There’s something magical about hearing your character speak for the first time. When my agent told me he’d sold my audiobook rights to Listening Library I was so thrilled. I was soon introduced to FOLLY’s fabulous producer, Janet Stark, and the book’s amazing actress, Katharine McEwan. Listen to the clip and I think you will agree that they did a fabulous job bringing Vicky’s story to life.
Janet and Katharine kindly agreed to share their process with us. And in honor of this, I’m giving away A MAD, WICKED FOLLY audiobook. All you have to do is answer the Rafflecopter questions after the interview and you’re in.
Katharine McEwan, FOLLY’s actress.
Katharine is an actress, writer, and producer based in LA. She is originally from the North of England. In addition to voicing FOLLY, she was the actress for Page Morgan’s riveting THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED (The Dispossessed).
What drew you to voiceover work? And how did you break in?
My good friend Steve West – who is a huge presence in the audio book world – told me about narrating, and suggested I give it a try. He introduced me to the wonderful Janet Stark over at Random House, who coincidentally was just casting a book that needed a British narrator.
How do you prepare for a recording?
The first time I read the book, I try to feel my way through it, connecting to the main character and what they’re going through emotionally. It’s the same as preparing for a role in a movie – you have to find a way inside your character’s soul and uncover the longing there.
There are so many characters in my story, and you had a different voice for each one. How do you keep track of them all?
I find creating strong visual images really helpful – recalling a character’s face and physical essence helps me connect to how they sound. And failing that, playback is always an option!
And now questions about FOLLY!
It was so amazing to hear my characters come to life! I love how you did Vicky. How did you decide to portray her?
I was very lucky in that I related instantly to Vicky as soon as I read the first line of the book! There were strange coincidences too – like ‘The Mermaid’ is one of my favorite paintings and the very first poster I bought and framed when I left home. So it was more a case of bringing myself to her – allowing my life experiences to color hers.
What was your favorite FOLLY character to voice?
After Vicky, it would be Sophie. She’s so feisty and courageous, and stands up for what she believes in. I think through Sophie, Vicky learns that in life we have to find our own moral compass in a morally ambiguous world.
What was the most challenging character to voice?
Will. I was so afraid I’d mess him up. I knew we all had to fall in love with him, and root for him and Vicky’s relationship. The stakes were high!
When I heard you grew up in the north of England, I knew you would be perfect for voicing Sophie. Do you sound like her in real life?
That’s a complicated question! I do and I don’t. I actually grew up with two accents because my mother wouldn’t let me and my sisters speak with a northern accent at home. There used to be a lot of judgment in England around having a regional accent and my mother wanted us to have the best chance in life. At the time I couldn’t appreciate it, as ‘talking posh’ where I grew up was not popular and people thought we were being stuck up. So I learned two accents – one for home and one for outside! I never felt like I could fully identify with either one, and it took me a long time to realize I didn’t have to make a choice, that I could dwell in more than one world and still hold onto who I am in my heart.
You did Lucy’s American accent and the French accents really well. How did you learn to do them?
Thank you 🙂 The American accent is challenging for me and I work on it all the time. I’ve spent hundreds of hours listening to accent tapes and practicing in my car! Claire Corff, my amazing voice teacher, taught me to learn the ‘melody’ or ‘song’ of an accent first, which really helps – as does not being afraid to go too far and get silly with it!
And now…Janet Stark, FOLLY’S producer
How did you get into producing audiobooks?
From a background in music recording and producing, I found myself in a Bay Area recording studio that happened to have a local indie publisher as a client. Authors came in to narrate their own books, generally non-fiction, personal growth. It was a wonderful way to introduce me to the world of audiobooks. Later I relocated to Los Angeles where there’s a lot more going on, and here we are!
How long does it take to record and edit a book?
It really depends on the length and complexity of the book. A short book can be recorded in a day or less; epic fantasy titles can easily go many weeks in the studio. Many factors affect the edit and all things post. Multi-cast and non-fiction titles are more time-consuming. Another factor is how efficient the reader is, and how well-matched reader and director are working together during sessions.
How is an audiobook made? What are the steps?
After reading through a preview pass and contacting the author, a sense of who I want to hear reading to me will filter up through the pages. There may be a single narrator or several, depending on povs and how the book is laid out. A casting decision is made, a director is assigned, and recording dates are put on the calendar. After recording, the sound editor cuts the raw audio to CD-length sections, then the program goes to quality control for a final audit. If any corrections are needed, the reader(s) will return to record pickups, which are cut in and it’s off to the replicator and download vendors. Of course this is an abbreviated version of what goes on behind the scenes!
What do you love best about your job?
Looking for and finding the perfect voice(s) for a book. Great reviews certainly don’t hurt!
And now for the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway