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Audio Book Month: Let’s Talk About That Audio with Florinda

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Holy smoly….  I have dropped the ball on Audio Book Month.  SO many plans and then life has a way of keeping you running in other directions.  The good news?  I am not derailed so easy.  JULY will also be audio book month here at Book Journey. Because….

  1.  I really love audio
  2.  I really want to talk about audio
  3.  I have some great posts lined up with others that want to talk about audio
  4.   YOU need to be listening to audio.  If not, you are missing out an excellent way to experience books.

Today I want you to meet my friend Florinda.  Florinda runs the 3 R’s Blog and LOVES audio.  She is fun she is crazy (as you are about to see but that is why we love her 🙂

Please welcome her now.

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Hi!  I am Florinda as Sheila said, from The 3 R’s blog.  I spend upwards of two hours every weekday in my car driving to and from my job. I’ve been doing this for over a decade, and there’s really no alternative…but since I started listening to audiobooks along the way, the drive’s been a lot more bearable–and productive!

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Despite having a seemly ideal environment for audiobook reading, I resisted them for years because juggling tapes or CDs did not appeal to me at all. Once I got an iPhone and discovered there were apps available to listen to audiobooks on it, there was no more reason not to give them a try. I listened to my first audiobook just about five years ago this month, and I have never looked back. Ironically, my car has become the place I do the bulk of my reading, and when there’s a new book I want to read as soon as possible, I’ll look for it in audio first.

More than a third of my reading during the last couple of years has been audiobooks, I buy audiobooks from Audible and borrow them from the public library through the Overdrive app. I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to make my daily drive without having someone reading to me through the car speakers–and when the book’s really gripping, I’ll even listen to it on the weekend!

Want to see what Florinda is listening to?  Check her out at 3 R’s Blog. 

On another fun note….

Florinda is a big Dr. Who Fan and has participated in Cosplaying events  (and I am a bit jealous they do not do some of that around here )   I do not know a lot about this, but it looks like amazing fun and I wish we had something like this here!

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Morning Meanderings… It Is About Time To Talk About What Month It Is

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Where did the month go?

Seriously.  Where is it?

I swear I was prepping posts for Audio Book Month and laying out a plan of what that would look like and then I blinked and it is June 14th.

June 14th.

Are you kidding me?

So I am starting late but I do have a plan it just was a postponed plan due to life, and camp, and work, and everything else I cram into a day.

June is audio book month.

This is when I usually tell you all how much you are missing out on when not listening to audio.  Yes, this is when I try to convert you Laurel ;).  I have posts lined up with narrators who will share with you some interesting (and fun!)things about being a narrator.  I will post what I am listening to and why.  There will be giveaways.

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Let’s start here.  Ready Player One.  I have listened to this audio four times.  Yes.  Four.  Other than the Harry Potter books, I have never done this before.  Here is the review.  This is my go to gush worthy recommendation for anyone who loved gaming, dystopian and the 80’s.  It is a great combo, read by the amazing Wil Wheaton, and it will be a movie in 2017.

Recently when I was in Chicago I went by an audio display of the best audio books and included was this audio.  I started gushing about it to my roommate Candace.  Whenever that happens.. I usually fall in love with the story all over again and sure enough, I came home and started listening to it again.  It was every bit as wonderful as I remember.

Sigh.

So stay tuned.  Please. I am getting it together.  I am.  Camp wiped me out and this is a busy week but I will get through it.

I will leave you with this –

What audio book do you gush about?  Share here – I lOVE recommendations.

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Audio Book Month Giveaway!

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If you read me here at Book Journey you are probably well aware that I love audio books.  Often, I listen to more audio than I read books because I can listen to audio while doing other things:

cook

clean

mow the lawn

work in the flower garden

sit on my deck

painting a room

Normally I make a big deal out of audio book month trying to talk my non audio book friends into trying an audio, offering up giveaways, narrator interviews….  Of course, I am searching to find a new normal so here we are the 17th of June and this is my first mention of audio book month.  When it was offered for me to give away a couple of audio books here at Book Journey I though I can do this much.

So….

Those who wish me dead, Michael Koryta, Book Journey, audio book, audio book month, giveaway

When fourteen-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he’s plunged into a new life, issued a false identity, and hidden in a wilderness-skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.

The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness-survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.

The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.

 

 

  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 30 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio

 

This giveaway is open to US addresses only.  To enter please leave in the comments an audio book that you would highly recommend and why.  (I am always looking for great audio). If you are not an audio book listener, please tell me in the comments what you would consider listening to if you were to try audio (ie.  a memoir, comedy, favorite author, genre…)  For an additional entry please subscribe to Book Journey by signing up to receive my posts by email (upper right side bar).  If you are already a subscriber that is a free entry.  Share link to this post on Twitter using the hashtag #audiomonth and/or #audies2015 for a third entry.

I am working my way back towards this site.  I love my bookish on line friends and while my posts are more sporadic right now, I am still here.  Still trying.

Like Audiobook Community on Facebook

Check Them out on Twitter  (hashtag #audiomonth)

 

Winner will be announced here on Sunday June 21st.

 

 

 

How To Become A Narrator by Narrator Robert Fass (included in the June Audio Month Giveaway)

Audio month

Yes, yes… I know it is July.  If you read my morning post you will know that I inadvertently missed posting one of our awesome narrators responses for the June Audio Book Month features.  Robert Fass was also one of the narrators that was at the Narrator Luncheon in New York in May.  I had the pleasure of meeting him, but did not have enough time to really chat much with him.  Now, Robert has graced Book Journey with his thoughts on Narrating – a question that seemed to pop up frequently throughout the comments last month.  How does one become a narrator?  Please welcome, Robert Fass.

 

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I’m Robert Fass, and I started narrating professionally in 2005, though it took a number of years before I started making a living at it.

I have completed around 80 titles at this point, across just about every genre, including:
  • THE UNWINDING by George Packer (2013 National Book Award winner for nonfiction)

  • DOUBLE DOWN: GAME CHANGE 2012 by Mark Halperin & John Heilemann

  • SNOW WHITE MUST DIE by Nele Neuhaus (bestselling German crime thriller)

  • SAY HER NAME by Francisco Goldman (fictionalized memoir – listed in AudioFile Magazine’s Top Ten

  • Audiobooks of 2011, Earphones award winner)

  • IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY by Ned Vizzini (YA)

  • THE LIEBERMANN PAPERS series of historical mysteries by Frank Tallis

  • EMPIRE OF LIBERTY by Gordon S. Wood (Audie winner for history, 2011)

I am one of only two narrators approved by the authors’ estate to narrate the Ellery Queen mysteries (I’ve narrated 10 so far), plus works by John Steinbeck, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Carlos Fuentes, Jeffery Deaver and more.  Along the way, I’ve had 7 Audie nominations and won twice.
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I have been a professional actor for over 30 years – a longtime member of the performers’ unions, trained in the classics, studied for many years with the great Uta Hagen – and I have always loved the spoken word. My mother was a librarian and my dad was a volunteer narrator for the blind for over 25 years. When my dad passed away in 1997, I began volunteering in his honor at a local radio reading service for the visually impaired here in NYC. I lucked out the first week I showed up: one of the readers for THE NEW YORKER magazine was out and I was asked to step in. It became permanent and I spent nearly every Wednesday for the next 11 years reading the best fiction, journalism, criticism, and poetry around to a national audience. It was the best training ground anyone could wish for.

My mother was a librarian and my dad was a volunteer narrator for the blind for over 25 years.

Around 2005, a fellow volunteer offered me her invitation to a seminar given by the Audio Publishers Association (APA). They were at that time seeking to bring more theatrically trained performers into the narrator community. I went and was given the opportunity to record a sample and send it to the senior producer at Brilliance Audio, which is a large producer in the mid west (now owned by Amazon). His response was that while I didn’t have the richest voice in the world, he thought I was a very good reader and might expect to find a small amount of work in this field. That was enough encouragement for me to create a professional demo CD – and I sent it to every single producer and publisher in the APA member directory.  A handful of producers were impressed enough with it that they wanted to give me an opportunity to narrate for them. I was lucky to get to narrate works by some major authors right out of the gate, my first couple of titles got reviews (positive ones) and I started to make fans within the producing community. That put me firmly on the path and I chose to pursue it from there.

So… You Want To Become A narrator…

1. Know that narrating audiobooks is a craft. If you’re serious about it and you aren’t a trained actor, start taking classes in acting and vocal production.
2. Don’t think you can be a narrator simply because people tell you that you have a nice voice.
3. Get good before you cut a demo.
4. Join SAG-AFTRA so that if you are fortunate enough to find work in this field, you can begin receiving pension and health benefits.
5. Be prepared to spend long periods of time alone working your ass off in a little box. And loving it.
6. Unless you are in one of the major markets, you will very likely need to invest in a home studio which – even if you do it on the cheap – ain’t cheap.
7. Be aware that any narrator starting out today also has to be an engineer and a director, because it’s just you in the booth doing everything.
8. Know that you rarely have a choice in the material you are offered.
9. Be patient and tenacious.
10. There are many versions of this next basic piece of advice, but if you think you would like to be an audiobook narrator, the first thing you should do is to take a book off the shelf at random, open it to a random page, take it into the closet and read the entire page aloud. Then go back to the top of the page and read it again. Then do it two or three more times. If that’s your idea of a good time, you might think about taking a first step into narration. There is a more comprehensive version of this point in a video by narrator/instructor Sean Allen Pratt.

 

Amazing Narrator Happening… oh yes…. IT HAPPENED

 

An illustration of the need to be patient when starting out: when I sent my original demo around, a very senior, highly respected producer responded with tremendous enthusiasm. “You’re on my A-list! You can obviously do everything! I can’t wait to work with you!” She was quite sincere about it. But at least a year went by before a project came along that she felt was a good fit for me to audition. It was going to be a big deal, a new series that was hoping to be the next Harry Potter. We worked in the studio for a long time together, but in the end I didn’t get it. And I didn’t hear from her again for months. But one day, I got a call from her out of the blue. Unbeknownst to me, she had been circulating an excerpt from that audition as a voice sample for consideration in various projects, and it turned out that Ray Bradbury had selected me to narrate what turned out to be the last book published in his lifetime, FAREWELL, SUMMER (which was the sequel, 50 years in the making, to his beloved classic DANDELION WINE). That was the second book I ever narrated.

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This is the final audio book month post.  For every post you comment on in June (and this one on July 1st) that has this audio book symbol:

Audio month, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantalI will put you into a drawing for a $25 book certificate for each comment (Barnes and Noble or Amazon – your choice).  Winner will be drawn this week!

Morning Meanderings… First Half Of The Year Update and Audio Month Extention!

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Good morning and WOW… July!

That came WAY too fast!   I felt so awesome going into the new year and now I feel behind…  in reality, bookish wise I am right on target and ahead of last year.  Here are my stats so far for 2014:

 

Books read do far this year:  24 (with 3 to review yet)

Audio Books listened to this year: 33 ( with 2 left to review)

 

Last year at this time I was hardly reading/listening/posting anything so this is exciting to be able to spend time in the hobby area that I love!

 

In other news…

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I missed one of the narrator interviews.

Narrator Robert Fass was one of the first of the narrators to send me his responses and somehow in the craziness we call June… I checked him off my spreadsheet as being posted and that was not accurate.

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Due to this, I will be posting one more narrator chat that will go up today and will be part of the Audio Month Giveaway.  It’s good stuff…. and I want to post it 🙂

 

Anyhoo… that’s what is up here.  Working today, helping a friend out tonight…  and who knows what else…

No… really… who knows?  Can someone tell me?

 

Have a super Tuesday!  What are you doing this July 1st?

 

Audio Book Month – The Wrap Up and YOUR Thoughts w/ Giveaway!

Audio month

Is it  wrong that now that we are at the end of June and audio month sadly draws to a close that I want to take this above picture and cross out the word June and put July?  *sigh*  All good things must come to an end.

It seems like audio book month went so fast!  I had a blast being such an active part of it this year and I hope that you enjoyed the posts here from audio book discussions, audio book reviews, and the amazing narrators who chimed in with their thoughts and experiences with audio.  Special thanks to our narrators who hung out here:

Johnny Heller

Therese Plummer

Allyson Johnson

Tavia Gilbert

Xe Sands

Karen White

Patrick Lawlor

Ellen Archer

Khristine Hvam

Good times people… good times. 🙂

And now as I wrap this up I would love to hear some feedback from you on these posts. This posts comments also go into the giveaway that has been running all month for commenting on Audio Book related posts..

Here is what I would love to know:

1.  Did any of the posts from this month encourage you to try an audiobook?  (New or a long time listen of audio, which audio, and which post?

1a.  If you did try an audiobook how was it?

2.  Was there a particular post that you enjoyed out of all the audio posts.  If so, which one?  Why that one?

3.  Did you learn anything from the posts by the Narrators?

4.  What would you like to know more of about audio books?

 

 

As a refresher – here are the posts once again for the last time:

Intro to Audiobook Month

The Acting Of Narration with Johnny Heller

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

A Day In The Life Of Narrating by Narrator Therese Plummer

The Beginning of Narration by Narrator Allyson Johnson

The BEST audiobooks according to the listeners

If I Can’t Have You by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

Top 5 audiobooks according to narrator Tavia Gilbert

Look Ma!  NO hands!  Audiobooks MY Way!

Things To Look For When Picking Your Next Audio by Narrator Xe Sands

Then and Always by Dani Atkins

Beyond Books by Narrator Karen White

The Other Story by Tatiana De Rosnay

The Narrating Life by Narrator Patrick Lawlor

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Woods

The Art Of Secrets by James Klise

The Best Part Of Narrating By Narrator Ellen Archer

That’s Narrating!  By Narrator Khristine Hvam

 

Please watch this site for June audio book related posts like this one.  For every post you comment on in June that has this audio book symbol:

Audio month, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantalI will put you into a drawing for a $25 book certificate for each comment (Barnes and Noble or Amazon – your choice).  Winner will be drawn in July.

Morning Meanderings… My Equivelent To A Candy Store… New Books!

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Happy Sunday!  Sky is looking cloud free here today and the sun is shining!  YAY!!!

For the past two days I have been on the North Shore checking on our cabin, chatting with the neighbors… and reading … GLORIOUS READING.  It is amazing how much time I can make for reading when I drive out of cell phone and internet range.  I finally finished The Three and read two more books – Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf, and The Young World by Chris Weitz.    I finished Essentialism by Greg McKeown and have two hours left on my audible audio on my phone, The Weight Of Silence also by Heather Gudenkauf.  (That’s what 8 hours in the car will get me 🙂 )

 

Here is what came into my home this week:

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Uncaged by John Sanford and Michele Cook  (Random House audio)

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard (Random House audio)

January Thaw by Jess Lourey (I purchased this one at the Brown Bag Author event last week)

Sweet Water by Christina Baker Kline ( William Morrow – Harper Collins)

Help For The Haunted by John Searles (William Morrow – Harper Collins)

Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard by Sally Cabot (William Morrow – Harper Collins)

Getting Life by Michael Morton (Simon and Schuster)

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand (Little Brown – Hachette Book Group)

 

It is crazy to believe that we are at the end of June already and thus, at the end of audio book month!  As tomorrow is Monday and is usually dominated by It’s Monday What Are You Reading, I will more than likely put up a wrap up post tonight.  All comments from the audio book posts in June will go into a drawling for a $25 gift card.  I will be drawing that winner in the next few days as we start to roll out July and I have a whole other theme for that…. 😉

If you have missed any of the audio book related posts – it is not too late to put in your two cents:

 

 

Please watch this site for June audio book related posts.  For every post you comment on in June that has this audio book symbol:

Audio month, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantalI will put you into a drawing for a $25 book certificate for each comment (Barnes and Noble or Amazon – your choice).  Winner will be drawn in July.

 

 

Intro to Audiobook Month

The Acting Of Narration with Johnny Heller

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

A Day In The Life Of Narrating by Narrator Therese Plummer

The Beginning of Narration by Narrator Allyson Johnson

The BEST audiobooks according to the listeners

If I Can’t Have You by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

Top 5 audiobooks according to narrator Tavia Gilbert

Look Ma!  NO hands!  Audiobooks MY Way!

Things To Look For When Picking Your Next Audio by Narrator Xe Sands

Then and Always by Dani Atkins

Beyond Books by Narrator Karen White

The Other Story by Tatiana De Rosnay

The Narrating Life by Narrator Patrick Lawlor

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Woods

The Art Of Secrets by James Klise

The Best Part Of Narrating By Narrator Ellen Archer

That’s Narrating!  By Narrator Khristine Hvam

That’s Narrating! By Narrator Khristine Hvam

Audio month

Welcome again to another fun chat with a Narrator.  Today I would love to introduce the talented Khristine Hvam!

 

Khristine

 

Well hello! I’m Khristine Hvam. Audibook narrator and voice over actress. I started narrating audiobooks in 2008.  To name a few of the books I have narrated:

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue,
Astray by Emma Donoghue
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor
The Jane Yellowrock Series by Faith Hunter
The Pure trilogy by Julianna Baggot
The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens
The Cast in Shadow series by Michelle Sagara
The Iron Daughter series by Julie Kagawa

 

How did you begin narrating?

I always say, I sort of tripped and fell and landed (perfectly) in narration. I started as a voice over actor. I was working on some dubbing work and the director thought I would be a good fit for audiobook narration. He set up an audition for me with Audible and the rest is history.

Narration and other voice over work are my full time job. However, being mommy to an eleven month old is my latest full time job. Both are dreams come true.

 

That first narration….

My first book was a steamy sexy romance novel. WOW was that awkward! Not only had I never recorded a book before (the recording of a book takes place over several hours a day for several days) but the name of the steamy sexy male character was the same name as the engineer recording for me. That was kind of humiliating. “Oh Rick, OH RICK!!” … I was several shades of red. “Rick” of course, wasn’t bothered at all.

In the few years I’ve been doing this amazing work things have changed a bit within the inner workings and politics of the business. More and more home studio recording requests come my way and I’m fortunate that I have a home studio and can accommodate. However, it’s challenging to record at home alone and it can be isolating at times. I have to play the role of narrator, engineer, and director, and I think that can sometimes have a negative effect on the narration. I miss the comradery of working with a producer/director and engineer. But the work is still the same. My approach to the work hasn’t changed. I still go into every new project excited and ready for the adventure.

More and more home studio recording requests come my way and I’m fortunate that I have a home studio and can accommodate. However, it’s challenging to record at home alone and it can be isolating at times.

I’ve grown up quite a bit in these last six years. I have more confidence in my choices as a narrator now. I think that translates into being able to branch out into new genres of work. And I’m really looking forward to that!

Favorite Narrations…..

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I think all narrators have a favorite and I have several. My latest is “Frog Music” by Emma Donoghue because it kicked my butt. It was the HARDEST book I’ve ever worked on. And because of how much it pushed me to grow as a narrator IT is one of my favorites. The “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” series by Laini Taylor was just a blast to record. Its filled with incredible characters, it’s written well, and it gave me an opportunity to explore new “voices”… I basically showed up and played all day while recording it. And that’s why I got into this biz in the first place!

 

Please watch this site for June audio book related posts like this one.  For every post you comment on in June that has this audio book symbol:

Audio month, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantalI will put you into a drawing for a $25 book certificate for each comment (Barnes and Noble or Amazon – your choice).  Winner will be drawn in July.

 

Morning Meanderings… Get In Sync! Two Free Audiobooks a Week! Don’t Miss Out!

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Mmmmmm Morning.  Mmmmmmm COFFEE.

I can not believe it is almost the end of June.  I just took my bike in yesterday for it’s spring tune up.  What the….  I feel…. behind.

June is audio book month.  Did you know?  If you have been around here, you knew.

SHOCK

Anyhoo…

I actually feel bad that I did not mention something earlier this month… I just found out myself a couple weeks ago… but still I should have share….

 

Sheila!  Get on with it already!

 

Right.  Have you heard of Sync Audio?  They are giving away two free YA audiobook downloads a week from May 15th – August 13th.  I know… I know… we both have missed out on a lot – HOWEVER it is SUPER EASY to do because I did it.  And they worked beautifully!

First…

I downloaded OverDrive® Media Console™ (available for every major desktop and mobile platform) on to my Kindle Fire.  (As you see here you can also download it on your phone, your laptop…)  Then from my Kindle Fire I popped over to the Sync website, logged in and downloaded the two audio books they were offering this week.

Super EASY!

Super COOL!

The audiobooks are only available for one week, but once downloaded onto your device they are yours to keep.  This week I downloaded:

 

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Give them a try – they are free and it is a great way to either try audio books or grab a few great titles for us audiobook lovers.

 

I am on my way to the cabin this morning.  Meeting some people to look at our roof.  It is a long drive – 3 1/2 hours but I am excited for a few audio book choices I will be taking with me.  I shall be back late tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, be sure and check out the audio book posts from this month – commenters are going into a drawing for a $25 gift card:

 

Please watch this site for June audio book related posts like this one.  For every post you comment on in June that has this audio book symbol:

Audio month, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantalI will put you into a drawing for a $25 book certificate for each comment (Barnes and Noble or Amazon – your choice).  Winner will be drawn in July.

 

Intro to Audiobook Month

The Acting Of Narration with Johnny Heller

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

A Day In The Life Of Narrating by Narrator Therese Plummer

The Beginning of Narration by Narrator Allyson Johnson

The BEST audiobooks according to the listeners

If I Can’t Have You by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

Top 5 audiobooks according to narrator Tavia Gilbert

Look Ma!  NO hands!  Audiobooks MY Way!

Things To Look For When Picking Your Next Audio by Narrator Xe Sands

Then and Always by Dani Atkins

Beyond Books by Narrator Karen White

The Other Story by Tatiana De Rosnay

The Narrating Life by Narrator Patrick Lawlor

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Woods

The Art Of Secrets by James Klise

The Best Part Of Narrating By Narrator Ellen Archer

 

 

 

The BEST Part Of Narrating, by Narrator Ellen Archer

Audio month

Ellen Archer was also at the luncheon we had in New York In May.  Audio book listeners may know here from her work on audiobooks such as ROOM by Emma Donoghue, Sunday’s At Tiffany’s by James Patterson, The Penny by Joyce Meyers, and more.  Please welcome Ellen to Book Journey.

 

Ellen Archer, Book Journey

My name is Ellen Archer.  I am a New York City based actor and voice – over artist.  I’ve been narrating books for over 12 years and have recorded somewhere around 175 titles.  I say “somewhere” because I used an alias for some of my earlier raunchy titles and I’ve “forgotten” what the alias is.  Now I’m on the straight and narrow and use my own name.  I recently finished MIRROR SIGHT, the latest book in the GREEN RIDER series by Kristen Britain. These fantasy books are seriously good.  She’s a wonderful writer.  ROOM by Emma Donoghue and WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS by Kate Atkinson are also great books, and I loved recording them.

 

How are the books chosen? 

About half the time, my agent sends me auditions for specific titles that I have requested to audition for by the publisher or the producer.  These days, more often than not, the author chooses the narrator from the auditions submitted to him or her. Other times, publishers call my agent and offer me a book or series without my having to audition.  I think I’ve only turned down 3 books in 12 years.  That either reeks of desperation or is a testament to how well publishers and producers know me.  

These days, more often than not, the author chooses the narrator from the auditions submitted to him or her.

 

When I am given a copy of a book, usually it is in a downloadable PDF so I can save a tree and work off my iPad.  It took me a while to get the hang of not having the actual hard copy in my hands, as I like to write little notes in my horrible handwriting, replete with scribbles and arrows and different colored highlighting. I also like to write “to do” lists and funny things my kids says.  I’ve found that the iAnnotate app, is not the enemy – now I can actually read the notes I make. Bonus!
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This pic is just a silly one of the various drinks, lip balm and candies I have in the booth with me

 
I always read the book before recording.  I try to read it as I would a book for pleasure. I don’t stop to make a slew of notes in a separate notebook or stop to look stuff up – I just read.  I’ll underline passages that I think are important, put a question mark next to something for which I need clarification, make a quick note about a character to jog my memory later (maybe underline a particular line they speak). After I finish the book, I’ll go back through and look over all the pages on which I made notes and (try to) decipher what I meant.  I’ll make a list of the characters and something to describe them/their accent or voice/their story. If they remind me of someone I know, or a celebrity or even another character I’ve done, I’ll make a note of that.  Then, for that gem of a book for which I get a director, I make a list of questions for him or her (usually pronunciations for character names, but sometimes for regular every day words that big time smarty pants use, and I don’t know how to say).  The director calls the author to get pronunciations on character names or places they’ve made up and then looks up the rest of the stuff.   When I don’t have a director, (which is more than half the time) I do all that stuff myself.  The more complicated the book is, the longer the process.  Non fiction is way easier to prep, while a 27 hour-long fantasy book with 73 characters takes a bit more work.  I also do a fair number of books that have long passages in other languages.  Fortunately, the fine folks at the Boston Conservatory of Music required I take French, Italian and German to complete my degree in Opera and Vocal performance.  I’ve been tempted to write the alumni committee a check more than once.  They must know that somehow, because they send me a donation envelope every year.
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What I enjoy most about narrating a book is getting lost in it. It is such a great feeling.  I love the excitement of finding a character’s voice and it feeling completely right.   I know I’ve gotten it right when I’m sad to read the last few lines and it’s over.  I remember reading an amazing and deeply personal memoir called THE ORCHARD by Theresa Weir.  It was beautifully written in first person.  The director, Suzanne Torn, the editor, Tommy Harron and I called the author to ask her a few questions before we got started.   It was a lovely two-minute conversation.  When we finished the book four days later, I had the strongest urge to call Theresa and talk about what happened to “us”  — ask how everyone was doing, how she was doing.  I nearly picked up the phone before I realized that I actually don’t know Theresa. At all.  I knew it would be completely inappropriate to ask her such intimate questions…but after reading her story for four days, it felt like we were friends.  I was that invested.  I did “like” her page on Facebook so, I guess we’re kinda friends now, right?
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While recording my very first audiobook, I kept stumbling over a word. This was a very easy and unfunny word that I couldn’t say – something like “donut.”   I’d get as far as “Let’s go grab a coffee and”  (wait for it….) “BWHAHAHAH.”   Then the engineer, Kay Ells, started laughing.  It was that same feeling you get when you start to laugh in church and it just gets worse and worse. I simply could not get through the sentence without hysterical laughter.  This went on for several minutes, as I, red-faced and gasping for air, tried to explain to the director why “donut” is so damn funny. She was unmoved.  In the end, I had to read the line with my eyes closed so I couldn’t see Katy’s shoulder’s shaking.  And, hey,  they hired me back! 
You can check out more about Ellen Archer at her website:  ellenarcher.com

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