Dorothy; What inspired you get into narration?
Christine; Well, that’s an interesting question.
I’d been working as a voice talent since 2007 doing some regional radio and theatre commercials; internet series announcer and some voice dubbing.
I moved to California and was taking a voiceover marketing class with Tori Hartman in Los Angeles.
One of my mentors for the class, my friend and colleague, John Grove told I should be studying all aspects of voiceover and introduced me to Vanessa Hart in October 2011.
Vanessa told I had a great voice for narration, and told me to immediately set up my profile on ACX.com which I did that same evening.
I’ve done audiobook projects direct for Audible, Inc., Crossroad Press, Gryphonwood Press, Vinspire Publishing, Pulse LLC and Audio Realms, Inc. I do continuous work for Audio Realms, Inc. as one of their ‘in-house’ narrators
I put my voiceover demos for narration and character on my profile as my then voice samples. Within the first week of being on ACX, a publisher wrote to me to audition for a book of theirs.
Then another publisher approached Vanessa for one which I was going to be auditioning for. Another 2 weeks later, I had 2 audiobook contracts for those books.
I would say my colleague John Grove and Coach Vanessa Hart inspired me to get into audio book narration. I had always enjoyed reading stories out loud to children in school years ago, but actually prefer doing adult stories which is what I focus on.
Dorothy; How long have you been an audiobook narrator?
Christine; I’ve been recording and creating audiobooks since October 2011 ever since my first narration voice lesson.
Dorothy; What books or projects have you narrated?
Christine; I have narrated ‘Once Her Man, Always Her Man: Always a Marine, Book 1’ by Heather Long; ‘Signs of the South’ by Narielle Living; ‘Tim Richmond: The Fast Life and Remarkable Times of NASCA’s Top Gun’ by David Poole; ‘The Royal Dragoneers: The Dragoneers Sage, Book 1’ and ‘Crimzon and Clover’ by M.R. Mathias; ‘Prodigal’ by Melanie Tem; ‘Rider: Spirals of Destiny: Book 1’ by Jim Bernheimer; ‘The Bootscootin’ books’ by D.D. Scott (all 3 books); ‘A Darker Dream’ by Amanda Ashley; ‘Badwater’ by Toni Dwiggins; ‘The Gryphonpike Chronicles’ by Annie Bellet (currently 3 completed in the series); ‘Playing for Keeps’ by Liz Matis, and ‘Romeo and JudyAnne: Texas One Night Stands’ by Joan Reeves.
I just completed a new erotica/romance line of audiobooks through Audio Realms Inc. called ‘Entwined Erotica’ print/Ebook through Amazon, Coliloquy, www.entwinederotica.com, and the Louise Fury Agency in NYC. The audio for Volume 1 premiered on www.audiorealms.com On Dec 31, 2012. It will be on Audible and Amazon any day now as a full 4 story volume or bought separately. Just completed for Audio Realms the premiere novella by Joy Daniels called ‘Revving Her Up’.
Dorothy; What projects are you currently working on?
Christine; I currently have the following that I’m working on: The Dragoneer Saga series by M.R. Mathias (Books 2 and 3 now); ‘Secrets and Sacrifices’ by Diane Wylie for Vinspire Publishing; ‘Going for It: “Fantasy” Football – Season 2’ by Liz Matis. Soon will be some of Rachel Van Dyken’s USA Today bestselling works, more of Heather Long’s 1Night Stand/Always a Marine series shorts and more of the Entwined Erotica stories.
I’ve done audiobook projects direct for Audible, Inc., Crossroad Press, Gryphonwood Press, Vinspire Publishing, Pulse LLC and Audio Realms, Inc. I do continuous work for Audio Realms, Inc. as one of their ‘in-house’ narrators.
Dorothy; How do you approach a new project? Do you read the book first and make stylistic choices?
Christine; Well, sort of. I go through the whole book, writing down whom all the characters are by chapter – the main ones (whom they are, the kind of person or voice they have), the minor ones just a brief note on in the margins of the manuscript pages. This way, I know so and so is a rough/tumble cowboy, and another person is gentler, meeker, etc. so the voice choices are realistic and consistent throughout the narration.
I’m basically quickly skimming the book to find all the characters, understand the basic story, circle in red pencil any difficult/unknown word pronunciations to look up and make my voice choices – depending on the length of the book, this can take a full day or 2-3 days. I don’t read it hard, word for word. I highlight the dialogue with a yellow marker to make it easier to narrate from – if on a tablet or iPad, software called iAnnonate does that for me.
Some top narrators ‘cold read’ because they don’t have time anymore to prep – but honestly, you have to prep because if you don’t want to come across stiff and perhaps have made a bad voice choice when you find out later in the narration that a certain character comes from Russia and has a slight accent, and you gave that character a Bronx accent instead!
To go back and redo narration is painful and time-consuming – so it’s best to save a lot of aggravation by doing it right the first go through 🙂
Dorothy; Does your approach change depending upon the genre?
Christine; Yes and no. My voice style will be different depending if it is Sci-fi/fantasy or romance or mystery/thriller genres. But the approach of prepping the story, choosing voices, etc. will be the same.
Dorothy; Does the author have any say in how you narrate their work?
Christine; That depends if the book is self-published, then yes, I work directly with the author since they are also the ‘publisher’ of their book. If it is through a large publisher, the author does not usually get involved in choosing the voice artist for the audiobook version of their book or how the narrator does their work.
But occasionally, if it is a smaller publisher, the author is allowed to be part of the audiobook process in choosing the talent and working with them in creating the audiobook. So it really depends on who owns the audio rights for the book on whether the author has any say in how I narrate their story.
Dorothy; What is your favourite book?
Christine; Oh, boy! I love so many different books. Some favourites are ‘The Forever War’ by Joe Haldeman, ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeleine L’Engle and ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand.
Dorothy; What is your favourite of those you have narrated?
Christine; Another hard choice – the most enjoyable so far has been ‘The Royal Dragoneer’ by M.R. Mathias and ‘Playing for Keeps’ by Liz Matis.
Dorothy; What is the most challenging thing about being a narrator?
Christine; Accents and character voices! And sounding interested and excited even when you are voicing something that really isn’t very…uh, interesting or exciting.
As a narrator, you cannot always choose the work you would like to do. You receive an assignment to produce an audiobook, and it doesn’t matter whether you enjoy the story or not, you are expected to be a professional and produce a high-quality product. Sometimes, that is extremely hard to do, but if you love what you do, you do it and feel good that you created an audio story that hopefully, someone out there is going to enjoy and bring some happiness to.
Dorothy; Do you have any advice for people considering becoming an audiobook narrator?
Christine; Be willing to invest a lot of time and money in learning your craft and doing it. This isn’t a profession for everyone, even people that believe they have a great voice for narration may not have the stamina and patience required to do it.
A book that is 12 hours long in audio will take you twice as many hours to record it, then the same amount or more hours to edit it! Or be willing to shell out a lot of money for an engineer to edit and master all your rough recordings, mistakes and all.
You will need a quiet space (a closet or audio booth) as there cannot be any noise on the recording – I currently get up at 2:00am to record for 3-4.5 hours just so I have complete silence in my condo building to record audiobooks. And of course, the financial investment in a good mic (Rode NT1-A is a good overall condenser microphone and reasonably priced), boom stand, audio software and hardware and outfitting your ‘booth’ to be as soundproof as possible are required.
Eventually, I’ll get a house with an audio booth or something more soundproof than my walk-in closet, but this is what I’ve had to do to produce audiobooks. Believe me, being an audiobook narrator isn’t for the faint hearted! It requires dedication and commitment, and a certain amount of money upfront to upgrade your equipment to do the work. And then taking care of your voice because you will be spending a lot of time in front of the microphone recording books 🙂
Dorothy; Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? A website or blog?
Christine; My personal website is http://christinepadovan.com – I do have a blog, but it is not up to date. I’ve been so busy recording and producing audiobooks that I haven’t made the time update my blog, but do keep News/Event notes up to date on my website.