Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sweet Evil Audiobook: Interview with Narrator

The SWEET EVIL audiobook is now available!  My copy is on its way, and I can't wait to hear it.  I adore the voice actress who narrated it, Erin Mallon.  We found each other right away when the process began, and we've kept in touch.  Erin won me over immediately when she began asking for my input about pronunciations and dialects. Her enthusiasm was catchy.  We decided to do an interview for release day so everyone could learn a bit about her, the narration process, and her thoughts on SWEET EVIL.  I'm so impressed by her, personally and professionally.

~ Hi Erin! Tell us a little about yourself and your career path.

I am a theater and voice actor working in NYC.  I work primarily on new plays and love being part of their development.  I am in awe of great writing, so to be able to work closely with playwrights and fantastic authors (such as YOU) and bring their stories to life, whether onstage or in the booth, is a real gift.  I love writers so much that I started a monthly new play-generating project called The Brooklyn Generator, where we gather 6 playwrights and 12 actors once a month to create and perform new plays in less than 2 days.  

~ Have you narrated any other audiobooks?

Yes indeed!  YA fiction is by far my favorite genre to narrate.  YA allows you to swim around in stories where characters are experiencing some of life’s big emotions and obstacles for the first time, which is such fun for an actor to revisit and explore.  Romance novels are also a ridiculously enjoyable experience.  Right now I’m narrating a 4-book romance series following the lives and loves of four angsty cowboy brothers on a ranch in Texas. 

~ What was it like being the voice of Anna?

I love this girl!  As someone who grew up rather religious and with an abundance of “good girl” qualities, I can relate to her in about a million ways.  It was a delicate balance capturing Anna’s voice.  When narrating accented characters, especially central characters, I find that less is usually more.  You have to keep in mind that someone will be listening to you talk for 12 hours in some instances, so if you go too far with the dialect the listener’s ears can tire of it quickly.  In Anna’s case, you helped me tremendously when you said “ I keep thinking Reese Witherspoon in ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ but softer.”

~ Did you have difficulty with any scenes or character voices?

You put a lot of accents in this story, my friend!  Lemme see… we touched on a variety of British and American Southern dialects, French, German, Italian, Australian, Malawian, the tried-and-true California “surfer guy” accent, and… have I missed any?  In all seriousness, this is the kind of challenge I really dig though!  Part of the magic of narrating audiobooks is you get to play as all sorts of characters that no casting director in their right mind would ever cast you in onstage.  For example, would I ever be considered to play a young man from Africa with a soft Malawian accent?  How about an imprisoned, gruff, raspy-voiced demon guy?  Probably not.  Speaking of gruff, raspy-voiced demons, Anna’s father was described as exactly that.  I had a blast voicing him, and yet I had to be conscious to not to go overboard and stress out my throat.  Male characters of the gruff variety can be harsh on the ‘ol vocal cords if one’s not careful.   

~ Which was your favorite character?

Is Kaidan too obvious an answer?  I mean who doesn’t love Kaidan? I also found myself very drawn to Kopano.  I found that the sharp contrast between how Kaidan and Kopano operate in the world felt so real and juicy.  It made a world of sense to me that (potential spoiler alert!) Anna would feel a pull in both their directions. 

As I was reading the book for the first time (I like to give books two solid reads before stepping into the booth), I was reminded of what a friend told me when she was reading a series she really loved.  “Ohmygod Erin,” she said. “It’s so good that when you’re not reading it, you’re wondering what the characters are up to!”  I’m not embarrassed to say I felt the same way with Sweet Evil.  You’ve created vibrant, fully fleshed-out people (each of whom have such a distinct way of expressing themselves) that my job felt incredibly easy!  Sometimes as a narrator you find yourself working hard to create character voices to ensure the listener can follow easily. But in the best possible scenarios, you can relax and trust that the writing will make the choices for you.  And when the characters start talking through you?  Oh man, that’s when the process becomes a real thrill - for the narrator for sure, and most importantly (we always hope) for the listener. 

Thank you so much for stopping by, Erin!  :-)

Purchase the Sweet Evil audiobook on Audible!


  1. I am sooo excited for the audiobook and I am sure as hell getting a copy for myself!!!!! I cannot wait to hear how Erin brings those characters to life!

    And I am so excited for you Wendy! That all must be super epic :))

    1. Epic is right! Can't wait to hear what you think about the audiobook!

  2. Yay for an audiobook (need to get my needy hands on that one as well) and Erin seems like a lovely person. I love how she related to Anna! You, Wendy, really made her job hard with all these accents and dialects, but I love you for including so various types of personalities and backrounds! Also, haha. Erin is 100% right! Who wouldn't love our very own Kaidan Rowe?! Thanks for this and hope this is only the beginning of your success, Wendy! It has to be :)

    Have a lovely week, both of you!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    1. Thank you, Siiri! I DID make it really hard on her, lol. But she was up for the challenge. :)

  3. I just love living through you sometimes, Wendy. I think that this, more than anything (except being published in the first place) would be my favorite part of having a published book: getting to hear it spoken out loud, with all the different characters and accents... :)

    Love it.

  4. Replies
    1. So glad you're enjoying the audio! C'mon April 30th!!!

  5. I bought Sweet Evil on audio, and it is lovely! Wendy I just freaking love this series! April really needs to get here sooner.
    Thank you