Monday, July 22, 2013

This Probably Means Something…

I had a dream last night.


I was traveling across country (which I don’t do much anymore) and my flight was delayed and I had to spend the night in the airport. Except that the airport was sort of a combination of an airport and a museum (too many episodes of Sister Wendy, I know). It had a lot of natural science and natural history exhibits (which I love) with those enormous stuffed animal displays and giant windows offering incredible views of the stars and planets.


When I woke in the morning I was running through the museum to catch my plane and as I looked out the windows the scenery was so incredible that I had to stop and stare. And then I thought…I want to remember this forever. I should take a photo. If only I had my camera! And then I realized my phone was a camera too! So I reached for my iPhone and it fell apart in my hand.


I tried and tried, but I couldn’t seem to figure out how to put it back together. So I went looking for someone to help me fix my phone. Everyone kept trying, but when I would take the phone back it would fall apart again. It had all these cardboard pieces and washers and nuts and plastic inserts that just didn’t make any sense to me.


(Ya think, Josh?)


OH. And I ran into Ginn Hale and Nicole Kimberling who were (this part still gets me laughing when I remember) traveling with a theatrical troop of little people who were putting on performances of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. They were all in costume. Including Ginn and Nicole.  Lots of red velvet and breeches.


Anyway, they couldn’t fix my phone either.


So I finally I was left standing at the window staring at this breathtaking scenery with my broken phone in hand, trying to memorize everything I was seeing.


Friday, July 12, 2013


Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in narrating/producing audio books? How many audio books have you narrated?

I have been performing since I started in boy's choirs when I was 6. In college I studied classical voice which ended up leading me to NYC where I fell into musical theater. After several Broadway and off-Broadway shows I decided that it was time to follow my true passion, animation. So a year ago I moved to Los Angeles to become a voice actor for cartoons. I had a friend, Pat Fraley, tell me about audiobook narration and how the long form acting it requires can really go a long way to improving every aspect of voice acting so I decided to give it a shot. In the last year I've done about a dozen audiobooks, two of which have been for you. 

How much acting is involved in narrating a story?

It's all acting. Anyone can read, not everyone can bring characters to life and tell a story. If it were just reading, then we'd gladly listen to Siri read audiobooks. 

What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of narrating THE DARKLING THRUSH?

Definitely creating a mood. I have a young voice and sometimes it's a little difficult to create the darker characters or scenes without making my voice sound like I'm pushing too hard. 

What character was the most fun to narrate? Why?

Irania Briggs. I enjoy reading female characters (paging Dr. Freud), especially when they are sexy and seductive…..all things I am not. And while she doesn't involve herself in romantic seduction in this book, I still feel like she oozes it. 

What character was the most difficult to narrate? Why?

Septimus Marx. The voice I heard in his head was something I couldn't produce so it was always frustrating to have to listen to myself reading the role. 

Was there a particular scene you think you read especially well? Or that you particularly enjoyed reading?

I enjoyed reading the final battle scenes. They were just so well written I was able to breeze through them and my mind was totally engaged. 

You also narrated one of my most popular standalone titles, THE GHOST WORE YELLOW SOCKS. What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of narrating that title?

I would say keeping all of the characters straight. The house was just full of interesting people and I wanted to make each one distinct but that meant I created a lot of work for myself. Well worth it I hope. 

What character was the most fun to narrate? Why?

Ms. McQueen. Mainly because I saw her as a female Harvey Fierstein and who doesn't love Harvey. Though I tried not to go overboard on the voice.  

What character was the most difficult to narrate? Why?

Nick Reno. Nick should be rather butch and manly and I've never really considered myself to be too much of either of those things so it was an acting challenge and a vocal challenge. 

Was there a particular scene you think you read especially well? Or that you particularly enjoyed reading?

I really enjoyed, and thought I read well, the early scenes where the entire household is milling around after Perry comes downstairs freaking out about the dead man in the bathtub. I enjoyed jumping from one character to another and creating that sense of chaos. 

How awkward is it to read erotic scenes aloud?

I find it very awkward because I don't see myself as having a sexy voice whatsoever. That said, I make them into a bit of a game, seeing how sexy I can be, and it's rather fun. 

What’s the most satisfying or rewarding part of narrating/producing an audio book?

Getting to see the title go live on and knowing that anyone, anywhere could be listening to my voice in their car. 

Do you ever find yourself wishing the author (naturally not me!!!) hadn’t taken the story in a particular direction? Or is narrating a much more detached process?

It really depends on the book and how well written it is. If it's well written, as yours are, then I tend to get attached to the characters and care what happens to them. Sometimes, I read real drivel and couldn't care less if the characters live or die.  Brutal, but there it is. 


Where can readers/listeners find out more about you and your work?


On my website, I have, not only information about my audiobooks but also clips of my animation that I've created and those that I've worked on for others, info on upcoming concerts I have, yada yada yada.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

I'll be spending the day hosting our annual family BBQ. Hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and root beer floats in the evening. Probably not what the Founding Fathers envisioned, but it's one of our favorite traditions. Traditions are good. And so is having the luxury of being able to celebrate them in safety and peace.