Today I am beyond excited! Tuesdays are traditionally the day that authors release new novels to the public. While I don’t have a new NOVEL to release at this time, I do have an announcement about the AUDIO version of my novel, The Edge of Nowhere! Not only is it here, but the talented voice narrator, Beth McIntosh, has graciously offered to give away one FREE AUDIO COPY to a lucky winner.
Y’all, I am so excited! Not every published author has the good luck to have her book brought to audio, and mine is not only available in audio but is beautifully done through the amazing acting talents of Beth McIntosh. Y’all are truly gonna love it — and her!
So first let me introduce you to Beth McIntosh, voice narrator for The Edge of Nowhere. I recently sent Beth a series of questions related to what she does as a voice narrator, and then we had a phone conversation to get to know each other a bit better. She’s just lovely. And yes — she does have a bit of a natural southern drawl. Though not a native of Oklahoma, she pulled off the Okie-isms like a pro.
Tell us a little about your acting background, if you would. When did you begin acting, and what kind of acting have you done?
My first time on stage was kindergarten and it took off from there. I studied theater at Ithaca College in my twenties. After appearing in over 40 theatre productions in the South Central Pennsylvania area, I returned to school taking graduate level classes at Villanova University. Live theatre is my first love, but I have also appeared in film, television, and done improvisation. All of these experiences feed into my skills as an actor.
How did you get into voice acting, and was there any particular special training you went through that was different from, say, stage or film acting?
There was a Voice Over (VO) class offered in a continuing education course at a local college and a fellow actor and I decided the check it out. Curiosity and a deep seated love of reading was my motivation to take the class. I was the kid in class begging to read aloud.
The basis for any acting technique is character development, so in that sense my previous experience provided a solid background for VO work. Audiobooks appealed to me because of my love of live theatre and story.
There are specific techniques that need to be learned such as microphone technique (mic placement, technique requirements, vocal tones, and voice placement) as well as computer skills for recording. I’ve studied with coaches and taken classes to work on mic technique and phrasing and pacing for the various VO and audiobook genres as well as recording and editing.
What aspects do you enjoy most about voice acting, and are there any aspects you find particularly challenging?
So many times I went to theatre/film auditions and wanted to audition for parts I would never get – male roles, too young, too old, too short, etc. In audiobooks I get to play everybody! Which is also the challenge – you have to be everybody. With The Edge of Nowhere that covered an age range of 2 – late 60’s. That’s a real spread and you need to make sure the character voices are distinguishable without becoming cartoonish.
How do you choose the voices for your characters?
It’s a blend of instinct and analysis. The analysis goes along with character development. You look at the character’s age, social status, culture, education, accents, any voice or physical modifiers within the book the author may provide such as raspy, gravelly, musical, asthmatic, even tall, heavy, or elfin, – pretty much anything you can grab on to to create a mental image. Instinct comes in with deciding what the character’s world view is and how they present themselves. Sometimes a character’s voice will come out and I’m quite surprised!
Do you have a particular process you go through before you sit down to begin a narration? For example, do you read the entire book first?
I do read the book first however it’s a different type of reading. I’m looking for how many characters, age ranges, relationship to the protagonist, words that need to be checked for pronunciation, and plot outline. I want to look for major themes within the book. For The Edge of Nowhere the overriding theme for me was survival. This applied to all the characters not only Victoria. It was a good jump off point to proceed.
In The Edge of Nowhere, did you have a favorite character that you particularly enjoyed narrating? Were there any characters that felt more challenging than others?
Favorite characters – I think Catherine and Jack were two characters I really enjoyed. Catherine because the challenge of having the transition of young girl to teenager. Also she has an adventurous yet sensitive quality to her that was great to work with. Jack became a favorite as I had a wonderful image of the 10 year old with the puffed out chest as defender but still retaining the scared little boy. I found him rather charming in that way.
Imogene was a challenge. She’s not a likeable character but still a survivor in her own right. It was a fine line in developing an older voice without falling into an annoying creaky sound. She’s stronger than that.
In The Edge of Nowhere, in particular, there are several passages that readers have said were particularly emotional when reading. In any book, how do you handle emotional passages, and do you ever find yourself having to re-record passages due to emotion?
That’s part of the process of pre-reading the book. I’m looking for those passages. For The Edge of Nowhere, because Victoria is the narrator, it was somewhat easier. She’s not one to show her emotion so I could move within that space. That said, generally if I start to get the nose tingle or smarting eyes, I will stop to process through the emotion. If you really start crying more than a few tears the vocal quality will change and you’ve shot the entire recording session.
Tell us a little about your personal reading habits. Do you consider yourself a reader and, if so, what genres do you prefer? Do you have favorite authors? And do you choose to pursue scripts based upon your own reading preferences?
I’ve been an avid reader since age 3 thanks to my mom! I’ve moved through several periods and have delved into all kinds of genres over the years, murder/mystery, sci-fi (the entire Dune series), classics – Jane Eyre, Dracula, etc., of course many plays and playwrights, romance, women’s lit (whatever that means) and self-help/improvement. Currently for escapism, I enjoy British Regency period romances – Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, etc. I’m also reading The Four Agreements which is a revelation.
My favorite book is Jane Eyre. As far was a favorite author – I concede to being fickle. If the author captures my attention/imagination I’m all in.
As far as what I audition for – more than anything I’m looking for good writing. Genre is somewhat less of a concern. Some genres I’d love to work in include children’s books, young adult/teen, self-improvement, and romance (a HUGE market) especially historical romance since I love doing accents.
Do you have another project coming up soon? If so, would you like to tell us about it?
Currently, I’m auditioning for a number of projects (an on-going process for actors). Also I’m working with vocal coach Eliza Jane Schneider on British regional and Australian accents. This will open some new doors for auditions in historical fiction genres.
ABOUT BETH MCINTOSH
An early and avid reader since the age of 3, Beth has always had a deep appreciation for the written word and an author’s ability to create and share new worlds of characters and perspectives. Books were magical to her as a child and still are. Then she discovered theater at the tender age of 5, in her first kindergarten production. Acting and the bringing a playwright’s words to life became a life-long passion.
This passion lead to studies in theatre at Ithaca College, where she graduated with a BA. Later she returned to take graduate theatre courses at Villanova University. Beth’s theatre training provided the opportunity to appear in over 50 theatre productions in the South Central Pennsylvania area.
Education and skill development being an on-going process, Beth expanded her studies to audiobook narration, production, and accents. Growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch country with relations from Boston, Beth developed an ear for accents and realized very early the unique sounds and patterns of people’s speech.
Beth’s passion, dedication and training all work together to provide each authors’ characters a unique and fully fleshed voice. It is a privilege to be trusted with an author’s work. Beth is dedicated to bring an author’s words into a new dimension.
For more information about Beth McIntosh, visit her website at www.eamvoices.com
WIN A FREE AUDIO COPY OF THE EDGE OF NOWHERE!
Want to win a free audio copy of The Edge of Nowhere? Simply use the Rafflecopter Entry link below. Just sign in with Facebook or enter your e-mail address. It’s that simple. Want EXTRA entries? Follow the directions to tweet about this giveaway for 2 extra entries, and/or visit the author’s Facebook Page for an additional 2 entries. So enter once, or a total of five times…It’s up to you!
Contest begins TODAY and ends at midnight on June 15, 2016.
LISTEN TO THE SAMPLE AUDIO
SEE THE OFFICIAL VIDEO TRAILER