Jun 30, 2012

ALA Anaheim 2012 Recap

Yes! ALA was absolutely amazing. If you didn't go this year, definitely try to make it to one soon. I went with Jenny from Books to the Sky, and we had a fab time. We met LOTS of other bloggers and authors and people in the biz. I even ran into some bloggers I've met before, like Jaime from Two Chicks on Books! It was so fantastic, even if I came home with bruises on my shoulders (and legs, though I don't know why.. lol) and a totally sore body from head to toe. Worth it, I promise! We had some great times at the exhibits and a totally fun time at the Great YA Blogger Meetup! So here are some photos of the highlighted moments at ALA:

This doesn't make it look so bad, but the crowd to get in was crazy!

Here's Jenny and me waiting to get in!

Marie Lu was signing Prodigy and Legend :o)

Then Ally Condie was signing right next to her!

Here's Libba Bray signing The Diviners for Jenny's friend Madison. She kissed it for her!

Kendare Blake signing Girl of Nightmares. Can't wait to read this one!!!!

Here's Ishita from The Reading Fish and me! Glad we finally met up on the last day, girl :o)

 Oh, and my bacon pancakes at Denny's on Friday night :o) YUM!

There were so many other fantastic moments that I didn't get pictures of. Miranda Kenneally was AMAZING and told me that I was one of her earliest fans. She's too sweet. I did see George R. R. Martin, but as I've never read his books I did not go up to him at all.. haha. Getting a copy of Scarlet from Marissa Meyer a day early at an impromptu signing was fantastic since we weren't going to be there during the signing on Sunday! Trying to get the books back on Saturday was ridiculous. I can laugh about it now, but it was HARD and sad.. haha. And I got a couple things for some fun reading friends, so it was a great trip. I know I'm forgetting stuff, but Jenny and I got lucky being in the right place at the right time for most of the weekend. 

And in case you're wondering, here are the books I brought home. In no particular order, except kind of in release order..

Andrew Clemens – About Average
Katie McGarry – Pushing the Limits*
Jennifer Brown – Perfect Escape
Ann Kelley – Lost Girls
James Preller – Before You Go
Susan Elizabeth Phillips – The Great Escape
Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass*
Laura Lascarso – Counting Backwards
Jeffrey Ford – Crackpot Palace
Karsten Knight – Embers and Echoes
Rebecca Stead – Liar and Spy
Cyn Balog – Touched
Kendare Blake – Girl of Nightmares*
Elizabeth Fama – Monstrous Beauty
Jessica Warman – Beautiful Lies
Shannon Hale – Princess Academy: Palace of Stone^
Alexander Adornetto – Heaven
Gina Rosati – Auracle
Margaret Dilloway – The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns*
Ellen Hopkins – Tilt
Jonathan Maberry – Flesh and Bone^
Elizabeth George – The Edge of Nowhere
Douglas Nicholas – Something Red
Gregg Olsen – Betrayal
Libbra Bray – The Diviners*
Hannah Harrington – Speechless
Elle and Blair Fowler – Beneath the Glitter
Rae Carson – The Crown of Embers*^
Maggie Stiefvater – The Raven Boys*
Lane Davis – I swear
Francine Prose – The Turning
Iris Anthony – The Ruins of Lace
Tonya Hurley – The Blessed
CJ Redwine – Defiance
Gretchen McNeil – Ten
Melissa Marr – Carnival of Souls
Ilsa J. Bick – Shadows
Jenny Han/Siobhan Vivian – Burn for Burn
Jessica Shirvington – Entire^
Lisa Mangum – After Hello*
Gabrielle Zevin – Because it is my Blood
Jasper Fforde – The Last Dragonslayer
Suzy Cox – The Dead Girls Detective Agency
Daniel Marks – Velveteen
Donna Cooner – Skinny
Janet Gurtler – Who I Kissed*
Fiona Paul – Venom
Darren Shan – Zom-B
Colleen Clayton – What Happens Next
Schulman – League of Strays
Jocelynn Drake – Angel’s Ink
Miranda Kenneally – Stealing Parker*
Robison Wells – Feedback^
Stoltz/Bass – Lucid
Sarah Crossan – Breathe
Kresley Cole – Poison Princess
Paul Griffin – Burning Blue
Mike Mullin – Ashen Winter^
Jennifer L Armentrout – Deity
Amy McNamara – Lovely, Dark and Deep
Katie Kacvinsky – Middle Groud^
Catherine Fisher – Darkwater
Janet Ruthoung – My Beautiful Failure
Christopher Pike – Witch World
Chris Howard – Rootless
Jacquelyn Mitchard – What We Saw at Night
Marie Lu – Prodigy
Leah Stewart – The History of Us
Victoria Schwab – The Archived
Various – Who Done It?
Tahereh Mafi – Unravel Me
Marissa Meyer – Scarlet*
Joy Preble – The Sweet Dead Life
Margaux Froley – Escape Theory*
Kat Beyer – The Demon Catchers of Milan
Peter May – The Blackhouse
Sarah Cross – Kill Me Softly
Myra McEntire – Timepiece^
Daniel H. Wilson – Amped
Mark Haddon – The Red House
Kady Cross – The Girl in the Steel Corset*#
Kady Cross – The Girl in the Clockwork Collar*^#
Julie Kagawa – The Immortal Rules#
Margaret Dilloway – How to Be an American Housewife*#
Susan Mallery – Barefoot Season*#
Alissa Grosso – Ferocity Summer#
Cayla Kluver – Legacy#
Cayla Kluver – Allegiance^#
Palacio – Wonder#
Elizabeth Percer – An Uncommon Education*#
Carol M. Tanzman – dancergirl*#

* = signed copy
^ = sequel to a book I haven't yet read
# = finished copy

So if you haven't had a chance to go to an ALA conference, I do highly recommend it. Everyone was really nice and helpful. I didn't get the feel of all the BEA comments I see about rude people pushing and grabbing. It wasn't really like that for us. Of course, when good books dropped, it was sometimes a difficult task to get one, but when authors were signing people were respectful of lines and waiting. I'm just really glad I went and can't wait for Chicago next year!!

Blog Tour/Giveaway: Katie M. John - Star Fire

Katie M. John - Star Fire
Knight Trilogy #3

Pub Date: June 30 2012
Publisher:  Little Bird Publishing House
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Age Range: Young Adult

Egypt changed them both in ways no one ever expected. As murder and dark arts cast a terrible shadow over both The Real World and The Realm. Mina's connection to the mysterious Star Fire Sisterhood results in her becoming The Templar's number one suspect.

Set amongst the snowy mountains of Switzerland and the ancient magical forests of France, Blake and the House of Beldevier are given just one chance to save Mina's life - the recovery of The Holy Grail.

In this epic heart-racing finale, ancient myths come alive and old scores are settled. One thing for sure ... the clock is ticking.

Writer of the Amazon Best-selling YA series, The Knight Trilogy, Katie is married to a handsome giant and mummy to a mud-puddle fairy. She likes to write whilst drinking tea and eating jaffa cakes. Most of the time she lives in a fairytale world but other than that she is completely and utterly normal.

Katie's debut YA fairtytale series, 'The Knight Trilogy' has become an international best-seller in several chart categories, Contemporary Fantasy, Myths and Legends, Paranormal Romance. It has also been an Amazon No 1. Best-selling Fairytale.

Her work is a blend of rich imagery and fast paced action. Before writing full length novels, Katie wrote poetry, her works being published in several anthology publications.

She is currently working on a stand alone novel called 'Beautiful Freaks' due to be published in Autumn 2012. A high Victorian, Gothic, Steampunk style detective story.

Find Katie:

Giveaway Alert!!

You can win some awesome stuff here!! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter AND to pick what you'd like to win. Ends 7/6/12. International giveaway!! Here's what you can win: 
  • 1 Ebook set of the trilogy via smash words which is suitable for all ereaders. The set will include, Book one (The Forest of Adventures), Book two (Immortal Beloved) & Book three (Star Fire)
  • 1 Forest of the Adventures signed postcard
  • 1 Immortal Beloved signed postcard
  • 1 Star signed postcard
  • 3 Knight Trilogy Magnets
Questions? Leave a comment and a way to reach you. Thanks and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jun 29, 2012

Audio Book Week: Narrator Interview - Lorelei King

Day FIVE! This is it, guys! The final day of Audio Book Week. But don't forget! It's Audio Book MONTH until the end of June :o) Hope you all enjoy what I have in store for you today!!

Today's Discussion Topic: Listen Up!

I learn about my great audio book topics by just finding books I want to read in general and seeing if they're on audio. Basically anything on my TBR is fair game for audio. I don't like to switch methods, so if I've started listening to a series, I'll usually continue that way. And if I'm reading it, I may try the audio if I can find it, but I usually stick with the same method. I get mine from my local library, occasionally on Audible.com, and through the library's online catalog. The library is really the best place to look. Hopefully your local branch has a good selection!!

And now.. for my final narrator interview, I bring you Lorelei King! When I think of Lorelei King, I think of some fantastic novel characters: Charley Davidson, Stephanie Plum, Lula, and Mercy Thompson among others. She has a fantastic range and great voices. If you haven't tried audio books, she's a good place to start. Enjoy!!

Mickey: Hi there Lorelei King! Welcome to Audio Book Week on the blog! Please introduce yourself.
Lorelei: Hi Mickey! I’m glad to be here. I’m a Pittsburgh girl who now lives in London – actress, writer, narrator and – more recently – publisher. Lover of ancient Greek, cats, wit, good wine, country music and my husband – not necessarily in that order. I count my blessings every day and can’t believe how very lucky I am to work in the industry I love.

Mickey: I don't want to fangirl too much here, but I'll listen to books just because you read them. Even if it's completely outside my comfort zone, if your name is on the narrator line, I'll give it a shot. How did you get started in book narration?
Lorelei: Oh, I love that you’re fangirl about it! Audiobook fans are the best, most supportive fans in the world. And they have impeccable taste, obviously.  As to how I got started in narration: There was an English producer who used to hire me to revoice a lot of European dramas. (I love lip synching – it’s one of my favourite things to do. A wonderful mixture of art and science! ) He was asked to produce a series of readings at one point – I think they were horror short stories – and he hired me to do them. In the process, I discovered I had a knack for it. And, as I’ve often said, I think narration IS a knack. Kind of like being double-jointed.

Mickey: I'm not going to lie - I love your male voices. How did you discover that you could do them so well?
Lorelei: BLESS you. My voice is quite low anyway (I’ve often been mistaken for young man on the phone), so it’s not such a stretch. I LOVE doing the male parts – lets me channel my inner guy... he doesn’t get out much, otherwise, as I tend to be hellaciously girly.

Mickey: You're also an actress. Does book narration have the same feel as acing in front of a camera?
Lorelei: That’s an interesting question. Audio is very different from visual acting, in my opinion, except in this respect: the performance has to be very, very ‘small’ – the microphone, like the camera, will pick up even the subtlest nuance.

Mickey: How do you choose the books you want to narrate? If it's possible to pick a favorite book you've narrated, what would it be? Or a favorite character you've voiced?
Lorelei: It would be extremely rare for me to turn down a book, except for reasons of unavailability. I like all kinds of books and am game for pretty much everything – you never know what you might learn. There are a couple of books I wish I HAD turned down – but it wouldn’t be very politic of me to say which ones.  Those are the ones that made me burst into tears, throw the book across the room, and cry ‘IcantdoitIcantdoitICANTDOIT!!!’ (But of course I did do it in the end – I’m easily bribed with sweets...). And there were two books I thought about quite carefully before accepting. One was a book of pornography by Anais Nin and one was a book about the serial killer Ted Bundy. In the end, I decided to do both of them: the Anais Nin because it was so beautifully written, and the one on Ted Bundy in order to remember and honour his victims.

I think my favourite book is always the one I’m narrating at the moment – but hands down my favourite character ever to voice is Lula from Janet Evanovich’s fantastic Stephanie Plum series. Lula’s fabulous and I love her to bits.

Mickey: Are you a reader at all in your spare time? Do you have a favorite genre of book you like to read outside of narrating them?
Lorelei: I love, love, love to read – and always have – but unfortunately my job means that I have little time for ‘leisure’ reading. When I do have a minute, I’m partial to horror, ghost stories and crime.

Mickey: You're probably most well known for your work on the Stephanie Plum series. How awesome is it to create all those different voices for characters people have known and loved for years?
Lorelei: Oh, I hope people love them! I certainly love voicing them and they’re like family to me now. Janet Evanovich is brilliant at conveying character in her writing, so she does the heavy lifting for me. I just swan in, pick up her clues, and run with them. Having said that, things do arise – when I first started recording the series way back when, I just assumed Ranger had a Cuban accent. Then somewhere in the ‘teens we discovered that he had no accent! As I had established his voice already, I kept his accent – but it seems to get less strong with each book.

Mickey: This may be a silly question, but how do you keep all the different voices for different characters straight? Is it just getting back into character, or do you have a different system?
Lorelei: It’s not a silly question at all! It’s actually easier than you think – in a long-running series (like those written by Janet Evanovich, Patricia Briggs or Darynda Jones) the characters have a life of their own and they just seem to pop up when they’re needed. If I’m less familiar with a book, a glance at my cast list (on which I keep shorthand notes about the kind of voice I’m using for each character) will keep me on track.

Mickey: Is there a book out there that you didn't get to narrate but wish you did?
Lorelei: Oh, many! I would love to have recorded Angelology – Bulgarian, Latin, Catholicism... right up my street! And I deeply regret that I never recorded Geek Love – it has the MOST extraordinary cast of characters....

Mickey: Thank you SO much for being on the blog for Audio Book Week! Any parting thoughts?
Lorelei: Just that I’m so pleased with the popularity of audiobooks. Only a few years ago, people were saying that the audiobook market had peaked and could only decline. Digital has changed all that – audio is now cheaper and more widely available than ever. Oh! And I’d ask people to say ‘hi’ to me on Twitter and to please go like my Facebook pro page www.facebook.com/LoreleiKing – because I’m not above begging!  I’d also love people to check out the publishing company I co-own with audio producer Ali Muirden www.creativecontentdigital.com – we’re a new company, but we’re loving the digital age!

Lorelei King is best known as an actress, appearing in numerous films from Hollywood blockbusters such as 'Notting Hill' and 'The Saint,' to British independent films, such as 'House of Mirth,' '24 Hours in London,' and 'Suzie Gold.' She has appeared as regular and recurring characters in popular British television shows such as Chef, Cold Feet, and Emmerdale. She has also made numerous guest appearances in British comedies and dramas such as Jonathan Creek and Monarch of the Glen.

Once described as 'the best known American voice on radio 4,' Lorelei has recorded more than 200 programs for the BBC, including the Marx Brothers tribute, 'Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel,' super-hero 'audio movies' including 'Superman,' 'Batman' and 'Judge Dredd and classic American drama such as 'East of Eden,' 'Ethan Frome' and 'A Thousand Acres.' She appears regularly as a panellist on shows such as 'Where in the World' and 'Wordly Wise' and has hosted her own talk show, 'All About Eve.'

Lorelei is a multi-award-winning narrator of audio books, recording the works of best-selling authors Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell among others.
Find Lorelei:

Jun 28, 2012

Audio Book Week: Narrator Interview - Johanna Parker

It's day four of audio book week!! Great stuff today, you guys! I have an interview with Johanna Parker as part of my audio book narrator interview series, and I have the Thursday discussion question! Here it goes :o)

Today's Discussion Topic: What Makes a Good Narrator?

To me, a good narrator connects the readers to the story completely. Narrators who can change their voices to make each character in an audio book unique makes audios so much more pleasurable and so much easier to listen to. A good narrator makes the book interesting with the voices used, really engages the reader, and still lets the reader use his/her imagination. But even the best narrator can't save a bad book.. just sayin'. ;o)

Alright, you guys. I'm bringing you the voice of Sookie Stackhouse today!! Johanna Parker narrates Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series among many great others. Here's the awesome interview we did! Hope you all enjoy :o)

Mickey: Hello Johanna Parker! Welcome to Audio Book Week on the blog! Please introduce yourself.
Johanna: Thanks for having me Mickey. I love your blog and am very happy to be here. I’m an Audie and Earphones winning audiobook narrator, and I've recorded nearly 100 titles so far. Although I've appeared on stage and screen, I love working solely with my voice. Telling stories, in whatever way, has always been my passion, and audiobook narration has become the unexpected niche where my love of books and my love of storytelling come together in an incredible, inevitable fusion. I get to play all the parts.  I get to truly utilize my training.  And my hair can look like $#!&*!

Mickey: You've narrated many books, including the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. How awesome is it to be the voice of Sookie, Bill, Eric, and all the others?
Johanna: Sookie speaks to me in a way no character ever has. It took me a book or two to really inhabit her, but once I did, she became a part of me. Every year Charlaine puts out a new book, and every year I get to slip on my short shorts and a Merlotte's t-shirt and date sexy guys and go on crazy adventures! I relate to her in so many ways--her strength and vulnerability, her sense of humor, lack of trust mixed with deep romanticism and hope. Charlaine has created an epic character and I feel so lucky to have been able to take the ride with her.

Narrating Bill and Eric has been interesting. I researched and then went with my gut on their vocal patterns and dialects and probably would've tweaked both of them later if I could have. But once you set a character, you pretty much owe it to your audience to keep it consistent. True Blood came out about halfway through my recording of the series and once I heard Stephen Moyer's interpretation of Bill, I was so jealous! He nailed it. Still, I feel like I have lived with these guys for so long that I have a certain grasp of their essences and relish journeying their character arcs. When I first began researching Eric's origins, I found out there is no way of knowing how Vikings actually sounded, just educated guesses. It's a good break when you can say, well, he's lived all over the map for 1000 years, he was a Viking, he's a vampire, this is how he talks and you can't bust me for my dialect!

Mickey: How do you come up with the different voices for different characters?
Johanna: I'd say my method is research, research, research and then let it all go and trust my instincts. I record people's voices all the time. On the radio, in the store, wherever I can. Accents, tones, timbres are all good to have on file. I start with researching where they're from, their backgrounds, if I'm privy to that information. I also often try to cast them. I'll go to Youtube and, if , say, I picture this one guy like a Tommy Lee Jones type, I'll watch/listen to a bunch of Tommy Lee. Then I'll sift all that through my own instrument and see what happens. It can be really frustrating to hear it in my head a certain way and not be able to match that with my mouth. (I'm sure listeners have the same complaint!) But usually, it's how I want it to sound. I surprise myself, disappoint myself, impress myself and annoy myself. Once in awhile, I'll get stuck towards the middle of a book when more and more new characters arise and wait till I'm actually recording to find the person! I had to play a dachshund in a Rita Mae Brown book and was struggling with his voice all through my prep. Finally I stumbled on some old 1950's Superman footage and Jimmy's voice was it! I had my spunky weiner dog's voice. While I'm recording, I keep all the voices on my Iphone and refer to them if I need to.

Mickey: Besides reading adult novels, you've narrated Meg Cabot's young adult Mediator series (which I also enjoyed). Does it make a big difference on your narrating style when you're reading for a different age group?
Johanna: I love that series! God, she's a wonderful writer. And Suze was so up my alley. One of my fans bought me Disneyland glasses with her name etched on them! Young adult books have become so popular with adult readers now, there's less of a clear delineation between the two genres. I found much of the young adult fiction I was reading rivaled the adult fiction in so many ways. For the Mediator books, I listened to old recordings of myself (yes, I began reading into a mic at a very young age) at 15 years old. And maybe watched some Breakfast Club clips, etc. Just try to plumb the depths of tween or teenhood as much as I can. This does not necessarily mean I go up an octave or two or lift each sentence like a question or make other obvious choices. I think many casting directors and actors stereotype all teens as having high pitched squeaky innocent voices. Well, it's just not so. 15 year olds can have a world weariness far beyond their years. So avoid stereotypes but immerse myself in the world as much as possible---pretty much like any book.

Mickey:  If it's possible to pick a favorite book you've narrated, what would it be? Do you have a favorite character you've voiced?
Johanna: Aww, so tough. Sookie is definitely my favorite character. I especially loved Dead to the World, where Eric loses his memory. So much fun to tackle that. Suze is a close second. I recorded a section of Let the Great World Spin by Collum McCann and think it is some of my best work. The Rebel Wife by Taylor Polites was an amazing challenge to narrate. He is brilliant! Sorry, couldn't pick.

Mickey: Are you a reader at all in your spare time? Do you have a favorite genre of book you like to read outside of narrating them?
Johanna: Yes! I love books. As I'm typing this, I overheard my neighbor stating to a friend that she hates books, never reads. That floors me, almost hurts me. How can someone say that? I have loved books long before I could read them myself and I will love them long past the time I can only listen to them.  They helped form my moral core, my sense of humor, my understanding of the world.  It is my greatest honor to be able to read them aloud and get paid for it!  In my spare time, I read all sorts of things. I have a pile of New Yorker magazines I pore through periodically. Straight up fiction has always been a go-to genre for me but non-fiction occupies a lot of my time as well. Right now I'm reading The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz and I've recently had the honor of reading my father's first novel which is truly brilliant. A 72 year old former Marine finally doing what he was meant to do! Gerard Parker, look out for him! 

Mickey: Is there a book out there that you didn't get to narrate but wish you did?
Johanna: I wasn't a narrator yet when it was cast, but The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is the one that got away. Franny and Zooey! Has that been recorded? To narrate Salinger or Sebold or Cormac McCarthy...I can dream.

Mickey: If you could pick any of the authors you've narrated books for, who would you choose to write your biography?
Johanna: Taylor Polites because he's a tireless researcher and I'd want them to get it right!

Mickey: Do you have any pre-recording rituals?
Johanna: Oh yeah! Boy, do I. I didn't put many of them in my Youtube video, 
Inside the Studio with Audiobook Narrator Johanna Parker,
because my dad said it made me look like a flaky California New Age actory weirdo. :)
But here's the truth: I do yoga, I have rosemary, lavender and peppermint essential oil I take in the booth. I take a little homeopathic stage fright stuff if I'm feeling jittery. It's probably like Dumbo's feather, sugar pill-esque, but why not. I have lip stuff, throat stuff, eye stuff.
I prep, prep, prep the words. I'll often go over the pages I'll record that day with a fine-tooth comb. And I do a vocal warm-up either at home or in the car on the way to the studio. Mostly I sing. Loud. It's the quickest and dirtiest way to warm up. And tongue twisters of course!
I'm not a pheasant plucker, 
I'm a pheasant pluckers son. 
And I'm only plucking pheasants 
'till the pheasant plucker comes. 

Mickey: Thanks so much for being here during Audio Book Week! Any parting thoughts?
Johanna: Keep listening. Keep supporting narrators and writers you love. Keep reading. It's a lonely little world an audiobook narrator inhabits and it's lovely when listeners or writer/listeners like yourself, Mickey, reach out and let us know what you think. I always picture the faces of the listeners I've met when I'm in the booth. That audience connection is still vital to the art form. So thanks so much for supporting audiobooks and the people who bring them to life.

Johanna Parker, an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, has earned an esteemed Audie Award and three Audie nominations. She has received high praise for her work in all genres, including her portrayal of Sookie Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries series (the source material for HBO's True Blood), of which AudioFile has said, "Parker personifies Harris's perky Southern heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. Her splendid pacing allows listeners time to absorb the action and emotion. Listeners will be enthralled."

Find Johanna:

Jun 27, 2012

Audio Book Week: Narrator Interview - Tavia Gilbert

Welcome to day three of Audio Book Week! I hope you have all been enjoying each day. Just like the first two days, I have a spectacular narrator interview today! And it's the midweek meme day, so check that out as well. Thanks all!

Today's Topic: Mid-week Audiobook Week Meme

Current audio book: Janet Evanovich - Wicked Business

Impressions: LOVE it! The writing is funny, and Lorelei King always narrates at top notch.

Current/most recent favorite audio book: Libba Bray's Beauty Queens or Jodi Picoult's Sing You Home.

Favorite narrator you've most recently discovered: Check out all my narrator interviews for my favorite narrators!!

One title from your TBL stack: Rachel Vincent - Before I Wake!! Can't wait!!

Today's narrator interview is with Tavia Gilbert! If you've enjoyed Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series (AKA Cat and Bones - YUM!), then you may want to tune into the audio. Tavia puts a whole new spin on your favorite characters. Here she is giving us some great advice! Check it out :o)

Mickey: Hi Tavia Gilbert! Welcome to the blog during Audio Book Week! Please introduce yourself.
Tavia: Hey, Mickey! Thank you so much for this invitation. I’m a multiple Audie nominee and Earphones and Parent’s Choice Award-winning producer, narrator, and writer. I’ve appeared on stage and in film, as well as narrating over 150 multi-cast and solo voice audiobooks. I’m also a singer, a member of an a capella Renaissance choir, and a writer, currently an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I’ll graduate in January next year with a degree in creative non-fiction.

Mickey: I'm familiar with your work through the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. LOVE your voice for Bones! How do you come up with different voices for different characters?
Tavia: I admit that I do most of my voice creation on the fly, meaning that I don’t prepare my voices before production begins. Because I so often record work in my own studio, I have the luxury of a figuring out during the recording session what works, what feels right, and what will be sustainable and pleasurable over a long number of listening hours. I do tinker with the voice until I get it where I want it to be, but most of the creation of character voices is instinctual, and relies on the thoroughness of my reading and contemplation of the story before I start to roll.

Mickey: You read YA and adult literature as well as non-fiction. Do you have a different approach for each different genre/age range you narrate?
Tavia: I really don’t. I read and prepare my books in the same way, no matter the genre. However, each book is unique, and demands my presence—my complete intellectual, physical, and emotional attention. The words on the page dictate the nuances of my performance, so if I sound like I’m taking a different tactic with each of my books, or through the various genres, it’s because that’s how the writer’s story has guided me to perform.

Mickey: Do you have any pre-recording rituals?
Tavia: I fear I’m giving you a terribly boring interview, because my answer here, too, is no! I read the book for the plot, as well as noting wherever the author has given me information that will be relevant to character voice. For example, if the writer has specified a character’s idiosyncratic way of speaking or a texture to their voice (gravelly, rasping, etc.) or history in the character’s background that would influence the performance details (for example, they were born in NY but spent their childhood in France), I make a note of it. I look up or send out to a researcher all unfamiliar vocabulary. Then I jump in!

Mickey: If it's possible to pick a favorite book you've narrated, what would it be? Do you have a favorite character you've voiced?
Tavia: Even though Lamb, by Bonnie Nadzam, is such dark material, and even though it was very, very troubling to perform, the writing was so masterful that I still adored the project. I just recently finished Anna Keesey’s Little Century and Emily Chenowith’s Hello Goodbye, which were both beautifully written. Stephanie Kallos’ Sing Them Home will always be one of my favorites, and Katherine Paterson’s The Day of the Pelican. But the characters in Jeaniene Frost’s books are probably the most purely fun characters I do. It’s always fun to get into a room with them!

Mickey: Is there a book out there that you didn't get to narrate but wish you did?
Tavia: I am never to likely narrate The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper, because I would be miscast, I’m afraid, but I think that book and series would be absolutely wonderful to work on. It’s my favorite series of books from childhood, an astonishing series of very dark moral stories, and captivating to not just young adults, but audiences of all ages.

Mickey: Are you a reader at all in your spare time? Do you have a favorite genre of book you like to read outside of narrating them?
Tavia: I’ve been reading voraciously all my life, and I’ve also been a narrator for decades, since I read to my mother throughout my childhood and even into my junior high and high school years. She is a lover of language, and it was something special we shared. I read literary fiction, memoir, sociology, and philosophy.

Mickey: If you could pick any of the authors you've narrated books for, who would you choose to write your biography?
Tavia: I’m writing it myself! I’m in the final stretch of my MFA studies, and drafting my memoir, which has been a daunting, expansive, challenging, satisfying endeavor. But if someone else was writing my story, I would want Annie Dillard to write it. She is a transcendent, mystical writer.

Mickey: How did you get into book narration? What is an audition like?
Tavia: I was determined to make a living as a full-time, professional actor, even from Portland, Maine. The way to realize that dream was audiobook narration, so I set my sights on it and went after it with absolutely all my mind, passion, energy, and drive. I love it, and I have a gift for it. It combines so many skills, drawing on my craft as an actor and a director, my skills as an entrepreneur, my background in the legal field, and my insights as a writer. I rarely audition anymore—most of my work is offered to me—but an audition can be quite fun. It’s an opportunity to play and offer up a little gift to the listener or the viewer (if I’m auditioning for stage or on camera work). Then I go on about my day and pretty much forget about it. You have to develop a thick skin and not allow yourself to get too invested in anything until you’re actually doing the work. Then you invest yourself entirely.

Mickey: Thank you SO much for being here today for Audio Book Week! Any final thoughts?
Tavia: I am so grateful for the listeners who invite me into their lives for hours at a time. I am a long-time audiobook fan, as well as a narrator, so I know how deeply listeners feel about the narrators they love. It’s a true honor to be given time and space in someone’s life, and I am blessed by all those who allow me be a part of their day. Thanks for listening!

Earphones winner, Audie® finalist, and Parent’s Choice Award-winning producer Tavia Gilbert is a classical theater- and public radio-trained actress and audio producer. She lives in Portland, Maine, where she produces, directs, and narrates unique audiobooks, full-cast recordings, and documentaries.

"Waiting on" Wednesday - Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Hosted by Breaking The Spine, this section will feature future upcoming releases that I personally am excited about. These will generally be coming up later in the year. Let me know what you're looking forward to, or even what you're writing, and maybe I'll feature it here as well.

Amy McNamara - Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Pub Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Format: Hardcover/ebook 256 pages
Age Range: Young Adult

About a high-school senior, who, in the aftermath of a car accident that kills her boyfriend and throws her carefully planned future into complete upheaval, retreats to the deep woods of Maine to live with the artist father she barely knows and meets a boy who threatens to pull her from her safe, hard-won exile.

A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.

Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somehwere she can be alone.

Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.

Very interesting! Hopefully this is a great new novel :o) And actually, I scheduled this WoW a long while back but got this at ALA this weekend! YAY! So.. what are YOU waiting for? Let me know and leave me a link. Thanks! Happy Wednesday :o)

Jun 26, 2012

Audio Book Week: Narrator Interview - Therese Plummer

Welcome to day two! I hope you enjoyed yesterday's interview with CJ Critt and my discussion on when I listen and what I listen to!! Today I'm talking about reviewing audio books. Here it goes!

Today's discussion topic: So You Want to Review Audiobooks…

For audio book reviews, it's very important that you actually discuss the audio part. That is what makes it different than a regular book review. Mentioning the narrator's name, the quality of the narration, how distinct the separate voices are.. all of that is important to me. I like to include that kind of information in my reviews somewhere. Even length and format is important to me. So when you write audio book reviews, make sure to not just review the book itself - write up a good bit about what you listened to as well!

My next narrator interview is with the lovely Therese Plummer! She's the voice of Aurora Teagarden in Charlaine Harris's mystery series. Plummer was also a part of my 2011 favorite, Sing You Home, by Jodi Picoult. If you haven't listened to either of those, get on it. Now! Well.. after you read the interview :o)

Mickey: Hello Therese Plummer! Welcome to Audio Book Week on the blog! Please introduce yourself.
Therese: Hi Mickey!  My name is Therese (pronounced like Perez but with a "T") and am super excited to talk with you. I am an audiobook narrator of young adult and adult books and have been lucky enough to be recording for the last seven years and over 150 titles.

Mickey: I became familiar with your work when I listened to the Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris. Do you have any personal feelings about the series separate from being a narrator?
Therese: I adored portraying Roe in this series by Charlaine Harris.  This was written before her "True Blood" series and as such probably has not gotten as much publicity.  I found each story to be enough murder/mystery to be entertaining but the character of Roe and the  adventures she gets into and out of,  well all I can say is that when we finished recording I felt like I was saying goodbye to a really good friend.  The supporting characters of her mother and hubby and the others only made the story that much more fun to portray. I remember especially at the end of  "A Fool and His Honey" my engineer and I crying in the studio.  I don't want to give it away but it was moving.  We recorded these back to back and as such it was like 90 days of living and breathing Aurora Teagarden:-)

Mickey: My absolute favorite audio book from 2011 was Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. I loved the story and, as always, the narration. How do you feel about participating in a cast of narrators for one novel?
Therese: I found it exciting and challenging. There is a sense of "control" when portraying all the characters in your books and when I was doing just the chapters from Zoe's perspective there was a sense of  isolation from the other chapters.  This brought a whole new level and dimension to my work I had not experienced before.  A trust and a letting go of the other  chapters and performances and completely submerging myself into Zoe. I also loved getting to sing in the book.  Jamming out to Janis Joplin was a riot.  It was an honor to co-narrate with Mia Barron and Brian Hutchison.  I am so glad you liked it.

Mickey: You read multiple age ranges. Do you have a different approach when narrating YA from when you're reading adult novels?
Therese: I will disclose that although I am in my thirties I can still tap into my 15-year-old self pretty darn easily.  I remember like it was yesterday what it felt like to be 15 and 16 and 17.  And thankfully it comes out in my voices:-)

Mickey:  If it's possible to pick a favorite book you've narrated, what would it be? Do you have a favorite character you've voiced?
Therese: This is a tough one Mickey....I would have to say "Faith" by Jennifer Haigh, portraying Shelia, a sister of a priest accused of a crime. Between the writing and the characterization this was an extraordinary experience for me. I hated when it ended.  That was a gift.

Mickey: Are you a reader at all in your spare time? Do you have a favorite genre of book you like to read outside of narrating them?
Therese: This question makes me laugh because I was telling a fellow narrator the other day how I have started a number of books over the past seven years and cannot finish them because I am always prepping other books to be recorded.  On the rare occasion I have a few days of spare time to read I love short stories in a book called "First" which are the first short stories written by famous Fiction writers which was a gift from my younger brother Herbie who is an avid reader and writer.

Mickey: Is there a book out there that you didn't get to narrate but wish you did?
Therese:  "The Tenth Circle" By Jodi Picoult.  It was my first Picoult purchase when I flew to San Francisco from New York about 5 years ago and I could not put it down.  I loved how Jodi portrayed young adults in her books, so spot on. I wanted to act it out as I saw the scenes play out in my head.  Haunting.  Some years later, when I was asked to record Zoe for "Sing You Home" it was such a dream come true!

Mickey: If you could pick any of the authors you've narrated books for, who would you choose to write your biography?
Therese:  Jodi Picoult or Jennifer Haigh

Mickey: Do you have any pre-recording rituals?
Therese: I probably drive my roommate nuts but every morning before I record I do a Netti Pot to clear out my sinuses and then do about ten minutes of vocal warm ups and diaphragm exercises to prep the instrument.  I also steer clear of any dairy when I record and drink tea and decaf soy lattes through out the day. When i get into the booth I get really comfortable and after some good joke telling with my engineer I launch into the book.

Mickey: Thanks so much for being here for Audio Book Week! Any parting thoughts?
Therese: Mickey it was such a pleasure to answer your questions.  Thank you so much for asking such thought provoking questions.  Thank you also for being a fan of audiobooks in general.  It is amazing for me to reach out to an actual listener and fan.  Most of my time is spent in a dar sound booth recording and acting out lots of fun characters and to be able to touch base with a happy listner makes my day!!  Keep enjoying and feel free to check out www.thereseplummer for updates on the new books coming out:-)  Onward and
upward my friend and have yourself a great summer.

Therese Plummer is an actor and award winning voice over artist living and working in New York City. Favorite roles to date include TV: Rose Nerrick, The Good Wife, Andy in Law and Order SVU. Stage: Celebrity Row; New York Theatre Workshop, Under Tillage, The Irish Repertory Theatre. Off-off Broadway credits include The Vagina Monologues, Suzanne in Twilight of the Gold’s and Madeline in the Award Winning Samuel French Short play The Sweet Room. Comedy Credits include Improv at Upright Citizens Brigade and Stand-up at Caroline’s Comedy Club. Therese also performed her one woman show, Ribbons Undone, at the Here Arts Center. Therese is an award winning narrator of audio books and records for Audible.com, Recorded Books, John Marshall Media and Duart. As an adolescent counselor, Therese spent five years utilizing Drama therapy techniques in individual and group settings before moving to New York. She shares a passion of creating, helping and entertaining and feels incredibly lucky to do all three.
Find Therese: