: Bostin Christopher)

Erin Tripp at Studio A in Juneau, AK
(Photo credit: Bostin Christopher)

Erin is the first Alaska Native actress that Listening Library and Penguin Random House Audio have cast. It was an unbelievable collaboration from the word go.

Normally audiobooks are read by professional actors and actresses in LA or NYC. I knew the voice of Dora had to reflect her character–a young Inupiaq girl. I sent the New York producer some news stories featuring teenage voices that I had produced in Alaska and she agreed with me that Dora’s character absolutely needed authentic representation. We sent out queries and within hours found Erin. Long story short, she auditioned and was amazing. We found a studio in Juneau where she could record while skyping with the producers in LA.

Nellie Moore with
grandkids Dylan and Blair
(Photo Credit: David Moore)

We also pulled in my mentor from Independent Native News days, Nellie Moore, who voiced up all the Inupiaq pronunciations for Erin and for the producers in LA and New York. (I believe someone’s twelve year old in LA knows how to pronounce akutuq accurately now). It was truly a first of its kind collaboration and I am thrilled that so many dedicated people were willing to make it happen.

Side note: Nellie was also the consultant for Sesame Street when they did an AK segment. She’s kind of a one woman show and I could talk about her all day long, but I’ll refrain.

So, if you like audiobooks, give this one a listen. In addition to Erin (as Dora), it’s read by Jorjeana Marie (as Ruth), Karissa Vacker (as Alyce), and Robbie Daymond (as Hank).

And if you’re in Anchorage, please go see Erin Tripp and the rest of the cast in Our Voices Will be Heard.

Author Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES
By Bonnie-Sue-Hitchcock
Read by Erin Tripp, Jorjeana Marie, Karissa Vacker and Robbie Daymond

LISTEN TO A CLIP:

Praise for THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES:

★ “This is an exquisitely drawn, deeply heartfelt look at a time and place not often addressed. Hitchcock’s measured prose casts a gorgeous, almost otherworldly feel over the text, resulting in a quietly lovely look at the various sides of human nature and growing up in a difficult world.”—Booklist, starred review

★ “A fourth-generation Alaskan and a public radio journalist, Hitchcock crafts an affecting story of fractured love and surprising redemption…Readers will cheer for (and weep over) the near-magical four-pronged endings—which prove to be wonderfully hopeful beginnings.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review

Uniquely Alaskan issues and industries weave throughout the background of the story by an author who is a fourth-generation Alaskan…An excellent debut sure to appeal to teens who prefer relationship-based fiction.”—School Library Journal

“This lyrical debut follows four teens whose stories gradually converge through a well-plotted series of loves, tragedies, and adventures…Hitchcock deftly weaves these stories together, setting them against the backdrop of a native Alaska that readers will find intoxicating. The gutsiness of these four teens who, at heart, are trying to find their places in the world and survive against challenging odds, will resonate with readers of all ages.”—Publishers Weekly

“Hitchcock’s debut resonates with the timeless quality of a classic. This is a fascinating character study—a poetic interweaving of rural isolation and coming-of-age.”–John Corey Whaley, Printz Award-winning author

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