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:
Tell us how long have you been narrating books?
What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite?
Romance, Mystery, Cozy, Thriller, Fiction.
Do you do any other voice work or acting?
Puppetry, long format corporate narration and instructional video VO, art gallery docent and some past stage and film work.
What is your favorite job to date?
There have been so many great books and wonderful relationships that it’s hard to single one out. Working with Colleen Helme on the Shelby Nichols Adventures has been pretty special because CARROTS was my first commercial audiobook back in 2013 and we continue to produce Shelby Adventures together. It’s been a rewarding series with gaining popularity and surprisingly worthy royalties! Last summer, we met face-to-face for the first time at the top of the Empire State Building and we spent a great deal of time laughing. Much of our trip together in NYC got into Laced in Lies, book 10, released last summer.
How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book?
It definitely depends on genre. Very rarely do I speak with the Author but when I get the chance, that can save me a lot of time. Some books are pretty simple to prep and others take a great deal of time. I really like both. I love to learn new things and keep the dialect muscle tuned up because it can get rusty.
First, I read the book carefully on my iPad using iAnnotate to mark it up. I highlight characters as they appear, underline character traits in grey and make note of dialects. I highlight words I’m not sure how to pronounce in orange, and highlight things I want to investigate in yellow. Even if I think I know how to pronounce a word but I hesitate on it, I will look it up to be sure. Better to be prepared than to be surprised when the proofer sends back your edits. One time I mispronounced Hyundai through an entire book in which the two lovers meet over a broken down… you guessed it, Hyundai. Needless to say, it’s mentioned a lot. So that lesson was learned pretty early on.
Next, after I read the book, I go through the notes and type up the list of characters. If the book calls for it, I will work with a coach, the amazing Gerry Trentham, on dialects. I will search the yellow highlighted topics on Youtube for informative videos and look up the orange highlighted words. I use the voice recorder embedded in iAnnotate to pronounce the orange highlighted words and short snips of the dialects. This way, the recordings are available, in the booth, on the page of the book that I’m narrating. It’s always best to stay put in the booth! Well, except when you need a good stretch.
Then, it’s long hours in the booth with my iPad, ProTools Punch and Roll, water, lip gloss, eyeglass cleaner, back massager and a healthy dose of stamina.
If you could narrate any book or work with any author past or present, what would you choose? Why?
I think they have all been narrated by a variety of fabulous narrators, but I wish I could have been a part of the team that narrated the Nancy Drew Mysteries! I loved them when I was a young reader and I think narrating them would bring back so many memories, the smells and tastes of my mother’s cooking and the scratch of my shag carpet on which I used lie around and read the faded old hardcover versions that had that earnest and generously proportioned font.
Anything else you’d like to share?
June is an exciting month for me because I’m finishing up another installation of the Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mysteries that I co-narrate with the legendary Simon Prebble (lots of dialect work). We’re also releasing the 11th book in the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series. So it is truly Audiobook Month for me! Thank you for your interest in my process and the books I narrate! Yours, Wendy
About the Narrator:
Wendy studied acting, voice and dialect technique at Central School in London and at Studio A.C.T. in San Francisco. She got her start in audiobook narration as a volunteer for The Lighthouse for the Blind and has narrated over 100 audiobooks in a variety of genres. She has performed in live and recorded multi-cast audio theatre productions with Pocket Universe, The One Act Players, Misfits Audio and Shoestring Radio. Her resonant voice, warmth and generous sense of humor is described as having an authentic emotional quality. Wendy lives in Buffalo, NY and can be found throwing stones at the Buffalo Curling Club.
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