continued…… Can you tell us about your process when you begin to narrate a book?.
A. …….voicing the foreign language phrases the writer included in the book, listened to several bird calls to include in the book (a young boy is an expert at bird calls, so I have to approximate a cardinal, a blue jay, and more), learned the Welsh national anthem — in Welsh, reacquainted myself with several old hymns…I’m recording very slowly and carefully, while preserving a fresh sense of discovery and using the technology to make my many, many stops and starts sound seamless. That’s more than most books require, but it does offer a glimpse into the challenges of an audio book narration. I want my work to be excellent every time. Each project is different, but it’s great to really commit and make sure I’m doing everything I possibly can to make the most complete audio world I can. Once the recording of each chapter is complete, I upload it to my publisher. They edit and proof the recording, ensuring that my narration is word perfect to the script. They send a list of corrections, which I record and send, and then the book is ready to go out into the world!
Q. Do you have rituals before you begin?
A. I do. Donna Eden’s five-minute energy technique and a few other of her energy practices, which ground and settle me and get me in a good space to focus. I put some lavender on my fifth chakra (throat chakra). I make a quick shot of ginger, turmeric, coconut water, salt, lemon, and honey, and then I settle in with water with lemon and a kombucha.
Q. Do you have a separate studio for this work?
A. I have a home office that has the smallest Whisper Room model, a 4x4x5 recording booth that has just barely enough room for me to sit in my chair and close the door — so the door is bumped up against my back and the desk right ahead. This is not a career path for a claustrophobe!
Q. Do you have a favorite genre of fiction when you narrate?
A. I actually love memoir and creative non-fiction most of all. It’s what I write, it’s what I most often read for pleasure, it’s a meditative and spiritual practice to write and read.
Q. Do you have a particular genre that you dislike?
A. I resent bad writing. It really upsets me. It’s a little silly of me to take it so personally! Whatever the genre, if it’s well written, I will love it. But regardless of my personal affinity for a project, every book gets my whole heart, my best effort, my fullest attention, and deepest commitment. Every book deserves my best, because every listener deserves the very best experience. That’s a big responsibility.
A. (see above foot surgery reference!) J
Q. Are some authors more difficult to work with than others?
A. I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful writers, and I’ve never had a bad experience with a writer. Most are so delighted to answer questions and collaborate and they make themselves available with generosity and support. A dear friend, Stephanie Kallos, has written two novels that I’ve narrated, and we have become closer through that collaboration. Some writers become dear, like Erin Blakemore, whom I met through her Heroine’s Bookshelf, and now she’s a friend for life. Some writers are people I have come to care about personally and respect and appreciate, and though we’re not in each other’s lives on a regular basis, I think we share a mutual respect and appreciation that has been enriching for both of us, like John Scalzi, Wally Lamb, Daryl Gregory, Jolina Petersheim, and Jeaniene Frost. It’s really a sweet benefit to this career.
Q. Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
A. Keep reading, keep listening. And for those of you who read aloud to loved ones, know that you’re giving one of the most precious gifts. There’s nothing more intimate than hearing someone you love speak to you softly and closely. It’s a beautiful opportunity to connect with another person’s heart and mind. I’m very grateful that I get a chance to do this work, and thank you for the opportunity to talk to your readers.
Did you miss Part I? Click here
DON’T MISS BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with best-selling AUTHORS! Julia London, Matt Jorgenson, MJ Moores, and actor/narrator Tavia Gilbert. March’s featured author is Susie Drougas and long awaited interview with Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House) in April.
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