Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Questions for Laura Jennings--Narrator of Hetaera on Audible

I'm delighted to announce that Hetaera (suspense in ancient Athens) is now available on Audible (as well as on Kindle and in trade paperback). Hetaera, is book one of the Agathon's Daughter Trilogy. (I'm working on book two, Priestess, but life and other writing projects have sidetracked me.)

Narrator, Laura Jennings, has done a wonderful job narrating the book--not an easy project with all the ancient Greek references. Laura just got back from Europe (the lucky so-and-so) and she had a wonderful time exploring ancient sites in the UK. No wonder she relates so well to Hetaera! She stopped by my blog and agreed to answer 5 Questions.

Laura Jennings

Laura mentions that she has a degree in creative writing, but I just found out (when I googled her) that Laura is not only a wonderful narrator, but also a writer! Her short stories appear in literary magazines including The Literary Lantern, Gulf Coast Magazine, and SCIFI-LITFI ezine.

Okay, let's get on with my questions.

Suzanne: Laura, you did a wonderful job narrating Hetaera--not easy, since there are lots of strange names and words. What did you find most challenging?

Laura: Regarding strange names and words, Hetaera was not that bad actually. All the specific names of things were easy to find and I found several sites that gave phonetic pronunciations to Greek words and surnames. You provided me with two excellent internet sites. There are a lot of sources on the internet citing classical Greek literature so there was plenty of information. That made the book even more interesting for me than it already was. Through researching pronunciations I learned quite a bit about Greek history that really put your novel into context. The biggest problem in terms of pronunciation is the one I have with every book. That one word you think you have been pronouncing right all your life - you really aren't. 

Suzanne: Yes! I noticed some of your pronunciations are different than I expected, but when I checked them out they're accurate.

I see, from your list of book on Audible, that you've narrated at least forty books. How did you become involved in narrating books on Audible?

Laura: All roads lead to Audible if you want to narrate audiobooks. I believe most big publishing houses with audiobook divisions work with Audible as well as companies that work specifically with audio narration like Tantor or Blackstone or ACX. As for my personal journey, I did a few commercials in the beginning but did not find it very satisfying. I have always loved to read and loved literature in general so moving to narrating audiobooks seemed like a natural transition. My voice coach said he had had good luck with ACX and so that is where most of my work has been. I have been very fortunate to get contracts for good books, like Hetaera.

Suzanne: Thanks, Laura. What's the most fun aspect of narrating a book? And the biggest frustration?

Laura: The most fun aspect of narrating an audiobook is absolutely falling into another world
and making it come alive. To be immersed in a story is one of the best things in life.
I think it's great fun to take a story and make it as three dimensional as is possible without 
cinematography. The biggest frustration is when you want your mouth to work and it doesn’t.
Sometimes it just isn’t going to be a good recording day. On those days all the green apple 
slices and hydration in the world doesn’t help. As Murphy’s law would have it, this usually
happens during a big push to get something out the door on time. 

Suzanne: Green apples for hydration ... that's interesting. Talking for such long periods of
time must be rough on your voice. You mentioned a voice coach; do you consider yourself
an actor?

Laura: That is a very good question. I am not sure I do. My family is originally from the south
where there is a grand tradition of story telling. It is really and art form in and of itself. So I
suppose I consider myself a storyteller. I have done a bit of stage acting but I have an MBA
in Creative Writing and so the written word in the form of novels and short stories is where 
most of my experience lies. I find the differences in reading a story and listening to a story
fascinating. If you wrote a story out the way you would tell it orally you would hardly 
recognize it compared to its written form.

Suzanne: Southern writers sure can tell a great yarn! (My mama came from Tennessee, so even though I grew up in New York, maybe I inherited some of that southern tale-spinning. But I digress. See Laura, give me a moment and I'm talking about myself! One more question. If you could time-travel to the past or future where would you land?

Laura: That is a tough question for a woman. History, as you know, has not been kind to our sex. So if I travelled back in time would I really be privy to the things I would want to see? I probably would want to go to the future. And since I only have Star Trek as a point of reference I would want to visit a future time where warp speed is possible. Being in Brussels in the blink of an eye? Bliss! Fresh croissants or signing of the constitution ..... definitely toss up.

Suzanne: Yum! Fresh croissants and cafe au lait for me! I know what you mean about time travel for women ... a lot of times were not so great. No wonder you write science fiction. 

Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura.

If you enjoy historical suspense, check out Hetaera--suspense in ancient Athens on Audible. Your first month is FREE

List of books Laura has narrated