Welcome, Nicole Poole to The Book Nympho. I first fell in love with Nicole’s narration through Dannika Darks’s Seven series. I’m getting ready to start Dark’s Mageri series also narrated by Nicole and I just know I’m going to enjoy it as well.
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)?
First off, thanks so much for this interview! Narrating is a solo profession, and hearing from other people is a real joy. (waving at everyone!)
So. To get on with your question:
I have the best job in the world. Prepping a book means propping up with every pillow in the house and reading it for pleasure!
On a first read through, I do make some notes along the way, but most of them are mental. I am an actor, and I’ve been taught to recognize and store information about my own actions/emotions and those of others. I’ve learned to use disparate these bits and bobs to craft a character. That’s the work. The joy comes in the spell of the performance, and narration gives me that opportunity.
However, normally the author does all of the work for me. There are clues everywhere – how a character moves, what they think to themselves, how they’re seen by other characters, etc.
I’ll picture them as they speak, imagine myself looking through their eyes as they do pedestrian things like tying their shoes or taking a drink. What does the world look like to them? This is the kind of emotional connection that I try to scratch out on the first read.
How much do you love narrating Dannika Dark’s novels? You have perfect pacing and always sound like you’re in the moment and never sound rehearsed. How do you manage to keep the voices of previous characters perfect to them in present books when they make an appearance? Do you listen to their voice before recording the new book?
Dannika is a WONDERFUL writer. My job is just to try to get out of her way and let the story tell itself. I appreciate your compliments very much, as that sense of immediacy is what I enjoy in storytelling, whether as a teller or a listener. It’s not always easy to stay present while I’m narrating (in fact, sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do, if a book doesn’t particularly engage me). Fortunately, I don’t have that problem with Dannika’s work. Her characters are fully fleshed out, and that emotional connection with them that I formed early on keeps them fresh in my mind.
Since you spend so much of your time reading novels for work, do you enjoy pleasure reading in your spare time? If so, what types of books do you enjoy? And, do you find yourself thinking how you would narrate those books while you’re reading them?
My life is pretty hectic, and reading has become a rare luxury, where it used to be a necessity. To have an obligation to sit and read for work is an extraordinary gift. That being said, I’ve read a couple of lovely books lately – “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo is simply wonderful. The other is a work done by a friend under an alias. It hasn’t been published yet, but it guarantee it will be soon, and then I’ll shout it from the rooftops!
Name one book/series/character that you’ve read that you wish you could narrate?
Sam Shepard’s “Day out of Days.” I’ve had an artistic crush on Sam for a couple of decades now. I’m from Oklahoma, and he’s able to capture a very dusty, dreamlike quality of the west. It’s not for everyone, but for me it’s terribly yummy.
I would love to narrate historical fiction; somebody give me a huge tome on the life of the Medicis!
What narration job are you currently working on?
I’ve got a couple of books lined up; the first is “First Star I See Tonight” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and the second is….”Risk,” by Dannika Dark. (Simon’s Story!) (SHRIEK!)
Tantor is giving away the WHOLE Seven series by Dannika Dark, narrated by Nicole Poole. The format will be MP3 CDs so the giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping cost.