With more than 10 years of experience as an audiobook narrator, Sean Crisden has voiced a number of books and series from authors like TJ Klune, RJ Scott, Adriana Herrera and countless others. Sean talks with Jeff about how he got his start, what he loves about romances and who some of his favorite characters are. Sean also shares how he keeps his creative well full, and that he just might have a romance of his own in the works.
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Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase.
- Libro.fm Audiobook Gift Memberships on Libro.fm (available through December 31, 2020)
- Sean Crisden Interview
- Sean Crisden: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Audible | Libro.fm
- The Last Airbender on Amazon
- The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald on Audible
- Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau on Audible
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe on Audible
- The Book of Mormon on Audible
- Dreamers series by Adriana Herrera on Amazon (audiobooks on Libro.fm)
- Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune on Amazon
- Texas series by RJ Scott on Amazon (audiobooks on Libro.fm)
- Cupcakes and Christmas by RJ Scott on Amazon (audiobook on Libro.fm)
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast patrons on BGFP website
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
Interview Transcript – Sean Crisden
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: Sean, welcome to the podcast. It is so terrific to have you here.
Sean: Thank you. It is terrific to be had.
Jeff: I knew when we asked you to come to do holiday storytime with us, which will actually be going out in the podcast feed next week, that we needed to have you for an interview because we love having narrators out. And you’re somebody whose origin story we have not gotten yet.
Sean: Oh. It’s like I’m a secret superhero. So should I involve radioactive spiders, perhaps some kind of toxic goop?
Jeff: That’s up to you. I don’t necessarily want you having a toxic, you know, issue with the spiders or something, but, you know, if one floats around your house somewhere, maybe. I don’t know.
Sean: Well, I do live in the Sonoran desert and I have seen many strange things.
Jeff: But in some ways, it sounds like you might’ve gotten bit by the spider early because, I mean, your bio says even as a child, you were like radio man because of how your voice was as a child. How young are we talking at that point?
Sean: Well, I was a wee lad. That was probably I think the sixth or seventh grade. And so, okay. Here’s the Sean Kristin, “Here’s the inside scoop.” So I come from a pretty diverse ethnic background. I grew up in the inner city in Philadelphia. And being a kid who basically was a nerd back with nerds were not the cool thing, like now nerd stuff’s cool. I was the nerd that bled for all the nerds now, you know. If you were reading books or watching cosmos, oh, good golly. And I liked language. So that was an early element of who I was, but I also liked speech, and dialect, and accents, and the English language in particular because it’s ridiculous and I like to speak proper English. Now, anyone who has grown up in the inner city in Philadelphia knows that proper English, grammatically correct English isn’t exactly what’s widely spoken.
It was very colloquial, especially with all the various Philly neighborhoods and areas. So I was constantly teased for the way that I spoke. And coming from such a diverse background, I wasn’t white enough for the white kids. I wasn’t black enough for the black kids. So I was in this… I was just stuck in the middle with me. So I was a very introverted weirdo kid. But my voice, I discovered, was this outlet. It was an instrument for me and I was the kid who the teacher would say, “Well, who would like to read this chapter from the book?” I loved reading the books. So I would get up and read and they’d say, “Oh, you sound like you could have a career in radio. What a great voice. It’s so rich and sonorous.” So that was, I guess, the early start of that. I guess that’s how it started. So that was kind of an identity for me.
Jeff: Did that like follow into you wanting to do something with your voice as like looking into your like your career, even at that age?
Sean: No. It actually absolutely did not. My entire intention was I wanted to be a creative. I had this creative juice. I call it the creative well from which I draw from. And I went to school for art education. I thought I was gonna be an art teacher and I did illustration. And I thought that was gonna be the thing to do. Little did I know. But it was the kind of thing where I didn’t want to at all. I’m a musician and I do all these other creative things and I apparently sing.
Jeff: Your bio says that, so I must take it to be true that you do.
Sean: Lies. You’ve subscribed to the lies. So all of those things were…they sort of coalesced in me as just, I’m looking for a creative outlet. I did the corporate middle management of sorts for almost 10 years and my soul slowly withered. And I had to seek a way to basically revitalize and reinvent myself so that I wouldn’t perish. It was something that I needed to do. So the path of least resistance after I had played in a band for almost 10 years. And when the band dissolved, I said, “I have all this recording equipment. What am I gonna do?”
And I had done a few commercials and some on-camera acting and, for me, because I’m lazy in the sense that I don’t like to expend additional energy to do things, so I always look for the path of least resistance, I said, “Well…” when I was on set doing a, I think I was on “The Last Airbender” was the movie. And I was on set for 30 days. And most of that time I spent eating delicious food and talking to all the other talent. And I’m not a big ego guy and go, “Well, I’ve done this and…” I’m an introvert and it’s… I certainly picked the wrong career, right? And I ended up talking to people who said, “Well, you have such a great voice and you should do voice acting.”
And I had done one voice acting gig when I was in the band and realized I was probably in the wrong career and that sort of stuck with me. So then I dipped my little toe in the water and discovered I loved it, which is funny too, because the first gig I did as a voice talent, and I was trying to learn everything I can. I have the type of personality and my brain is wired where if I get an interest in something, then it’s no holds barred. I’d have to learn everything about it. And I was trying to get as much coaching and learning, and talking to as many peers and mentors as I could find.
And my very first job was an audiobook narration for…I want to say it was “Change of Heart” by Mary Calmes, which was a male/male shifter romance. And I had no idea about the whole shift or genre. So the whole thing was like, “Wow, that’s a thing? Really?” And so that was my first actual voice gig. That was the very first one. And well, look at me now. Oh, I tell you. And it kind of grew from there. So that was sort of the impetus of everything and the catalyst that thrust me forward. And it’s funny that was my first gig. And here I am 10-plus years later. Who would have known?
Jeff: Right, because, I mean, that was like 2006 for your first gig.
Sean: Yeah. Yeah. My first very first gig was 2006. I think that first book was 2009, I wanna say, which that was my…because, in 2006, I had done a narration when I was still in the band. So I didn’t even consider myself a voice talent. I had just sort of, “Let’s see what this is about.” And thought it was amazing. And then it took me a while to really get my head out of my ass to decide I should really try to pursue this. And it was November 2009, I believe.
Jeff: And back then, I mean, that’s even before ACX audible. So it was not the easiest thing to even get into then. How did you wander into audiobooks? I mean, regardless of genre, how did you end up talking audiobooks?
Sean: Well, it was a… When I give a lot of interviews and people ask me, “How did you do what you do,” I talk about my sports method and it’s this whole thing. And maybe, maybe we’ll talk about it, but it’s, basically, I played my network. I used my skills. For some reason, people seemed to think I’m charismatic and charming, so I showed them. And I was able to basically pound the pavement and make the phone calls and knock on some doors to get the first gig. Basically, you know, it’s like you oversell. And then it’s hoping that you have the capacity to catch up to these lofty expectations you’ve set of yourself. And fortunately, I did in that case.
That’s a risk, you know. It’s a game of risk and reward and that’s how it started. And for some reason, people liked my narration. I couldn’t believe it. And I always…that first book, I have since apologized to Mary Calmes because I really didn’t know what I was doing. And it’s obvious, and I’ve listened to it and no one else should ever listen to that book if you own it. If you don’t own it, you can buy it because you should support the genre and Mary. But if you do own it, you probably shouldn’t listen to it again. Just read it because it’s not my most glowing performance. In the early days, you’re trying to find your way, and we learn by doing. And it’s sort of comedy for me now. So that may in and of itself make people want to listen to it. I don’t know. But, yeah.
Jeff: But some of your earliest audiobooks too that are listed on Audible anyway are classics. You’ve got Henry David Thoreau back there. You’ve got Harriet Beecher Stowe, F. Scott Fitzgerald. That’s very different than M/M romance. How did you connect to those?
Sean: Well, I hit a ton of different genres too. M/M romance was sort of my bread and butter, right? And you know, I’ve done hetero romance. I’ve done Menashe/ I’ve done just straight out erotica. I’ve done a lot of nonfiction, a lot of other fiction, fantasy, because I love literature and I don’t try to put a parameter on what that should be if it’s well done. And, of course, you know, the ability to narrate Thoreau or to narrate Harriet Beecher Stowe. I did “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” I mean, these are classic books, right? And I was again, a nerd. So the idea of transcendentalism and the entire movement and the naturalist movement, that fascinated me. So I didn’t narrate Walden, but a big fan of that. And in the early days, I did F. Scott Fitzgerald, which I think it was the “Beautiful and the Damned.” But, I mean, the 20s jazz era, scene, and the jazz, I mean, that was such a crazy time. I’ve done a number of books from that era, which are fantastic.
I also narrated the Book of Mormon. I mean, it’s… And I’m non-religious myself, but these texts and their cultural significance and impact are always, you know, I’m glad to be a part of that. So if I can lend my voice to things that are relevant and be they controversial, be they funny, be they historical fact, then I’m all for that because it’s about the idea of sort of the propagation of literature and spreading that forward. So, yeah, I guess I was kind of fortunate. And now that I have a bit of a reputation and I can choose more readily or decline what I choose to narrate, it’s still a lot of M/M Romance. You know, you’ll do what you like, right? And I do a lot of other genre fiction. And sometimes a story will come along that just really resonates with me. I mean, I’ve done a lot of the slave epics, the just sort of the tales of bondage and just period pieces to historical fiction just rooted. So all of that stuff fascinates me. So I guess it all speaks to different elements of who I am.
Jeff: Now that you’re in the spot where you get to pick, what is it about M/M romance that keeps it at the top of the list of the things that you want to do?
Sean: The safety of it. You know, and I say that because, you know, we talk about genre fiction and there are specific elements that apply to specific genres of fiction. And that’s the particular beats we expect, you know, the cute meat and especially the happy ending, right? The happily-ever-after. So there’s an element of safety in that familiarity and that, “Oh no…” you know, “That he was disowned by his family and he could never love again. How will they ever come together? And oh, now his ex is back and he’s up a murderer.” You know? And so it’s, how can all of these things work out in the end? But somehow, we know that there’s gonna be a happily-ever-after.
And getting to that is the thing that kind of keeps you involved. It keeps you invested because that’s part of what makes the genre by and large. I mean, there are some titles and some authors who issue that and throw you for a loop with either a cliffhanger or just a downright bomber of an ending. But you don’t read it for that. You know, we’re not reading it for the reality of it, in many cases, which is a strange dichotomy because, you know, as we were talking earlier, the books that I love the most are the ones that feel the most real, and largely that’s in the human experience in the characters. They feel real and relatable, and they’re such a joy to bring to life that way.
But it better work out in the end, right? So we deal with enough tragedy and drama and trauma in our actual lives that it’s nice to know that here it is juxtaposed in this other world. And it’s almost, I considered fantasy romance, not in the fact that the romance itself is a fantasy, but that we know that at the end, the sun will rise, they’ll hold hands, get married. Everything will be great. The ex will be carted off to jail. Yes, he can love again. Oh, here’s a new family for you of people who love and understand you and accept you for who you are. So all of these wonderful themes are fantastic and we know we’re gonna get them. So that’s the reward of it. That’s what makes the job, you know, really what it is. So I think that’s it. But, I mean, why do you prefer, like why do you enjoy it? Let’s swing the microphone around…
Jeff: I do like the happy. You know, I really like knowing that there’s a happy on the other side and I’m willing to read the sweetest second-chance romance and just totally be along for a nice fluffy ride. But I’m also willing, in many cases, maybe not so much in 2020, but in many cases also to be put through hell and back to get to the other side. And I really love it what an author will leave me with, “Oh, that happened. Are they gonna pull this off? I don’t know. They have to pull it off, right? It has to be a happy.” And those are the books that make me the happiest as a reader because it’s like, “This really, you know, kind of went above and beyond into something else because I had to worry. Like, are they gonna be fine? They have to be fine, right?”
Sean: So, right. Even within the confines of what we expect where we think, “Wait a minute. Is this possible?” And that’s also when you have an author who can really weave a tale that just does more than just hits the beats. It’s literature, right? It’s moving and it evokes emotion and feeling from you that kind of runs the spectrum. And that is a fantastic experience as well. And finding those within the genre is, ah, it’s euphoric, isn’t it? When you add all of these things and you suddenly have this fantastic story with all of these twists and turns and unique nuanced characters that feel real. And that’s part of, I think, the jackpot of when you can land on an author or a series, or even a single title, a single book that can do that for you and it really resonates with you that way.
Jeff: You really got one of those series recently with Adriana Herrera’s “Dreamers.” It’s so rich. People who listen to this show are probably tired of us talking about it, but it’s such a rich and beautiful series. Tell us a little bit about your work in it because that put you through some vocal exercises because that is not a small cast.
Sean: Well, it’s near and dear to my heart because I grew up in Philly. I spent a lot of time in New York in the city and I have a lot of friends from the area. So it was sort of a calling card back home for me in that I can revisit all of these things again, in particular, the food, you know.
Jeff: Were you starving while you recorded that? Because, my God…
Sean: I miss those trucks and just the oh, boy, and then everything. And even talking in the last book, “American Christmas” I said, “Oh, Jen’s sister would make laugh and joke and all.” Oh, and the Thai food and just, “Oh, haha.” I live in the desert, right? So I’m in the Southwest, killer Mexican food, right? And there’s a lot of good stuff. There’s surprisingly… you know, when I moved here from LA, I found a really good sushi place in the desert. Very dangerous, very risky. I don’t know if I should advise it, but I actually found a sushi place that is darn good for being in the Sonoran desert. But, yeah. So going back to just the personalities, the people and not just the accents, but I knew all of those people, you know. I have friends who are those people still to this day and digging into that. And Adriana is masterful at making real people, and this is real people.
So it’s not just, “I’m gonna take this cardboard character in this trope and jam that and…” It feels real and all of the relationships flow and flourish. And her concepts of your family is who you make it, this found family, which is something that really resonates with me in my life too, it’s unmatched. You know, she’s really at the top of her game with those books and they deserve all the praise they’ve received and will receive. And it really…that’s one of my favorite series that I’ve done for sure, for sure, for sure. I mean, just that it’s just so much fun and that the last book was such a finale for it that it’s… I’m remiss to say it’s perfect, but it’s damn good. So, you know, perfection is this elusive thing, but yeah. That’s one that if you haven’t read or listened to that, for sure, for sure. And not just because I did it, you know. Read the book because she did the work and they are fantastic stories.
Jeff: What’s your prep for something like that? And did you know when you started that it was gonna be the series that it was and you could kind of prep knowing that you were gonna visit Patrice over and over and over again and visit Juan Pablo over and over and over again, to kind of, you know, set the stage for yourself?
Sean: It’s a great question because for these books, in particular, I quickly learned that my prep involved eating, right? I’d eat a lot so that by the time I got to the book I could… So, you know, I had to edit out a lot of stomach rumbles, and grumbles, and salivation. Well, my process is I have a prepper who prepares my books. So I typically do four to six books a month. So in order to be more efficient, I hire a prepper who will read the book and essentially create a CliffsNotes version of the book for me. When I know a book is good, sort of the benchmark is that I go through and read the whole book in its entirety because I want to, as opposed to just accessing the notes, which is character breakdown, summaries chapter by chapter, etc. That’s a secret. Don’t tell anyone that Sean Crisden does that. Oh, boy.
So you mean when he reads the book it’s like a cold read every time? Yeah. So that’s part of the prep, but it’s also when you have a book that has such rich characters, it’s really digging into understanding the characters as best I can and how as best I can interpret them from a narrative as the author has portrayed them. So I keep really detailed notes as well and audio files of the characters, just so I can understand how I handle them to strive for a level of consistency within the characters. But like her books were easy because I knew those people. They were all friends of mine, almost quite literally. So that’s easy. The difficult things are possibly when maybe you have a fantasy book and there’s elements of, you know, here’s Zipthorpeclake and you’re trying to keep track of those things.
But prep for her books was pretty easy, and most of our characters are really consistent throughout the books. And as everyone’s introduced, we get clear descriptions of who they are and what they’re about in the narrative. So that makes my job as a narrator easier. It takes a little bit of the fun out of it in the sense that when you’re hired as a narrator, you’re hired for your skill in interpreting the text and what you bring to the performance to present it to a listener. So it’s much like if you hire a particular actor to act in your film, you go in with an expectation of what they do. You know, you kind of, “Okay, we know what they do. We saw their audition or we saw their 17 other films,” or what have you. And you hire them because not just because they’re a box office draw, maybe, but what’s the skill that they’ll bring to the film.
So one of the fun things as a narrator is dotting the mantle of storyteller and being able to weave the story through your lens and your perspective and then present it again so it’s fresh and new. I have a lot of authors say, “I never would have imagined that this story would have sounded like this,” because they intimately know it in a way that none of us can. But then they suddenly see it in this strange and sort of disfigured version that comes out of the narrator’s mouth and then if they enjoy that as well, that’s something. So I guess to answer the question is my prep draws from life experience and my unique perspective on things. Sometimes I’ll poke an author and say, “Hey, help me understand this,” you know, if I really can’t wrap my head around it, but by and large, that’s what it is. It’s basically you getting to listen to me experience that story. So it’s kind of an interesting way to put it. You’d basically pull up a theater seat in my head and there you go.
Jeff: Do you have particular types of stories or characters that are kind of your favorites to dig into?
Sean: Well, I love the quirky ones where because I identify with those. So if we have a character who is sort of an outcast, but not because, you know, they don’t sell drugs to penguins or something, you know, they’re just strange. Eccentric is what I’ve often heard. And I identify with those types of characters because they resonate with me and who I am. I also like characters who are severely disadvantaged. Again, it resonates with me. Not that I’m severely disadvantaged in my life, but the challenges that we face to gain acceptance, to gain sameness, to gain parody in the grander stage. So characters that struggle with those things really hit home for me because of my own personal experiences. So I tend to, I guess, root for the underdog in both of those cases, so to speak. And I like those stories.
And I like those stories when we inevitably reach a happy ending but they haven’t lost those unique characteristics that still make them that. Not necessarily the negative ones because we wanna see those slightly smoothed over, right? We want a happy ending. We want the happy. But those personality traits, those quirks, the ideas, possibly the passions, or the interpretations of things that make them uniquely individual. Those are the things I like. I don’t necessarily like sheep, people that just wanna be like everyone else. You know, “I wear what they wear. I do what they do. I say what they say.” I enjoy individuality. I enjoy uniqueness. I enjoy quirkiness. I enjoy eccentricity because that’s me. And that’s the spice that makes life. I don’t wanna predict it. You know, I want it to kind of feel like it’s flying off the rails at times and you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s something… And as much as there’s the comfort of the happy ending within those parameters, we still can get wildly creative with what happens and what our expectations are. So that I think characters that are just downright weird are the ones I really like.
Jeff: Now, this might be asking you to pick a favorite child, and you’ve actually already kind of hinted at, that the “Dreamer” series is among your favorite series. Do you have other favorite characters or stories that are sitting in your catalog that listeners should go check out because it’s a favorite of yours?
Sean: Absolutely. Yeah. The first one that pops into my mind, like if you’re talking about a favorite character of books that I’ve narrated, it’s got to be Ty, Tyson from “Bear, Otter, and the Kid,” better known as the Kid. So TJ Clune is another author who can just write the crap out of a story. I mean, he’s a fantastic author. And I had the fantastic pleasure of narrating most of the books in the “Bear, Otter and the Kid” series. Awesome books, first of all. But I really, really, really liked Tyson because he reminded me of myself, just this strange out-of-place kid who seemed like an old soul who knew more than he should but didn’t know how to apply it exactly and had a lot of information on about a lot of things and just, you’re trying to connect the dots.
And as he developed in the series, it was just delightful to me, you know? And, in fact, my own son, I call the kid and I say, “He’s just a little guy, you know,” But for my own son and it comes directly from that series. And so I think he’s definitely one of my favorite characters and, you know, “Bear and Otter,” fantastic. I think I love Jack and Riley from RJ Scott’s “Texas Series.” They’re probably my favorite couple. I think they definitely take the cake. I mean, because we’ve given so much love to the “Dreamer Series” and those couples, they are fantastic. I’m trying to think of if any others jump out to me. But I think those three in particular. So looking at Tyson from “Bear, Otter, and the Kid,” Jack and Riley from RJ’s “Texas Series” and really all of the “Dreamer.” I can’t even think of one couple that I like because they all kind of go hand in hand in one way or another.
Jeff: They really do. Yeah.
Sean: You know, because it’s so well intermeshed and interwoven that it doesn’t feel like you’re getting some other couple jammed down your throat that’s like, “Ah, they’re not really a part of this. They’re not really related.” It really works all well as a unit. I mean, she outdid herself. So, yeah. I think those. And there are a lot of other ones that I absolutely love, but those probably pop in as sort of the top three right now. But it rotates, you know, because if I get reminded of something or fan is like, “I love what you did. Yeah. That was great. You’re right.” You know, so that’s, what’s on my brain right now. I always like to say that’s my current opinion and they all have expiration dates with the option to renew, depending on new information. So that’s where we are.
Jeff: Audible and Amazon and audiobooks, in general, are very much in the news right now. We’re recording this right before Thanksgiving, and so much being talked about around returns and such. As a narrator who can be impacted by that, what are your thoughts on this whole thing?
Sean: Well, it’s challenging because… And I’m not even speaking as a narrator, just speaking as a concerned citizen or as someone who is a reader, is a listener, is also an author. I haven’t published any of my work yet, but all, looking at it, you know, I have so many authors who come to me and say, “What can we do?” And I am far from the authority. I’m sort of a middleman, if you will because I work closely with audible and Amazon as a narrator and I’ve done books specifically for them. I’ve done books as a producer on the ACX platform that they used to produce the books for the marketplace. And as it exists right now, it’s terrible. The authors are really getting shafted in regard to their footing in the marketplace, how they are valued as the authors because ultimately, they are the commodity.
They are the goods producer. I would have nothing to narrate if our authors weren’t writing these fantastic stories. So they need to be valued. They need to be brought to the table and heard. And I think right now there’s some headway being made. So Amazon is addressing the issue. I don’t know what that outcome will be. I hope it’s favorable because the authors are the one that produce the work. And I know very few industries that will allow a product to be consumed essentially in its entirety and then returned and then have that cycle repeated. So there’s definitely a flaw in the commercial logic of how that’s working. And then on the opposite end, authors can’t find that to be fiscally viable. They’re doing the work. How are they gonna create audiobooks? They can hardly afford to exist as an author to create these works for us.
They’re gonna need to basically support themselves with additional jobs. And I’m one that can tell you that working the day job while trying to create can be challenging. And by and large, right now I’m siding with the authors, of course, because that’s where that…there’s a lack of parity in what’s happening. Amazon does have some rather rigorous contracts that a lot of the authors can engage in. You know, you can opt-in exclusive video and not. And as they say, the 800-pound gorilla in the room, they are formidable and they have a lot of negotiating power and they can dig in their heels. But I’m hoping that it’s a concept of the common good and to be able to do the right thing for not just themselves and the authors, but the industry as a whole and for the entire idea of a creative pursuing a career that is financially sustainable for them to contribute to the arts and culture of the world at large. I mean, if we blow it up to the macro lens, that’s what it is.
So, you know, no longer is the king paying a retainer for the royal scribe. And, you know, so we’re trying to find ways to exist as creatives and this battle, this obstacle, if you will, I don’t wanna imply that it’s a war, but this current obstacle in that is part of the challenge. And it’s part of a larger message in terms of creativity as a viable, valued resource in our society and as a way that we can support those who create to contribute to the arts within our society. So I’m hoping it has a reasonable outcome because it is… You know, I’m trying to think of, is there anything that I can do from my position to try to help facilitate a useful agreement where both sides are valued and can come to the table and reach an agreement. And especially for me because obviously if authors aren’t able to write and/or don’t want to produce audiobooks, then I won’t be narrating and nobody wants to hear me narrate my own stories. Boy. So hopefully we can find a wonderful compromise where everybody won’t necessarily get everything they want. That’s compromise, but we can all come to the table and eat and enjoy a decent meal. So, you know, I’m hesitant to say that it’ll be resolved shortly, but there is traction being made. We’ve sort of made enough noise that now it has been brought to Amazon’s attention. So now, we’ll see how it plays out.
Jeff: Hopefully, even maybe by the time this airs there’ll be better news on the horizon.
Sean: Yeah. Yeah. Fingers are crossed. It’s the season.
Jeff: So we’ll definitely see. So you said something in there that made me go, “Hmm, Sean Crisden, the author.” What does Sean Crsiden, the author, write?
Sean: Well, I’ve done a ton of shorts. So I’ve written a ton of shorts because I’m testing my pen, so to speak. And I’ve actually… I finished plotting a novel. It’s actually intended to be part of a series of a trilogy. And that was the big moment for me. And I think it makes sense. And I think this is good. So at some point, I’ll begin that elusive first draft, but I’m very busy with my voice work and all of my other creative pursuits. So, you know, I wanna make music. I’m a visual artist. Now, I wanna write, I wanna do it all. How many pairs of pants can I wear? How many different hats? So time is the most important resource right now. But it will eventually happen because it burns a hole in me pretty much every day that it needs to be done.
And I look at, you know, why there’s the synopsis sitting there. And then I did all, “I need to get to this.” So at some point, but the actual novel is sort of…it’s historical fiction. It’s romance, of course. And it takes place in the Arizona territory in the mid to late 1800s, which I’m in Arizona. I’m kind of fascinated by the Wild West. And it throws some interesting themes into play in that era. And it’s quirky, surprise, and kind of humorous and not exactly traditional in terms of the genre. And so I’m flirting with that and how it’s gonna pan out in that first draft and if I like it that way, or if I say, “Ah, we’ll just, you know, kind of stick to the script, kids.” So that’s where my biggest challenge is, but it’s…one of these days I’ll definitely dig in in earnest and begin the first draft, which I’ve written maybe a page or two. And I don’t even count that as beginning the first draft because it just kind of flowed out when I had 15 minutes here or, “Oh, yeah, this is absolutely the scene that opens the book, you know?” So…
Jeff: That’s exciting.
Sean: It is. It is. I’m glad to have that muse to contribute in that way, you know? So it’s fun. And I may just release it for free. You know, it’s a kind of thing because it’s not my bread and butter and I’m not trying to look at it to go against the powers that be. Yeah. We just talked about that, that I may just say, you know, “It’s basically a love letter to the genre.” So we’ll see. We’ll see.
Jeff: That’s exciting. I’ll keep an eye out for, for sure, to see how that evolves.
Jeff: You’re creative in so many ways. What do you do to keep that well full so that you can be creative in so many ways?
Jeff: Okay. That works.
Sean: Yeah. Well, that’s good. Well, I like to eat and breathe and sleep. For me to replenish the well, I do. I call it the creative well. It’s interesting, you would term it that way from which I drink, that the most important thing for me is to experience. And this is a strange thing to say as a misanthropic desert hermit, who just…I did my cryptic, avoid sunlight and human contact. But it’s one of the things I love most actually about the Sonoran desert here in Southern Arizona, is it’s teeming with life. And just to go out into the desert is so renewing for me. And this is where my soul sings. And… Pardon me, growing up a child in the city, I never knew it. You know, the desert was, it’s not just any sort of old Warner Brothers cartoons and, you know, the “Road Runner” and Wile E. Coyote” are out there. Occasionally, “Bugs Bunny” will miss that left turn in Albuquerque.
So it’s…mainly for me is I try to experience more things. And I’m not a big media consumer. I’m not a big social media person, which if it wasn’t for my career and interacting with fans and other talent, I doubt I’d even have much of a social media presence. But it’s just experiencing. So that’s…do I read new things? Do I listen to new music that may be something I love and cherish dearly, or maybe something I’ve never heard and critically listen to it? Do I critically view something? I love art and museums. I’m a visual artist. I went to school for it. And so I love absorbing the art of other talent because it’s a story of the world. For me, art is a communication. It’s a language. And for me, the only way that there is bad art in any media is if you feel nothing.
So if it’s just pure apathy, then it has not done its job. It hasn’t communicated something to you. I mean, objectively, you could say, “Yes. Well, it made you feel nothing.” But the absence of something is something, but, you know, we’re looking for a more emotional reaction. If you hate it, great. If you love it, fantastic. But being able to draw those emotions and experiences from art is really important. So experiencing art and creativity and talent and letting my imagination still work… I’m still a big kid. So being able to play in those types of ways and just be getting back into nature, I’ll walk out even into my yard here. I’m fortunate enough to have a couple acres in the desert and it’s so peaceful and there’s no people.
And, you know, I’ll take my shoes off and just kind of dig my toes into the earth and get literally and figuratively grounded. And these things heal my soul and replenish that well because it’s so easy to be just crushed under the oppressive weight of life, especially in 2020, good golly. This has been quite a year. So it’s nice to be able to kind of set a benchmark again and reattune to the true values and have gratitude for the things that we do have, and who you are, and where you are, and the relationships you may have, and to just be mindful and present now. So those things helped me to sort of hit that reset button and fill the well back up a little bit and then find new experiences from which to drink and then kind of regurgitate them out my mouth if I’m narrating, or apparently as I’m dancing around writing the stories or the songs I wanna do, and, you know, so it’s, I think… Does that answer it or did I ramble enough?
Jeff: It does. Yes. I liked it a lot. Now, I kind of wanna come visit the desert someday.
Sean: Open invitation.
Jeff: What can you tell us about releases you’ve got coming up? It can be a little tricky, I know, you know, with audible releases, which is a whole other problem, but…
Sean: And I never know what’s coming out until… I might happen to see if somebody says, “Hey, this is out,” because I like to try to promote everything, and I’m kind of my social media version, but it’s just getting to me. But I know a “Cupcakes and Christmas” by RJ. Scott will be… it might actually may be available right now. It’s a Christmas holiday story. I think she’s selling it in her store as part of the entire debacle of everything going. She’s trying a cute little novella and it’s very sweet if you forgive the pun. And I think there’s option number three from Samantha Cole, which is a Minhaj title, which is pretty cool. It’s pretty good. I’ve done a couple for her and most of them are the Minhaj books.
There’s also… I just finished, in fact, was it yesterday or the day prior, “Magnum” by Jeanne St. James. And “Magnum,” it’s a hetero book, but “Magnum” is a big black biker. So it’s got the motorcycle club, bad boy thing going on. And that one was a lot of fun because it actually took him out of his element. So it sort of turned the whole motorcycle, you know, it was the bad boys doing bad boys stuff and took him out of his element and kind of spun it on its head. So that was fun too. So I think that one’s coming out soon. And there’s a bunch more. And I could just look at my calendar, but I don’t know what the immediate release dates are because what do I know? I just flap my gums and then they do it. So, yeah, I go through… I do maybe four to five books a month, maybe six some months, and then it’s kind of a whirlwind for me. But there are a ton coming out right before the holidays. So most folks will typically just Google my name and see what’s coming up and what’s just released.
Jeff: Yeah. We’ll definitely do that. We’ll make sure our show notes have whatever is top of the audible list and top of the other lists to see what’s new. This is a loaded final question, given what you said about social media. How can people keep up with you to see what’s coming out?
Sean: Well, I’m a very fast runner. So first a very good pair of running shoes and their finest athletic wear. Well, yeah, social media. Yeah. It is kind of loaded because I did say previously that I have a social media version. I’m working on it, right? I just started an Instagram. I’ve had an Instagram account for seven years, however long Instagram has been around. I never posted a thing on it. I never even logged in. That’s this guy. So I actually posted some stuff on Instagram. So you can find me on Instagram, Sean Crisden. And I think I posted just videos of me rambling, so forgive me. And maybe a couple… I posted a couple of covers right around the time the pandemic started. I was just sort of inundated with people and grief and the stress of it. A lot of folks tend to rely on me to say, “Hey, you always seem to have a level head and are objective. And what do you think about this? This is crazy.” Yeah. It’s pretty crazy.
So I did a series I called music therapy where I just did three music covers and up. I think they’re on my Facebook and I accept Facebook friends. So you can find me on Facebook. It’s not a fan page. It’s my personal page because I don’t post much. But also, you know, if you like what I do, come on down. Just send me a friend request or if for some reason you don’t hear from me message me because it tempts me to open up Facebook to see that. So Facebook. I’m also on Twitter. That’s also Sean Crisden, just my name, which usually I pretty much post the same stuff I post to Facebook and Instagram. But every now and again, there’ll be something unique on one or the other. But Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, those sound like all the social media. So you can InstaTweetMyspaceBookokfacePlace space. That sounds like you know what I was talking about.
That’s not how any of this works.
Jeff: We will link up to all that in the show notes so that people can find you and the wonderful audiobooks, Sean, it has been an amazing conversation with you. Thank you so much for hanging out for a while.
Sean: Thank you. You know, I could do it all the time. All you got to do is provide the food and I’m in to win. Did I mention I like eating?
Jeff: Yes, you did.
Sean: Yeah. This has been fabulous. Thanks so much.