The Voices of Janet Evanovich: Conversations with Lorelei King
and C.J. Critt
Janet Evanovich's hugely popular Stephanie Plum series and romances have an avid following on audio. AudioFile recently caught up with narrators Lorelei King and C.J. Critt to ask them what it's like to bring these audiobooks to life - 2009 Update
"The joy of being a narrator is the chance to do different styles—not just all the extreme ones like the Evanovich characters—but also different writing styles from audiobook to audiobook, “ says Lorelei King. The American actress lives in London, where she has worked for more than twenty years. Lorelei has the enviable position of being an American narrator in England who does many of the UK versions of books by American authors, as well as some recordings that are sold on both sides of the Atlantic.
Lorelei is known here for her Janet Evanovich titles—PLUM LUCKY, the latest in the Between-the-Numbers series—and can be heard on the upcoming FEARLESS FOURTEEN (June 17).
“I have a certain responsibility to Stephanie Plum and the other characters,” she says. “The characters are so loved, and everyone has their own idea of how they should sound.
I could never get them all just right for every listener.”
But Lorelei does get high marks from listeners. AudioFile’s review of TWELVE SHARP cites Lorelei’s “impeccable versatility.” Recently Lorelei also had a chance to show her versatility in handling different writing styles with the literary work of Margaret Atwood (THE EDIBLE WOMAN) or the Earphones winner TALLGRASS by Sandra Dallas. “I enjoy the great swaths of narration, like in the Atwood. Her use of language is so rich, and the sentences so dense.”
How does Lorelei do it? “I’ve developed a shorthand to make a cast list and blend the elements of pitch, voice quality, gender, age, and accent. I layer these together in an infinite number of ways.” For example, in the narration of crime fiction there may be a dozen men in a room—all from Detroit. “You have to find something to help the listener differentiate them,” notes Lorelei. And she always saves the cast lists—for the author’s next novel.
Lorelei talks about the different preferences of British and American listeners. The British prefer a narrative style that uses pauses and breaths, and the spaces between the words. The American style is not to hear or be aware of a breath or pause. “They just want you to get a move on,” she says. “Sometimes the pauses are even edited out.”
Upcoming for Lorelei is the new Stephanie Plum and another U.S. release, PREPARED FOR RAGE, by Dana Stabenow, the story of a female astronaut, for which she had to learn Coast Guard lingo. Lorelei also worked on the accents of the numerous Arabic characters and made some tricky decisions when foreign characters are speaking English and when they’re speaking their native language among themselves. “It’s all about clarity,” Lorelei concludes. “You mustn’t confuse the listener!”—Robin F. Whitten, April/May 2008
"Audiobooks just found me," says American actress Lorelei King, who was working at the BBC, doing cartoons and British television. She's lived in London for more than 20 years and after dozens of titles for BBC Audiobooks and ISIS Audio, Lorelei was cast to read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. "Plum world" was an immediate fit for Lorelei, and the antics of Evanovich's characters delight her. Lorelei says there's always at least one moment that puts her into hysterical laughter (and an extra-long break from recording). Listeners know exactly what she means! ELEVEN ON TOP is celebrated in this issue, and look out for her equally fabulous recording of HARD EIGHT. The British Audio Publishers honored Lorelei last year with a Gold Award for GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES.