“A voice like slow whiskey and chocolate.” 5 Questions for Xe Sands #jiam2011

You’re in for a treat as we’ll soon be launching our first title narrated by the silky sounds of Xe Sands.  I’m warning you, though: once her voice enters your head, you might not be able to live without it.  Meet Xe:

Miette Elm: First off, what are you up to? What titles have you recently wrapped, what are you in the middle of, and how’s it going?
Xe Sands:  Well, thankfully, it has been a dead run since February, and I couldn’t be happier. I cannot stand being idle – it just isn’t in my nature.

I’ve just wrapped on the first two books in two separate series for Tantor Audio: the Dreg City series by Kelly Meding (Three Days to Dead, As Lie the Dead); and the Nightwalkers series by Jacquelyn Frank (Jacob, Gideon). I head into the studio shortly to record the third in the Dreg City series, Another Kind of Dead, for simultaneous release with the print version in early August. Immediately afterward, I start on books 3-5 in the Nightwalkers series, heading toward book six, set for simultaneous release with the print version in October.

And, I just finished the final round of corrections on Step on a Crack by Mary Anderson, for Iambik Audio, which was a wonderful young adult book focusing on repressed memory and familial relationships.

Xe Sands

Xe Sands

ME: Anything stand out as the funniest sentence or paragraph you’ve narrated?
XS: There have been some hilarious lines in the Dreg City series, none of which can be printed here – LOL!

Some of the most amazing lines I’ve ever read, let alone narrated, come from The Sweet Relief of Missing Children. There are so very many that reached out and grabbed me that it is difficult to choose, but these were two of my favorites to narrate:

“Anything can happen in ten minutes. One can cook an egg or fall in love or lose a fortune or make a pot of coffee or be born or find God or leave god or fall out of love or die. One can find the right girl or the wrong girl. One can fail to know the difference.”

Wait. She hasn’t married him yet. Let her be sixteen a little longer. Let her paint stag beetles and Black-Eyed Susans. Let her fantasize about Paris, the Galapagos, Jakarta, Berlin. See the books she reads: Amelia Earhart, Emily Dickinson, detective stories meant for prepubescent boys. She is so young. She is so wrong about herself. Give her the gift of false convictions, just a little longer, a paragraph.”

ME: Care to share a memorable comment you’ve received about your voice or narration talents?
XS: I was hoping to remember something really odd or strange or quirky, but the one that keeps popping up is none of those things. I’m sharing it anyway because I love it so much, and hope you will just bear with me.

A listener recently wrote that I have a voice like slow whiskey and chocolate. I’m going to put that on a t-shirt and wear it in my studio.

ME: What are the world’s top 5 sounds? What are the worst?


  • My husband’s heartbeat, as heard when my head is against his chest
  • Sound of my daughter breathing in her sleep
  • Buzzing of bumblebees (those ginormous ones that can barely fly)
  • Thunderstorms (scary can be beautiful)
  • The first few notes of the song that currently turns me inside out


  • Animal grooming sounds
  • Mouth noises
  • Trickling water
  • High pitched mechanical noises
  • Lawnmowers and airplanes (when I’m trying to record – grrr)

ME: Of any book ever published, what’s your dream title to narrate (even if your voice wouldn’t be a good match)?
XS:  There are simply too many to pick a one and true answer for ever and always, so I will share the one I would pick today: Real Life and Liars, by Kristina Riggle. Her work is so poignant and yet realistic, with characters that are beautifully drawn, flaws and all. I can always relate to something in each of them and I cherish that as a narrator.  The point of view also changes between the first-person perspective of several family members and the third-person narration, which would be a wonderful challenge.

Xe’s first title for Iambik, Mary Anderson’s Step on a Crack, will be released soon.  In the meantime, you can hear the sounds of slow whiskey and chocolate yourself with this sneak preview of the first chapter.  To keep track of Xe’s other projects, follow her on Twitter @xesands. And while you’re waiting, all Iambik titles can be picked up with a 50% discount throughout June 2011 by entering #jiam2011 at checkout.