Keira: Last time we spoke, I asked you what you looked for in a story when you auditioned to be the narrator. This time I want to know why you were drawn to narrate Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest specifically. Care to share?
Michele: It was actually my husband who found Zaria for me. He was browsing through the calls for auditions and sent me the link. He knew it was right up my alley. I read over it and fell in love with the book description. Recording books for kids and teens is my favorite! And epic adventure fantasy is the best!
Keira Gillett: Tell your husband thank you for me! It’s funny, because I saw your narrator profile and almost sent you an e-mail to ask you to audition for me, but chickened out. One Mind! As the author I have had the pleasure of listening to the audio book several times, I really want to know, how do you create character voices and how do you remember them and not mix them up? I’ve read books to my younger sisters in the past and would just wing it.
Michele Carpenter: As I read through a book (in my head), each character begins to develop his or her own voice – often influenced by movie or book characters I already know. Getting a good visual in my mind by associating characters with actors or other characters I’ve seen before, is priceless. When I adopt one and imitate it with my own voice, it becomes something entirely different and new again. You probably wouldn’t guess that I’m actually imitating David Bowie, Hagrid, Jem from the Holograms, or Keanu Reeves, lol!
Keira: I think I heard shades of what you’re talking about with one or two of the voices, and you’re right, they become new again in your voice. You have a way of making characters feel like good friends you’re catching up with over lunch. Do you have a favorite character to act in the story? If you do, which character and why?
Michele: I loved being the trolls, though I think their voices sound better in my head than they did coming out. Also I loved reading for Zaria, because the idea of a shy girl finding her confidence is a great story and I really liked that aspect.
BUT…my FAVORITE character to read for was definitely Hector. I enjoyed making him robust and bigger than life. He seemed so sure of himself, knowledgeable and jolly, all the time. Definitely a cool guy and great prince.
Keira: You got Zaria exactly. When you read for her, she came across so sweet. Olaf came out sounding phenomenal too. When I first heard you narrate him, I did a gleeful dance in the car. (You can hear Zaria and Olaf in the audio book sample below.) I also adored your Hector. He was perfect. You really got to know my characters and gave them such life and love. So those characters were your favorite characters to act, are there any other character voices that you enjoyed?
Michele: The bad tempered, brownie, Master Brown. He wasn’t very likable, but I thought his voice was hilarious.
Keira: Oh yes, when I heard him he made me laugh. The voice reminded me of the surly munchkin greeter at the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz motion picture. Last question for today, we talked voices, but what was your favorite scene to record in the book and why?
Michele: The scene where the kids are entering the beautiful Álfheim city was a lot of fun. The descriptions were exciting, and beautiful, and I got to read for a lot of various characters, new and old.
Keira: That is a fun scene. The children are nearing the end of their quest too which amps up emotions. Thanks so much for chatting with me about producing the audio book of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. I’m so blessed to have worked with you on this project.
Don’t you agree that Michele is super talented? Thanks for joining us today!
See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.
Narrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”