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Talking with W.E.B. Griffin

“Audiobooks are very important and growing more important all the time—and you may quote me!” says W.E.B. Griffin, speaking dynamically with the same judicious word usage that shows up in his words in print.

The publishing phenomenon is the author of several popular series, including The Brotherhood of War, The Corps, and Badge of Honor. Vibrant and vital, he champions the quality of today’s audiobooks. “They’re greater than ever, and their constant delivery of a desirable product strongly suggests they may be meeting a fundamental need.

“People need to be read to, and for many reasons: to make life bearable and perhaps to shut out the world when taking long auto and train rides to get to work. And these are not just people who find it difficult or impossible to read but those who want to be read to in lieu of reading for themselves.”

Griffin in conversation is as stimulating as his writing, which is known for making real the worlds of those he writes about. The respect he gives to his characters is reflected in his ability to make them real, infinitely believable, and, above all, interesting.

Griffin shows time and time again that, whether speaking or writing, he knows when to stop: when to stop the action, when to stop a book, and when to stop the series. To my personal delight, he also confirmed that he very well may revisit some of his earlier series. None of his series, he says, have been deemed “finished” or complete, and fans may encounter some of their favorite characters again.

A fan of audiobooks himself, Griffin has some advice for other authors about taking their books to audio. “If writers want to reach a larger audience, audio versions of their books might be the answer.” He sees it as the “being-read-to factor—the value and pleasure of being read to.”

Griffin is sharp, quick, precise, and obviously devoted to his writing. It’s a family affair. His son, for whom he has obvious respect and affection, is intimately involved in his father’s extensive and complicated career. They make a dynamite team, who depend on and trust each other.

Generous in his help to others, this writing dynamo shares one of his work secrets with AudioFile readers: “When I finish writing for the day, I always stop in the middle of a sentence because it makes it much easier to pick up the next morning and get back into what I was writing about when I stopped.”--Louise Collins

© AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine

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