Viviana, from Enchantress of Books and I am so excited to have Dani Harper and the awesome Justine Eyre our Audio Book Lovin’ Series.
Today I am talking to the ladies about Dani’s Grim series. I have had the pleasure of listening to Justine narrate Dani’s amazing story and as always Justine blows me away with her amazing talents. But enough about me and my love of all thing audiobooks (I will be talking more about this tomorrow). Let me introduce you to the ladies.
Dani Harper is a former newspaper editor whose passion for all things supernatural led her to a second career writing paranormal fantasy. There isn’t anything she likes better than exploring myths and legends from many cultures, which serve to inspire her stories.
Love fairies? Dani’s new Grim Series is bringing Celtic faery legends into modern-day America: Storm Warrior, Storm Bound and Storm Warned. (Storm Warrior earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly.)
Die-hard werewolf fans will want to meet Dani’s unique take on shapeshifters: the Macleod clan in Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream, and Changeling Dawn. (Book 1, Changeling Moon, was a 2012 RITA finalist.) Need more shapeshifters? Try First Bite, a Dark Wolf story. Learn more at here Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads
Justine Eyre is a classically trained actress who has narrated over three hundred audiobooks. With a prestigious Audie Award and five AudioFile Earphones Awards under her belt, Justine is multilingual and is known for her great facility with accents. She has appeared on stage in leading roles in King Lear and The Crucible, and has starring roles in four films on the indie circuit. Her recent television credits include Two and a Half Men and Mad Men. Learn more about Justine here: Goodreads | Brilliance Audio | Tantor | Audible
Dani/Justine can you tell us how the author/narrator relationship begin?
Dani: Montlake let me know that Justine Eyre would be voicing the first book of my Grim Series, Storm Warrior. I didn’t have the opportunity of meeting her or speaking with her, but I immediately sought out samples of her narration work – and she was wonderful! I was so happy (and honored) to have such an accomplished actress reading my story.
Even though I was certain it would be good, actually hearing the finished audiobook of Storm Warrior brought tears to my eyes. I was in awe! Justine did an amazing job of bringing my characters vividly to life (in fact, I remember wondering if she was part Fae herself!). Even better, she handled the intricate Welsh and Faery languages with an ease and a fluency that few people could have matched (certainly not me, LOL!).
My readers adore Justine’s narration of the stories too. So naturally, I’ve requested her as the narrator of each Grim novel since, and counted myself very fortunate that she’s graciously said “yes” each time. I just can’t imagine anyone else reading them aloud!
Justine: Ms. Harper’s first title in her Grim Series was entrusted to me by Brilliance Audio and after reading the first few pages, I knew I was in for a treat! I felt that not only was it a story that I would love being in the studio with, it was a tale that I’d want as part of my personal bedside reading. The Holy Grail, for a narrator!
Brilliance Audio was kind enough to share an audio clip of Storm Warrior for us to share with you. Enjoy.
Dani, what sort of information do you provide Justine with prior to her starting the narrating process of one of your book(s)?
Dani: I do fill out some very basic forms and bare-bones questionnaires about characters and such, which I believe are shared with her. Mostly, I just want Justine to “read it as she feels it” – I’d never want to interfere with her creative process. Speaking of which, I’m dying to know just how she works her magic!
Justine, how do you go about selecting how each of the characters are going to sound like?
Justine: Dani writes in a very visual and beautifully descriptive way so coming up with voices for her characters was a completely organic process, I felt like I could kind of sidle into the shoes of each person and start using their voice. They read very much as three-dimensional, breathing beings. I tried to stay true to the text and then vocalized how these characters appeared to me, as the reader.
Along the lines of the previous question, how do you manage or what is your process of remembering what the character from a previous book sounds like when they reappear in a new book?
Justine: I am a nerd! I always take copious notes when prepping a title and looking back at those notes helps jog my memory. There are characters that never need that prompt so when I read that Ranyon made a reappearance, I had the biggest grin on my face, he is definitely a memorable personality. I wouldn’t mind having him live in my own garden!
Justine, 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?)
Justine: I always read a book first, paying strict attention to any clues the author has written, from dress (does this character always appear in jeans) to personality tics (is this one constantly flipping her hair, suffering from allergies, etc). Even though it is solely my voice that is fleshing out the words, I feel more prepared if I can envision the person, from flashing, twinkly eyes, down to scuffed boots.
My studio time varies for each title…per finished hour is always the go-to expression. For every hour that you listen to a completed audiobook, it has taken me anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours in studio to obtain. Yes, mistakes are made! Sometimes I flub a line and have to go back in and redo it, sometimes I will say something in a character’s voice and go, yikes, that didn’t sound right at all! I am both actor and director when in the studio and that director, whew, she is a task-master, let me tell you!
Justine, authors have writer’s caves, do narrators have something similar?
Justine: I love the image of the author’s writing cave! Yes, my working environment is similar though thanks to my builder hubby, my studio has a large, sound-proofed window out to the garden. So, I don’t lead a troglodytic existence, hurrah. Psychologically and physically, I love having natural light pouring in during daylight hours and knowing that night has fallen outside. Funny enough, I don’t get distracted by the window…we have had major weather changes, sudden rain squalls, huge wind gusts, and I am so wrapped up in the story that I remain completely unaware. I did know when we had a mini earthquake as my studio actually shook but apart from that, it is a world unto itself.
Dani: I have a question that I’ve been dying to ask Justine myself – is there something in your background or experience that has helped you to speak the Welsh and Fae languages so beautifully? My gramma was from northern Wales, but I didn’t get to hear her speak much of the language.
Justine: Dani, thank you for the huge compliment!!! I had an Irish grandmother with a very pronounced, lilting accent and I do have somewhat pointy ears so I’d like to claim Fae blood, ha! I grew up overseas and would hear so many different accents and languages, they always seemed like the passport to enter into a secret world. I was inspired to then study and learn as many languages as I could…though Welsh was an exciting new realm for me.
Here’s a fun question for Justine, that both Viviana and I have been wondering… as a narrator, do you get “oh say it in ‘the voice’” question often?
Justine: Occasionally at dinner parties, I will be asked to do a voice…usually it comes down to broad accents, ‘oh, can you do the young Pakistani girl’ or ‘how do the Welsh Fae creatures sound?’ So, I then continue our conversation in that particular voice for awhile. See, invite me to a dinner and you aren’t getting just me, a whole coterie of Other World creatures are coming along too!
Dani, 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?
Dani: When the audiobook is done, it’s done. I’m definitely anxious to listen to the finished product at the first opportunity, but it’s as a fan of Justine.
Dani, what do you love about having your novels in audiobook format?
Dani: I have a growing number of readers who have discovered just how convenient it is to be able to listen to a story while driving or performing other activities. (My personal favorites are listening to books while I exercise, and also at night when my eyes are too tired from writing to read anymore.) So I’m thrilled that my novels are available in audio format, and I hope they reach a wider audience because of it.
What I find especially interesting is that I experience the story differently when I hear someone narrate it rather than read it myself. This is even true with my very own novels! There are always nuances and details to be discovered through someone else’s interpretation. So I’m not surprised when readers tell me that they’ve read one of my books AND gotten an audio version to enjoy as well.
Justine, of all of Dani’s books, which one has been your favorite to narrate and why? Do you have any favorite characters so far?
Justine: I have had the pleasure of narrating the three (so far) titles in the Grim series so that is a tough question, to pick a favorite. I do know that I was very giddy after reading the first book and I told my husband how much I loved being in this romantic, magical world. STORM BOUND had some of my favorite characters, I felt as though Brooke could have been a friend of mine and her rapport with her best friend, George, had me in stitches. I’d pause between takes so I could stop laughing and get my voice under control. So, George completely rocked my world, I will forever have a soft spot for the witticisms of Ranyon and as for Lurien, he embodies the haunting, alluring darkness of the fae kingdom. I am an ardent believer in both true love and the possibility of there being a faery kingdom out there so for me to inhabit that world, three times, was a gift. Now I am waiting with the rest of Dani’s fans for book 4!!
Dani/Justine, if someone has not listened to any audio book before what would you tell them?
Dani: I’d definitely encourage them to give audiobooks a try. Not only for the convenience, as I mentioned before, but for the sheer pleasure. I think there’s a child in all of us who still enjoys being read to. There’s simply nothing like it!
Justine: I love Dani’s answer! For a first-time audiobook listener, I would tell them to pick a story they are eager to read and then sit back and get ready to be transported. I am a voracious reader and I think audiobooks now make reading more accessible in so many ways – I have friends who spend even more time in their car because of audiobooks, they will drive around the block until the chapter finishes or pull up to their house and wait, breathless, for a moment when they can pause the tale. I think the combination of a great author/narrator bringing the story to life is magic indeed, ‘dontcha know’!
Ladies, it has been a pleasure and honor to have you on the blog today. And as a special treat to our readers here is a sample from Dani’s Storm Warned narrated by Justine Eyre.
Dani is giving away a set of all three audiobooks in the Grim Series.
Open to USA, Canada, and the UK