I don’t know if you’ve discovered the joy of audio books yet, but I can say I’m a huge fan. In fact, these days, I listen to 98% of my fiction when I’m doing chores, walking…or in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. The only thing I can seem to get read in print are my own books (while editing) and research books!
Anyway, I scored a great narrator for my new novel, KETURAH, Amy Landon. Listen to her read a bit of my book…
Recently, I did a quick interview with her…
Q: So, Amy, thanks so much for agreeing to be the narrator of KETURAH. I think you did a fantastic job.
A: Thank you so much for trusting me with your book! I loved worked on this novel so much.
Q: I have to say that I thought that based on your audition clip, I thought you were a Brit. I was surprised to find out you were an American. How many different accents can you do? Which is/are your favorites?
A: I actually taught dialects for a while and am thrilled to use them so much in daily life. I’m not sure how many at this point I’ve done to be honest. And I’m constantly picking up a new one or refining one for a book – I just did a Russian series and now I can’t stop with the Russian (please read this in a Russian accent in your head – now you know what my life is like)!
I do spend a lot of time using the accents of the British Isles. I’ve done a couple of Irish series that I love and very much enjoy wandering thru the sounds of Britain from Scottish to Cockney to Welsh to the North Country.
Q: How many audio books have you recorded? How many do you think you’ll do in 2018?
A: I’m actually pretty close to 250 done at this point (which is crazy to think about!). This year, I’m guessing I’ll do 50 or so. Although, to be clear, some of those are shared narration, so I’m only doing about half of the book.
Q: About how many hours did it take to record KETURAH?
A: Narration is somewhere in the 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 ratio for me. So for every finished hour of audio you hear, I’m recording 2/3 hours. Keturah is 12 finished hours. So it took me about 30 hours in the booth to record it. Or a week. But prep adds on another 2 days as well.
Q: I think if I read it myself, it would take a thousand re-takes. How often do you mess up on a chapter? What’s the process when you make a mistake?
A: Ah. Good question. I never make mistakes.
[Lisa and Amy share a laugh here. :-)]
Okay. That’s not true. I definitely do! I use a process called ‘punch and roll’ which is the most common way narrators record now. So I read until I mess up. Stop. Go back to the top of the sentence or paragraph and cut in at that point and then continue on. Sometimes I read 10 minutes without a mistake, sometimes 10 seconds! You find a lot of words or combinations of words are harder than you ever thought to say on a microphone. Like ‘managed to’. The d to the t often trips me up! Or ‘clasps her wrist’ – say that one 10 times fast.
Q: You are an actor. How does that help you as a narrator? Is it a temptation to over-act?
A: I use the skills I learned in Voice and Speech classes sooooo much. The technical parts of how you make sounds and sustain energy (narrating audiobooks is the marathon of acting work).
I also think being an actor helps because you are voicing every character in this medium. You’re not just playing the leading lady. You’re also the leading man. The villain. The grandmother. Sometimes animals. So I think it helps to give me range.
And boy, the question of overacting. My acting teacher once told me that the best acting always happens when you feel 10, but show 7. And I’ve found that to be true in most mediums. The tension of feeling all the feelings deeply but trying to channel or contain or hide them is what real people do all the time in life.
Q: Is there any particular prep you need to do before you record an historical novel vs. a contemporary novel?
A: I always read the book all the way thru first (sounds silly, but true) and am often looking things up as I go – pronunciation of place names and how locals say it is a big one. I find for historical novels that I delve in to more research (partly because I’m a nerd who loves to learn and go on Google tangents all the time). I like to find videos and recordings if I can. Or journal entries and documentaries if it’s prior to recording equipment. I think it helps give me a sense of customs and sounds of the time. We certainly talk and act very differently now than we did a hundred years ago.
Q: What’s your favorite part of recording audio books?
A: I was always a huge reader. Always. I grew up in the library. So this is my dream job. I get to read books every day. And my favorite part? I get to play everyone. That’s an amazing gift.
Q: What’s your least favorite part?
A: It is a marathon. Physically and mentally. So after a 6/8 hour work day I am tired and my muscles are screaming. So I’ve learned to really love the gym and massages to keep my body going. Talking that much every day takes a big physical toll and you have to find ways to reset.
Q: For people who’ve never listened to a book, what do you wish people knew about audio books?
A: They are their own art form. It’s almost like a book being adapted into a film or a movie. It’s the book. But it’s a performance and interpretation too. And it’s such a fun world to dive into! I love audiobooks because I can drive and clean and cook with a book keeping me company.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: This book is so special. KETURAH was clearly meticulously researched (an impressive amount of work on your part). And it’s not like the novel is then dry or ‘historical’ in a researchy kind of way. It’s just that you create such a rich, fleshed out world. I learned so much reading and researching for this book. And those are my favorite kind of books. Books that make me laugh and cry (I definitely cried in the booth on this one) and that I take away a love for the characters but also more knowledge about the world and history than I started with. I can’t wait for the next two sisters!
Want to know more about Amy?
Amy Landon is a classically trained actress who works on stage and in film. She is an award winning narrator with over 200 audiobooks in many genres. She taught Voice and Dialects and is thrilled to use those skills daily. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her cat Juniper and loves riding her Harley. You can visit her web site at www.landonamy.com, follow her on Twitter @Landon_Amy, or on Facebook.com/AmyLandonNarrator.
Want to win a CD set?? I have three to give away (USA only). Just fill out the Rafflecopter to be in the running. Winners will be announced on August 1, here on the Rafflecopter. (We’ll also email you via the email address you use for the form.) You can also purchase/download the electronic files via Brilliance Audio, Audible, or at your local library (if they don’t offer it, kindly ask your librarian if he/she would be willing to order it!)