Welcome, Alison Larkin to The Book Nympho. I first fell in love with Alison’s narration through Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series. Now I’m branching out into more of Alison work with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and shortly after her work on many Jane Austen titles.
Can you walk us through your prep work for a narration project? Do you prepare any notes to help decide the tone and voice to give a character when there’s not a clear description of their voice in the novel (when they do not have a distinct accent)?
The kind of prep work needed varies from book to book. For example, if I know and love the story already as was the case with Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, all of which I narrated this year, very little prep is needed.
Sometimes though prep work can be intense! I recently narrated a terrific nonfiction book called In Search of Buddha’s Daughters by Sunday Times international journalist Christine Toomey. It was set in India and Tibet and China and there were challenging name and place pronunciations on almost every page. So I spent a couple of days carefully reading the script researching and writing out pronunciations phonetically before I began recording.
If the book I’m narrating is a part of a series – like the London Steampunk series by Bec McMaster or the Noble series by Katie MacAlister, I’ll listen back to earlier recordings to make sure the voices are consistent.
In the first book of The Skyscraper Throne series by Tom Pollock which I narrated recently, I had to create dozens of original voices for his wildly imaginative characters from glass monsters to stone statues to The Wire Mistress. It was exciting and because I had a co-narrator for the first book in the series, The City’s Son I spent a lot of time on the phone with James Langton to make sure our mutual character voices sounded alike.
Narrating my own novel, The English American required no prep at all because it sprang from my autobiographical one woman show so I had the characters down already! It’s about an adopted English woman who finds her birth parents – and true love – in the US. It became a bestseller in 2009.
Since Brilliance audio released The English American on CD in 2012, when it won an Earphones award, I’ve narrated over 120 audiobooks for Brilliance, Tantor, Blackstone, Audible, Dreamscape, Macmillan, Harper and others. I love narrating audiobooks!
What has been your favorite Jane Austen novel to narrate?
Emma – the 200th-anniversary audio edition which came out at the end of 2015 and I am thrilled to be able to say has had wonderful reviews! I also really loved narrating Pride and Prejudice – the 200th-anniversary audio edition.
Name one book/series/character that you’ve read that you wish you could narrate?
What narration job are you currently working on?
I finished The Summer Bride – the fourth novel in Anne Gracie’s delightful Chance sisters series this morning and start work on by Persuasion by Jane Austen this afternoon! It’s really fun to be narrating these two novels back to back because they’re both set in Regency England and Anne Gracie quotes Jane Austen at the start of each chapter!
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