An interview with an Audiobook Narrator | In conversation with Benjamin Fife, the narrator behind the #JaneAustensDragons series by Maria Grace!

Posted Wednesday, 12 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Narrator Blog Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

If you only *knew!* how *excited!* I have been to share the conversation I had with Mr Fife (the narrator of the #JaneAustensDragons series!) – you’d be curious how I’ve been sitting on this beautiful lovely convo and haven’t spilt a word of it online! When I first received it back from Mr Fife via our hostess for this lovely audiobook blog tour (The Audiobookworm herself!) I was overjoyed, brilliantly ecstatic and couldn’t wait for my tour stop to arrive fast enough to share it with everyone!

Fife took the extra time to truly round out his answers, think about his responses to my enquiries and gave me & you, a wicked brilliant conversation which seeks to examine how one author (ie. Jane Austen) seeks to unite us all. We both mutually share a strong passion for the collective works of Austen (even if technically I still haven’t shifted past “Pride & Prejudice” – except I am making headway, I’ve joined a buddy-read which begins with “Emma!” this year) and a hearty curiosity about Fantasy and all things fantastically spellbinding inside works of Speculative Fiction!

We’re also both happily drawn into #dragonfiction which you’ll soon see as we discuss not only the components of this series and the breadth of joy Maria Grace is giving us as readers inasmuch as sparking his own creativity in bridging the gap from page to audio narration – but you’ll see how two bookish & geeky chatterboxes endeavour to bring a lively conversation to my blog Jorie Loves A Story!

This is definitely the convo for any reader who loves to dig into the *stories!* behind-the-book & behind-the-audiobook – where you get to see an interpersonal glimpse into what is happening in the making of an audiobook & the direction of a series the narrator is enjoying bringing to life with his voice & his incantations of the characters, dragons and other lovely creatures who inhabit Maria Grace’s world!

As you know I love being able to bring interviews with authors to my blog but every so often I am #blessed with the chance to interview a narrator who has brought to life an audiobook (or series of #audioreads) I simply cannot stop listening too!

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Without further adieu,

I give you an up close & personal glimpse into the life of Benjamin Fife!

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What I loved about the first novel in this series “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon”:

We retreat back into the world lit alive by Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett in a rather charming viewing of this family’s evening traditions. It is here were we find the incomparable Mrs Bennett still with a glint of criticism to share on her observations of her family and Lizzie herself, who is gathering requests for a story to be told about dragons. The young boys in her presence are besotted with the idea – barely able to contain themselves or the immediate glee they are experiencing over the prospect of what Lizzie might tell them about their favourite creature. And, thus our entrance into the Jane Austen Dragons series begins as if we never left this world at all – well, except with one minor difference, the last time I visited dragons were never whispered about nor aptly disclosed.

It is in this children’s story about the back history of dragons we first caught a glimpse of the first human who could interact with dragons due to his ability to ‘hear’ them; an unfamiliar trait amongst humans who previously were unable to communicate with dragons previously. This man was Uther Pendragon. And, thus the back lineage of dragons and humans is explained through how our original contacts with dragons began quite humbly and how Pendragon forged a unique capacity for peace with the dragon king he had met and of whom had given him gifts to takeaway with him. This was an interesting section of the story as it set down the tradition of how men kept falcons and why women kept birds; a seemingly uninteresting habit and yet, if you were to view this with the back history of how this tradition was manifested first through the meetings of dragons, it gives new meaning behind why humans have feathered companions.

This was a beautiful segue moment – where you can view this world in one dimensional lens and re-view it through the dimensional lens Ms Grace is writing for us to find disclosed. It was shortly after the bedtime story concluded where we first understood who Lizzie’s feathered companion really is and how she fits into the history of dragons inside this world. It is a slow building arc towards showcasing how most of the inhabitants still believe themselves to be living a rather ordinary experience – to see the non-magical elements round them and taking that as stock for what is truly the reality they know and love. Yet, behind that veilled reality there is a keener one, a more fantastical one which is seeking to merge into known history and the perceptional assumption everyone had already made about their own living sphere. It here I felt Ms Grace made a wonderful gesture towards breaking us out of the tradition of Pride and Prejudice and what we knew of the Regency to exchange it for this wholly new set of rules and traditions for this new world emerging into our view. I found it as fascinating of a transition as I had previously when I first learnt the word muggle and the differences therein in a universe just as fantastical as this one.

Ms Grace took us through a conjoined and mutually admired lens of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice storyline – keeping us clued into the familiar and then taking us into heightened new additions – not just the dragons but how she constructed this world ‘behind’ the lore and legend which has become the Jane Austen universe. It is in that breadth of entrance I could definitely see why the narrator Mr Fife was talking to me in my forthcoming interview about how expansive this world is going to become – because it isn’t locked into strictly resonating with our memories of Pride but will endeavour itself to re-transition through different components of theory and thought from each of Austen’s novels.

I truly loved her instincts – such as how she put in a new reason and central arc of intrigue into why the soldiers would be in Meryton and how this had a cross-effect of importance with the dragons. Similarly to how she enlarged the mindfulness of understanding why female heirs were not giving real estate and how this new component of needing a Dragon Keeper (a person who can hear and see dragons) is just as relevant as the old rules for the entailled property to go to a male heir. She takes the traditions of the story itself and then re-visualises how it can become augmented into a dragon society living adjacent and cohabitating with the humans who reside here. I found it wicked brilliant!

If you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice in a long while this is a wonderful re-visitation of the story – as Maria Grace aligns you so wholly true to where Jane Austen took us into her novel. The added benefit is the secondary arc wherein the dragons reign alongside the ton and country society the Bennett’s have become renown. As you take this journey each new corridor of the original story is re-explored and re-heightened by the presence of Grace’s dragons. It is hard not to spoilt what you will find within this new series because of how readily true she has written her world into Austen’s and vice versa. You almost question which of the world’s came first – even knowing the answer and that is a mark of a wicked good storycrafter who has given those of us who love Austen a new experience of her stories!

-quoted from my review of Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon

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The Jane Austen Dragons series:

Pemberley Darcy's Dragon by Maria Grace (audiobook)Longbourn Dragon Entail by Maria Grace (audiobook)Netherfield Rogue Dragon by Maria Grace

A Proper Introduction to Dragons (prequel)

Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon (book one)

Longbourn: Dragon Entail (book two)

Netherfield: Rogue Dragon (book three)

Fantastical Elements:

→ Hybrid creatures like the cat-snake Rumblkins who was really a Tatzelwurm

→ Dragons have telepath or empathic powers of influence over humans

→ A wholly fully realised dragon society including their own legends, cultural history with a spoken and written language!

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #JaneAustensDragons + #AudioReads, #Audiobook

as well as #Pemberley, #MrDarcy OR #LizzieAndDarcy

& #JaneAusten, #PrideAndPrejudice #aftercanon

About Maria Grace

Maria Grace

Five time BRAG Medallion Honoree and #1 best selling Historical Fantasy author, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time.

She writes gaslamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction.

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What draws your interest into stories about dragons? What do you hope to find inside the world in which they are built round and the kind of fantastical details which give you a wicked good read (or listen)?

Fife responds: Dragons are larger than life. I adore the How to Train Your Dragon film series (the books are a little weak). Stories with dragons are so incredibly varied, from them being mindless beasts driven by instinct alone, to being sentient & more wise than humans. I love when authors incorporate all kinds of different dragon species, with different abilities. Maria has done so extensively through this series, but what she has also done is researched dragon folklore extensively to come up with a “well rounded society” of dragons.

Ooh as do I!!! I was on absolute pins going back into the third “How to Train Your Dragon” installment which is why I reached out to a bookish friend I know in the book blogosphere and on #bookTwitter to see if I could ascertain if I could honestly handle what was going to become revealled; I was that emotionally connected! Thankfully she gave me the best advice and I borrowed the films through my local library; the first two went missing so those were through inter-library loan and the 3rd thankfully was recently purchased and still available to be loaned directly. It was the best part of 2019 really – finally getting to see what happened to everyone and to see how Hiccup and Toothless end their time with us. Though – are we ever truly ready to say ‘goodbye’? That ending… goodness, there wasn’t enough tissues!

I love the stories where they show how dragons are sentient beings and have heart as much as they are striving to sort out the other species and/or humans of their world(s). I don’t really gravitate towards stories where dragons are depicted as being especially evil or have such a vile nature in them that the stories are turnt into violent narratives without a lot of Light. I’m on the other side of #dragonfiction – where I like dragon societies to have a better balance between Light and Dark.

This is why I was charmed and delighted by the ‘well-rounded dragon society’ I discovered within the Jane Austen Dragons series which is a now equal match to my love of the #LelandDragons series I previously have blogged and tweeted about over the years!

Blessedly this author has taken our beloved interest in Pride and Prejudiceand intermixed it with our fantastical attraction to dragons and the lore of intrigue within both worlds. What was your favourite discovery within Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon? What did you feel about how these two individually distinct worlds became co-merged into a new place where Classical readers and Fantasy readers could co-habitat?

Fife responds: Some of the absurd behavior of the characters from the original can now be explained away as being under the influence of dragons. Mrs. Bennett? She’s just been living not hearing dragons her whole life, but being persuaded by them nonetheless. No wonder she’s got no sense.

There was a reviewer who made a point that the main characters lose their “titular flaws.” I suppose there’s an argument there, but I felt that instead, their character traits were partially expanded in the increased cast, and for me at least, the involvement of Dragons in their whole lives is more than enough to explain why some things happen a little differently & their reactions are slightly different. There are also some things that are very tipped on their heads. Instead of just Lizzy being fooled by Wickham, you have Darcy fooled in much the same manner by Longbourn. They’re both forced to deal with their assumptions head on & realize that they are more alike than they are different, in faults as well as in strengths.

This is where I loved how you were sharing portions of what it is like to be a narrator of a book series such as this one – how you intuitively shared your takeaways and your reactions to the characters whilst giving me and others a lovely chance to see ‘behind-the-book’ and inside the heart of what it takes to bring these characters and the world they live happily to life! Especially since I *knew!* there had to be some kind of logical reason why Mrs Bennett is behaving the way she is all the time! Laughs.

Hmm.. I had a different reaction to the series than most I think – as I saw this as an enhanced version of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and the augmentation of the dragons – wells, clearly I warmed to it because it was quite hard to stop gushing over them in my first review for the series!! I also felt like you, that Ms Grace dealt with the characters and their weaknesses quite well – she re-highlighted what makes this a variant of the original by giving this Lizzie and this Darcy something to chew on and grow from inasmuch as the original did when Austen penned it.

What do you love most about the Pride and Prejudice aspects which overlay into this new world?

Fife responds: Taking Jane Austen’s pristine world & creating a dragon society that in many ways is modeled directly after it. That challenge of realizing that whatever our perspective is, we are undoubtedly missing something. I recently read a book that pointed out how narrow minded the phrase “there’s 2 sides to every story” is. It pointed out there are at least 360 sides to every story.

(If you expand on that idea 3 dimensionally, it means there are at least 46,656,000 ways of looking at  anything). That to me is in large part what Jane Austen wrote about. No one ever has the whole picture.

Modelled after the original is a good way of putting it for new listeners (or readers) who are first entering into this space of narrative. I felt Ms Grace expanded upon the world Austen had built and then put her creative spin on what she wanted this world to do after she had placed her dragons inside it. I also agree for every story told there is an infinite number of ways to accept the realities of that story. This is why we each share a different perspective as we’re reading and as we’re listening to an audiobook. Its all reading dimensionally in the end – but with a book its locked into our own thoughts and perceptions whereas with an audiobook we have an added layer with the narrator who is directing us a bit through their performance but it is up to the listener how they want to interpret what they are being told and if that narrator can connect with the listener as well.

This is one reason why I find it odd when other readers or authors, etc get upset if someone doesn’t like a particular story or series. It’s valid that they didn’t or that they had – everyone is coming into a story from a different place in their lives and with different prior experiences with genre, etc. I think for each story we all mutually love there are numerous ones we would disagree on and that is what makes literature such a wonderful journey!

Of all the dragons within this series – do you have a favourite? What made them stand out to you?

Fife responds: That’s a hard one. I adore so many of them! And I also don’t want to give away too much. I hate to say it, because he’s a bit of a schmuck through most of the series, but I really like Longbourn.

He’s curmudgeonly & spoiled, and you don’t really find out his whole story and motivation until the end of book 3. He’s a brat, but I LOVED voicing him. But I also love doing Walker, and April – in particular their relationship, and some of the minor characters were delightful too. Maria has written the dragon companions to in some ways mirror their companions, so if you love the characters in the original, you can’t help but love the dragons as well.

I had a feeling of all the questions I could pitch to you for this conversation, this would be the one you might struggle with the most! How can you pick a favourite, right!? It is hard to do and I love how you did respond because it shows a humbling view of a narrator trying to select which of the dragons he enjoyed voicing and/or which of the dragons left the strongest impression on him whilst he brought them to life! I did like seeing how this refraction happened between the companions and their composites of characters!

Which aspects of the world-building within this framework of the Jane Austen Dragons do you think Fantasy readers will be most keen to listen for and to discover as they make their way into the series? What makes this world distinctively fantastical in other worlds?

Fife responds: The idea that in fact, Dragons do exist & could very well exist in the world we live in today. If only certain people can perceive them as dragons & understand them, and those people are sworn to secrecy, who’s to say that particularly large great dane of your neighbors isn’t a minor drake in disguise & you just happen to be dragon deaf.

I told Maria my idea (ever so slight spoiler – Pemberley survives) that since Fire Drakes are so long lived, she’s still around today and established & runs the Westminster Dog show with her current keepers. I always love when authors can take historical events (or times) and weave them into fantasy or Science Fiction. It makes it so anything crazy or absurd that happens today has some kind of logical, albeit fantastical, explanation. I love the idea that somehow its ALL true. Dragons. The Stargate Program. Doctor Who. The Wizarding World. Somewhere, someone is raising a little Zephram Cochrane right now who’s studying physics & warp field design….  Its all just covered up.

Wouldn’t that be interesting? If it were all real and the stories were the cover-up to help disclose the realities that are happening right now? (smiles) All the references you gave are stories and series I love myself – except to say, I never had the chance to see the Stargate series which is a shame as I loved RDA in ‘Macgyver’ (I only saw the film) and in regards to Who, I’m definitely the girl who has her favourite doctors who are as follows: David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi. I definitely love where you are going with this theory when you mentioned Cochrane! Especially as I am streaming Picard right now and I am just journeying into ST: Enterprise for the first time and loving every inch of it!

When it pertains to the dragons themselves – can you share a short insight into the kind of dragons readers can expect to become introduced? Do they have any particular unique characteristics that you felt were most inspiring? And, is there a mix of good and bad dragons? I was curious about the ‘society of dragons’ and what you’re own impressions were therein?

Fife responds: In this series, at least so far (she’s writing some based on Persuasion & Northanger Abbey), she’s kind of stuck to the human traits of Jane Austen’s characters, only possibly amplified. The one difference is that notably across all the species of dragons, they always say what they mean. But in the series there are Wyrms, Lindwurms, Wyverns, Fire Drakes, Fairy dragons, Tatzelwurms. Basically, if there’s ever been a legend of some kind of Dragon, Maria has tried to incorporate them into this world & a hierarchy for them based on size, ability, wisdom, etc. I’m excited to see what new dragons she introduces in the forthcoming books (and I’m still really hoping she wants me to voice them too!)

I was definitely at a bit of a disadvantage in the first novel as I hadn’t realised there was a guide online (the author’s site) which talked about the differences in the dragon species and also gave a bit of insight towards what we could expect to find in the series itself. After I found that guide I felt I was gaining better traction – which is why I was lamenting about how the prequel would give a better grounding I felt to be listened to first before the series itself. Although I also know it is releasing ‘out of order’ of the first three novels in audiobook – but evenso! In case others see my thoughts they might wait for the prequel and have an easier transition than I had and that is what I hoped would be helpful to share.

I am hoping you can remain with the series, too! I never thought narrators of series would get replaced but I am soon finding that that this can happen and it guts me everytime!

Outside this world – which stories about dragons impressed you the most? Who are your favourite dragons and which worlds would you love to re-visit if you could?

Fife responds: I have pre kindergarten memories of watching my older siblings in a play version of The Hobbit & also the old cartoon that was made of The Hobbit. Pete’s Dragon appears in my memory about the same time. I’ve read a little bit of Anne McCaffrey. My favorite modern dragons created are undoubtedly Toothless & the gang from the movie series How to Train Your Dragon. (Definitely different from the books – They’re a little odd & not near as cool as the movies – usually that’s the other way around). Timothy Zahn has a Dragon series I keep meaning to read too.

Who DOESN’T love dragons? It’s like its wired into us or something. I drew dragons growing up. My oldest daughter spent a year it seems drawing nothing but dragon eyes. Dragons seem to be a window into a powerful untapped portion of our psyche.  Ok, maybe I’m going a little deep here. But I’d love to live with Hiccup Haddock & crew to bring it back to your question.

Definitely true! Who *doesn’t!* love dragons and #dragonfiction!? lol I grew up on the original “Pete’s Dragon” and I couldn’t commit to seeing the rebooted version. It just felt wrong somehow to me. I also missed the Pern dragons completely and then when I went to try to find them I found myself dearly lost and never could get established in her vision of Pern. However, we share our common love of Toothless & his comrades, though don’t we!? I also moved through LOTR via the series of films even though I have the full Histories and the stories to be read at some point when I have a nice long Winter to read nothing but that series!

What do you find more challenging? Creating a voice for a child or for changing genders from male to female? How do you work through how to articulate your voice to intone the differences?

Fife responds: Child Voices. Without a doubt. I’ve read to my kids out loud for years before narrating professionally, and I loved reading Jane Eyre to them. Its kind of something where it depends on the story too. If the story is told more from a child’s perspective, I handle it fine, but when it’s more of an adult perspective book – like this series – and then there’s a little bit of child thrown in, it just kind of throws me. In this series, there’s very little child dialogue & it certainly is not my strong point in it.

With any character, I mainly just try to get in their head. When I’m recording, my face changes for each character I voice. As I stand while I record, sometimes my stance changes as well, if it’s a domineering character or a sniveling guy like Collins. For Feminine voices, instead of trying to “match” a woman’s voice, I pitch it just a little higher (notable exceptions – Lydia & Mrs. Bennett) and breathier. There’s so much that goes into making each character a little different. Especially when characters are related, or similar in attitude.

I can see how beneficial it was for your children to have an audiobook narrator in the family! My Mum was my first introduction to ‘audio stories’ too as she read aloud to me as well. In fact I blogged about this once before where I felt because of listening to her tell me those stories initially it helped pave the road for me to discover audiobooks in 2016. I might have taken a lot longer to come into them than most but once I finally settled on them – the joy just expanded each time I found a narrator I could connect too and find their story was connecting to me.

I did talk about how you approached different genders and different aged characters in your narration styles – which was interesting because I hadn’t written those down yet when I first received your interview. I was still processing how I wanted to write that section of my review but I did agree with you in most of what you disclosed here. Except I think I gave you a bit more credit for the voices you have for the women and for the transitions between Darcy & Lizzie.

As you’re committed to narrating the Jane Austen Dragons series for the long-term, what you are you most excited about when it comes to presenting the prequel A Proper Introduction to Dragons? Both for readers who are already listening to the series and for new readers who haven’t yet heard Pemberley?

Fife responds: As I just indicated. Voicing a child is not necessarily my strong suit. I’m excited for the challenge to do just that. But being told from a child’s perspective, (no, its not in 1st person, but there’s a degree of the overall narrator that becomes its own character – for example, my tone in the “Lizzy” chapters or sections vs. the “Darcy” sections are a little different) I think I will be able to pull it off, and I hope very well. I guess Maria & listeners will be the ultimate judges of that.

I truly saw your growth in developing the characters and in your performance which reflects on the notes on my review. I felt you started to come into your own with how you wanted to handle the characters directly and how you transitioned through different sections of the first novel especially to where you were stronger as the story shifted forward.

It sounds like the author is intending to go through the canon of Jane Austen whilst re-working each of the novels or stories in sequence into the Jane Austen Dragons world? Do you know the order of sequence she’s working on and of all the stories yet to be adapted which are you most looking forward to narrating? And, why?

Fife responds: She’s currently about 80% done with one based on Persuasion, but it sounds like it may turn into 2 books for it.  She says its turning out to be almost more of a political mystery novel, which I’m excited about. Stories kind of take on a life of their own, which is what I love about being part of the creative process. She’s also got something in the works for Northanger Abbey. I think that could be positively delightful.

I’m also hoping that there will be some crossover of characters from one of Austen’s books to the others.  I also told her should consider expanding to other classic authors. Book 3 of this series would be a great segue to “Victor Hugo’s Dragons.” But French is also not my strong suit, so before we get to Les Miserables Dragons, maybe I should work on it…

Ooh dear.. I hope the “Les Miserables Dragons” is light on the French for those of us who cannot understand it! Although I do agree with what you are saying — she is starting to become a master of this niche and it would be wonderful to see how she could expound upon it and re-explore what else she can do with the world she has established!

What have been your favourite takeaways as you’ve now narrated three stories of the Jane Austen Dragons? Especially in consideration with the handling of the Pride and Prejudice world set within the world of the dragons – how did you feel the author handled bridging in our favourite characters like Lizzie, Darcy, etc and do you have any favourite moments of them? How do you feel the world of Jane Austen is transitioning into this world as well?

Fife responds: When you take a beloved book like P&P, dissect it, and put it back together with an an entire added cast of characters & underground society, there are going to be some casualties. And those casualties include Jane & Bingley. Beyond book 1, they’re barely mentioned, much less present. Also, if you liked Mr. Bennett originally… you probably won’t like him in this series. He’s more curmudgeonly than Longbourn. I’ve read a couple of reviews that have been a little harsh on this being little more than “fan-fic”. If you go into this expecting pure Pride & Prejudice, just with dragons, you’re probably going to be disappointed. BUT – she’s for the most part very true to the characters Austen created. Maria sometimes uses the exact phraseology from the books, but often with another character voicing the classic lines. I personally adored how she handled it.

It is a bit like when you start to examine the adaptions in motion pictures – each actor plays the roles differently and has a different way of expressing their character’s personalities. I wasn’t closed minded about how the differences might take me in or out of what I have in mind when it comes to specific characters as they tend to alter per each person who draws on them to become re-known in a different format of entrance. I am still sorting out how to talk about the more familiar characters and how my impressions of them have been within this series. I think some of this – what your hinting at revealling is also part of the creative licence artists and writers envelope in their art.

You lean towards narrating serial fiction – is this sparked out of feeling inspired by getting the chance to stay within a world longer than if it were just a one-off or is this a nod towards your own reading preferences? Do you have a series you’d love to narrate or hear narrated?

Fife responds: Frankly, I love narrating about anything. Years of reading to my kids every night has exposed all of us to a wide array of literature. Everything from Seven Years in Tibet to Hank the Cowdog. There are some Non-fiction books I’d love to do. I do enjoy doing series because I get to revisit characters & explore these brilliant worlds authors have created. It also is good for business. I would love to narrate any series by Timothy Zahn. There are a few books that we’ve come back to as a family multiple times – The Lord of the Rings, Narnia. I know they’ve already got some phenomenal performances of them, but I’d love to do some C.S. Lewis, Dickens, and so many others.

I truly hope you get some of your top wished after projects! I definitely think you would do well in the canons of Classical Literature and perhaps someone out there will see your wishes being shared and grant you a few of them!!

When you’re not narrating stories and seeking out new authors to narrate what renews your spirit the most?

Fife responds: I’m an eclectic music junky & music history junky. Classical – Though pretty much post-Mozart (though I do enjoy his operas – he actually considered himself an opera composer foremost) on up to current “classical” from Phillip Glass to John Cage, to Henry Brandt, to the Silk Road Ensemble.

I’ve listened soundtracks often without seeing the movies based on the composer. John Williams. James Horner. Danny Elfman. Michael Giacchino. Johan Johannsen. Ludwig Goranson. I love everything from Pink Floyd to Pink Martini and then some. World music to me is amazing. I love the organic nature of it. Give me ethnic music from anywhere & I’m in heaven. has some very good streams to choose from. I myself also sing, play the trumpet well, play the piano & violin poorly, the harmonica okay, and can noodle around on the ukulele & guitar. We probably have 5 instruments in our house per person at least. And we have 6 kids. Being with them & my wife, consuming copious amounts of optimistic Sci-Fi & Fantasy. That sums us up.

Ooh I loved this! I was listening to ‘’ as I was editing this interview! I love finding music to stream online! I love (Hearts of Space) for ambient soundscapes whilst I love browsing through #Spotify to see what I can listen to which matches well with the stories I’m reading at the time I’m listening to the music. Music is definitely a big component of my life and always has been – in fact, we listen to the same composers for sound for motion picture and I still remember when I first heard John Williams, James Horner and Danny Elfman’s compositions. Elfman especially as he was another layer and level up from Williams & Horner – there are others I love too but their names elude me right now. I also listened to a lot of Broadway Musicals (still do) growing up whilst I danced through the decades of music which preceded my arrival whilst I took my time to move into Pop, Alternative and Outlaw Country – as I wanted to enjoy the kinds of music I was appreciating at different stages of my life.

These days I am still moving in and out of styles of music inasmuch as the years in which the music was first composed. I still have a strong appreciation for Classical Music as much as early 20th Century big band, jazz and the blues. I love a little bit of everything – from New Age to Celtic ballads to the music of the Renaissance. The beauty is that everyday you have the chance of hearing something new which is also why I love CDBaby and Spotify as you can listen to Indie Artists and singer/songwriters you might not have found otherwise.

I am going to have to borrow your adjective because that is what I am drawn to myself “Optimistic Science Fiction and Fantasy – or Speculative Lit” in general! Thank you for that!!

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About Benjamin Fife

Benjamin Fife

Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes.

Fife grew up in Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of animals. When their oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December.

Benjamin enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy - both books and shows, is an extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90% cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”

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I would like to thank Mr Fife for his cordial responses to my questions & for giving all of us such a wonderful insight into how he approaches narrating audiobooks! I am truly smitten with this series the #JaneAustenDragons and I cannot wait to continue sharing my bookish ruminations with you as I dig further into this world!

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Audiobookworm Promotions Event Host badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

Be sure to follow the blog tour route to see what else awaits you!

Jane Austen's Dragons audiobook blog tour banner provided by Audiobookworm Promotions.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Previously on this audiobook blog tour I shared the following:

My Review for “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon”

Coming up next is my Review for “Longbourn: Dragon Entail”!

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NOTE: Similar to blog tours wherein I feature book reviews, book spotlights (with or without extracts), book announcements (or Cover Reveals) – I may elect to feature an author, editor, narrator, publisher or other creative person connected to the book, audiobook, Indie film project or otherwise creative publishing medium being featured wherein the supplemental content on my blog is never compensated monetarily nor am I ever obligated to feature this kind of content. I provide (98.5%) of all questions and guest topics regularly featured on Jorie Loves A Story. I receive direct responses back to those enquiries by publicists, literary agents, authors, blog tour companies, etc of whom I am working with to bring these supplemental features and showcases to my blog. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them: I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. Whenever there is a conflict of connection I do disclose those connections per post and disclose the connection as it applies.

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{SOURCES: Book Cover for “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon”, “Longborn: Dragon Entail” & “Netherfield: Rogue Dragon” , the biography of Maria Grace and the narrator, Benjamin Fife as well as the blog tour banner, the audiobook promo banner and the host badge were provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Narrator Interview banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Wednesday, 12 February, 2020 by jorielov in After the Canon, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling

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