Thanks for nothin’, J.R.R. Tolkien – More of my interview with audiobook narrator Holly Adams

When I’m thinking up a new character for one of books, I tend to give a lot of thought to how the person talks. In the Deep Dish Mysteries, for example, you know that if someone says, “For Pete’s sake…” that’s Wisconsin farmgirl Melody Schacht. And if a character busts out a witty play on words that makes you laugh and groan at the same time, that’ll be straight from the mouth of sous chef/BFF Sonya. I’m also fascinated by accents, especially unusual ones like the dialect of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which features heavily in A Death in Duck, from my Mount Moriah Mysteries Series.

As I’m inventing this panoply of distinctive voices, I should probably spare a thought for my longtime collaborator, audiobook narrator Holly Adams. Over the years, Holly has gamely voiced whatever characters I’ve thrown her way. From a gravelly old man on his deathbed to a toddler squeaking out her first complete sentences. A lesser narrator might balk, but not Holly. Bulgarian accent? Sure. Mobster with a pro wrestler physique and a hockey mom inflection? Bring it on. I’m lucky to have her talent at my disposal. Holly has previously shared some of her secrets for giving each character a unique voice. But coming up with accents and voices isn’t the only challenge audiobook narrators face.

In addition to cozy mysteries like mine, Holly records a lot of non-fiction and a LOT of fantasy books. It never occurred to me how challenging it is for a narrator to cope with page after page of made-up names and places. Can you imagine being handed a book from the Game of Thrones series and having to say Daenerys Targaryen five times fast? Harder still, in her non-fiction work, she has to cope with real people’s names in languages that she doesn’t natively speak. In those instances, she has to be even more diligent about getting things right, because there are actual people (besides the author) who’ll know if she gets it wrong.

3 thoughts on “Thanks for nothin’, J.R.R. Tolkien – More of my interview with audiobook narrator Holly Adams

  1. Agreed – narration is an art and a skill that has to be developed, practiced, trained. Holly Adams is great. Keep it up with Sonya, and I’ll be happy.


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