Meet the voice of Shelby Nichols!
An exclusive interview with super-talented narrator, Wendy Tremont King.
Colleen: How did you get into the narrating business?
Wendy: Shelby is not the only gal whose life changed because of a bunch of carrots! When I started in Voice Over I specialized in medical and technical long-format narration. As a form of vocal exercise I volunteered at the broadcast station of The Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco where, for 30 minutes every Thursday, I read the Safeway grocery specials. I had so much fun reading the grocery specials that I signed up for the weekly 60-minute Monday book reading and the 30-minute Audiofile Magazine reading. Next thing I knew I was attending the annual Audio Publishers Association conferences and rubbing elbows with the top narrators I had been listening to and reading about in Audiofile Magazine. In the 7 years that I volunteered for the broadcast station, I narrated over 30 titles but, because of all the reviews I had been reading in Audiofile Magazine, I never felt confident enough to break into the commercial business. Then ACX.COM was created and changed all that. CARROTS was one of the first offers I accepted on ACX.COM so I credit you and Shelby for getting me started in the audiobook business!
Colleen: You are an amazing narrator and I feel lucky you were interested in my book! How much time does it take to narrate a book?
Wendy: Surprisingly enough, narration takes the least amount of time of all the tasks required to produce an audiobook. It comes out to roughly 1.5 times the number of finished hours. Compare that to roughly 3.5 times the number of hours to edit the title. If the story is filled with character dialogue, the narration ratio gets closer to 1:2. CARROTS is 8.5 hours in length and took 14 hours to narrate plus a few hours of pickups. After I finished the first edits of CARROTS I was unhappy with Ramos’ voice and went back to re-record all of his lines. That’s an example of a rather extensive pickup. Mostly pickups are just a word or phrase here and there.
Colleen: What is a typical day in the studio like?
Wendy: I work on 3 books at a time in different stages; the first is in prep, the second is being narrated and the third, the book I narrated the week prior, is in editing/mastering. My recording schedule depends on my vocal health. The microphone picks up everything from a jaw click, dry mouth (which actually sounds like a wet mouth on a recording) to a grumbling stomach! If I stay up late, I need more time to warm up my voice. If I eat too much, I have to wait to digest. Before I go into the booth I perform a 30 to 60 minute warm up which includes; yoga, warming the breath and exercising the diaphragm, tongue and articulators followed by some tongue twisters. Cheryl’s cheap chip shop… that sort of thing.
Colleen: What interested you in narrating CARROTS?
Wendy: Oh gosh that’s easy. It’s just plain funny. I call myself The Chief of Laugh because I’m always seeing the funny side of things even if they are dire. I think Shelby is my sister.
Colleen: LOL! Who’s your favorite character in the book?
Wendy: I love Ramos. As in… send him to my studio I want to give him a hug… love him. But the character most fun to narrate is Uncle Joey! He is a complex, conflicted character and he has all the power. When a character has power, he doesn’t have to hide his emotions, he can admit he’s wrong, and speak in a range from soft tones all the way up the charts without losing his power. In other words, Uncle Joey has nothing to hide (almost) so I gave him a lot of vocal variety.
Colleen: Does having an emotional connection to the characters help you in your narration?
Wendy: A character voice is mainly attitude so it’s important to know all the circumstances of the character’s current situation and backstory. Then it’s a matter of staying true to the character’s intention. For example, I’m in the process of narrating a gritty horror novel called VIRGIN BLOOD by Richard Stooker. In it, a character is trying to come back from the dead to wreak havoc on earth. If I were to play that character as pure evil you might think, who cares? It’s just violence for shock value. But he’s desperate to be with his people again so, in order to save his civilization, he has to destroy what exists. This makes him more sympathetic. There are no evil characters… just heroes (even if being a hero is only in his own mind).
Colleen: That is so interesting! What do you enjoy most about being the voice of Shelby Nichols?
Wendy: My early notes on Shelby’s characteristics were; earnest, resilient, loyal, humble, laughs at her foibles, has confidence and she’s unafraid. Men are attracted to her but she doesn’t flaunt it. What a great line up! Who wouldn’t want to walk in her shoes for 14 hours? And I get to spend more time with her this summer working on the next 3 titles in the series!
Colleen: Which I am thrilled about! What projects are you currently working on, and when can we hear more from Shelby?
Wendy: All my commercial titles are on Audible/Amazon/iTunes. You can search for Wendy Tremont King on Audible to see the full list. I’m working on Four Spooky Short Stories by Kathryn Meyer Griffith, the Brianna Sullivan Mystery Series by Evelyn David and a sequel to the romance novel A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton called Girls of Summer all to be released in early August. At which time I will be immersed in the world of Shelby and her companions, producing the next 3 titles of the Shelby Nichols Adventures. I expect they will be released between September and October 2013.
Colleen: Can’t wait! Wendy, thank you so much for joining me today!!!
For a sample of Wendy’s work on Carrots, link here:
I hope you’ll take some time to connect with Wendy and explore her audio world! Thanks for joining me!
Wendy Tremont King Bio – Wendy Tremont King is the self-proclaimed Chief of Laugh at Studiotozzi, her sound studio near the Giants ballpark in San Francisco, where she produces audiobooks and corporate/medical long format narration. Wendy is a proud dues-paying member of the Screen Actors Guild and a reader for the SAG Foundation BookPals literacy program. Wendy enjoys listening to audiobooks while sewing, knitting or riding her road bike on the fabulous hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently knitting a jellyfish out of copper wire and listening to QUARANTINED by Joe McKinney narrated by Therese Plummer.