I was so thrilled when the news came through that I'd be narrating a brand new series by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton - 'Curious Minds', a Knight and Moon novel.
It publishes today, and that's inspired me to jot down a few notes about what it's like for a narrator approaching the first book in what is going to be a series.
In a nutshell - excitement and fear!
Excitement, because you're a huge fan of the authors and can't wait to see what the characters get up to.
Fear, because you want to do them all justice!
I knew straight away that I loved the hero and heroine - Emerson Knight and Riley Moon. But how to voice them?
Knight is nerdy but sexy, intellectual and dryly funny - the author suggested he is bit like an American Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock era). With that as a reference, and as Knight had been educated in England for awhile when he was young, I decided to give him an educated American accent with some British intonations and stresses, and a puzzled, slightly detached quality.
Moon is feisty and ambitious, a country girl making her way in the big city. I was thrilled to see she's from Texas, as it's nice to move around the country vocally. But as she is a graduate of Harvard Business and Harvard Law now working at a bank in New York City, I decided she would probably try to suppress her accent a little, the real twang only emerging in times of stress.
But any fan of Janet Evanovich knows that she writes SUPERB supporting characters, so there was plenty of scope to go to town vocally with Emerson's 'mountain' family members and - of course! - a slew of villains. Secondary characters often give the narrator the chance to have a bit of fun.
I think the main point in choosing voices for new characters is to go with your gut. Often the first voice that comes to you is the right one. Yes, of course you should see what clues the author provides in terms of accent and voice quality, and use logic to reason out what's best technically - but over the years I've learned that it's there in the writing; characters often know how they want to sound. You just have to listen. :)
And I hope you enjoy listening to Curious Minds as much as I enjoyed recording it!