Audio Tour

Steele Secrets

Author: Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Narrator: Aven Shore

Length: 4 hours and 37 minutes

Series: Steele Secrets, Book 1

Released: April 11, 2022

Producer: Audiobook Empire

Publisher: Andilit

Genre: Paranormal; Young Adult

Ghosts just don’t show up for anybody. So when I meet the spirit of a former slave named Moses, I know he needs my help.But I didn’t expect to be taking on half of my town, or the powerful men who seem to run everything and have done so for years. Secrets are being uncovered, and some people would do anything to keep them buried, no matter who gets hurt. I’ll need the help of history and friends I can trust if I want to save Moses’ graveyard and protect his legacy. If only everyone believed it was one worth protecting…

Andi Cumbo-Floyd lives in the Southwestern Mountains of Virginia with her young son, an old dog, and a puppy who likes to eat furniture. When she’s not writing she likes to cross-stitch, binge magical shows, and garden.

Aven Shore is an audiobook narrator living in her off-grid tiny house in rural Eastern Canada, surrounded by forest and chicken friends, and honeybees. She loves books so much she’s listening to one almost every minute she’s not narrating one (she narrates romance as Avie Paige). She narrates live on Discord with other romance narrators on the Haven server. She is longing to travel and hike in mountains again, and dreaming of sleep in the lava fields of Iceland under Northern lights again, her favorite place in the world. Her past lives include being a carpenter, firefighter, tax accountant, and competitive snowboarder.

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.
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Q&A with Author Andi Cumbo-Floyd
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Actually, yes. These books were inspired by two major histories in my life: my own family story and the story of my son’s father’s family. I am a descendant of African people who were brought here very early in the history of the United States, and so that history is in this book. And the actual idea for the place and story came from a tale my son’s grandfather shared about his experience in a graveyard in his hometown in western Virginia. It was really powerful to weave those stories into a new one I created.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I LOVE audiobooks. I listen to them constantly because I find that I can absorb certain stories more easily in audio than I can on the page. Plus, sometimes I just can’t hold a book or ebook, and then I can put in my earbuds and listen. The more I can read the better.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Definitely. And if I have to pick just one place, it would be Eastern North Carolina, where my family on my dad’s side is from. I’d go back to my ancestor James Henry’s time to see the situation and story around his (or his parents’) decision to have him cross the color line. I cannot believe the courage such a choice would have taken, and I’d like too bear witness to that choice and its consequences because his choice is part of what let me be here today.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I find this argument just ridiculous. Taking in books is reading, no matter the form, because reading is simply about absorbing words into our brains. That can happen through our eyes or through our ears. Plus, honestly, the idea that audiobook listening isn’t reading is insulting to those people in the world – the blind, those with visual processing disorders like dyslexia – who can only experience the joy of reading through audio.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • As a reader I love series. I love to drop into a world for a long time, so I always want to give my readers that opportunity, too. But as a writer, it’s harder because I need to be sure I don’t repeat myself or make my stories so complex that they can’t be carried through clearly in a series. But if I can do my work well, I hope I give readers a luxurious, encompassing story that moves from book to book without getting boring or cumbersome.
  • What’s your favorite:
    • Food – cheese. Hands down. Cheese of any sort.
    • Song – “Maria’s Beautiful Mess” by Ellis Paul
    • Book – Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
    • Television show – at the moment, “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”
    • Movie – Dead Poets Society
    • Band – Over the Rhine
    • Sports team – do not have!
    • City – Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
    • Many of Mary’s food choice echo my own, and some of my music choices, too. Most of her reading, listening, viewing was informed by what I was doing at the time. So not necessarily my favorites, but things I enjoyed.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • You can make a living at this writing thing, and you can love telling stories every day. You just have to learn and persist past all the obstacles. It’s worth it.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Find a narrator you love, who is professional, poised, and knows how to ask you the right questions to produce the book you want. Then hire a producer who will create beautiful, professional files for you. This isn’t a place for cutting corners. It’s worth the money.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I’ve been writing cozy mysteries for a while as ACF Bookens, and I’ll keep doing that. But I’m also start a romantic comedy series as Andrea Cumbo in 2023. So stay tuned for those.
Top Ten Literary Inspirations for Steele Secrets
  1. Nnedi Okorafor. Her book Who Fears Death is my favorite novel of all time. It’s speculative fiction that weaves together folklore and science and history.
  2. Alix E. Harrow. Her books The Ten Thousand Doors of January and The Once and Future Witches showed me how a writer can weave together magic and travel and activism together.
  3. Toni Morrison. While Paradise is my favorite of Morrison’s books, it was Beloved that really informed this series with the way she used spirits to tell the truth and reveal what was hidden.
  4. Chaim Potok. I have read everything Potok ever wrote because his books speak so highly of the way that communities build us up and tear us down, which is a theme in these books as well.
  5. Margaret Atwood. Atwood’s ability to project a future that is both believable and terrifying is something that I seek to emulate in my work, even if that work is looking backwards instead of forwards.
  6. C. S. Lewis. The Chronicles Of Narnia remain my favorite series because they spin together magic and belief into a new world that lets me believe more about my own.
  7. Edward Ball. Ball is a journalist whose book Slaves in the Family introduced me to a way of researching and writing about the lives of oppressed people without separating those people from my own lived experience.
  8. Rebecca Solnit. Solnit’s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks modeled a format and honesty for how the writer becomes part of the story, even as she tells it.
  9. Jesmyn Ward. Ward’s books hit had in their telling, be they fiction or memoir, and they create an atmosphere that surrounds the reader, that draws us all the way in.
  10. Rebecca Roanhorse. Roanhorse’s books rise up from the soil of culture in a way that is not often transparent in speculative fiction, and I wanted the same transparency in my books.
  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.
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