Amy McFadden was born in Detroit, Michigan and continues to work out of the Midwest. She has narrated over 200 audiobooks and and continues to work on stage, screen, and mic out of the Midwest. Almost Paradise is now available in audio for the first time and both were narrated by Amy McFadden. She gives some insight on what it takes to narrate a book and her journey to becoming a narrator.
1. What has been your journey to becoming an audiobook narrator?
My journey to becoming an audiobook narrator is appropriately CLASSIC! I started on stage, and got my degree in theater. Then I expanded my training to include on-camera and voice work. I did that part time while teaching 2nd grade using my other degree, in education. In 2012, I took a very early retirement, and started acting full time, including recording my first audiobooks.
2. How many books have you narrated, do they have a common theme or genre? How do you select which books to narrate?
I’ve narrated somewhere around 400 titles across all genres (including my inspirational title pseudonym, Cici Dee). Narrators don’t choose which titles are offered to us. Luckily, publishers have producers who somehow know us and choose books that are a good fit. (They are magical superhero-types. Seriously.) I am a big fan of Type Casting: If it FEELS like an Amy book, send it my way!
3. What is special about narrating a Debbie Macomber book?
The most special part of narrating a Debbie Macomber book is knowing that your audience is made up of completely devoted, champagne–soaked, chocolate covered strawberry loving, incurable (why would we want to be cured?!) ROMANTICS.
4. Do you prefer to read or listen to books? Where is your favorite place to listen to audiobooks, or your favorite activity to do while listening?
I read with my eyes or my ears depending on the situation. I read myself to sleep at night with regular old paper print or eBooks. When I have home improvement projects or a long drive, I listen.
5. What is your routine for recording a book? How many times do you read it before? How do you decide on the voices you do for different characters?
My routine for prepping an audiobook script includes, but is not limited to:
Researching the author and her audience; reading the book through once paying attention to the story to glean the author’s purpose, tone, character personalities/motivations, and story arc; highlighting any unknown words, places, or accents to research/refresh later; assigning an initial before each line of dialogue so I know which character is speaking; making a character list with any vocal or physical clues the author gives in the text, and matching personality/vocal traits so I (hopefully!) keep everyone distinguishable to the listener; scanning through the prologue or first chapter before I get in the booth to get my brain and heart back to the beginning of the main character’s journey. Then away we go!
6. What do you love most about being an audiobook narrator?
The thing I love most about being an audiobook narrator is the same thing I love most about teaching, or having dinner with friends and family, or meeting new people at an event: sharing stories. There is something innate in human beings that absolutely craves stories, and I love hearing them and telling them equally. If you’re ever in public and need a quick romance fix, just ask any couple how they met. You’ll get a 2-3 minute love story, told with a warm smile and usually a giggle or two!
7. What is something that people may not know about being a narrator?
I think most people don’t realize the amount of preparation and training that’s involved in narrating audiobooks.
Also, people think of actors as dramatic and as having “big,” confident personalities, (which, okay, admittedly, I do) but many of us who are doing this job are introverts who prefer an audience of one—the listener. (I often think of my microphone as a person’s ear into which I’m telling a story.) It’s a really intimate genre of storytelling.