Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.
What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are spotlighting various narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do.
Today we shine the spotlight on:
Do you have a pseudonym you’d like to share?
Tell us how long have you been narrating books?
My first audiobook was released in September 2012 but I had been studying voice over for several years before that and have been acting and singing most of my life.
What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite?
I have very eclectic tastes and an insatiable appetite for learning. Which means that I love many things making questions like this really hard to answer! As most of my work has been done for major publishers, they generally pick my work for me more so than the other way around. I have done what I have been offered; so far I have not been offered anything that I felt I had to turn down. And given my character, I have really enjoyed reading many books I would never have read otherwise . Who knew I actually like sci-fi?
My main criteria is the writing; if the writing is good, better yet if it is GREAT, the subject matter is not as important to me. But, if pressed, my favorite fiction genres are literary fiction (great writing!) and mystery/suspense and non-fiction would be things related to law/crimes, psychology and matters of social justice. I particularly LOVE doing memoirs. (See, even when pressed, I still manage to keep things pretty broad!)
Do you do any other voice work or acting?
Yes. As I said earlier, I have been acting most of my life. I started with stage and then added voice and film. In 2014, I also began coaching audiobook narration.
What is your favorite job to date?
Ei yi yi! That’s so hard to say. I love so many of the books that I have done and for so many different reasons. It feels like you’re asking me to pick my favorite child – LOL. So, I’m just going to pick the one that I was nominated for my first award for – The Wife, by Meg Wolitzer.
How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book?
The preparation absolutely depends on the book. At the most basic level, fiction and non-fiction differ in that prep for the latter usually has more focus on pronunciations of people, places and technical terms (and understanding what the author is talking about) whereas fiction preparation includes things like story arc, character development and relationships, plot lines, as well as some level of pronunciation work. In some cases, there may be lots of peoples, places and technical terms – including lots of ones invented by the author in areas like sci-fi and fantasy! Additionally, fiction work requires finding voices for all of your characters which can also add other languages and/or accent work to the mix. I mark up my text on an iPad using iAnnotate, keep track of all of my research and everything else on a multi-tabbed excel spreadsheet (the same way I run everything else in my life – thank goodness for my right brained bits!) and create “character cards” which allow me to quickly jump from character voice to character voice when I am in the booth recording.
As far as talking to the author goes, interacting with and getting to know authors is one of my favorite parts of this business. Being a story addict, I am in awe of authors, particularly authors of fiction. We may have to find voices for characters to bring those stories to life but AUTHORS THOUGHT UP THOSE STORIES OUT OF NOTHING!!!! That is a genius I seriously admire. We are not always put in direct contact with the author but sometimes we are. In the course of my career, I have been lucky enough to have been able to develop relationships with some of my authors, including some good friendships. I am now starting to venture into the world of writing myself, which makes me appreciate even more the time and dedication these people bring to their work. And usually without any kind of promise of reward. Nothing short of love can motivate that kind of focus. In awe, I say. In awe.
If you could narrate any book or work with any author past or present, what would you choose? Why?
Stephen King. I have always loved his writing style. The first book of his I read was “The Stand” when I was in high school. I started reading Friday at about 4:00 pm and finished sometime the next morning. That was it. I was hooked. I did the same thing with another of his books when I was supposed to be studying for my first year law school exams – up overnight reading Stephen King instead! Not my fault really. I think publishers should know better than to release a new Stephen King novel during exam period!
Unfortunately, most of Mr. King’s books are written in first-person male but occasionally he writes books suitable for a female narrator. And I would like the next one please sir! It would just be too exciting to be reading a Stephen King novel before most of the rest of the world does! And, hopefully, he’s one of those writers who wants to answer their narrator’s questions directly rather than having it go through their literary agent. “I promise not to go all “fan girl” on you, Mr. King. And, if you would like to talk to me about sharing a 1/4 of a 1/4 of a percent of your royalty with me, I’d be open to those discussions as well – LOL.”
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am so blessed to be able to narrate audiobooks. I have always been a lover of books and reading. To be able to make a living doing something that you love is an amazing thing. To be able to help bring to the world some of the wonderful books that I have been lucky enough to narrate is a great honour. Each new day brings the possibility of another amazing piece of literature arriving in my in-basket, waiting for me to add my piece to the puzzle on it’s way to being shared with the world. What’s not to love about that?
About the Narrator:
Dawn is an actress, singer and voiceover artist. Dawn has narrated just under 50 audiobooks and is the recipient of an Earphone Award and a SOVAS Award for her audiobook work. Dawn lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, holds both Bachelors and Masters of Law degrees and is mother to three adult children and shares her life with Dani, the most perfect dog in the world!
Social Media Links:
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thedawnofvoice