Guest Post, Video WILL WILDER Author Raymond Arroyo On His Love of Spoken Stories

Many Chapters…Many Voices

By Raymond Arroyo

Many chapters of the Will Wilder series were birthed in the corner of a coffee shop. The corner is the best place to work, since it can get loud at times. Once I travel to Perilous Falls, pounding away at the keyboard, I often hear the character’s voices in my imagination. Having been trained as an actor, I find myself involuntarily mouthing dialogue in the voice of the characters as I write. I literally play all the parts by the time I get to editing — doing my full “multiple personality” routine at the end of the day.

There was a woman who used to buy her coffee at the shop in the late afternoons. I was usually in the middle of intensely editing the day’s work by the time she wandered in. After several weeks of observing me let loose the voices of twelve-year-old Will Wilder, select demons, a sly mayor, an Egyptian self help guru, Will’s sixty-nine-year-old Aunt Lucille and other assorted characters, I could feel the woman’s stares baring down on me. One afternoon, she had the courage to approach my table.  I must have been in the throes of a particularly lively performance. Cup in hand, the woman slid a card across my small tabletop. “Do you often hear voices?” she asked with a straight face. She was a clinical psychologist at a major university according to her card. “I do hear voices,” I told her, “and I get paid to make others hear them.” Thank goodness she laughed.

When the first Will Wilder book was published, WILL WILDER: THE RELIC OF PERILOUS FALLS, I was filled with that sense of relief and joy that every author experiences. After working for so long, these people in my head—as real to me as any people ever were—were now out in the world for others to encounter and make their own. Though the residents of Perilous Falls will sound different in the minds of each reader, I know how they sounded when they were first born.

What a thrill it has been for me to settle in behind the microphone at Listening Library and to share with listeners the voices I first heard in that coffee shop corner.

I have always loved spoken stories. They have a power to move the listener and touch him or her in a way that the written word cannot. Animated by breath, characters come alive for the listener. There are subtleties and character agendas that I can expose in a performance of a book that the written version does not afford me. An author also understands the bones of his story, the finer points that others might never see. That perspective lends a certain texture to the performance that is hard for an outsider to replicate. It is I think a richer and deeper way to experience the world of Perilous Falls and the characters within.

My mailbox attests to the importance of aural storytelling. Young readers who found the audiobook after reading the hardback version emailed me that they discovered new things while listening to the story. It allowed them to vividly “see what was happening in my imagination.” One family wrote that after school they found themselves sitting in their driveway for 20 minutes, with the engine idling, so they could hear how a chapter ended. School teachers have used the audiobook as a catalyst to get kids reading aloud in class. They listen to a few pages of each chapter and then the kids read the rest to one another — “often imitating your voices” (their teacher wrote).

Now Listening Library has allowed me to step behind the mic again for WILL WILDER: THE LOST STAFF OF WONDERS. If listeners have even a portion of the fun that I had performing Will Wilder’s latest adventure, it will have been worth all the effort. The best part is: I can now tell that psychologist, I’m not the only one hearing those voices from Perilous Falls. Happy reading and listening!

Take an early listen from book 2, WILL WILDER: THE LOST STAFF OF WONDERS, coming out March 7th!


By Raymond Arroyo
Read by the Author




By Raymond Arroyo
Read by the Author
On Sale March 7, 2017



Raymond Arroyo, author of the New York Times bestseller Mother Angelica, is the news director and lead anchor of EWTNews. As creator and host of the news magazine The World Over Live, he is seen in more than 100 million households each week. He has worked at the Associated Press and the New York Observer, and for the political columnist team of Evans and Novak. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and many other publications. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife and three children.

Check him out on Facebook, on Twitter at @RaymondArroyo, or his website.


Both WILL WILDER: THE RELIC OF PERILOUS FALLS and WILL WILDER: THE LOST STAFF OF WONDERS are also available in Hardcover and ebook from Crown Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.


“You’ll love this wild and thrilling tale. It DOES NOT STOP!” —Dave Barry, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“[A]n action-packed story of pith helmets and secret passageways, prophecy and skepticism, temptation and wickedness, and the most agile and lethal great-aunt a boy could hope to have.”—The Wall Street Journal

“With shades of Indiana Jones and Percy Jackson, Will Wilder’s antics are sure to appeal to middle-grade readers looking for the next great adventure.” —Booklist

Suspense, adventure, humor, a compelling story, and characters that fired my imagination. Great fun and great frights.” —Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author


“This new Will Wilder tale will have readers itching for adventures of their own.” —N. D. Wilson, author of the acclaimed 100 Cupboards series

“Surprising spiritual depth with a hearty helping of monsters and miracles.” —Kirkus Reviews

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