Audio Tour

Then Came the Thunder

Author: Rachael Huszar

Narrator: Jenn Lee

Length: 5 hours and 31 minutes

Producer: Audiobook Empire

Publisher: Rachael Huszar

Released: January 20, 2022

Genre: Historical Thriller

Jessalyn Joy loves her husband, but she can’t help the feelings that arose when he volunteered for the Union army. When he comes back to her in a box instead of on his feet, those feelings complicate even more. Jessalyn’s mourning period is cut short when something begins to attack the livestock in their small town, and greater dangers begin to threaten their provincial life. Thrown together with the new reverend, one of her own students, and a strange man somehow related to her husband’s passing, Jessalyn must find a way to stop the evils that threaten her husband’s first and ultimately last home. Set in the Southwestern home front, Huszar blends a taste of fantasy into a startling down-to-earth world, creating a high stakes adventure for this strong female protagonist and her band of amateur sleuths.

Rachael Huszar kept her life steeped in stories from a young age, and she began her own journey in story-making when she reached adulthood. In the time since, she has taken up swimming, roller skating, and consuming tabletop RPG streams. She spends the bulk of her time with her dog, Silo, and works full time as a designer in Dallas, Texas.
After 20+ years as professional NYC actor, I stumbled into some documentary voiceover work. From that moment on, I knew the trajectory of my career had been changed forever. I adore narrating and doing VO, and every job feels like a gift.
At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride. Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto. Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.
  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Author Rachael Huszar’s Playlist for Then Came the Thunder
  • Jesse – Joan Baez: Replace “Jesse” with “Amos” and this song is almost an exact description of Jessalyn’s feelings at the beginning of the book. Every place she goes, everything she touches, all day, every day, reminds her of him. She’s been waiting for Amos to come home since he left for the war, and it’s hard to face that he never will.
  • I Could Write a Book – Rex Fowler: Grief has a horrible way of tainting your whole world. Despite the blue skies and signs of something better, you just can’t see it. For Jessalyn, everywhere she looks it is raining.
  • Lest We Forget – The Brothers Bright: The only person Jessalyn blames for her loneliness is herself. She believes it’s the judgment she earned. She doesn’t seek help, because she doesn’t believe anyone would offer it.
  • Sad and Deep As You – Dave Mason: Jessalyn is a very reserved person, and the death of her husband has made her even more so. The majority of the town can see that she’s suffering a deep sadness, and to her dismay, she doesn’t hold herself together as well as she thinks she does. It’s one of the first things Sam is able to unearth.
  • Steel Eyes – Shawn Phillips: “And we talk of the things that we wish to know, But she’s really not around” was a line that perfectly encapsulates Jessalyn’s demeanor in Chapter 11 when Jessalyn shares a bit more about herself with Sam. She’s there, but her memories and intrusive thoughts get so consuming when her stress rises, that she’s only there physically, her mind is elsewhere.
  • It’s Never Too Late – National Parks Radio: By the end of the book, Jessalyn has broken through so much of the grief and doubt that was keeping her trapped inside herself. By allowing Samuel in, she was able to realize that it’s not too late for her, and that she can choose to move forward.
More stories behind the songs can be found here:
Q&A with Author Rachael Huszar
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • Definitely! Having my work become an audiobook has always been a huge dream of mine, I just needed to write a book first! I tend to write dialogue first, and then fill in all the other details afterward, so thinking about the flow of conversation and how lines might sound when performed was always at the forefront of my thoughts.
  • 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?
    • Jenn and I worked very closely to come up with voice prints for each character. I sent her my inspirations and notions I had in my head when writing, some very specific, others pretty vague. She read the book and made her own lists of who the characters reminded her of, what they might look like, etc. Then she worked her magic and found the perfect voice and delivery for each character. And boy, were there a lot.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Yes! I’ve been listening to audiobooks to go to sleep since I was a kid, and have continued well into adulthood. I love being able to enjoy a story while being mobile as well, driving or walking my dog. It helps fuel my imagination and turn my focus away from my own boring thoughts. Plus, narrators like Jenn can take a story and bring it to a whole new level, adding in timing, emotion, drama, humor, the works, that may be present on the page, but makes all the difference when you hear it performed.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • My two main characters in THEN CAME THE THUNDER, Jessalyn and Sam, banter quite a bit, both friendly and unfriendly. Readers have really fallen in love with their relationship and quick wit. I think those moments have become even stronger with Jenn’s performance.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • I’m a big fan of the 1970s. Style, music, media, I really love it all. I’ve often said that Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company is my style icon.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I would say, what exactly is the point of reading? Escapism? Learning something new? Powering your imagination? Meeting new characters? I don’t think you need eyes for any of that. All those experiences can be just as powerful in an audio format.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • I took a visit to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas! It was an amazing look at some of the women who shaped the West.
  • Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    • I don’t think they have! I do keep a journal of my dreams and try to write them all down so I can remember them later. You never know when an interesting idea might strike, or inspire something later. But no, I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed about the Three Willows series.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Take the extra time to find a narrator who is going to love your story just as much as you do. The perfect voice is out there, be patient. You’ll find them.
  • What’s next for you?
    • What else! More writing. I’ve recently released the second book in the Three Willows series, Then Came the Fire, and I’m hoping to work on its audiobook soon! I’m also hoping to have the third book in the trilogy out by the end of this year.
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