Name: Melanie Fraser
*Tell us a bit about yourself:
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa to where my father had moved during WWII. I made the decision at the age of 3 to become a ballet dancer! Following my training there and after the family moved to England – post-Sharpeville – I continued full time theatre training. As an actress, singer and dancer I later appeared in theatre, film and television. After a long break away from performing, during which time I qualified and taught professional classical ballet in the UK and abroad, I returned to acting and now perform on screen and as a voice over artist.
How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production?
Gary Terzza told me about BeeAudio’s new Studio Certification Course and that they were establishing a UK network. Helen Lloyd, with whom I had worked in a few theatre productions, runs the UK side. The course introduced me to audiobook narration as well as production.
Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these?
These are on audible (UK and USA sites)
‘A Gentleman’s Daughter: Her Love’ (Reina M Williams)
‘The Promise’ (Elizabeth Chappelle)
‘The Final Dawn’ (Alice Catherine Carter)
‘Princess in Peril’ (Janet Whitehead)
‘A Murderer’s Heart’ (Julie Elizabeth Powell)
‘Lady Concealed’ (Jane Bridges)
‘Dirty Business’ (Julie Elizabeth Powell)
One of my favourites is The Final Dawn, a compelling story of treachery and murder set in Stalin’s era/
Do you have a preferred genre? Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this?
At the top of my list is espionage, then historical and crime/thrillers non-fiction and fiction as these stimulate my interest and I always buy these books.
I’m not drawn to narrate erotica, science fiction and fantasy (involving elves and pixies) and wouldn’t usually buy books in those genres.
What are you working on at present/Just finished?
Currently I am nearing completion of an historical fiction set during the Anglo-Boer War called, ‘Crossing the Vaal’ by Archie Vincent. It is beautifully descriptive and my top favourite to date.
*Tell us about your process for narrating? (Be as elaborate as you like.)
I start by reading the whole book before auditioning. Production begins by marking up the whole script with any pronunciation, unusual words etc listed or researched. I liaise closely with the author if there are any queries.
The characters are all colour coded on the script and a spreadsheet sets out the ages, types of voice and other information for reference. Accents are sourced via the IDEA, You Tube, film and other archives. I engage a tutor – always a native speaker – in whatever foreign accent is needed.
After recording and proofing, the editing takes considerable time. My studio is in a quiet area. Nevertheless, noises such as cars, planes, lawnmowers, barking dogs occur, picked up by my extremely sensitive microphone and are all removed. Each chapter is paced and proofed again with a final QC done before mastering, saving to the required format and specifications of the publisher after which the whole production is uploaded. An ongoing backup procedure is followed throughout the production so that nothing is lost……
What aspects do you find most enjoyable?
I love the actual narration and really enjoy getting totally immersed in the story.
Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this?
Yes, so far I have done mostly these but now give preference to projects with a PFH rate.
Do you listen to audiobooks?
Yes. I’m currently listening to David Rattray’s ‘The Day of the Dead Moon’ a thrilling history of the Zulu Wars in the 19thC.
*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling?
Whilst many people like listening to books whilst doing other things such as travelling, there are also people like me who prefer to read a book. For me it is partly because after many hours of working with sound, I like peace and quiet. I think they both have their value.
Please tell us a silly fact about yourself.
I have a dimple on each shoulder!
Where can we learn more about you?
Social Media links:
I am not on Facebook or Twitter
MELANIE HAS ALSO BEEN RECRUITED TO NARRATE OUTSIDE THE WALLS – my latest short story with Diana L Wicker.