I’m welcoming Elizabeth Evans onto the Team Rogue YA blog today! Elizabeth is a stage and screen actress based in New York, and also works as a voice over artist, narrating audiobooks (including books by some of my favourites authors: Sarah J Maas, Lauren Oliver, and Leigh Bardugo!) and recording commercials, video games, and animated films. I’m thrilled to get the chance to chat to Elizabeth about narrating my debut Dark Days for Audible Studios…
KO: Hi Elizabeth! First can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got into narrating for Audible?
EE: Hi Kate! I’m originally from Texas, but I live in New York (and after seven years am still not used to the cold). I’m an actor working in Film, TV and Theatre so Voice Over is just a part of what I do! In my spare time I am learning to cook, but I am terrible at following directions in recipes. I got into audiobooks right before I graduated from NYU. Mike Charzuk, the Executive Producer at Audible, saw me in a workshop and asked me to come audition the following week. The week after that I was starting my first series!
KO: What’s the process like for creating and audiobook?
EE: I get an email from the producers of Audible about 3 weeks before I start recording a book with the PDF and contact information for the author or their literary agent. Then I read the book once while making notes – pronunciation questions, character descriptions that are helpful (she’s a smoker with an Australian accent, he’s a 6’5″ bouncer, etc). Then I talk to the author – which is one of my favorite things about this work! They’re all so different – some have very specific ideas about what they want and some will go “It’s up to you – have fun!” After that I go through the book and decide the voices for each character – sometimes I will record passages on my phone and listen back. I try not to prepare too much so I it can feel like I’m discovering the book for the first time when reading it aloud, but if you haven’t made any choices beforehand that can slow you down. Then I go into the studio and record! Audible uses a “punch record” (any time I make a mistake the recording instantly clicks off, I hear myself in playback from the last place I breathed and then come in again seamlessly. The editing process is way faster this way). The sessions are usually 6-8 hours and the number of sessions depends on the length of the book! Then I get some sleep. Then a few weeks later I go back into Audible to do pickups and clean up any mistakes that got through to the editors.
KO: What did you enjoy most about narrating Dark Days?
EE: I loved when Sia entered the New World. The contrast between the stark militant surroundings and Felicity’s cheerful dialogue was so much fun to voice. The idea that the New World only accepts the most “extraordinary people” (according to Damien Hoist) feels so relevant today – everywhere you turn now there’s a push to be fitter and healthier, to follow your dreams, to be “better.” We live in an age where social media enables people to project what they want others to think their life looks like, and all of that made the New World section of Dark Days so accessible.
KO: Which other audiobooks have you loved working on? I know you do the Throne of Glass series (which I love!).
EE: I do love the Throne of Glass series – I wish I could live in it! Plus I began book one of that series when I first started narrating, so I’ve grown as a narrator while the characters have grown up as well. I’ve also loved the Forsaken Trilogy by Lisa Stasse, which is dystopian sci-fi with some really genius ideas. I prefer narrating fantasy/sci-fi because you get so much room to play vocally! I love to narrate books in accents, which is really fun until you get about 5 hours into a session and your brain starts to fry. One of my favorites has been The Scent of Pine, a quiet, beautifully paced novel by Laura Vapnyar where the main character tells stories of her time as a counselor at a Soviet summer camp.
KO: And to finish, what’s next for you?
EE: I’m about to start shooting a movie that I’m afraid to talk about yet (haha), but I’m very excited. I’m opposite a major star and the material is very challenging and beautifully written. I also just finished a run of a play and narrating “Controlled” by Neesha Arter, so I’m very excited to relax for a bit around Thanksgiving and stuff my face with turkey.
Kate Ormand is YA author of DARK DAYS and THE WANDERERS. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She graduated from university with a first class degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also member and co-creator of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. Kate is represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (www.kateormand.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@kateormand).