Monday, December 2, 2013

Narrator: Denise van Venrooy

Many people love to "listen" to books while in transit. I have been asked numerous times if my books were available in audio version.  Searching for the right narrator can be tricky.  I was very fortunate to find a narrator who was able to capture the essence and feel of Faith in Forever Yours.  Narrator Denise van Venrooy has kindly agreed to tell us about her life and what is involved with narrating a romance novel.

For new listeners—what can they expect when they hear your book(s)?
I become one with the story, and imagine myself as the characters individually. Sometimes it is hard to stop or take a break while I am recording, because I am totally in another world. I don't go so far as to “like” or “dislike” a particular character, I just picture them as the author describes, and do my best to “become” that person. I enjoy actually working with the authors and getting their feedback or input, as that helps me to get a better feeling of how I can best “act out” the part. I don't want to just “read” books to people – I want to bring the books to life.

All oft hat is evident in your narrations.  How do you balance narrating with the rest of your life?
Recording a book takes a LOT longer than just reading a book.  There is a lot of editing required, which I find to be the most tedious part of it all. If you are right in the middle of an exciting part of the story, you don't want to just stop in the middle of it, however, with all of the editing, hours can go by before you know it. It is best to be realistic and not try to rush yourself or cram too much into one day. The more time you actually take with the book not only makes it sound better, but it also allows you to have some time left over for yourself. I find myself in a lot of pain and very cramped when I have spent too much time sitting, working on a book. For this reason, I set myself a time schedule, and do my best to stick to it.

Can you describe a typical narrating day for you?
Although my husband actually enjoys hearing me work, I don't feel comfortable with an audience. I don't like working with distractions. Fortunately, (for me, at least!) my husband works 12 hours a day. He works different shifts, so I schedule myself to work when he works. That means that when he has his early shift, I get up at 4 am to start to work. Not my favorite shift, believe me! But it does have its advantages. I don't have to worry about my telephone ringing, or anyone knocking on my door. I work until about 10 or 11 am, and then I do a little house or garden work, maybe go grocery shopping, and then have dinner ready when he gets home. We have to eat a little earlier, because of course, this shift means going to bed earlier. On his other shift, I have more time in the mornings to do housework, etc., leaving me more time to record in the afternoons. Of course, this can be tricky, also, because during the day there can be many distractions. People are not always very considerate when they know that you work from home. It's the term "work" from home that they don't quite understand.

I admire your dedication.  Can you describe your recording space for us?
My recording area is not as high-tech as I would like for it to be – yet! There is still a lot of equipment I would eventually like to have. I work from 2 computers currently. One is hooked up to our big screen TV so that I can see the book very large before me and don't have to strain my eyes to read. I use the other computer to record and edit on. I don't have the most expensive recording equipment, which is probably why I spend so much time on editing – filtering out lots of "white noise" and such. Or maybe it is just that I might be a little OCD about certain things. I just don't want my listeners to be distracted, and try to keep them fully tuned to the story.

What you are most passionate about outside of narrating? 
Music! I have seen and actually met band members of some of my favorite bands. I am also a huge supporter of local music. I don't know if others' realize how important that is.  They don't make lots of money and it is a very competitive world , so if you like a band, spread the word!

What genre(s) do you narrate? Why do you narrate the stories that you narrate?
I'm going to be quite honest and admit that I started out by just taking on every job that was offered to me, regardless of what the genre was. I wanted to gain experience, and also felt very honored that the authors chose me to narrate their books. I have not been disappointed  with the variety of genres I have been chosen for.  As my book sales have been rapidly increasing, I have gained a lot more confidence in my voice, and I am going to start being a little more active in choosing books that I would personally like to work on.  I will honestly admit that my best sellers are those that have a few "steamy" scenes in them, so it is true what they say -  "sex sells".

Do your characters come to you first, or the plot, or the world of the story?
Once I get a good "feel" for each individual character, I become a part of their world. Time travel stories or science fiction stories are lots of fun. It is great to imagine yourself in a different time or place, or even on another planet! Also, finally finding yourself in the arms of your dream man or woman is always nice!!

Yes, it is!  What sets your books apart from other narrator's?
I often listen to other narrator's samples, and hear things that I would find distracting, and do my best to not  do these myself.  Narrating is truly an art. There are lots of things that need to be considered and mastered  - breathing technique, pacing and tone, to name a few.

How do you go about developing your characters?
I imagine myself as each character individually. I also like to establish a good rapport with the author, and let them know that their input is important to me. The story is best acted out if I can have a good idea of what the author wants to portray.

Out of all the characters that you've narrated, who is your favorite and why?
I can't say that I have any favorite characters. All of the characters are important, whether they play a big part or a small part  in the story or not.

Can you share a little of your current work?  
Right now, I do not have a current project. I plan to take on more work in January 2014. However, I currently have 14 Audiobooks on sale on, and iTunes. 4 Books were recorded under my maiden name, Denise Randall: The rest can be found under my married name, Denise van Venrooy:

Where can listeners find more information on you?
I am most active on Facebook: I started a couple of blogs a long time ago, but really did not have time to work on them. That is still something I want to eventually do. You can also follow me on Twitter @iwant2belikeme.

Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
          The Eden Effect
         Love's Vengeance
        Christmas Diamonds

 Denise, Thank you so much for bringing Faith to life in Faithfully Yours, and for sharing an inside look into the narrating world.


Keta Diablo said...

Wonderful information, Denise. And thanks, Carol for hosting Denise so those who are uneducated about narrators and audiobooks (ME!) had a chance to learn more. I've been tossing this audio thing around for a long time and am encouraged.

Blessings, Keta

Rain Trueax said...

That was interesting information and I like Denise's voice and how she handled Nighthawk, the one I listened to a sample. Good.

I bought my first audio book that way but haven't had time to listen to it yet. I have quite a few audio books for travel but most are nonfiction like Joseph Campbell. Fiction would be fun. I had to take some time figuring out how to get a version that would work in the truck but they emailed me exact instructions on transferring it which I felt was helpful. In the past all I ever got were tapes and then CDs. No techie knowledge required. They say they play on Kindles but I don't think my Kindle has sound. It hasn't talked to me yet anyway ;)

Susan Horsnell said...

Great post Carol and Denise. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about audio. One day my books may even be worthy of your voice, Denise. Hope you have lots if sales, both of you.