An interview with an Audiobook Narrator | “In conversation with Anne Marie Lewis, the narrator behind “Winterdream” – a Nutcracker retelling by Chantal Gadoury

Posted Monday, 17 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Narrator Blog Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I am pleased as punch to bring another NEW audiobook narrator interview to Jorie Loves A Story! I love finding out the narrator’s process for bringing their character’s to life whilst getting a bit of a glimpse ‘behind-the-book’ itself and knowing a bit more about what inspires or motivates narrators to lend their voices to the stories we all love to seek out as #AudioReads.

Today I am featuring a re-telling of “The Nutcracker” – a ballet I once had the pleasure of seeing on stage during Christmastide (ie. 2001) as a friend of mine surprised me with tickets. It was the first time I had seen the story come alive in this way and the beauty of the actors and dancers on stage has never quite left me! It was such a magical experience because I had known a bit about the story ahead of seeing it burst to life in front of me, I felt I had had a more enriched experience than several people sitting near me who were completely in the dark. Thus, as I move into listening to Winterdream – I feel as if I will continue to make the transitions from the perspective of a reader who already loves the story!

Fairy-tale retellings and after canon sequels, inspired-by stories or re-tellings are some of my favourites to discover as a book blogger! I have tried to seek out the after canon narratives which not only pay homage to the originals but they seek to have their own individual stamp on how to tell the story from a refreshing perspective of entrance! These are the stories which give you a wicked good read whilst endeavouring you to re-see the past in a different dimension of thoughtfulness.

Being that I spent December & January this year binge-watching my favourite (new & old) Hallmark Christmas movies – I have been trying to ‘extend!’ the joy of reading Christmas stories and/or Christmas Romances this February & March. I was originally going to cap it at Valentine’s Day but it took me a bit longer to get into the rhythm of reading this New Year whilst two of my library purchase requests are taking a bit longer to reach me via my local library! One is a Christmas story and the other is a Valentine’s romance. Therefore, shifting into Winterdream just felt like the right timing as I still haven’t ‘let go’ of Christmas!

Having said this – I wonder if any of my followers and subscribers are as attached as I am to stories which seek to re-tell a famous story? To see it from a different angle or a different era of choice? Sometimes they can even gender-bend the lead characters or move from a Historical to Contemporary setting (or vice versa) whilst sometimes even endeavouring to be explored through elements of Speculative Fiction! Whichever way you slice it – I oft wonder who else *loves!* to unearth these stories and soak into the author’s vision for them?

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Without further adieu,

Let’s find out more about this narrator’s approach

to performing & narrating audiobooks!

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Winter Dream by Chantal Gadoury

This Christmas Eve, no creature was stirring, except, maybe, a mouse.

At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?

For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel viscount.

But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions and one special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams.

But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse? Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice Anton is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?

Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #WinterDream + #AudioReads, #Audiobook

as well as #ClassicLit Re-Telling of #TheNutcracker

About Chantal Gadoury

Chantal Gadoury

Amazon Bestselling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing.

Since graduation, she has published The Songs in Our Hearts and The Songs We Remember with 48Fourteen Publishing. Allerleirauh, Between the Sea and Stars, Blinding Night and Winterdream with the Parliament House Press. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. For Chantal, writing novels has become a lifelong dream come true! When she’s not typing away at her next project, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of iced coffee, and watching Disney Classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, sister and furry-‘brother’ Taran.

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How do you go about selecting which audiobooks you want to narrate? Is there a particular cluster of genres you try to seek out the most or is it inspired more by the breadth of the story rather than the genre?

Lewis responds: I always look for something that is well-written. A well-written book is a joy to work on!

As a theatrical performer what do you think has helped you the most to carry over your love of performance into narrating audiobooks? Is it strictly the pacing and the voicing with different intonations of character or is it something more organic a listener might not catch-on as being part of your acting wheelhouse?

Lewis responds: Character drives a story. So I look for what makes a character tick. I try getting into the mind of the different characters to see the story from their perspectives, which in turn often informs my choice of vocal delivery of the character.

When did you first become keenly interested in Classical works of Literature and their after canon retellings? Do you remember the first Classical story you loved discovering? Which retelling still gives you joy today?

Lewis responds: In all honesty, I wasn’t aware of the whole world of retellings of classic stories until fairly recently. I was a Great Books major in college and read a ton of classic texts and literature. However, we were NEVER to read anything but the original text – so we were not to read any annotations or criticisms, so I would never have come across retellings. But when the movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out, my curiosity was piqued and I didn’t watch the movie but listened to the audiobook, and was hooked.

Did you have an attachment or curiosity to The Nutcracker before you narrated Winter’s Dream? I was wondering what you took into your performance ahead of the narration process and how this aided your performance?

Lewis responds: I only had a vague understanding of the original Nutcracker story — I was more familiar with Tschaikovsky’s ballet music — so I came to the retelling pretty fresh.

Who was your favourite character to draw to life from Winterdream and why?

Lewis responds: I love Clara. She has a youthful honesty and freshness of character that gives her a streak of independence and a healthy dose of curiosity.

Were any of the characters most challenging to get their voices ‘just so’ in the narration or was there a character who ight have surprised you as being the one you still think about after production ended?

Lewis responds: Lady Irina’s voice was a bit of a challenge.  She needed to sound like someone you might think about trusting but she needed to be a bit distant so that her later transformation would be believable.

When it comes to the world within Winterdream what did you love most about how the author built the world in which her character’s reside? Which kinds of elements of her world-building gave you the most joy to discover?

Lewis responds: When an author builds new worlds, it’s always best when elements of our own familiar world inhabit the new one. I think Chantal does that beautifully. There are enough familiar things in WinterDream to draw the reader into a comfortable place — mouth-watering comfort foods, inviting fires in fireplaces, the feel of luxurious silks and furs — and then Chantal hits you with a harrowing and crazy sleigh ride or violent fighting mice or suddenly giant and imposing furniture.

From your list of credits, I saw Persuasion – of all the novels and stories by Jane Austen, what perked your interest in this particular story? And, is it your favourite?

Lewis responds: Like all actors, I don’t really get to choose which shows I work on. I do get to choose who I audition for and, if I’m a good fit for a role in the eyes of the artistic team, I get cast. I had already done an opera and two other musicals with the opera company that produces Persuasion, and the artistic director invited me to audition. As a side note, I am currently working on a musical production of Emma, which is the fourth (!) Jane Austen stage adaptation I have worked on (the other two are a musical version of Pride and Prejudice and a “straight” play of Northanger Abbey. I cannot pick a favorite. There are so many delicious characters in Austen!

Do you have any forthcoming audiobook releases and/or do you have any stories you’d love to narrate if you could have the chance to be their narrator?

Lewis responds: My next audiobook to be released is my first Non-Fiction audiobook. Smart, Successful and Abused addresses the problem of domestic partner abuse among high-achieving women, a demographic the author believes is largely ignored because society cannot conceive the idea that a high-achieving, highly educated woman could be abused. It’s definitely a change from my usual audiobook diet of fiction!

When your not performing or narrating what uplifts your spirit the most during your downtime?

Lewis responds: I have been blessed with an incredibly supportive and loving husband and we have four boys who are our joy. Sports, academics, and music fill our lives and our home is not a very quiet one! So “downtime” from narrating and performing is most certainly “busy time!”

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About Anne Marie Lewis

Anne Marie Lewis

Singer and actor Anne Marie Lewis has enjoyed a richly varied and long career in the performing arts. She has performed across the globe from Carnegie Hall to Boise to Little Rock to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as in Canada, England and Scotland.

Chicago area credits: My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, Into the Woods (Music Theater Works); 1776 (Porchlight Music Theater); Midnight Cowboy (Lifeline Theatre); Northanger Abbey, The Skin of Our Teeth (Remy Bumppo); Love, Loss and What I Wore (Oil Lamp Theater); bare (RefugeTheatre Project); Graveyard of Empires (16th Street Theater); Jake’s Women (Spartan Theatre); The Scullery Maid (Idle Muse Theatre); Moon Over Buffalo (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center); The Diary of Anne Frank (Metropolis Performing Arts Center); The Merry Wives of Windsor (Fury Theatre); Fancy Nancy, Elephant and Piggie (Northbrook Theater); Little Red Riding Hood, Camp Wonderland (Theatre at the Center), Don Giovanni, Shining Brow (Chicago Opera Theatre); Pride and Prejudice, The Sound of Music, Hansel and Gretel, Persuasion, Cosi fan tutte (Chamber Opera Chicago); Gianni Schicchi (DuPage Opera); La boheme, Die Fledermaus, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, Carmen (Opera Studio Highland Park).

Regional credits: Die Fledermaus, Le nozze di Figaro (Pine Mountain Music Festival), Little Women (Lyric Opera Cleveland), La boheme (Quad Cities Opera, Arkansas Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony); Mozart Requiem, Schubert Mass in G (Carnegie Hall).

International credits: Persuasion (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Camden Fringe Festival, Buxton Fringe Festival, Victoria, BC).

Anne Marie, a Pittsburgh native, is a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University. She maintains a private voice studio and has recently entered the wonderful world of audiobook narration and production, with fifteen titles to her credit.

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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!

Winter Dream audiobook blog tour banner via Audiobookworm Promotions.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I will be sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of

Winterdream a bit lateron in the tour!

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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 “Winterdream”, the biography of Chantal Gadoury 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.

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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)

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Posted Monday, 17 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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