Kymberly Dakin, our spotlight narrator for this week, was initially a stage actress, appearing in both on and off Broadway productions as well as regional productions in New England.
She has narrated numerous audiobooks as well as providing the voice for several national brands in commercials for Kraft, Fresh Start Detergent, and more.
Dorothy: Your first experience with narration was when you were an actress in New York City?
Kymberly: When I lived in NYC, I got some voice work “dubbing” another actress who had the look they wanted, but not the voice. It was fun to create another world vocally and to completely change a performance with voice narration.
Dorothy: How long have you been an audiobook narrator?Kymberly I have been narrating since 2005. I was first offered a “slasher” novel about a serial killer who preyed on rape victims and I said “no thanks”. But a few days later the same producer offered me a short story compilation and I’ve been in love with narration ever since. I find that I really am living in the “world” created by a book while I am narrating, so I need to be careful what I choose to do.
Dorothy: You have performed numerous audiobook narrations, haven’t you? For authors from Alice Munro to Joy Fielding?
Kymberly: I’ve done around 30 books now; I won an Audie in 2006 for a narration of “Runaway” by Alice Munro.
Dorothy: What are some of your other memorable performances?
Kymberly: Deborah Smith is an amazing author in the Romance genre – hers are sweeping stories of powerful southern families with big personalities and lots of romantic “smolder”. She is the power behind Belle Books, located in Nashville, TN, and I’ve had the pleasure of narrating her “Place to Call Home”, along with another BB book “The Goddess of Fried Okra” by Jean Bashear.
“Goddess” is full of beautifully rendered Texas personalities, and the protagonist “Pea” is so funny and heartful and resilient…. just a joy to narrate – really. Now, I’m immersed in Deb’s saga about two families- divided by class and geography, yet powerfully entwined in the Georgian estate of Blue Willow. It’s a beautiful, passionate story with amazing twists and turns and a totally satisfying ending! I tend to see my own life in much brighter colors when I get to voice these amazing sagas!
Dorothy: What projects are currently on your plate?
Kymberly: I am currently enjoying doing some women’s fiction – Southern Gothic Romances – there are some terrific writers in this genre: great stories and lots of fun!
Dorothy: Do you have a specific way that you prepare for a narration?
Kymberly: I absolutely read the book first – I don’t know how to make character choices otherwise.
Dorothy: Does your approach change depending upon the genre?
Kymberly: With non-fiction, I will at least read it chapter by chapter as I record so that I can get pronunciations nailed down.
Dorothy: Does the author have any input on your narration?
Kymberly: With ACX, the required 15 minute sample gives the author a sense of the read, and the chance to have input at that time.
Dorothy: What is your favorite book?
Kymberly: I love pretty much anything written by Barbara Kingsolver – especially “Poisonwood Bible”
Dorothy: What is your favorite of those you have narrated?
Kymberly: The one science fiction book I’ve narrated – “Darkship Thieves” was incredibly interesting. These authors have to invent whole worlds in their stories….I also really liked the harder edged narrator voice I found for the protagonist. I’d love to do more!
Dorothy: What is your biggest challenge as a narrator?
Kymberly: Working in relative isolation is really challenging for me. Especially in the beginning, it was very difficult being narrator/director and editor, with no outside eye telling me what works and what doesn’t.
Dorothy: Do you have any advice for people considering becoming an audiobook narrator?
Kymberly: Talk to lots of people who do it already, find you’re “Money Voice” and focus your efforts on that genre, and don’t expect to make lots of money….at least at first.
Dorothy: What is a “Money Voice”?
Kymberly: Money Voice is simply the kind of voice you have in you that is most marketable. It used to be that the more voices you had in you, the better and that still true w/ fiction audiobooks, but when I coach people, we work to find a genre match for the sound that comes most naturally to a voice artist- the Money Voice.
Dorothy: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? A website or blog?
Kymberly: I do voice coaching for performance and audio via phone or Skype… see more at www.sfiaudio.com
Kym has also narrated Knitting Memories: Reflections on the Knitter’s Life by Lela Nargi; Stand-In Groom by Suzanne Brockman; The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook; Still Life by Joy Fielding; Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World by Mary Pipher; and many more. Several of Kymberly Dakin’s books are available through Amazon.com