Daughter of Smoke and Bone Audie Award 2012
Actress and audiobook narrator Khristine Hvam says playing Peter Pan in a fourth-grade production may have foreshadowed her work in audiobooks. “I learned every part, every word of the play. My mother says I mouthed the lines to every single character. Maybe narrating audiobooks is definitely for me because now I can be every character in the play.”
Hvam spent years working in radio as a voice-over artist and in behind-the-scenes production jobs. She admits stepping behind the microphone to narrate audiobooks was a surprise opportunity. “In the beginning I felt like a fraud. I was just starting my voice-over career. One of my directors was starting with Audible. He thought I would be well suited for audiobook narration. I didn’t know anything about audiobooks. They sent me some children’s books and when I stepped into the booth, I found it was this incredible bonding moment.”
Her experience in other media did help her reach her goal in narrating audiobooks. “Even if I’m reading a genre I wouldn’t choose for myself, I try to find something in the work to bond with, especially in the main character. Once you understand that main person and you understand her relationship to everyone else, it’s easier to create the surrounding characters too, because you know how they relate to that main person.”
Hvam’s first assignments were romance novels, which led to young adult fantasy fiction that eventually led to her latest celebrated work in the recording of FROG MUSIC by worldwide bestselling author Emma Donoghue. Hvam says she worked hard to connect with the story of Blanche Beunon and that at times the challenge was overwhelming.
“FROG MUSIC was a gift. I had expressed that I wanted to step out of the magical girl meets magical boy and they magically save the world genre. FROG MUSIC knocked me on my butt. I was pushed farther than I’d been pushed before in such an incredible way. I even enjoyed the parts where I would have to go to the bathroom to cry because I was having such a hard time. I loved every single second of recording it.”
Hvam thinks it’s important to bring as much energy as possible to every project. “If you’re going to do something in your life, you should be enthusiastic and passionate about it. I don’t see any reason to get up and go to work in the morning if you’re not loving what you’re doing.”
Hvam says she feels blessed to be in the audiobook narration business. “I find so much joy and exploration and fun in what I do. I tripped and fell and landed in audiobooks, and I don’t even know how I got there. It was truly a gift.”--Randy O’Brien
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