Author: Amber Argyle
Narrator: Lynn Bradford
Length: 14 hour 5 minutes
Series: Forbidden Forest, Book 1
Publisher: Starling Publishing
Released: Nov. 11, 2020
Genre: Romantic Fantasy; YA
A beast. An enchantress. An unbreakable curse.... Deep within the sentient woods, Larkin uncovers a secret that puts her in dreadful danger. Worse, now that the beast has had his taste, he’ll never stop hunting her. But the forest has woken something inside Larkin; something that gives her the power to fight back. Magic. Using forbidden magic will get Larkin hanged. Not using it will leave her at the mercy of the beast's enchantment. But there’s a third option; one that scares her more than anything. She could fall in love with the beast. Fans of A Curse so Dark and Lonely and A Court of Thorns and Roses will be spellbound by the fairytale re-telling of Beauty and the Beast and The Pied Piper in Stolen Enchantress. Buy now to find out why listeners around the world are getting lost in the Forbidden Forest! “Moody, whimsical, and enchanting.” (Emily R. King, author of The Hundredth Queen Series)
Q&A with Narrator Lynn Bradford
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- I’ve been a stage actor since I was a child but didn’t even think of audiobooks as an option until about five years ago. I’m a distance runner, but I’ve always been too slow to run to music, so audiobooks were my go-to for a long run. After a while, I started wondering what it would take for me to get into that since I was already a trained actor. After a lot of research and hard work, my alter ego and I have completed hundreds of titles and couldn’t be happier.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- A theatre background definitely helps, but many forms of acting training would be useful. Narration is a job that requires more than just a pretty or versatile voice. It’s your job to help the listener, so understanding storytelling techniques and the mechanics behind what makes things work is invaluable. It takes a certain amount of mental gymnastics while recording to achieve that perfect balance between being fully committed to the emotions and characters while leveraging the structure of the story and its elements to have the greatest impact for the listener.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- The world of audiobooks is booming and the industry is very fast paced. I think it’s easy to overcommit and burn yourself out, but like any job it’s important to set healthy boundaries and remember to make time for the parts of your life that aren’t work. I’m a huge gamer nerd and I love being outdoors. Going out and having lots of life experiences makes you a better actor and helps me feel motivated to get back in and tackle a new project.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I am a listener. I always mean to listen critically so I can pick up new skills, but find myself sucked into the story and forgetting to listen to the nuts and bolts. I love that audiobooks can bring a story to life while still leaving room for my imagination. I also love that I can multitask while I listen, which makes it easier to carve out time to enjoy incredible stories.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- I love that in an audiobook I get to play all of the characters, an opportunity you almost never have in any other medium. On the flip side, as a narrator you are also often self-directing, which is a great opportunity, but is a whole additional skill set and requires a lot to do it well. Audiobooks are very fast paced, so usually you are lucky to get the manuscript in time to read the whole thing quickly and then you need to record it without any rehearsal (which gets extra fun when there are unexpected accents). Sometimes I wish there was time to really lovingly craft each project with an entire team of experts in the same delicious detail as you would a stage show, but knowing a two hour play often takes 4-6 weeks of rehearsal, it would just take too long for your average 8 hour book.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
- My favorite books to narrate in the whole world are retellings of Beauty and the Beast. The way this one is interwoven with the Pied Piper story was a new twist for me that was incredibly compelling to see play out on the page. I was provided with a short sample for the audition and I couldn’t wait to hear what else would happen.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
- It always starts with clues in the text, and not just descriptors of how their voice sounds. For this book, Amber Argyle has created really rich characters with distinct personalities. More than “doing voices”, understanding what makes them unique as people makes the biggest difference. Larkin, the heroine, is really resourceful and strong in the face of all kinds of severe and unknowable circumstances. She’s young and she doesn’t always know what to do, but you can hear her curiosity and compassion and her courage in the way she interacts with the world and everyone around her.
- Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
- Sometimes. Being a performer means putting yourself out there, so it’s not always easy to see what people have to say. That being said, I think it’s important to get feedback from time to time, since sometimes elements of your performance don’t translate to the listener the way you expect. I tend to look for patterns in what people are saying, and if lots of people are agreeing I need to work on something I take that seriously.
- What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
- I think specifics are really helpful. Narrators joke among ourselves that being told you are “the worst narrator ever” is sort of a milestone in every narrator’s career, but it doesn’t really give you any guidance on where you are falling short or how to improve. We all want to do things as well as we can and hearing from listeners what is and isn’t working is one of our only opportunities for constructive feedback.
- What’s next for you?
- I’m delighted that Enchanted Sorceress is the first book in a series. I’m grateful to be working on the follow-up book, Piper Prince, which should hopefully be released in audio in early 2021.
- Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
- I recently upgraded my isolation booth and the new booth has carpeting all around the outside. My younger cat cannot resist climbing up the walls. I will look out the window and she will be plastered to the side like a spider staring in. I had to build a barrier around the top to keep her from climbing all the way up where we couldn’t reach her. She would fall asleep on the roof and the sound of her purring was getting picked up over the microphone. Sound effects, anyone? :)
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.