Knapp Faces the Music for Oasis
Singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp had soared to the top of the Christian contemporary music scene in the mid- to late 1990s, racking up successful tours and record sales as well as Grammy nominations for best rock gospel album in 2000 (Lay It Down) and 2002 (The Way I Am). But by 2002 she was also ready to step out of the spotlight. Knapp’s hiatus lasted roughly eight years, until 2010, when she made the announcement that she was returning to music and that she was officially coming out as gay.
The path forward from her career reboot has involved its share of backlash, but also plenty of positive reaction from fans, and Knapp has maintained her Christian faith through it all. Her life and music milestones are among those that Knapp shares in her memoir Facing the Music: My Story, due from Oasis Audio on October 24. The print book, originally published by Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books imprint in 2014, contains Knapp’s recollections of a difficult childhood, her conversion to Christianity, and her rise to fame. The audiobook release comes on the heels of Knapp’s latest album, Love Comes Back Around, which was released in June.
In an interview with the Daily Times of Blount County, Tenn., Knapp said of her latest album: “There was something about this time, and particularly the lyrics of these songs, that I wanted to tell the long story of love—the hard core, the grinding it out, the loss, the sacrifices it takes to get there. I know that story, and I think, as a musician, I know how to tell that story now.”
Daniels’s Devil Went Down to Thomas Nelson
Grammy-winning musician and performer Charlie Daniels will lend his voice to his forthcoming audiobook, Never Look at the Empty Seats, due from Thomas Nelson on October 24. W Publishing Group, a Thomas Nelson imprint, is publishing the hardcover simultaneously. Daniels’s project offers an account of his rise in the country, bluegrass, and Southern rock music worlds, and his insights into some of the legendary artists he has worked with in the past, including Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette, and Willie Nelson. In a statement announcing the title earlier this year, Daniels noted, “Quite a bit is known about my public life but there is so much more I’ve wanted to share, my early years, my faith, my struggles and the unique people and events which have had such an impact on who I am and what I do.”
Giovanni and HarperAudio Love a Good Cry
Noted educator and activist Nikki Giovanni’s poetry and other writings have embraced issues of race and gender in a long career that has garnered seven NAACP Image Awards, three bestselling books, recognition as a National Book Award finalist, and a 2003 Grammy nomination for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection (Caedmon Audio). In July, Giovanni was back in the studio for HarperAudio to record two collections as a combined digital audiobook release: Love Poems (HarperCollins), published in print in 1997, and her newest title, A Good Cry (Morrow, Oct.). The audiobook, which is titled Love Poems and A Good Cry: What We Can Learn from Tears and Laughter, will be available October 1. When speaking about the inspiration for her latest work, which, in part, highlights the benefits of crying, Giovanni told the Baltimore Times, “It’s a skill. You have to learn to cry. Men, in particular, need to let those emotions out; otherwise they’ll be kicking the dog or something.”
Listening Library Tackles Twain Tale
A newly discovered, unfinished fairy tale by Mark Twain has become an illustrated storybook from Doubleday by Philip and Erin Stead and an audiobook from Listening Library, narrated by actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine goes on sale September 26. The Steads stepped in and completed the story—about a boy’s efforts to rescue a stolen prince with help from a cast of animal pals—that began as an original bedtime tale that Twain told to his children. Back in 1879, he had written notes about the story in his diary, and that’s where a scholar discovered them among Twain’s official papers in archives at UC Berkeley.
In a detailed account of the project, illustrator Erin Stead says about the collaboration process: “We both felt there was a ghost in the room the whole time. As we made decisions, about things like how to break up the text and which parts of the story could be told just through the pictures, we were aware that Twain would probably like the idea of still publishing but hate the idea of someone collaborating with him. So we approached the work on both sides—the story and the pictures—cautiously, wanting to make him as pleased as possible, yet knowing that a little part of him would still be irritated.”
The Steads played a pivotal role in adapting the work for audio, as well. They created and recorded a conversation between Philip Stead and Mark Twain (voiced by Mark Bramhall) to frame the main narrative read by Key.
More Twain on Tap at Audible with Offerman
Nick Offerman, the writer and comedian widely known for his role as Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and the voice behind last year’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer from Audible Studios, returned to Audible this summer to record another Mark Twain classic, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Offerman brings to life a round table of characters as he narrates the tale of Hank, a 19th-century Connecticut blacksmith who finds himself in medieval England. The audiobook will be released September 19.
Hillary’s Hindsight for S&S Audio
In her new memoir, What Happened, Hillary Clinton reflects on her experiences as the Democratic—and first-ever female—nominee for president in the historic and contentious presidential election of 2016. She was recently in the studio for Simon & Schuster Audio to record the book, and excerpts have been made available on a website created for the title (hillaryclintonmemoir.com). A quote from her introduction suggests Clinton’s approach to this project: “In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.”
Clinton has been nominated for a spoken-word Grammy twice before, for S&S Audio titles It Takes a Village, for which she took home the prize, and Living History. What Happened will be released in print and audio September 12.
Macmillan Scores with Sharapova
Maria Sharapova, five-time Grand Slam winner in women’s tennis, reads her memoir, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, out from Macmillan Audio this month. She chronicles her life story, beginning with her family’s immigration to the U.S. from Russia when she was seven years old and following her rise to dominance in her sport as she earned the number-one ranking of the Women’s Tennis Association by the age of 18.
HighBridge Audio Gives T-Boz’s Memoir Some TLC
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, lead singer of the R&B group TLC, which racked up five Grammy wins and several chart-topping hits in the 1990s, offers a behind-the-scenes look at her longtime struggle with sickle cell disease in her memoir A Sick Life. According to Amy Rubinate, studio manager at Mosaic Audio, where the title was recorded for HighBridge, Watkins was a top-notch performer. “Tionne—T-Boz—exemplified the word trouper,” says Rubinate. “She came in to record on her few days off from a major tour, and always brought her full energy and attention to the work. Her story of resilience through adversity and dedication to her music and TLC will be an inspiration to listeners.” A Sick Life goes on sale September 12.
Quinn Does ‘Crash Override’ for Hachette
In 2014, video game developer Zoe Quinn was one of the first women to receive harsh harassment, including rape threats and death threats, via the hate-speech campaign—triggered by a blog post by Quinn’s former boyfriend—that became known as Gamergate. The following year, she founded Crash Override, a network of experts who assist and empower victims of online harassment. Quinn chronicles her efforts to champion the creation of a safer internet culture in Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, a September audiobook release which she has recorded for Hachette Audio (Hachette’s Public Affairs imprint published the book). Film rights to Quinn’s story were sold in a six-way auction to Amy Pascal, who will produce for Sony Pictures, with Scarlett Johansson attached to the project.