In June we celebrate audiobooks and what better way than to interview 3 of the hottest narrators in the game.
1. How did you get into audiobook narration?
WS: I coached with a narrator that I knew and practiced/coached with different people in the industry for about 6 months.
JD: I got involved in audiobook narration through my commercial agent, Rachel. She sent me over to an Audiobook Publisher to audition. I did a cold read of a book, and the publisher dug it, and brought me onto their roster.
EI: I got into audiobook narration because I was looking for a way to make some money in a way that used my talents but also allowed me to sit down and not have to be too active. I took some classes and started working on a demo to send out to publishers. During the time I was just beginning to get some traction I also met Wesleigh Siobhan and she helped me get started in Romance by inviting me to work on Equivalent Exchange by CCJ. Once the pandemic got started I planned to build my own studio and work from home which I was able to do eventually and that is how things really got rolling.
2. Describe your recording process. How do you prepare? What do you do once you receive a manuscript from an author? For example: Do you print it out? Highlight the different dialogue so you know whose “voice” to use when you’re reading?
WS: I prep the book (read it, look up pronunciations and make character choices).
JD: Once I receive the manuscript from the author/publisher, I upload it to my favorite app, iAnnotate. I then highlight characters and make notes (accents, description, locale, etc). I write those notes on the script, using the app. So those notes will be there when I begin recording, as guideposts.
EI: I prepare by reading the story, familiarizing myself with the circumstances and doing my best to relate to what the characters in the story are going through. As a narrator I like to have an idea of what the characters want, what they are trying to achieve, what their motivations and fears are. This helps me understand the conflicts in the story so that I can embody what the various characters are going through as a storyteller. I don't print or highlight. I just read it. Maybe I'll say a couple parts out loud but I do most of the creative exploration in front of the microphone. Its when I'm most dialed in and spontaneous, trusting my instincts.
3. Where do you record?
WS: I mostly record at home or in a recording studio with an engineer.
JD: I record mostly at home, these days. Sometimes I record at a professional studio, but mostly in my home studio.
EI: I record in my home studio which I've nicknamed Starlight Studio.
4. Most people do not like to listen to their own voice on tape. How do you feel about listening to your own narration?
WS: In the beginning I loved listening to my narration, then I got busy, lol. I'd like to start listening to other narrators/stories for my own escape.
JD: Yeah, I hate hearing my own voice on tape.
EI: It took me a while to be able to listen to myself on Audible. I wasn't in a rush to listen because I can be quite critical of myself. I've listened to a chapter or two from a couple books, or samples also, but I try not to listen to myself if I don't have to because I get too in my head. But the stuff I have listened to I have enjoyed. I also read comments about the books to better understand what listeners enjoy. Each time I record I try to improve.
5. Is there a book you would love to narrate? Or an author you'd love to work with?
WS: I get to work on so many great projects by so many amazing authors. I'm always working on a dream book.
JD: The author/book I’d like to narrate would be Lover Man by Geneva Holliday. Maybe somebody reading will make it happen 😉.
EI: There is a mysterious alchemy to how books and characters find you as a narrator and welcome you to breathe life into them. I trust that the right projects and characters will come my way at the right time and I will be ready to tell the story. Each character teaches me something as I give what I can to the performance. By the end I feel like I've gone on the journey that character needed to go on and learned lessons that I can apply to my own life. This whole thing is spiritual for me. I'm very woo woo when it comes to this stuff. The universe, energy, the law of attraction, etc. The right projects will manifest at the right time.