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Monday, June 4, 2012

Jackson Pearce on recording an audiobook

In celebration of June is Audiobook Month, Jackson Pearce is stopping by to tell all about recording the audiobook for her novel Purity (April 2012). Purity, Jackson's fourth novel, is her first contemporary and is decribe in the tagline as "a novel about love, loss, and sex - but not necessarily in that order."

Photo by Vania Stoyanova

Jackson Pearce is twenty-six years old and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy. She auditioned for the circus once, but didn’t make it; other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.

Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since.

Jackson is the author of SISTERS RED, AS YOU WISH, SWEETLY, and two forthcoming books, PURITY (April 2012) and FATHOMLESS (Fall 2012).
*Bio taken from author's website. 

How did you wind up reading the audio of Purity
I'd mentioned it on twitter, of all places, to a woman at Hachette Audio. I wasn't sure if I'd get to do it or not-- I just wanted her to know I was interested! I'm really grateful she remembered and made it happen.

What did you do to prepare prior to recording? 
I read the book through twice, and tried to figure out a voice for each character. To memorize voices I either thought of them as impressions of other characters, or memorized what part of my throat I used to do the voice.  Jonas's voice, for example, I sort of did from the side of my mouth, and Shelby's mother's voice was in the front of my throat, a lot like I'd always imagined Rosie's from Sisters Red.

Describe your experience recording Purity.
It took a lot less time than I anticipated, actually. I went to a local audiobook studio at around 10 in the morning on a Tuesday, and recorded till about 3 with a short break for lunch. It was pretty much exactly what you'd expect-- sound proof room with lots of foam on the walls next to a room full of computers where the sound engineer listened and marked up the nine million takes it took me to read each line (he deserves some sort of trophy for patience). If I messed up a line, I usually just started over at the beginning of the sentence.

It took two days, total, even though I'd blocked off the whole week! I then went back in a few weeks later to rerecord a few lines that were wrong or had background noise.

What was the biggest challenge? Biggest surprise? 
The biggest challenge was reading very, very slowly and switching from voice to voice in scenes with a lot of different characters talking. The biggest surprise was how much bigger and more dramatic I had to do things in order to make it come through correctly! It's amazing how much is lost when you can't see someone's facial expressions/body language.

Some of your audiobooks have been recorded by narrators, and you've now recorded one yourself. What are the benefits of each? 
Sisters Red is my only other audiobook; it was recorded by two narrators. The nice thing about that is I don't have to worry about it-- no one is going to get angry with me if they don't like the narrators (though the SR narrators are pretty awesome! The plus side of narrating the book myself, though, is that I know exactly what I want it to sound like when read. The emphasis, the pause, the voices, the whole nine yards, are exactly how I heard them in my head.

What was it like listening to the finished product for the first time? Is there anything you'd change?
I've actually only heard the sample, not the full recording! I'm not sure if there's anything I'd change or not-- I'm a pretty picky person, so I'm sure I'll find something to worry over once I hear the whole thing.

Given the chance, would you take on another recording project?
Absolutely. I LOVED doing it.

Keep up with all the June is Audiobook Month action by visiting all the participating blogs. 
Thursdays - Page Turners Blog 

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