Thank you, thank you to my very talented narrator, Erin Fossa. I had no idea what to expect of this somewhat intimidating process. I wasn’t sure whether it would go smoothly or, the more likely scenario, leave me trying to explain what the characters needed to sound like after all the work had already been done. Well, you not only got it right, you brought these characters off the page and somehow heard the voices in my head!
For those of you unfamiliar with the audiobook process, I thought it might be fun to conduct a Q&A with Erin. Luckily, she agreed and I ended up with some pretty interesting insight into the world of audiobook narration.
To find out more about Erin’s work, be sure to check out her website, erinfossa.com.
You can purchase the audiobook at one of the links below.
Erin Fossa Q&A
Q: What do you enjoy most about recording audiobooks?
A: I love being an audiobook narrator! All aspects are fun to me, but what I love most is the character development. As a former actress, I love making characters come alive through their words and their relationships to other characters. Audiobook narration gives me the pleasure of taking words on a page and performing them into living, breathing people with hopes, dreams, and goals.
Q: How did you come to be an ACX audiobook producer?
A: I started out in music when I was younger. I’ve been a singer for as long as I can remember. In college, I discovered the amazing world of musical theatre, which lead to a love of acting as well. When my son was born in 2013, I was looking for a way to use my skills in a way that didn’t require long rehearsals, little to no pay, and months of auditioning. I began researching voice acting and discovered that, with the right equipment, I could use all of my skills to work from home and do what I love while still being home with my son. Discovering Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange was like finding my dream job!
Q: In your opinion, what is the most challenging thing about reading another person’s work?
A: For me, getting a handle on the characters is always the most difficult part. I don’t always have time to read the entire book before the first 15 minutes are due. So I have to read the important sections and try to understand each character before I can develop a voice for them. Knowing each character’s personality and their motivations is essential to making them sound believable. But I have very limited time to do so!
Q: What type of book do you most enjoy recording?
A: My niche as a voiceover artist is character voices. My favorite books to narrate are children’s books with dynamic characters! While I love the ease with which I can record non-fiction books, I LOVE the challenge of a good children’s story. I hope to someday voice characters on the Disney Junior channel. 🙂
Q: Who is your favorite audiobook narrator?
A: Well every audiobook narrator is in awe of Jim Dale, narrator of the Harry Potter series. He is fantastic. But I also love to listen to Roy Dotrice who holds the world record for most characters voiced in an audiobook – 224 – in George R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series. Other than those two, I tend to listen to books I want to read rather than by narrator.
Q: What advice would you give to authors thinking about creating an audiobook?
A: Make an audiobook version of your manuscript! Take out anything that doesn’t fit in the audio book version and change whatever doesn’t make sense to the audio version. This is mostly for non-fiction authors, but a lot of time gets wasted when authors send the print version and then realize that much of it doesn’t make sense when you’re listening rather than reading.
Q: In your opinion, should authors read their own work?
A: Yes! I think if you are both an author and a narrator, you should! No one knows your characters better than you do. But a lot of authors enjoy hearing someone else interpret their work. I understand both sides.
Q: What was your experience like working on The Blue Jay? What character did you connect with most as you read the book aloud?
A: I loved narrating this book! It was easy to read, well edited, and the story flowed so well. I did get tripped up trying to develop voices for each character that were subtly different. I found myself wanting to read each character the same, which obviously doesn’t work well. I had to find subtle nuances to make (for example) two women of similar age sound totally different. Not to mention making the narration different as well, because the narration is also a “character.”
I definitely connected well with the main character, Josie. While I don’t have the traumatic past that she does, I have many of the same emotional struggles. I found myself thinking hard about mentorship after reading this book – something I never considered before. And I owe that to what I saw in Josie. So… thanks Michelle!