Interview

Episode 70 – Audiobook Collaboration with Danny Bell and Whitton Frank

In this episode, Mark interviews author Danny Bell and voice actor and model Whitton A. Frank about The Black Pages series that Danny writes and Whitton narrates.

Empty Threat – Book One of The Black Pages

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word from the episode’s sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .

Learn more about Findaway Voices

In the personal update segment Mark shares an update on the work for the self-narrated audiobook version of The 7 P’s of Publishing Success as well as his recent guest spot on Episode 6 of Joanna Penn’s new Books & Travel Podcast.

In their chat, Danny, Whitton, and Mark talk about:

  • How the initial idea for “The Black Pages” came to Danny from a variety of sources, including something he reflected upon when watching Doctor Who.
  • Danny’s interest in the deaths of secondary characters on various television shows in which are often shared as no big deal, whereas if the protagonist or their close friends suffered the same fate, it was a major trauma.
  • Purposly not making the protagonist a straight white guy
  • The element of humor that is a part of the narrator in Empty Threat.
  • How Elana is a black and white character in a morally grey universe and was created with a lot of room to grow through each book.
  • The unique experience of Whitton as both the voice and the face of Elana Black.
  • How Danny and Whitton clicked when they met at a party that neither of them had been in a mood to want to be at.
  • The way that Danny started seeing Whitton in his head when he was writing the character of Elana.
  • Whitton modeling for the concept art for the cover, which led to the cover designer asking if she would be the model in the actual shoot.
  • Voice Over Atlanta, the biggest VO conference in the US that Elana just got back from.
  • The plans for the release of book three in the series and the special “full cast” production of this one (with Whitton still as the main narrator).
  • The debate over whether or not Elana needed to have a love interest in the first two books
  • And more . . .
Images from various The Black Pages photo shoot, and covers for the first two books

After the interview, Mark makes an offer to do a random giveaway to two people who comment on the show notes for Episode 70 at www.starkreflections.ca (IE, right here on this post).

Comments have to be posted by Noon EST on Thursday April 18th and eligible entries will be comments about one of the following:

  • What book would you love to escape into? (The way Elana can slip into a book)
  • What secondary character from any fictional world (book, television, movie, etc) would you love to save? (The way Elena saves the lives of secondary characters)

Mark then reflects upon the concept of something Danny said in the interview: “The most important thing you can do is to FINISH.”

After, Mark shares a brief clip from the opening of Empty Threat.

Links of Interest

Danny Bell is the USA Today Best Selling Author and Amazon #1 Best Selling Author of The Black Pages and he nearly had an out of body experience when he realized that the song Mr. Brightside by The Killers is thirteen years old and that would surely mean that he was also older than thirteen. Older than double in fact! Certainly not triple.

He has three cats, Mister, Jameson, and Koala, and they all tolerate each other. He would never compare himself to Robocop, why would he do that? He plans to continue to write books forever with hope that one day there will be a Quantum Leap style thing where Dr. Sam Beckett will help fix his life, or failing that, the time-traveling ghost of Samuel Beckett, the author, will tell him that he has been pronouncing ‘Godot’ wrong the whole time. He isn’t sure why anyone ever wants a bio, but if you’re willing to read random things about him that may or may not be true, he’s willing to provide you with them.

Whitton Frank performed in her first show when she was 8 years old, and spent her summers through her high school studying at theAmerican Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.After majoring in Acting and Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University, Whitton travelled to Russia to study at the Moscow Art Theatre.

Following this Whitton moved to Los Angeles and was subsequently discovered by Tony Basil. This meeting led to her role in the US TV series ‘Cold Case’ and the films ‘Amnesia’ and ‘Who Are You?’, both of which won awards at various film festivals around the USA.

In 2016 Whitton launched her own production company Red Compass productions which is dedicated to promoting women in film and theater and telling their stories. The Company produced a revival of the 1970’s hit Out of Our Father’s House, which tells the stories of American women, in their own words. They have also produced a short dark comedy/horror film called Seeing Green, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.

She can been seen in the TNT hit, Murder in the First Season 3 acting opposite Curry Grahm, as the lovable and quirky Jenna Laffy.

Also in 2016 she did voice over for the Star Wars Fan Film: Star Wars Toy Stories Rogue One. voicing Jyn Urso and Rei. This stop motion film has been screening and winning awards at conventions and film festivals around the world. For their work, the cast was invited to present it at Comic Con in San Diego. In the past two years she has narrated 5 audiobooks and is working on several more. You can check out her work on audible.com.


The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

13 thoughts on “Episode 70 – Audiobook Collaboration with Danny Bell and Whitton Frank”

  1. First off, thank you very much for having us on, it was a great interview.
    Second, and I know I’m not eligible to win my own book, but TONKS! SOMEONE NEEDS TO SAVE TONKS!

  2. I know I’m not eligible either (since I’m the one giving the prize away), but I’ve been thinking about the question of which character I would save.

    The first book I remember actually being in tears about when a character died was the young boy Gage from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. I knew it was inevitable (there’s only a surface level horror novel otherwise), but when Gage died I remember putting the book down and blubbering like an idiot. More tears came at the horrific scene at the boy’s funeral.

    The tears came again in those two moments when I watched the first movie adaptation. I’ll likely blubber again when I see the new movie adaptation.

    So I’d like to save Gage.

  3. Definitely would love to slip into John Ringo’s there will be dragons before the fall. Basically no war and everything is at your finger tips. The perfect lotus eater chill society.

    Secondary Character I would love to save would have to be Chewbacca in Vector Prime. it was an awesome death scene but I think it was just done for shock factor. He had so many more years to live and be awesome.

    1. Thanks, Chad. Just letting you know you’re in with two entries into the draw. Good luck.

      And, wow, I didn’t realize that in the novels (before they changed the “Star Wars Cannon” – I’m still a fan of the Young Jedi Knights that my friends Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta wrote) Chewbacca had been killed. Fun how just a single comment makes a person want to pick up a book.

      1. Hey Chad – SHAME on me for neglecting to do this step weeks ago – you’ve won a copy of Danny’s book – format of your choice – audio, print, eBook – please message me directly so I can figure out the format of your choice and best method of delivery. (And apologies for the delay)

  4. I just listened to this episode – & awesome number 71. I am also a batch listener too 🙂 Joanna Penn is the only one I try to keep up with because of the long, valuable introductions – the flips side is that if I’m busy and can’t make it for a few weeks then that podcast feels dated. I still listen to you guys though. I always think of you both in the same breath because of your Kobo ad reads 🙂

    The books that I most want to escape into are CJ Box’s Joe Pickett series. All the other worlds I read from are pretty horrifying, I don’t want to go there.
    I would most like to save all of the dogs from a Dog’s purpose but especially the police dog. I want to cuddle her and tell her how valuable and beautiful her life was. I can’t read dog stories at all to my daughter anymore because I just start to cry.

    Just wanted to say, podcasting is so damn tough — but you do an awesome job. It’s definitely not for those who need immediate reinforcement and encouragement. But then i suppose that is exactly what a writer’s life is all about! We live for the ideal and the maybe…

    1. LOL – Joanna’s podcast is always the FIRST on my own weekly list too. All the others, much as I enjoy them, I get to when I get to, but The Creative Penn is my core/base one, particularly for a future-looking, optimistic and fun perspective. (To be thought of even in the second or third breath after Jo is an honor indeed. I’m flattered)

      Thanks for the comments. You’re in for two entries. I first learned about CJ Box on Paula B’s The Writing Show podcast many many years ago. Prior to The Creative Penn it was my fave have-to-listen-to podcast. And, yeah, talk about bringing tears – for an excellent example of love, just look to the loyal, faithful and loving way a dog connects with its people.

      And thanks for the kind words. You’ve got it bang on. Podcasting is very much like writing in that way. You create, put it out there, imagine that it’s useful or inspiring or entertaining to others . . . eventually.

      1. Hi Juliet – shame on me – meant to do this weeks ago. But you’ve won a copy of Danny’s book – format of your choice – audio, ebook, print – let me know via email (mark@markleslie.ca) format and we can figure out how best for me to get it gifted over to you.

  5. Just caught up on the last couple of episodes this morning so happy that you have extended the deadline! This may sound a little cheesy but I’d like to escape into my first book, A Single Step. When I started writing this I wanted to write a setting I would love, so I did! I’ve had many readers comment on it since loving the setting and wishing they could live there too, so why wouldn’t I choose to go to my perfect place?

    A fictional character to save? This is a tricky one, without giving spoilers and ruining someone else’s reading experience, but, I will say there is a death at the end of The Horse Whisperer that had me in tears. I won’t name the character but it’s that one and if I could save them I would.

    1. Hi Georgia – thanks for the comment and congrats (and shame on me for the delay in getting this done) – but you’ve won a copy of Danny’s book – format of your choice – audio, eBook or print – simply email me (mark@markleslie.ca) and we’ll get that set up. 🙂

  6. Fionavar is my Fillory. I would (and have!) escaped into Guy Gavriel Kays Fionavar Tapestry many times in my life! As far as characters to save I would save Diar from this series, or Hodor from Game of Thrones. Hodor’s death was so gut wrenching !

    1. Hi Leigh Ann – thanks for the comment, and congrats. You’re the final winner of a copy of Danny’s book – format of your choice – audiobook, eBook or Print – email me over at mark@markleslie.ca so we can determine the delivery options for your choice. 🙂

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