Every now and again, we get a Divine whisper of an inspired idea. Such was the case about a very special and exciting audiobook I created and produced earlier this year.
In 1889, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland were female reporters in New York. Each went on a daring solo trip around the world at the same time. Nellie wanted to beat the time of Phileas Fogg, Jules Verne’s fictional character in Around The World in 80 Days. Rival reporter Elizabeth Bisland left on a solo race around the world hoping to beat Nellie’s time!
Nellie sailed east to England in the morning. That night, and unbeknownst to Nellie, Elizabeth took a train west to San Francisco. In Bly vs Bisland: Beating Phileas Fogg In A Race Around The World, I combined the narratives from both women into a single book with 1 timeline! Who will win the race?!
Sunday 16 November 2014 1:10pm
With no book in progress, I am officially on vacation.
Monday 17 November 2014 9:55pm
When a divine, inspired idea comes to you at bedtime, you can’t swat it away and say, “I’m on vacation!” Well, I guess you could do that, but only if you don’t value the Creator handing you an inspired idea!
I was lying in bed last night when an idea just magically appeared in my mind. It was raining outside, but this idea didn’t come accompanied by a thunderbolt, either real or imagined. It just quietly showed up for no reason I can recall. I don’t even remember exactly how it was worded at the time it arrived, but it was something like this:
Do an audiobook mash-up of Nellie Bly’s and Elizabeth Bisland’s books about their race around the world.
I had planned to do Elizabeth Bisland’s book earlier this year but then decided to do Fanny Herself first. Bisland’s book is not in audio anywhere. I thought Nellie Bly’s book was done…
On the 14th, Drew told me that he saw an article on that it was the 125th anniversary of the start of that race. He showed me that someone had done a board game…. I guess it was a bit of a delayed reaction because 48 hours later, the Divine made sure I knew that….Nellie Bly’s travel story isn’t on Audible! I had wanted to do it originally, but I thought it had been done.
However, this mash-up idea is completely original! I haven’t seen anyone create an audiobook out of 2 different books to make 1 cohesive story!…
I sent a long email to Melissa Frank to see if she would [narrate] with me… She responded quickly and favorably… she’s in!
Nellie left by ship going east. Elizabeth left by train going west…. I’ve spend part of the evening dividing the text into chapters. Nellie included a timetable at the end of her book, which certainly helps….
So far, the story is dove-tailing sooo well! The chapters alternate for the most part. I’m working to keep their timelines consistent. It’s also interesting to see how they were writing about similar things at the same time, like how other travelers treated them as women traveling alone.
Not only could I not ignore the divine, inspired idea, but it’s hard to disconnect when audiobooks are my passion, my vocation, and such a large part of my life!
Tuesday 18 November 2014 10:10pm
I sure am working a lot for a person who says she’s on vacation.
…I spent all afternoon working on my text mash-up of Bly vs Bisland….
In addition to matching their timelines, I’m starting and ending chapters at places that highlight contrast. [For example,] Bisland says how every plank in her ship creaked and groaned such that she couldn’t sleep. I start the next chapter with Bly saying she slept great on the train.
Wednesday 19 November 2014 10:45pm
I have spent at least 7 hours of this “vacation” day sequencing Bly vs Bisland. My shoulder hurts from being extended on the desk for my mouse all day. I got tired, cold, and hungry, yet I pressed on. I feel like an explorer myself as I read their accounts and try to figure out which day something happened and align the timelines.
I’m an explorer as I look at the maps to see where they’ve been, but I’m also a detective. I’ve Googled distances between 2 places like Singapore and Penang, and I’ve also called up calendars for Dec. 1889 and Jan. 1890 so I could plot the timeline based on references to “Sunday”, “the next day”, “on the fifth day”, etc.
Bly gave her timeline in the back of her book, but it had an error. She expected to arrive in Hong Kong on 25 Dec. but instead got there on 23 Dec. Bisland wrote less overall. While she was overly detailed in her descriptions of the people and their clothes, she was very sketchy about dates.
I’m excited about the project and increasingly proud of my editing to create chapters that make sense and often compare/contrast the journeys of both women. I hope to finish the text mash-up tomorrow.
Thursday 20 November 2014 11:40pm
I spent about 5 hours (I think) in finishing my text mash-up of Bly vs Bisland. I feel it is a monumental accomplishment! I might actually have something resembling a vacation day tomorrow!
Friday 21 November 2014 10:32pm
I went through every chapter with Drew for 2.5 hours or so. I found and fixed some chapter numbering problems.
Coming up in Part 2, I’ll share the stories about recording the text and choosing the cover art and music for the credits.
In the meantime, I invite you to listen to the retail sample of this audiobook and leave me any questions or comments about this audiobook on the blog. If you’d like a FREE copy of this fantastic audiobook, just click this link to start a trial membership at Audible.com.