Audiobook Narrator Interview – Suzan Hennen

Audiobook Narrator Interview – Judith Bareham

*Name:   Judith Bareham

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I am  British born,  married to Jonathan (a Brit also) and mom of three children –( a daughter 23, and two boys 20 and 15) who moved to the USA in 2000.  Now I live in Charlotte NC and until recently was a stay at home mom, who home-schooled my sons for three and 8 years respectively.   Until now,  I didn’t have the capacity to pursue being a voice actress but the time was right this year to step into it fully and embrace it!

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? Well last year I began training with a voice acting coach and decided this was now or never to pursue

That dream.  I want to pursue other voice acting realms too, but I think narration will always be the solid foundation of what I do.

I have always narrated for as long as I can recall, from High school back in the day to amateur dramatics in plays, and I was asked to narrate because I was a good storyteller.

I have always loved acting but love being behind the mic as well as on stage.

Way back, I read newspapers for the Blind, near where I lived in the UK as I believe it’s vitally important that there are great resources available. And of course, audiobooks fit that brilliantly.

I began with Audible this year and auditioned for titles which interested me and were a good fit and here I am.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? Well, as I have just started out I don’t have a long list to my name yet, but I completed Mathamagical in the spring which was a brilliant rendering of a teenage boy who is struggling with math and generally down on his luck. Until he discovers a magical world of math and is able to succeed in solving problems along the way.

I am working on a “how to book for teachers”  which although is not a story, is motivational in style and I am finding I really enjoy this style of book too – I like to solve problems and help people so I feel a passion for what I am reading.

I volunteer for the Library for the Blind in Washington DC too, when they have titles for me and as time allows.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.)

A book with multiple characters like Mathamgical (there were 19) I have to think about how they would sound of course, but I begin to imagine how they would move, what they would wear, their characteristics – are they snippy or patient, do they zip through life or are they moody or grumpy about life?

This helps me tap into the voices better and help them become believable.

In the case of Lilie, she just fit a Scottish voice because of her breed but I have a dog Nelson, who I believe is very human in his responses so I took facets of him too and applied that to her voice.

Prior to the recording I spend time editing and looking for any misprints or issues which might cause me a problem as the narrator, so I try to fix those before recording.

That’s harder for a long book but it saves headaches down the road!

Then I begin recording and that’s the fun part.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? Definitely doing accents and dialects and acting in my booth.

I love it when I can really get into a part

What do you find least enjoyable? Editing – it’s a beast.

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? I think they always have been popular but increasingly so in the age of people being more mobile and able to access great content more easily.

It used to be incredibly expensive to buy a hard copy of an audiobook on CDS and you were limited to what your library had perhaps.

But now there are hundreds of titles made accessible – we can listen anywhere, anytime.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Black Beauty and I wore it out

If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? Oooh that’s tough.  Specific titles are hard ………

I love Maeve Binchy novels because the Irish accent is one of my favorites to do

And I love the lilt and pace of it.

But equally children’s’ stories with trolls, knights, pirates, or woodland creatures – I love mice, rabbits, badgers and live in a world in my head where animals talk – a combination of any of those would be fun to do!

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I am pretty competitive and so I have this hang up from childhood,  where my brother and I used to outwit each other by being the last person to have sweets or chocolate left from Easter or Christmas.  He beat me every time. So to this day,  I still have little stashes of chocolate and sweets I haven’t eaten yet,  in the house – it drives my family insane! They’re just jealous they don’t have the same will power…….

Where can we learn more about you? My website – Judith Bareham tells a little more about me.

I have a blog which I write approximately every other week and you can access on my site.

Social Media links:

Instagram

Facebook – Judith Bareham

Twitter

Linkedin

Pinterest

***

Judith is narrating Where’s Noodles? by Victoria Zigler. Check out the links here:

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Wheres-Noodles-Audiobook/B07JKBT76W
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/880958
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wheres-noodles-victoria-zigler/1129141679
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/where-s-noodles
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wheres-noodles/id1415553711
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/wheres-noodles-unabridged/id1439954293
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1724843222/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1724843222/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1724843222/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40890298-where-s-noodles

Where's Noodles Audiobook Cover.jpg

Series Spotlight – The Kero’s World Series

Title: The Kero’s World series

Author: Victoria Zigler

Narrator of audio editions: Giles Miller

Genre: Children’s stories – animals/pets

Main character description (short). Kero is a West Highland White Terrier, which is a little white dog with pointed ears.

Kero Goes Walkies Audiobook Cover

Synopsis: This is a seven book series that provides a semi-fictionalized view of the life of the author’s own dog, with events described as they might appear through the dog’s eyes.

 

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“Are we going walkies?” Kero asked in his most excited sounding bark.  But, of course, the human didn’t understand him and only heard “bark, bark, bark.”

“Hush Kero,” the human said.  “You’re coming, but please stop barking.”

“I’m coming? Horray!” Kero barked, jumping up and down excitedly, his tail wagging as fast as it possibly could.

“You have to wear your coat,” his human told him.  “It’s cold out.”

That was fine with Kero, just as long as he got to go.  Besides, he liked his coat.  It was blue and green and made of a soft material that felt good against his fur.

Kero tried very hard to stay still while his human put his coat on him, but he was so excited he just couldn’t stay still for a moment.  This meant it took ages to get his coat on him, but they got there in the end.

“You have to calm down so I can put this on you,” the human said, holding Kero’s harness and lead out to him.

Kero tried to calm down.  He really did.  But he was so excited about going for walkies that he couldn’t stay still.  But his human was used to this, and eventually she managed to get his harness on him.  Once that was done it took only a few seconds for his lead to be clipped to the metal loops on the harness.

At last, they were ready to go.

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)? If you want to see the world from the point of view of a little white dog, this book is for you.

Links etc.

Book 1 – Kero Goes Walkies

Kero Goes Walkies Audiobook Cover

Audible: Kero Goes Walkies

Smashwords: Smashwords

CreateSpace: Createspace

Barnes & Noble: Barnes and Noble

Kobo: Kobo

Chapters-Indigo: Chapters-Indigo

iBooks: Ibooks

iTunes: Audio Itunes

Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Amazon US: Amazon.com

Amazon Canada: Amazon Canada

Book Depository: Book Depository

 

Book 2 – Kero Celebrates His Birthday

Kero Celebrates His Birthday Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

 I-books

I-tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

Book 3 – Kero Gets Sick

Kero Gets Sick Audiobook Cover

Audible

 Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

I books

I tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 4 – Kero Celebrates Halloween

Kero Celebrates Halloween Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

i-books

I tunes

Amazon Uk

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 5 – Kero Goes To Town

Kero Goes To Town Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-indigo

I-books

i-tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 6 – Kero Celebrates Christmas

Kero Celebrates Christmas Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

I-books

I-tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 7 – Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge

Kero Crosses the Rainbow Bridge Audiobook Cover.jpg

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

I-tunes

Amazon UK

 Amazon.Com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

You can also find the books on Goodreads.

 

Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17881737-kero-goes-walkies

Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17974626-kero-celebrates-his-birthday

Book 3: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052712-kero-gets-sick

Book 4: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052730-kero-celebrates-halloween

Book 5: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052750-kero-goes-to-town

Book 6: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052768-kero-celebrates-christmas

Book 7: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22919083-kero-crosses-the-rainbow-bridge

 

***~~~***

 

About the author:

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
Author links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Google+: https://plus.google.com/106139346484856942827

 

Narrator Interview – James Watkins

*Name: Hello, my name is James Watkins

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I live in sunny San Diego California, which has been my home since 2011.  I took a long time to find my home in voice work, but this year has seen the completion of my home studio, and I’m never looking back!  I love reading, singing and writing songs, hiking, and playing in the ocean.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I am a lifelong lover of reading.  I really enjoy being able to explore through words and ideas.  Because I am a bit of an amateur musician, I ended up with some simple recording equipment at home.  When it first occurred to me to combine reading and recording it seemed natural and perfect.  I am so glad to be living in this time where I am able to bring these things together in such a simple way. I have had a learning curve, too, but it’s a good thing that I also love to learn new things!

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I recently narrated a series of four short books for kids, called “Degu Days”, written by Victoria Zigler.  They are short but wonderful tales written in the voice of pet degus.  They are small South American rodents who are amazing jumpers, and extremely charming little creatures.  Victoria Zigler is a talented writer whom I think is well worth reading.  Her stories beautifully capture the simple perspective of the young, but there are serious matters she deals with powerfully in the space of a very short story, too.  Degus are cute fuzzy little creatures, but a lot of kids learn some of their earliest lessons in caring for a pet from small animals like these, and are even introduced to their first experience of what death is through living with these lovely, innocent animals.  A lot of people say that reading stories really helps develop children’s capacity for empathy, and seeing things from another perspective, and Victoria has a nice touch with this stuff. Her books are true literature, aimed at meeting children where they are, and gently, kindly, lovingly helping them to grow and understand.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? Being able to do lots of different stuff is a big part of what keeps things interesting!  I like to do kids stuff, science fiction and fantasy, history, business, self-help, Christianity, medicine and life sciences, earth sciences, criticism, meditation.  These are just some examples of things I’ve worked on recently.  What’s really important to me is good writing.  Good writers are a treasure, and I am excited to be able to help take something great and bring it to a wider audience.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m pretty excited to be putting together a podcast of spooky stories right now, called the bonefire.  The first episodes are going to be ready to go in the next few weeks.  It’s exciting to have my very own project.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) First, I’ve got to read and understand.  I take notes, use a highlighter, draw little pictures and maps, so that I have a really strong sense of the voices, the arc of the story or the structure of what is being written about, and what the tone of the writing is.

Then it’s time to read and record.  I like to read in the later part of the day.  For some reason my voice gets more and more limber as the day goes on.  I like to be active when I read, and probably look very silly waving my arms around.  Taking lots of little breaks is important, too.  Focusing and refocusing, so that I’m always fresh. Between what the writer has done and what I can do, there’s a lot of life you can give to a piece of writing.  It’s important to pay close attention to that aspect, and give it what it really deserves.

The last step is editing, taking out any mistakes or things that don’t sound right.  Then I process the signal.  There’s not much processing an audiobook reader has to do compared to what some other kinds of voice artists have to do.  This work is technical and procedural, but the truth is that it’s more about finesse than anything. It’s all about trying to get the best sound you can.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? So many things!  I have the attitude of a craftsman.  The pursuit of perfection is what really gets me excited more than anything.  Making something well is time well-spent, and being engaged with great material inspires me.  Being able to read and really explore other people’s ideas and stories is pretty wonderful, too.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this?Of course I consider royalty share!  Like anybody else, I’ve got to pay my bills and make money.  But if a project comes along that I really want to do, and I believe in it, then for me, it’s worth it.  I’m doing a job, and work is not all about fun and games.  But I’m blessed to be able to do a job that gives me the opportunity to do a wide variety of things that I can get excited about, and to make choices about what kinds of projects I take on.

Do you listen to audiobooks? I started listening to audiobooks at the same time I realized how much is becoming available, how many great books there are being produced in audio format, which was also the same time I decided I wanted to do it myself.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? It certainly is an exciting storytelling form today.  And I think it will be even more interesting tomorrow.  There is a lot of room for growth and development in audiobooks, and we are just starting to scratch the surface now.  Human beings will always find new and exciting ways to tell stories.  It’s what we do.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? It’s easy to understand why on a practical level people like them so much.  We like to have something that engages our minds when our hands are busy.  We have the opportunity to learn, to be engaged, and entertained while we are driving, or doing chores, or working, or we want something to keep the kids’ attention.  But it’s also great to realize that as this art form emerges, we are hearing better and better storytellers all the time.  The audience that writers can reach is a lot bigger, and the narrators who produce these books are honing their craft.  It’s an art form that has a lot of room for creative people to really show what they can do, and people love to be engaged by something that fits into their lifestyle.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned?  I sure can!  It was The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs.  I knew my love affair with audio books was going to be a long one, and I thought it was only right to start out with a classic that I had been meaning to read for a long time.  I have lived in a number of different cities, and had a lot of things to compare as I listened to Jane Jacobs eye-opening insights into urban planning.  Donna Rawlins was such a fantastic narrator for this book.  From the beginning, I was listening to it thinking, “I want to do this”, so I listened very carefully to her consistency, her tone, the cleanliness of her enunciation and production.  I chose my first audiobook carefully.

 

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?)  Well, I’m not making a living from it (yet?) but I have had really nice interactions with everybody I’ve dealt with from authors to the folks at ACX.  They have created an effective and well-made interface that puts authors together with narrators.  There is a range of quality that is available, but it puts tools in the hands of people, allowing them to create something for their audience. It’s a lot of work to produce an audiobook, but it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything ACX/Audible could do to make it any easier!

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Nope.  I’ve found myself overwhelmed, certainly.  But so far it’s been all positive.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have a tuxedo cat named Clarence who workshops my voices with me.  Every new voice I try gets run by him first of all.  He doesn’t give much feedback, but he’s a great listener.

Where can we learn more about you?

Social Media links:

Coming soon!  Homemade, chilling and scary audio stories!  Keep your eye on thebonefire.com for the first ones to appear in the near future!

If you are interested in having your project narrated and produced by James Watkins, you can find my profile on acx.com or email jameswatkinisvo@outlook.com

 

Book Spotlight – How to Trust Your Human – Animals/Kids/Social Issues

Title: How To Trust Your Human

Author: Victoria Zigler

Genres: Children’s Stories – Animals / Children’s Stories – Social Issues – Death And Dying

Main character description (short).

“Buddy is a degu, which is a kind of rodent closely related to guinea pigs, with an appearance that resembles a furry-tailed rat.”

Synopsis:

“Losing a sibling is hard. Losing three of them is even harder. Repairing a broken bond of trust is harder still.

After his three brothers disappeared, one after another, gone to a mysterious place known only as The Rainbow Bridge, Buddy the degu is all alone in his cage. Confused and frightened, he knows only one thing for certain: he last saw his brothers in the hands of the human caretaker. That knowledge breaks the bond of trust forged between Buddy and his human in the years since he was a pup, and leaves him convinced that letting her get her hands on him will mean he disappears too. Somehow, she has to convince him he’s wrong, and earn back his trust.

Based on actual events that took place in the life of one of the author’s own degus, and told from the point of view of a degu, this is the story of how patience and love taught a confused and terrified rodent how to trust again.”

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“I was starting to relax, and no longer running to hide when my cage door opened.

Then, one day, one of the human caretakers held her hand out in my direction, and appeared to be waiting for something.

As you might imagine, I was immediately suspicious – not to mention back to being absolutely terrified – so I rushed off to hide, watching the hand closely, even as I cowered behind the wheel at the opposite end of the cage.  I was literally trembling from nose to tail, wondering what she was up to, and if it was finally time for them to make me disappear like my brothers.

I thought the hand would follow me, and at least make an attempt at grabbing me.  But it didn’t move even the slightest amount.

I watched and waited for a very long time.

Still the hand didn’t move.

My trembling stopped, but I continued to stay in my hiding spot, watching the hand to see what it was going to do.

Nothing happened; the hand still didn’t move.

After a while, my curiosity got the better of me.  Look, I might have been terrified, but we degus are curious creatures, and there’s only so long I could resist the urge to find out what the hand was doing.  So, I cautiously crept closer, ready to bolt back to my hiding spot at the first sign of danger.”

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

“It’s a story about how a little love goes a long way, and how pets have feelings too.  If you’re an animal lover, or you have children who love animals, this book is for you, especially if you’re in a situation where you have a pet who is suffering after losing his or her furry companion.”

 

Links etc.

Find the book on…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35160154-how-to-trust-your-human

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/724848

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-trust-your-human-victoria-zigler/1126412328

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/do/book/how-to-trust-your-human/id1237703591?l=en&mt=11

Available in paperback soon!

 

Author bio:

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time, such as doing crafts, listening to music, watching movies, playing the odd figure game or roleplaying game, and doing a little cooking and baking. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
Author links:

Author’s Website

Victoria on goodreads

Facebook page

Twitter

How To Trust Your Human Cover 1 - 1600x2400

Review – Judy: A Dog in a Million – Damien Lewis – Military History, WWII, Animals

Review- Judy: A Dog in A Million

Damien Lewis

5 stars

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-Million-Runaway-Worlds-Heroic-ebook/dp/B00HVBK15U/

The impossibly moving story of how Judy, World War Two’s only animal POW, brought hope in the midst of hell.

Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million, cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her.

Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy’s uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick-thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to men who became like a family to her, sharing in both the tragedies and joys they faced. It was in recognition of the extraordinary friendship and protection she offered amidst the unforgiving and savage environment of a Japanese prison camp in Indonesia that she gained her formal status as a POW.

Judy’s unique combination of courage, kindness and fun repaid that honour a thousand times over and her incredible story is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.

 If you only read one book in your life read this book. And have the tissues to hand, as you’ll need them!

A puppy born in Shanghai started her life of adventure and courage by running away from her siblings, mother and human carers. Judy was finally rescued and adopted by the Royal Navy as a ship’s mascot on HMS Gnat, and then patrolling the turbulent and dangerous waters of the Yangtze river, during the China/Japan conflicts.  She fought pirates, gave early warning for hostiles and increased the morale on board. Later assigned to HMS Grasshopper Judy and her crewmates were engaged in warfare against the Japanese in World War Two and in 1942 the ship was torpedoed. Not only did Judy survive this but she pulled men to safety, found water on the largely hostile island the survivors of HMS Grasshopper and HMS Dragonfly found themselves and fought with local wildlife to protect her companions.

Judy and the soldiers trekked hundreds of miles – hoping to reach safety in Sumatra (then a British protectorate). They were too late, as it had fallen into Japanese hands.

Taken to a POW camp in Northern Sumatra the sailors, Judy included, were taken to the very pit of hell. One particular man shared his meagre rations with a starving dog and a life-long and incredibly close friendship was born.  Smuggled out of one camp and into another via a sack on the back of her human (which saved Judy’s life) she again was a rescuer when the ship transporting the captives was torpedoed, with great loss of life.  She dragged men towards what little floating wreckage there was, and pushed wood towards others when she was too exhausted to drag anyone else. The death count would undoubtedly have been higher that day if Judy had not been there.

The men were forced to work on the Pekanbaru Death Railway, and again Judy was there to keep soul and body together (such as there were then) and would even steal food from under the noses of the captors in order to help feed the starving, emaciated men she loved.

Primarily this is her story, but it’s also a story of human survival and the enormous capacity for love between humans and dogs. She kept man and mind together in the darkest days, with her love and her loyalty. More than one man is quoted in the book that they would not have survived those terrible months and years without her. Lives were risked by men and dog every day in the fight to survive, and the fight to stay together.

Awarded the Dicken Medal (the animal VC) for bravery the citation stated -“For magnificent courage and endurance in Japanese prison camps, which helped to maintain morale among her fellow prisoners and also for saving many lives through her intelligence and watchfulness.”

The author, clearly, has researched this book well, speaking to some of the remaining survivors of the terrible camps, and terrible days. She truly was ‘a dog in a million’.

For more information about the Dicken Medal – go here: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/what-we-do/animal-honours/the-dickin-medal

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/the-dickin-medal

For more info on Judy’s remarkable life please see the links below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/judy-the-dog-who-became-a-prisoner-of-war

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_(dog)

http://www.pekanbarudeathrailway.com/judy-prisoner-81a-gloergoer-medan

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140518-dogs-war-canines-soldiers-troops-military-japanese-prisoner/

For more information on the Pekanbaru railway (believe me it’s not easy reading). http://www.pekanbarudeathrailway.com/