Hallo, Hallo dear hearts! I am slowly re-emerging back online since my Dad’s stroke (see this post) and are blessed I was able to re-schedule the blog tours I was marked to participate in during December. This week is quite a joyous one – as my two stops for “The Egg & I” will be posting as well as my review reflections on behalf of Ms Bastian’s novel, of whom I featured an interview of whilst my Dad was still at the hospital. What I appreciated the most during this difficult time for my family was the outpour of kind words, supportive encouragement and the kindness of bloggers who helped re-organise a few stops on the tours to accommodate my return online. On that note, I’ll be finally putting thoughts to words whilst blogging an ‘update’ about my Dad and his transition home as we move forward from here. I have been wanting to compose it for the past week, however, as most will recognise when your going through a family medical emergency, sometimes you have to yield to having your life a bit upturnt for awhile before things even out again.
What appeared to me about listening to “The Egg & I” is the beautiful scope of the story whilst getting to ‘listen in’ to a woman’s life from the 1940s. I hadn’t known the fuller picture of Ms MacDonald’s story (about the tumultuous times she lived through in her personal life) until I put together this interview as I had composed these questions ahead of listening to the story in full and I gained a heap more insight into Betty from the narrator who truly shines as her ‘voice’ in today’s contemporary world.
I think you will find MacDonald’s memoirs are a special treat – as it’s how she relates her life to the reader that I appreciated through the excerpt when I initially signed on for the blog tour. I like to find a few things ahead of listening to an audiobook – for starters, the narrator’s voice and tone – including how they approach the characterisation and narration of the story whilst seeing if the way in which the story is unfolding is a good fit for me, too. Everything I was hoping to find encased in that except led me to this blog tour and the chance to interview the narrator because the words of Ms MacDonald simply resonate with you as you listen to her story.
I am looking forward to continuing to listen to her words and entreat inside her mind whilst composing my thoughts for my review, which is upcoming on Saturday, the 10th. Ahead of reading what I thought as I listened to Ms MacDonald’s life through the voicing of Ms Henderson, I am delighted to give you a chance to get to learn a bit more about Betty & the narrating process.
When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall – through chaos and catastrophe – this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor.
A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on the American frontier.
How did you approach settling into the memoir narration of Betty MacDonald? Did you read her memoirs ahead of beginning your narration or research a bit about her life as a whole to ‘get inside her head’ so to speak prior to voicing her life?
Henderson responds: Yes. :)
To elaborate: Betty MacDonald’s memoirs series was different from most of the narration jobs I do. The way it usually works is that a casting director will ask me if I want to do a certain new title that hasn’t been released yet, I’ll say yes, the clock will start ticking, and when I’m sent the script to start prepping my performance, it will be the first time I’ve read it (and it will probably not be a final draft, because the book is still being edited in advance of release).
But with the Betty MacDonald books, I initiated and co-produced the audiobooks. They were written in the 1940s and 50s and were huge bestsellers in their time, but they’ve fallen into obscurity. I had dreamed of getting them produced (and narrating them myself) for many years. So once I finally found a producer who was able to get the rights (the wonderful Carlyn Craig at Post Hypnotic Press), I already knew a lot about the background and biography of Betty MacDonald, and I’d read the books several times each. The character voices — including Betty’s voice and her personality — were like old friends.
But with every book I do, I definitely research the author and the book — and read it carefully as I prepare my performance and make notes. (All professional narrators do this.) I’m looking for the heart of the book — the guiding passion of the author — so that I can reflect her energy, emotional tone, cadence, and diction as I narrate. Of course, I’m also deciding on character voices, practicing accents, looking up pronunciations, etc. Read More