I had Aidée a few days back with another book of hers and I’m happy I could have her back with this story as well. This hero… so sure of himself. Is the book going to agree with him, or throw him off balance and teach him something different about himself? I don’t know, I guess I have to listen, don’t I?
Good Mr. King by Aidée James, narrated by Ada Sinclair and Logan McAllister, released in May in the Women’s Fiction’s genre.
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No one dominates me. Not the supermodels I’ve slept with, not the rich women whose necks I’ve dressed in diamonds. So, imagine my surprise when I get a drunken e-mail from an employee I’ve never met, containing not one, but dozens of erotic stories, all starring yours truly. And in every one of them, I’m a submissive. I should let it go, but I can’t. This woman needs to learn that John King gets spanked by no one.
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About the Author: Aidée James
When Mexican-American author Aidèe Jaimes isn’t chasing after her energetic daughter and spending time with her happily ever after husband in their Florida home, she’s living other lives through her characters. As her writing evolved into darker, sexier, no holds-barred stories, she transitioned from the pen name Haden Hudson, to the author she is today!
With Ada Sinclair
When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
I’ve been acting for over 20 years professionally and working all sorts of day jobs in between. While doing a show three years ago, a friend of mine announced he had quit all his other part-time work and was exclusively getting paid to act and narrate. I was so intrigued I immediately started YouTubing and researching everything I could about it. I got some professional coaching, created a recording booth out of my closet in our spare bedroom, and haven’t looked back since.
How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
Once I started researching narration, things like story arc, multiple character development, timing, and breath control all fit the bill for the numerous classes and workshops I had been going to as an actor. It seemed like everything I had been learning could be applied to books. Plus, I LOVED to read and was insatiable when it came to consuming stories. It was an absolutely perfect fit.
Did you find it difficult to break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
The hardest part for me was learning the technical aspects of audio. How to best use the microphone, record and re-record so everything is seamless and do it for hours on end. There was definitely a learning curve and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without some juggernauts in the community like Don Baarns. Now I’m really well versed in not only recording but also editing and mastering and I have him to thank.
A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
I definitely think that my background has helped me. In school, we studied things like pacing and how alliteration and other word choices can clue you into the personalities and traits of a character. We delved very deeply into actions, motivations, and power struggles in various characters and I use all of it daily in my craft. I do think you can learn all of those things through coaching strictly for narration, but it helps me that I already have a foundation and years of experience to draw from.
What type of training have you undergone?
I began singing in choirs and doing solos when I was 6. I started taking acting classes when I was 12 and went to college for acting at Florida State University and went on to study musical theater performance in New York at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. I lived and acted in New York for 5 years before settling in Chicago with my husband and going through iO’s improv conservatory in the process. I’m currently a part of two professional theater companies here in Chicago and perform several times a year.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
I truly enjoy the performance aspect of recording, so it’s not hard to get me into the booth. To avoid burnout for stories or genres that might be a little more difficult for me, I tend to keep myself on a schedule to record 1 to 2 finished hours several days a week, making sure to leave in vocal rest days and times to decompress. It’s the ideal, and sometimes I’ve been caught recording for hours on end to make a deadline, but overall it’s a strategy and balance that really works for me.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Prior to narration, I hadn’t listened to many audiobooks. I didn’t particularly like the first few I had tried (I thought the voices in my own head made better choices, lol) but after starting on my own journey, I found some incredible narrators that I go back to again and again. I love listening to audiobooks while I’m driving and tend to like narrative stories then. For mundane tasks like laundry and/or cleaning, I’ll go for motivational self-help books.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
My favorite part has to be when I find each character’s voice and have them “checked in.” It’s a little like body switching when they are in a conversation, but if I can channel them both then it gets really fun to do arguments or flirty conversations. It’s like playing chess with yourself. My least favorite thing is definitely the pick ups. I am slightly dyslexic and often have small flubs like switched words. It makes it a process for both me and my very gracious proofer.
What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
I’ve been told that I can really embody the characters and create very distinctive voices. I tend to use a lot of variance in my vocal performance. My goal is always to allow the listener to recognize who is speaking without them having to be announced.
Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
I love narrating in quite a few genres. But I did turn down a book after I found out that the main character was African American and had a very distinct dialect. I love stretching myself as an actor, but I also believe that there are many other people better suited to tell stories with main characters that are people of color, and I believe they should be the ones cast.
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