IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS!
Building a Career in Fantasy with Author Michelle Madow
What did you take away from this discussion? Tell me in the comments!!
Author: Michelle Madow
Narrator: Andrea Emmes
Length: 12 hours 57 minutes (Box set)
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing⎮2017
Genre: Clean Romance
Series: The Transcend Time Saga, Books 1-2
Release date: Aug. 25, 2017
Synopsis: Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from 1815, England… but she doesn’t realize it until she meets her soul mate from the past and he triggers her memories to gradually return.
The series began with Remembrance, was followed by the short story Vengeance, and concluded with Timeless. The series has sold a significant number of copies, and has received much praise from reviewers. Read all three parts together in this special box
How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
A lot depends on the character. Who they are? What they are about? I have about 20 “go to” character voices that I’ve use. Kind of a character rolodex if you will that I cast from. For instance, if I have an antagonist that’s a young male, then I’ll cast him as “Blake”; lower, slightly scratchy voice. The Main Character is usually always my voice but again, that might change depending on the book. Perfect example is this series. For Lizzie, the main character in the Transcend Time Saga Series, I didn’t use my natural voice, but a softer, slightly higher pitched voice because of her nature and qualities and then used my natural voice for Chelsea because if just felt right. Especially in Vengeance, the novella that is after Remembrance and before Timeless. Also, if the author gives me notes in the character sheet like, “Sara should sound like Reese Witherspoon” then I’ll work on that. I won’t do a mimic/impersonation of Reese, but I’ll try to capture her qualities, accents, speaking pace and incorporate that into the character voice.
What types of things are harmful to your voice?
Yelling and whispering are really bad for your voice as is speaking too low and gravelly. It’s important when your doing anything with your voice that you understand how to maintain it and hydrate it. Learning how to breath correctly and choose voices that you can sustain over a long period of time.
Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
Absolutely. There have been many characters that I just clicked with for different reasons. Lizzie in “Transcend Time Saga”, Ivy in “Love Nouveau”, Farris in the “Geek Girl Mystery Series”, Jo from “Little Women”, and more. Though I might not identify with everything they are going through, there are many things from each character that I can pull from my own experience and dive deep into who they are.
If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
I’d be so nervous of messing anything up and creating a Time Paradox or whatever Doc. Brown said in Back to the future, that I’d worry I’d change the future. If I had to choose though, I’d probably like to go to Regency Era England during the Jane Austen times. Not because I like how women were treated back then, which was horrendous, but I’d love to dress up in those beautiful dresses and dance in one of their fancy balls!
Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
I actually don’t have a particular author in mind. But my dream author would be someone who is a strong storyteller who has emotionally rich characters and an engaging story. I’d love to latch on to a series that is as powerful as Harry Potter, Twilight, Mortal Instruments, Dresden Files, etc. It’s so fun to keep growing with your favorite characters.
Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
Um…I tend to burp a lot in the booth! I’m taking in so much air as I narrate that sometimes a really amazing burb just comes out…at the wrong time. Like during an emotional scene and just as I’m getting to the good bits, BUUUURRRRRPPPPP! LOL, then I have to start that section over!
When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
Well, I kind of fell into audiobooks in 2014 and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been a professional performer (actor/singer/dancer/VO) for over 20 years but in 2006 I got hurt in a stunt show and had to retire due to a disabling pain disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy aka CRPS. I’ve always been an avid reader and during my recovery I read about 8-12 books a week. I went back to college and got a degree in Game Art and Design and was a game designer for Disney Interactive for a couple of years After the layoffs, I had to figure out what I should do next as I can no longer dance, etc. anymore and my husband suggested I look into audiobooks. He’s brilliant and I researched it, set up my equipment, studied with coaches and have enjoyed every minute of it!!
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
That is a great question, but narration can be tedious. Especially because you have to learn a ton of tech and engineering besides just speaking into the mic. It’s important to take lots of small breaks. Especially because it’s not good to be sitting or standing for too long. Because of my disability, I have to narrate sitting down, so it’s important for me to stretch or lay down every once in a while. Also, it can be hard to maintain your enthusiasm because, yes, I have a wicked cool job that I LOVE, but sometimes it’s hard to get into the emotions of the book. But I remind myself that I’m so blessed to do what I do; to have authors and publishers who believe and trust in me to bring their book to life and I don’t take that honor lightly. If I’m struggling or just not feeling it, I’ll step away, play some video games or watch TV or go for a walk and then come back fresh and get back to work!! As long as I hit my deadline, my daily schedule is flexible.
What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
Well first, I LOVE Michelle Madow’s work. That was a definite first draw for me as I’ve been a fan of hers for a while and have read some of her books already. What I love about the Transcend Time Saga Series is not just some fun characters and the love story, but I was intrigued by the time travel aspect of it and I’m a huge Jane Austen and Regency Era fan so to be able to be a part of that world and bring those scenarios and characters to life was really fun and fulfilling. I also love anything that has a mystical, supernatural or paranormal slant to it and I loved how Michelle merged the normalcy of teenage issues – boys, relationships, school – and beautifully worked in this fun mythos of time travel and reincarnation.
How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
Before I being recording the book, I like to work very close with the authors if they are available. After I read the book, I’ll send any questions I might have to the author if I need clarification and then I’ll also ask them to provide me with a character sheet that describes all of the characters that are most important to them so I can get an idea of what they were thinking about for them. Their quirks, age, vocal preferences, etc. However, since my job as the narrator is to be the producer and director, after the first fifteen minutes has been approved, I will not take acting or directing notes. So it’s important for me to make sure that I have as much as I can beforehand and hopefully leave a lasting impression with the author that their book, their “baby” is in good hands and that I will give it the best that I have to make sure the audiobook, which is now “our baby” is excite the listeners.
Who are your “accent inspirations”?
When I’m going to be doing accents, I don’t really have a person I’m inspired by. I just try to do as much research as I can to get the accent correct. If it’s RP British in the Regency Era, then I’ll watch a lot of Jane Austen or Downton Abbey. It’s it needs to be really Cockney like someone from Essex, then I’ll find shows like “The Only Way is Essex”. I’ve looked a lot on YouTube, but I also work with some amazing coaches to help me get the accent just right. (PJ Ochlan and Joel Froomkin are amazing!)
Audible Best Selling Narrator, Andrea Emmes was born in Hollywood, FL and grew up in both Tennessee and Rhode Island, started her career in musical theater. Cutting her teeth at The Trinity Arts Center in Rhode Island, Andrea eventually made her way to Orlando and began her eclectic career singing/dancing in various shows at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Pirates’ Dinner Adventure, performing as a magician’s assistant, headlining on the Las Vegas Strip and touring Los Angeles as an L.A. Award winning artist with her album, “I’m On My Way”.
Having worked in tv, film and video games, Andrea, a total Book Nerd, now enjoys narrating audiobooks at her home studio in San Jose, California.
Her wide range of character voices and dynamic/emotionally invested performances has reviewers and listeners alike commenting on how she effortlessly pulls listeners in, and has versatility and charisma.
Synopsis: Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from 1815, England… but she doesn’t realize it until she meets her soul mate from the past and he triggers her memories to gradually return. The series began with Remembrance, was followed by the short story Vengeance, and concluded with Timeless. The series has sold a significant number of copies, and has received much praise from reviewers. Read all three parts together in this special box set!
Audible Best Selling Narrator, Andrea Emmes was born in Hollywood, FL and grew up in both Tennessee and Rhode Island, started her career in musical theater. Cutting her teeth at The Trinity Arts Center in Rhode Island, Andrea eventually made her way to Orlando and began her eclectic career singing/dancing in various shows at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Pirates’ Dinner Adventure, performing as a magician’s assistant, headlining on the Las Vegas Strip and touring Los Angeles as an L.A. Award winning artist with her album,”I’m On My Way”. Having worked in tv, film and video games, Andrea, a total Book Nerd, now enjoys narrating audiobooks at her home studio in San Jose, California. Her wide range of character voices and dynamic/emotionally invested performances has reviewers and listeners alike commenting on how she effortlessly pulls listeners in, and has versatility and charisma.
A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
I, too, have a background in theatre and though I think that it was 100% helpful for me in bringing those acting techniques to my narration, it’s not a MUST. But it does help. Audiobook Narration is an acting job. You are cast to not only bring the book to life audibly, but you must vocally and emotionally embody each character, the tone of the book and entertain at the same time. It’s no easy feat. So for those who don’t have any acting background and want to be a narrator, it can be learned with really great coaching. I know many successful narrators who didn’t come from the acting world but put in so much work to be the best at what they do.
What type of training have you undergone?
I’ve been studied the art of acting and performing for more than half my life. I’ve taken singing lessons to not only bring a higher quality to my singing voice, but to help with breath control, mic techinques and vocal upkeep. I’ve studied with the best of the best for voice over work for commercials, animation, video games and of course audiobooks. What’s interesting is that the technique for voice over (commercial/animation/videogames) is different for audiobooks. There is a different approach you need to take with NonFiction (which is still acting) and with Fiction. How you approach different character voices but not be over the top cartoony, keeping the narration genuine and engaging to keep the listener immersed. Sometimes, I enjoy the training just as much as the actual narration.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I AM! I love them. I’ve always loved story time as a child and in a way, it brings me back to when my parents would read to me. Audiobooks allow you to dive into the world of a good book and amazing characters, hear them come to life with the different voices, etc. and just let your imagination soar. When I’m listening, I can see the world that the narrator is describing. Also, it’s great to keep me entertained while I’m driving, cleaning or going for a walk. I’m a book addict and a total audiophile!
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
Hmm. I think my favorite parts of narrating is when I first read the book, make all of my notes and really work on the characters. I also really love emotional stories, where the characters are going through a hard time, some kind of trauma, or whatever and I can dive into what they are feeling. It can be hard emotionally on me as sometimes I’ve had to stop recording because I have to ugly cry for a moment, but it’s so fulfilling to actualize these moments in a hopefully genuine manner that will touch the listener. The best feeling is when the book is complete and gets approved ☺.
My least favorite part of narration would be if I have to edit/master my own book. That is a very tedious process and whenever I can afford to hire a professional engineer I jump at the chance. (plus, they do a way better job than I do so they are worth every penny!)
What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
Wow. That’s a hard question. I think for me, really getting into the mindset of a character, especially an angst-y young adult character and bringing them to life in a believable way is something I feel confident with.
A special thank you to Jess from Audiobookworm Promotions for organizing this blog tour and providing a complimentary copy for review purposes. It was a blast.
Michelle Madow is a USA Today bestselling author of fast paced fantasy novels that will leave you turning the pages wanting more! She grew up in Maryland and now lives in Florida. Some of her favorite things are: reading, traveling, pizza, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.
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