Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Level 2 Launch Week Interview Series: Audiobook Narrator Jenna Lamia

To celebrate the launch of LEVEL 2 on Presenting Lenore, I devised a plan to interview some of the industry people involved in getting the book published and on shelves. Today the audiobook released, and I have Jenna Lamia on the blog. She narrated the US audiobook from Listening Library.  I am listening to it now, and let me tell you -- she is amazing! I want to listen to everything she ever narrated now.


How did you get a start in audiobooks? What interests you most about the process?

I was at my agent's office in New York when I was first starting out, and one of the voice over agents, Shari Hoffman, asked me if by any chance I could do a Russian accent. With characteristic misguided aplomb, I said "sure!" She took me to a recording booth and gave me a few pages to read. I hadn't ever thought about doing books on tape but I was soon hooked. The first book I ever did was called "Bat 6," and it was read by an ensemble of young women. I believe the first book I did on my own was "The Girl With The Pearl Earring." I remember having such a dry mouth, due to nerves, that I had to take little bites of a granny smith apple between takes. Shari is still my agent today.

What interests me most about doing books on tape is that it is acting without the ego. There is no hair and make-up, no lighting - the physical aspects of acting fall away and the performance gets very intimate. It is the most relaxed I ever am as a performer, because I am not worrying about hitting a mark or messing up my hair or finding the light. It is very pure. I love that about it.

You're a film actress as well. Can you tell us about a memorable on-set experience you've had?

There are lots of memorable experiences, but the one that sticks out didn't happen on a set, exactly. In the 2010 movie "The Fighter, " I played Sherri Ward, Mark Wahlberg's character Mickey Ward's youngest sister. The Ward family lived in the town where we shot the movie, and soon after we got there, the actress playing the oldest sister got a call on her cell phone. It was a few of the Ward/Ecklund sisters and they wanted to meet us. I was excited and totally intimidated. This was not a formal meeting set up by the production. What if they hated us? 

We drove to their house, somewhat late at night, and they invited us in for a drink. It was awesome!!! They were so welcoming and generous, and totally without artifice. We met their mother, who was the backbone of that whole family. We stood in the kitchen and talked, and it was the biggest gift I've ever been given as an actress. When you are playing an actual person, and they are still very much alive, they become your only audience. If Sherri had hated how she was portrayed I would never have forgiven myself. But I think she was OK with it. We are now friends on Facebook and she keeps me updated on how she and her family are doing. They are a very close-knit family and I feel lucky that I got to know them a little bit.

How did you prepare for your LEVEL 2 narrating session? Did the book present any special challenges? Which was the most difficult character to find a voice for?

I prepared for it the way I always do: I read the book and made little notes in the margins. I don't practice voices out loud before I get to the studio. I don't know why. I read the book and let it sit with me, and look up any words or pronunciations I'm not sure about. And then by the time I get to the studio, the characters have (hopefully) taken shape. I guess Julian was the most difficult to specify a voice for because whether he is good or evil is not at all clear. You want that air of mystery and intelligence, charm even, but not warmth. Neil is warm. Julian is... slick.

Even though there’s not really a love triangle, people tend to pick teams anyway – so tell us, are you Team Neil or Team Julian?

I remain undecided. I am waiting for the next book, because I think we are going to see more layers!!!

Thank you Jenna!

Listen to a sample of Jenna reading LEVEL 2 at Listening Library.


Level 2 Blog Tour Post at Cuddlebuggery: I reveal my high school writing. It is NOT pretty.


Enter here for a chance to win a LEVEL 2 prize pack! Includes the LEVEL 2 audiobook, an exclusive tote bag, magnet, nail design instructions, nail polish, and signed postcards.  US and Canada only. Enter by Feb 6, 2013 at 11:59 CST pm.


Sandy Nawrot said...

I am waiting for the audio to show up...so excited! She has a great voice for this I think. I love her quote about narration being acting without the ego. I really wish more narrators looked at it that way. It is noticeable when they do.

Jessy said...

I never thought about how the narrator wouldn't know how to portray a certain voice because you don't know if they're good or bad. Now I am interested to see how she made Julian sound.

Zibilee said...

I would love to hear the audio version of this title, and think that I am going to order it when I can. I also liked hearing about Jenna's theory about doing audio narration, and getting the chance to meet one of the characters that she played in her movie. Excellent review today, Lenore!

Miss Remmers said...

Oh! The audio really intrigues me! Super excited!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I love Jenna Lamia, I got to listed to a few of the audiobooks she narrated and she is fantastic. She's perfect for Level 2! :)