Author: James Rosenberg
Narrator: Brian Avers
Length: 8 hours 44 minutes
Publisher: Allie H Publishing
Released: Nov. 21, 2019
Genre: Family Drama
Dan West wonders which is more important to him: Helping his long-time friend win back his business after being accused of stealing money from the company, or coaching his 11-year-old son’s soccer team trying to win an improbable championship.
Money and prestige don’t motivate Dan. Rather, family, work and coaching soccer are the underpinnings of his life. He revels in the simple joys like hanging out with his wife Jill, mentoring a young lawyer at his firm, and watching the boys connect on three passes before drilling the ball into the back of the net.
Dan always knew to keep it steady – not to get too high or he might get knocked off his perch. And he did, until he and the boys’ soccer team achieved unimagined success. Before he can grasp how good he has it, tragedy rips a hole in his family.
James Rosenberg, author of the bestseller Legal Reserves, strikes a new chord in his exploration of what makes a life and how to put it back together after it is shattered.
The Jersey is a beautifully written, profoundly touching, and relatable story of love, loss, and the redemptive power of a group of motivated 11-year-old kids.
James Rosenberg is a 3rd generation trial attorney with plenty of stories to tell.
Inspired not only by the courtroom stories his father and grandfather used to tell him when he was a child, but also by the wild adventures he’s encountered through his own experience as a lawyer. James is fascinated by the intricate, interpersonal dynamics of every trial he’s endured. Whether it’s the raw emotion on display in court, the tension in the air that builds until someone wins, or the impact that a case’s decision has on the parties involved, James is always paying attention and keeping tabs on what’s happening.
In his debut novel, “Legal Reserves”, James flexes his creative muscle outside of the courtroom to share his stories, with a fictional twist, through the eyes of archetypes he knows well. His second novel, “The Jersey,” explores the relationships a family-centric lawyer has with his wife and eleven year old son.
A native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, James has been a trial attorney in Pittsburgh for almost 30 years. He started writing legal thrillers as a stress reducer and finds this creative outlet to be a fun and meaningful diversion from his day job.
When he’s not trying cases, he’s either dreaming up his next book idea, spending time with his wife and three kids, or both.
Brian Avers is a dynamic stage & screen actor, with numerous appearances on Broadway, television & film – and prolific creative – having written, directed & produced new works including indie comedy The Weekend, podcast The Buckeye Brothers, and a series of audiobooks releasing through winter, 2019.
An active screenwriter, voice artist & proud mentor for aspiring actors, Brian and his family split time between Brooklyn & Los Angeles.
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- I loved the process of turning the book into an audiobook. I felt like The Jersey would transform well into an audiobook as many of the scenes contained drama which would play out well in an audio format. Audible does make it easy. I had 10 auditions with 24 hours of putting the novel up on Audible. Ultimately I had 25 excellent auditions to choose from and many were outstanding. Brian Avers, however, was a touch above. He connected with the story immediately and I think that is evident upon listening to the audiobook. Working with him was a dream. He wrote me involved emails after recording each chapter explaining what he liked about a scene or a character. His investment in the story clearly made the final product what it is.
- How did you select your narrator?
- As I said, I had some really good auditions but Brian Avers just stuck out. I think it was his connection to the story. He told me he has a young boy and that helped him relate to the main character in the book, Dan West, and his relationship with his eleven year old son. I think Brian’s ability to voice a variety of parts, including a bunch of eleven year boys, is one of the highlights of the audiobook. I laughed out loud a few times listening to him vocalize the group of boys, and his ability to give each one a separate personality.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- Brian and I worked extremely closely during the recording process. He agreed to send me each chapter as he finished it for my review rather than waiting until he completed the entire audiobook. He would send me each chapter and I would review them and send him my thoughts about how he had handled each chapter. Most times I thought he nailed it and just told him that. For a few of the chapters I offered some suggestions. He was incredibly accepting of any suggestions and incorporated them in the final book. Brian’s supporting emails describing his reaction to some of the pivotal scenes in the book were incredibly rewarding for me. I knew he was the absolute right narrator once he explained his connections to a scene where the boys came to the main character’s house and begged him to rejoin the team as coach. I knew he understood the book and I knew his connection to the characters would enhance the listening experience for anyone who listened to the audiobook.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Oh my, yes. This book was incredibly personal for me. There are tidbits in all of the characters from people in my life. The book is set in Pittsburgh which is my home town and if you listen closely you get many nuggets from our neighborhood and city at large. There are references to the Steelers and Pirates, local restaurants and bars and the trial takes place in our City County building downtown.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- I love writing. I love creating new characters and love to find out what happens to them as they move through a story. My books, so far, always include a major trial. For my other book, Legal Reserves, the trial is based on a real trial I handled many years ago. For The Jersey, I completely made up the trial, but it works. The trial is significant force in the lives of the characters in the book and affects how they react to future events.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- I do. I think Dan West’s relationship with his son Charley and with the other boys on the soccer team resonates well in book but is even stronger in the audiobook. Brian Avers manages to capture these relationships and his performance is compelling. In his emails to me, during certain scenes, Brian told me he was choking up just as the character was in the story. Brian’s ability to convey these intense emotions is central to why the audiobook truly will resonate with listeners.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- If the Jersey were a movie (and I have always thought it would be a great movie), I would have Bradley Cooper play Dan West and Amy Adams, Natalie Portman or Zoe Saldana would be awesome for Jill. Arthur Spinelli would be played by someone who could bring out the kindly/intelligent qualities of a Burt Lancaster.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- That’s ridiculous. Audiobooks have made books so much more accessible to a wider range of people and have allowed people to “read” while running, commuting and cleaning the house. Anything that increases the audience is great. Listening to a book can be a completely different experience but in no way a cheaper experience.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- My wife and I went out to dinner. The next day, I went to work. Now I have to get back to working on the next novel.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Write, Write and then write some more. Don’t worry if it’s any good. Don’t worry about what others think (yet). Then write some more. Then edit, edit, edit.
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- Do it. It’s not that hard. It’s not that expensive and the chance to reach a new audience is compelling. Plus, it’s fun. Just today we were on vacation and I went for a long walk on the beach and listened to a few chapters of The Jersey. It was good.
- What’s next for you?
- I am working on my next novel about a family torn apart when their son is accused of assassinating the President of the United States. I’m also continuing to try real life cases.
James Rosenberg’s Top Ten reasons for choosing Brian Avers (over a lot of other really good narrators) to be the voice of the audiobook:
- In his audition, it was clear he completely connected with the book.
- He kept telling me about his little boy and how that made him feel a kinship with Dan West, the main character, of The Jersey.
- Brian is wickedly funny.
- Brian has a great repertoire of voices and he uses many for all of the kids in the story, but also for the adults who he is able to characterize by using a variety of intonations.
- He was so easy to work with. He was efficient, organized and made the story even better by how he tells it.
- Brian made me feel good about the book. We kept going back-and-forth on email after every chapter and his insights into the book as he was narrating it provided me with confidence that this was going to be a great audiobook.
- He has so much experience. Not only with audiobooks, but he is an actor, director and producer. Brian gets the business and having his experience made the process so much easier.
- He is in demand. I felt lucky that Brian agreed to narrate the book. His schedule was full and he is asked to work on so many different projects, but he agreed to move some things around and got the book done quickly.
- He is willing to let his emotions out. There are some emotional ups and downs in the story. Brian brought out the humor at the appropriate times, but also was able to bring out the pain in the story. You can hear him get emotional, but even more important, you can feel his emotions.
- I want to work with him again. He is such a professional that he will be my first choice to narrate my next book. I just hope he is able to do it.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by James Rosenberg. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.
Sign up as a tour host here.
by Olivia Isaac-Henry
A cheating wife. An estranged mother. But is she guilty of murder?
Please raise your right hand.
An affair at work has cost Julia Winter her job and her marriage. There’s no denying she has let her family down.
Please remain standing.
When a body is discovered on the North Downs, it hits local headlines. But for Julia, the news is doubly shocking because the body was buried just opposite the house she lived in over twenty years ago. And it is one of her former housemates.
Please resume your seat.
Up on the stand, Julia’s not the only person to have secrets that are unearthed during the trial. But the evidence against her is overwhelming.
And yet one question remains: is she the murderer, or the victim?
Jurors, you may be excused.
I’m a sucker for a courtroom trial, so the blurb drew me in instantly. It was quite some time before the story got to the trial stage and I did think I’d missed something key in that summary to the effect that there would be no trial …and then it came. Oh happy days! It was worth the wait, well worth it.
The story runs along multiples timelines, primarily 1994 and 2018.
In 1994, Julia Winter has broken up with her boyfriend, Christian, and needs to starts afresh somewhere new. Unfortunately, she can’t get over the fact that he dumped her for another girl, and so in her haste to get away, prove she is strong and independent, she takes a room at the home of Genevieve D’Auncey in Guildford. It is here that she meets Brandon Wells, the man she is later accused of killing. Other tenants are also included in this act – Alan & Gideon – and the three are on trial for Brandon’s murder when his body is found in 2018.
Genevieve is a strange lady, grieving for her missing son (she clings to the fact that he may still be alive following an accident in the Alps) and, as a result, she takes a shine to Brandon. This favouritism leads to some animosity between other tenants, and her sister, Ruth, is particularly concerned about his affect on Genevieve.
When Genevieve takes her own life, the tenants eventually disperse and carry on with their lives. But the situation left behind comes back to haunt them.
Initially, Brandon is accused of theft and his disappearance explained as such, but when his remains are found on the Downs some 23 years later, then the mystery is reignited.
DNA points to Julia being involved, and Alan and Gideon are accused too. The three of them face trial, their legal defences all agreeing that none should testify.
The trial that follows is fascinating and dramatic as twists and turns reveal yet more secrets and potential scenarios. It is here that the reader finally learns the truth about the events leading up and after Brandon’s murder. It is here when the real personalities of the three tenants are revealed, none of them are hugely likeable, some more monstrous than others, but the way the author delivers this information is sublime and kept me hooked. delivering
There is a very clever twist at the end with an unexpected yet satisfying outcome.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and have to express my thanks to the author, Oliver Isaac-Henry for such an entertaining story, and to the publishers, Avon and One More Chapter, imprints of Harper-Collins for enabling this chance to read such a fabulous book.
As I hinted at (loudly) last week, my series – The Blackleaf Agency – has undergone a makeover, and along with new titles there come new covers. But that’s not all, because I’ve decided to move all my mystery stories to a new pen name too.
All the books in The Blackleaf Agency series are now authored by bea kendall (intentionally lower case, because …well, just because 😉 )
Here’s the second in that series:
Just a Simple Little Court Case
♥ When did “fun in the sun” get so serious? ♥
Fern Mortimer wouldn’t consider herself lucky.
Firstly, a hit and run left her wheelchair-bound.
Then someone threw her overboard during a summer holiday in the Algarve.
Now she has to face him in a Portuguese court of law.
It’s time to act her age and not her shoe size. (Gorgeous though her Louboutins are)
After all, it’s Just a Simple Little Court Case.
What could possibly go wrong?
A cosy mystery series with a hint of psychopath
If you feel like giving it a whirl, you can get a copy here.
The third in the series, Just a Simple Little Painting, follows directly on from the court case, and sees Fern and Raven set up The Blackleaf Agency at last, and take on their first serious case. A trip to Holland beckons with fun, food and mystery. Meanwhile, back at home, more drama awaits and unresolved matters come to the fore – with a vengeance!
Just a Simple Little Painting should be out later this year.
In a change from the regular schedule (you know the one where I do all the talking!), today I have the privilege of sitting in the guest’s seat over at Gone Writing, an awesome blog run by friend, author and fellow Mysterian, Phyllis Entis.
Pop on over if you get the chance, it would be so good to see you there 🙂
The Gone Writing spotlight went dark for a couple of months, but it’s shining once again. And the writer standing center stage is Lynne Fellows, one of the charter members of Mystery Authors International. Fate determined the path for Lynne who, despite proud roots, bade Britain a fond farewell to follow her heart to Iberia, […]
Some weeks back, I recall saying to a fellow author that I always had the title in mind before I began to write a story. I added – rather smugly, I fear – that I’d always stuck with that initial title.
Until now …
So, here I sit, confessing that I’ve changed my mind – or rather, I’ve found a better title 🙂
Courting Danger is no more.
In its place, we have
CASUALTY OF COURT
The story has been revised and now sits better in the (mixed) category of women’s fiction / courtroom drama / mystery.
It focuses more on what the main characters want and how they deal with getting it, so their interaction becomes more vital to the overall theme while the trial runs alongside everything.
On top of that, the cover has had a facelift and will be revealed nearer launch time.
So, I’m eating humble pie at my earlier smugness – but, hopefully for all the right reasons.
Who’s involved? From the character profiles already posted, this should come as no surprise that the story revolves around the four lives of Fern, Raven, Nessa and Stefan.
What’s it all about? Principally a court case, following on from Stefan’s attempt to kill Fern last summer. The story aims to look at both sides of the case and deliver the reasons behind each character’s actions and motivations.
Where is it set? Primarily in Portugal for the trial, but then it’s back to England and the fictional town of Framleigh.
When does it take place? It picks up eight months after the girls’ summer holiday. Since that time, Stefan has been in the remand centre awaiting trial, and plotting for his freedom. Fern & Raven returned to Framleigh after the attempted drowning and now make their way back to Portugal for the trial. Nessa had also returned to England, but kept away from the others and soon found herself back in the Algarve, renting a villa near to the remand centre to be close to Stefan.
Why am I telling this story? The summer holiday tale was originally planned as a short story for an anthology, and is told in The Fifth Wheel. But I soon realised I couldn’t leave it unresolved. The pursuit of justice meant there had to be a follow-up story. Then, the characters took over and wanted more attention. So much so that there is another story (or three) to follow – Heirlooms & Heiresses being the first one that sees the girls start up a new venture as Private Investigators in their very own business: The Blackleaf Agency.
Description: Black-haired, 5’9, brown eyes, olive skin, very attractive. No fuss girl, no make-up, or jewellery.
Lives in Framleigh (a fictional village in Warks), with her mum, Rachel. Boyfriend is Finn Delaney (PC at local station, was a trainee with her and they re-met when she began her Tae Kwon Do classes – he is a part-time instructor at the community centre)
She was training to be a PC when her mum was diagnosed with MS. Gave up her career to care for her mum and worked in a supermarket to make ends meets, but resigned out of boredom – and after a masked gang raided the store during one of hers shifts.)
When her mum’s condition deteriorates, Raven is forced to accept help from the community. As she realises that she cannot be the carer her mum needs, she decides (encouraged completely by her mum) to retrain. Upset at missing out on her chosen police career, she is keen to work in a similar field, and retrains as a PI so she can work from home. She yearns for fulfilment, to feel that she is making a difference. She detests injustice of any sort and has attended many protests and demos to have her voice heard.
When a former very close friend (Nessa) chose a new man over her (and Fern) during a recent and much-needed holiday, Raven was incensed. The fact that the man was using Nessa and tried to drown Fern resulted in them attending his trial in Portugal and Nessa still stood by him. Raven disowned Nessa and became best friends with Fern, the victim.
Her mum, Rachel, is also dark-haired, but greying at the temples. Slim build. Pale skin, often in pain but puts on a smile.
Finn is tall, strawberry-blond-verging-on-ginger, wavy hair, broad-shouldered, big hands, grey eyes. Quite serious. Fascinated by forensics, wants to branch off to CID. Allergic to animal hair.
She is a sociable woman, loves pubs and dancing, gets on well with old folk since she admires their values and stories of past adventures. She has no time for misbehaved kids, jobsworths, call centres, salesmen in general (Smarmy smooth talkers)
Enjoys going to the rifle range with Finn. Takes mum to various support centres at hospital. She is determined and focused. Raven is a fighter. Impulsive, hot-headed, loud, abrasive and opinionated She doesn’t suffer fools. Acts first, thinks later. Too quick to get involved. Meddlesome. She has been stuck in a rut for the last two years and yearns for excitement and something to focus her intelligent mind on. Assuming that her loved ones are safe, she will jump into any adventure feet first and trust her instincts for a successful outcome.
But she is a very faithful friend – unless betrayed.
She is scared of getting MS like her mum yet avoids doctors in case something is found.
Feels betrayed by Nessa, but misses her friendship. Feels let down by officialdom and has a deep loathing for bureaucracy and paperwork of all sorts..
Raven is the glue in the story and holds much of the cast together. Her reactions are always pivotal and wide-reaching.
Writing a novel from multiple viewpoints (or POVs) is not for the faint-hearted.
However, plenty of famous authors have nailed the technique. Such as Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and even the renowned George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Even so, there’s the very real risk that you’ll have readers throwing the book up in despair, dizzy from juggling the different personalities and motivations.
Courting Danger is told from the viewpoint of 4 characters, and therefore much will hang on the way I present the change from one person to another. I’ve read a lot about how to do it – and I’ll admit, I didn’t follow all the advice either. Not because I think I know better, but simply because some of the tips that I’ve listed below didn’t suit my story.
That aside, if you fancy the challenge, here’s some of the most common advice I found:
1 – Does your story make sense from multiple points of view? The danger here is that without a single main character to root for, the reader may become disinterested because of a more global awareness of all of the characters, and their needs and wants. You risk losing that special relationship of the reader with a character he can relate to if you spread him too thinly.
2 . You cannot now – at any point – become the all-knowing narrator. You can’t know what another character is feeling or thinking while you’re in the head of someone else. It’s not called limited POV for nothing.
3. Each of your viewpoint characters needs a unique place in your novel. They must be distinct characters that have a purpose for being in the story and are used to narrate the story. Keep their purpose clear throughout so as not to confuse the reader.
4. Each character whom you’ve given a point of view must have his or her own arc. This means the character should have a conflict, whether external, internal or both, and a resolution.
5 . Instead of breaking point of view mid chapter and confusing your reader, consider devoting one chapter to each point of view. This is where I took a different path, as Courting Danger sometimes tells the same scene from a different character’s perspective and I’ve chosen to make the scene the chapter. (Oh dear – am I doomed?)
6. Don’t tell the same scene from each character’s point of view. (Yep, I’m doomed) It is suggested that this slows down your story and doesn’t move it forward.
7. Create an individual voice for each character. Each character should have a different outlook on his or her circumstances, and a different way of self-expression.
8. And, finally – it’s not an easy style to write, and definitely not always well received, but it can be a clever and satisfying method of storytelling.
Well, I’m really glad I decided to write on this topic, because I’m now convinced it’s all been a huge waste of time.
Time will tell, but for now I’m going to go and hide in the corner and debate with myself why I ever thought I could do this.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Stefan, my antagonist in Courting Danger, certainly hopes so. He is pinning his hopes – and his freedom – on his father being able to ‘incentivise’ the judge so that he can walk free.
But, can money buy your way out of any problem? This is the essence of one of life’s great ironies: Success leads to money. Money rarely leads to success.
Sorry, Stefan, it seems you might just have to tell the truth and be damned!