In celebration of Friday's audio release of The Clay Lion, I sat down with the book's narrator, the AMAZING Lorelei King, to pick her brain about her career, my books, and travelling through time:
AMALIE: Six months ago I’d never listened to an audiobook. When I asked the librarian at my local library who the best audiobook narrator in the business was she replied “Lorelei King” without a moment’s hesitation. How’d you get started in the industry, and what do you think makes you one of the best?
LORELEI: Oh dear, I'm blushing that you call me 'one of the best' - there are so many talented narrators out there - but thank you! :)
Librarians are the best - I think more people should take advantage of their expertise. And of course I'm thrilled that your librarian recommended me. Such a lovely compliment!
In the same way that I kind of fell into my acting career, I fell into audio book narration. It was all about being in the right place at the right time with the right accent – but once I recorded that first book (which was a collection of short stories), I knew it was for me. It just felt right.
AMALIE: Well, since you popped up on my radar, I've listened to over a dozen of your narrations. Of all the characters I’ve heard you voice, Lula from the Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is my favorite. Who’s been your favorite character to bring to life?
LORELEI: I think Lula is my favorite too! There is just something about that girl...
AMALIE: There is something about her, that's true!!! I can see how easy it would be to get into character for someone as ostentatious as Lulu, but you’ve done so many different characters over the years. How do you keep all the voices straight?
LORELEI: In a long-running series, it's surprisingly easy - the characters become like family. I also keep running cast lists with notes about the voices I've chosen for each character. Books that have (literally) a hundred or more characters can be a problem though - and I often find myself cheering when a character dies. 'Hurray! I can recycle that voice....'
AMALIE: So is there a character from a book or series you haven’t recorded that you’d like to try your hand at if given the opportunity?
LORELEI: The book I most regret not having had the chance to narrate is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Loved it - and it had an extraordinary cast of characters!
As for a series, I would love to record the Oz books - I think my favorite book in the series is The Patchwork Girl of Oz. In fact one of the (many!) things I love about The Clay Lion series is its homage to Oz.
AMALIE: Baum's characters and messages obviously hold a special place in my heart as well as you can tell from The Clay Lion Series. What was your favorite part about recording The Clay Lion?
LORELEI: Thinking myself into the mind of a young girl who loves her brother. As a not-so-young (cough) girl who is an only child, it was nice to be in that world for awhile.
AMALIE: Becoming someone else sounds a lot like acting and I'm sure it's true that a good audiobook narrator is also an actress of sorts. Do you think the time you’ve spent onscreen helps your audio work and vice versa?
LORELEI: Oh absolutely! I have a pretty solid background in radio drama and animation which has stood me in good stead, particularly if a book has a lot of dialogue. (It’s slightly different with non-fiction – you don’t ‘perform’ in quite the same way, but you still use an actor’s skills for pacing, intonation and so on.) And you can learn a lot from audio book narration about characterization - which in turn can help with in-vision and radio acting. But in the end, it's ALL acting. Audio book narration is just one part of the job – but it’s one of my favorite parts.
AMALIE: You asked me in your interview about travelling to the past. Now it's your turn… if you could go back in time to change one thing about your past, what would it be and why?
LORELEI: You know when someone insults you and you think of the perfect riposte three hours later? I would love to go back to one of those moments in my life, deliver my deliciously scathing retort IMMEDIATELY, then turn on my heel, flick my hair, and sashay back to the present.
AMALIE: That actually sounds like an amazing use for a trip! There have definitely been some times in my life when I thought of just the right thing to say... a week too late. But since we are both stuck right here in the present, what new, exciting projects do you have coming up?
LORELEI: I'm continuing to record the series of wonderful authors like Janet Evanovich, Darynda Jones (in fact I'm just about to go into studio to record a novella of hers written from Reyes' POV), Patricia Briggs - and now Amalie Jahn! - and I am also working on a couple of projects unrelated to audio books that have to stay secret for now. More news as we have it! :)
This is were you get to read about what's going on inside my head. I apologize in advance - the place is a wreck.