Hi, I’m Andrew. And I’m Aida.
We are the book designer and editor of Secret Storms, respectively. We have worn many hats in this publication process. One of the cool things we get to do is handle correspondence from readers. A common inquiry we receive has to do with the Secret Storms audiobook. We know, therefore, that many of you are curious about the process of recording one. It just so happens that among the hats we wore were those of audiobook Director and Narrator. So we are delighted to take over Julie and Kathy’s blog for the day, to tell you a bit about the experience.
Aida, having worked closely on a daily basis with Julie during the long editing process, was a natural fit to read as the voice of Julie. We had made the decision right from the get-go that this audiobook would only work narrated in two voices, to mirror the experience of reading the book. We needed someone with the grace, femininity and gentleness evident in Kathy’s written voice. It was an absolute joy, therefore, to have the chance to work with actress and voice-over artist, Kimberly Woods.
The entire book was recorded in Kimberly’s home sound studio, where the three of us basically lived for the duration of the production. The recording process took an unusually-long two weeks, mainly because the last time Aida acted was in college, and she decided to lose her voice after merely two days of recording and was under strict direction not to utter a sound until the hoarseness went away. It turns out that it isn’t “just like talking” into a microphone. It turns out that it’s a performance like any other, and carries with it its own physical and mental demands. After enduring 10 cups of tea a day, countless spoons full of honey and other atrocities/remedies, Aida returned, and we started to have a rollicking time.
Compared with Kimberly’s professionalism and her ability to get it right in one take, Aida’s antics kept us in high spirits—something that was much needed, especially when in the midst of recording the book’s more melancholy moments. She refused to remember that the microphone into which she was speaking was directly linked to a pair of headphones, which were, sadly, snug around Andrew’s ears. When she stumbled over a line or made some other mistake, she found it difficult to contain herself, screaming at the very top of her lungs right into a sensitive piece of audio equipment. We have not yet been able to independently confirm that she did not permanently damage his ear drums. And then there was the one full day in which she could not say a mere two sentences in a convincing British accent…or the time she forgot how to say the word “three”… but that’s another story.
All the silliness aside, the three of us came away from this process having experienced something quite surprising. It was, frankly, magical to see characters and events we had experienced on the page in the individual and private ways that every reader experiences a book, come to life in Aida and Kimberly’s performances. The result is a single tapestry woven together from the narrators’ creative journeys along the emotional threads of Julie and Kathy’s stories.
Here, you can sample some chapters.
And here, as a special treat, is a little peak behind the scenes—a blooper reel from the recording sessions! Hope you enjoy.
-Aida and Andrew