Viviana, from Enchantress of Books and I am Soooo excited to have Molly Harper and Amanda Ronconi on our Audio Book Lovin’ Series.
Can I just start by saying how much I love love love these two. Love them!!!! I had the great pleasure of meeting Molly at RT in Dallas this past May. Molly may regret it, but I had a bit of a fan girl moment and might have gone into stalker mod for a bit…. But that is another story for another time.. But here is my proof that I did indeed met Molly—>>>>
But enough about me. Let me introduce you to the ladies.
When Molly was considerably older, she headed for Western Kentucky University, where she majored in print journalism. After graduation, she landed a job with The Paducah Sun and married her high school sweetheart, David, a local police officer. After six years at the newspaper, Molly took a more family-friendly secretarial position at a local church office.
Her husband worked nights and Molly was alone with their small child in the “The Apartment of Lost Souls.” A big fan of vampire movies and TV shows, she decided to write a vampire romance novel. Molly created Jane Jameson, a bit of an accidental loser. Jane is single, almost 30, and a librarian working in Half-Moon Hollow, Ky. She has become a permanent fixture on her Mama’s prayer list. And despite the fact that she’s pretty good at her job, she just got canned so her boss could replace her with someone who occasionally starts workplace fires. Jane drowns her sorrows at the local faux nostalgia-themed sports bar. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer and shot by a drunk hunter. And then she wakes up as a vampire. The three-book Jane Jameson series–which includes Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs,Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men and Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever—was released in 2009. A fourth and final installment, Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors, was released in 2012.
Molly continues stories in the Jane Jameson universe through her Half-Moon Hollow series,Driving Mr. Dead, The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires, Undead Sublet, and The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire. The next title, The Single Undead Mom’s Club will be released in October 2015. Molly updated her popular Naked Werewolf romance series in 2013. How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf, was released in February 2011, quickly followed by The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf. A third installment, How to Run With a Naked Werewolf, was released in December 2013. Her first-ever “haunted house story,” Better Homes and Hauntings, was released in June 2014.
Molly’s books are published by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. They are available in print, as e-books and audio books at major book stores and on Amazon. Molly is a native of Kentucky. She lives in Paducah with her husband and children.
Amanda Ronconi: Amanda is an actress, narrator and writer who divides my time between New York City and Upstate New York. She has a BFA from NYU where she studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory. Amanda has performed in theaters around New York City as well as regionally at The Alley, Capital Rep and many productions at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.
Amanda’s Off-Broadway solo comedy, Shirley at the Tropicana, received critical acclaim and was subsequently featured in The New York Times. Film and TV credits include Daydream Believer (Slamdance 2001’s Best Dramatic Feature winner), The Understudy, Deadly Sins (ID Discovery), IFC’s Get Hit and Chasing Paradise. National network and regional commercials include Chase Bank, Sony and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Her voiceover work encompasses over 70 audiobooks available on Audible.com.
Kelly: So now that we know a little about the ladies let’s get to the business at hand.
Kelly: Molly, how did the author/narrator relationship begin?
Molly: I was super excited about the prospect of audio books when NICE GIRLS DON’T HAVE FANGS came out. I only received one audio sample to audition voice actresses, but Amanda was so good, I was totally comfortable with her. But I believe she’d done all four NICE GIRLS books before I asked for her email so we could do a Q&A for my blog. I felt really intrusive doing that, for some reason. But once that communication was established, we felt pretty comfortable contacting each other. Amanda really gets my voice and my humor, so it stands to reason that we would get along well “in real life.”
Of course, now that I know her, I do feel a little guilty, picturing her in a recording booth, reading the sex scenes aloud to some hapless engineer. The words I put in her mouth are somewhat filthy. And yet, I do it anyway. So clearly, I have no conscience.
Let’s listen to a sample from NICE GIRLS DON’T HAVE FANGS.
Molly: Accents are important. We talk about region or country and how pronounced the accent might be. (OH MY GOD, Amanda can do an amazing Russian accent. I am tempted to include a hot Russian guy in every book from now on, just for the listeners’ benefit.) And we talk about certain words or colloquialisms and their pronunciations. Last names and town names can be a little tricky in the south, so she’s always good about double-checking those.
Kelly: Amanda, how do you go about selecting how each of the character are going to sound like?
Amanda: Well I guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore because all characters will now be done with a Russian accent. No, really, I entirely take my cue from what Molly has written. Her characters are very specific. I remember when I got the first Nice Girls script, it was so clear to me what Jane Jamison’s voice should sound like because Molly had written it so distinctly. I worked for a while to make sure I was capturing her comedic tone. I was super excited to narrate it.
Kelly: Amanda, along the lines of the previous question, how do you manage or what is your process of remember what the character from a previous book sounds like when they reappear in a new book?
Amanda: If it’s been a long time since I’ve done a character I might go back and listen to snippets of the audiobook I last did with them in it. In general, I try to have a specific person associated with each character (the character, Zeb Lavelle, I decided talks like my brother) that way it’s easy to remember.
Kelly: Amanda, tell us about the narrating process (i.e. do you read the book before narrating it? How long are the recording sessions per day? How long does it take for you to narrator a book? If you make a mistake while recording, what happens?)
Amanda: I find reading the book two to three times (one of those times out loud) before recording works best. Mainly because I need to know what the book IS that I’ll be narrating, who the characters are, where the story is going to go so I can lead the listener through it. On the most basic level, If I didn’t read a book before I narrated it I would have no idea what parts to take my time with, what parts should be faster, slower, etc. It would also take much longer to record if I didn’t have any familiarity with the script before I sat down in front of the microphone because I would mess up way more. Because of the wonders of digital recording messing up is no big deal, you just stop and put the cursor back to before the mistake and hit record. But you want the recording process to be as effortless as possible. Some days, despite being prepared, you mess up more than others and the stopping and starting can get frustrating. You just have to stay very Zen and not let the choppiness bother you. Other days can be so smooth and you really feel like the words are coming straight from your own brain, not just the author’s, and into the microphone. Those recording days are my favorite, obviously.
I usually have a six-hour recording day. Sometimes a little longer. I take breaks for sure. Usually by the end of the day I feel pretty brain-dead. I try not to operate heavy machinery after a full recording day.
Kelly: Amanda, authors have writer’s cave, do narrators have something similar?
Amanda: Well the recording studio is actually quite a bit like a cave, a soundproof cave. Removed from the world. Just a script with a light focused on it and a microphone hanging in front of you. You even don’t know what the weather is outside.
Kelly: Here’s a fun question for Amanda name that both Viviana and I have been wondering… as a narrator, do you get “oh say it in ‘the voice’” question often?
Amanda: Ha! No, not one person has ever asked me that.
Kelly: Molly, once the audiobook has been recorded, do you then listen to it or have final approval or is it automatically done when it’s done recording?
Molly: I don’t hear it until it’s available to the public, but again, Amanda’s so good, that I have total faith in her handling of the narration. I know my work is in good hands.
Kelly: Molly, what do you love about having your books in audiobook format?
It’s a great experience for me, as an author, because I get to the experience the book all over again in a new way. When you write and rewrite and go through multiple edits, you lose a sense of the story. Hearing it aloud gives me a whole new perspective.
Kelly: Amanda, of all of Molly’s books, which one has been your favorite to narrate and why?
Amanda: Wow! That is a really tough question. I have absolutely enjoyed them all. Molly’s dialogue very much captures the nature of conversation, which makes it so fun to deliver. The main characters don’t take themselves too seriously, sure they have big problems, but they have a sense of humor about themselves, which I appreciate. Even the sex scenes and filthy words she makes me say often have a moment or two of humor which makes it less embarrassing if I am recording across from a hapless engineer in a night session at Audible.
Kelly: Ladies, if someone has not listened to any audio book before what would you tell them?
Molly: Do not listen to my books on a treadmill, I’ve been told that is dangerous.
Amanda: But if you do, get the gym membership with the insurance policy.
How about a few more samples of Molly and Amanda’s work. Enjoy!!!
One Last Thing (currently a stand alone novel)