Audio Spotlight & Narrator Interview: Stolen Enchantress, by Amber Argyle

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Title: Stolen Enchantress

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

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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)

 

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Amber Argyle is the bestselling author of numerous fantasy and romance novels. Her award-winning books have been translated into several languages and praised by such authors as NYT bestsellers David Farland and Jennifer A. Nielsen.

Amber grew up on a cattle ranch and spent her formative years in the rodeo circuit and on the basketball court. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less-crazy larger people. She’s fluent in all forms of sarcasm, loves hiking and traveling, and believes spiders should be relegated to horror novels where they belong.

To receive Amber Argyle’s starter library of four free books, simply tell her where to send it: www.amberargyle.com

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Narrator Bio

Lynn Bradford is a graduate of Michigan State University’s theatre program. She has always loved YA and Beauty and the Beast retellings, like this one, are her absolute favorite books to narrate.

In addition to her numerous stage credits, Lynn brings her experience from multiple diverse industries to her non-fiction narration with her background in computer programming, legal, medical, psychology, anthropology, and many others.

When not in the booth, Lynn prefers the great outdoors and loves running, traveling, and backpacking.

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Q&A with Narrator Lynn Bradford
  1. How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    1. 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.
  2. A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    1. 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.
  3. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    1. 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.
  4. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    1. 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.
  5. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    1. 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.
  6. What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    1. 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.
  7. How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    1. 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.
  8. Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
    1. 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.
  9. What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
    1. 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.
  10. What’s next for you?
    1. 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.
  11. Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    1. 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? 🙂

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Audiobook Spotlight: Mistletoe & Cocoa Kisses+ Excerpt & Narrator Interview

Heart of the Family Banner

Title: Mistletoe & Cocoa Kisses

Author: Stacy Eaton

Narrator: Lisa Beacom

Length: 4 hours 38 minutes

Series: Heart of the Family, Book 1

Publisher: Nitewolf Novels

Released: Mar. 2, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

Robin Cove has had enough of her boss, is over her boyfriend, and makes a split-second decision to leave it all behind. Too bad she didn’t check the weather forecast before she left. Stranded on the side of the road when her old car breaks down, Robin fears her impulsive action will be the death of her, as her body temperature steadily lowers to dangerous levels.

Matt Landry is slowly making his way home in the storm, when he finds an unconscious woman on the side of the road and rushes her home to his father Chris to save her.

When Robin wakes up, she finds herself in the kind of home that she has always dreamed of having, except for the handsome man with the surly attitude. As much as Robin wants to stay, she knows she’ll never win him over and needs to find the right future for herself.

Will Robin’s future bring her back to Chris and his kids? Or, will Chris lose the chance to have the love of a woman who will never leave him and the family he has always wanted?

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Stacy Eaton is a USA Today Best Selling author and began her writing career in October of 2010. Stacy took an early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service in 2016, with her last three years in investigations and crime scene investigation to write full time.

Stacy resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, who works in law enforcement, and her teen daughter. She also has a son who is currently serving in the United States Navy, and two grandchildren.

Stacy is involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years.

Be sure to visit www.stacyeaton.com for updates and more information on her books.

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Narrator Bio

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatic Arts from the University of Nebraska, I worked as an actor on stage and on the radio over the last 20 years.

During this time, I studied voice extensively, and I sing jazz and other styles professionally. I am the featured vocalist for the music album “The Road” by the band Under the Bus.

To keep developing my acting skills, I studied improv at The Second City, Annoyance and Comedy Sports Theaters among others. Most recently, I graduated from the ACX Master Class for audiobook narrators and am now focused on my work as a professional voice actor.

As an audiobook narrator, I’ve recorded dozens of books that are now available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. I discovered that narration provides the perfect outlet for my unique skills and talents.

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Q&A with Narrator Lisa Beacom
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • I kind of stumbled into it. My Aunt started narrating audiobooks and I was talking to her one day and she was so excited about it I had to try it.
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • I took a class that taught me how to navigate ACX and get started narrating.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I do have a degree in Theatre. I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary but I think it definitely helps. Narrating an audiobook is a performance.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • Degree in Theatre. Years of singing lessons. Years on the stage. A class or two in voice acting and lots of improv.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • I honestly love the craft. I love a good book so reading it out loud to an audience is very fulfilling to me.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Yes. So many things. I love getting lost in a good story with a good performance. I love being able to multi task. I’m super klutzy so walking around with my eyes glued to a book is usually a bad idea. That said, I do love regular books too.
  • Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
    • I don’t think I’m unsuited to any particular genre. I actually did decline a project once because I felt like the main character had very specific characteristics that would be better performed by someone else.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • The absolute worst thing for my voice is stress.
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
    • So many ☺
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Yes, I’d go back to when my parents were both alive and healthy and ask them all the questions I never asked.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
    • Audiobook narration is sort of like long-form voiceover work. It’s dramatically different because the books are hours long where most of the other voice over work I’ve done has been very short.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
    • I try not to.
  • If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
    • Nothing gets under your skin like a negative review.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I honestly don’t get it. Unless for some reason the audiobook is “abridged” it’s really the same thing except in audio, someone is reading the book to you…
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
    • Do not undervalue yourself.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I’m working on a project with an author that I’ve done five other titles with.

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