Celebrate Children’s Book Week with Simon Vance on The Download

Robin’s Roundup: May 5

Simon Vance

Narrator Simon Vance is a man of many voices, in both contemporary fiction and classic literature, and he’s won dozens of awards for his audiobooks. In our interview on The Download, Simon shares reflections about many books he’s narrated—starting off with children’s classics like THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, he takes us through details of his process to create his distinct “vocal wizardry.”

“Sitting in my little box, I do my own thing—I am free to let my creativity roam far and wide.”—Narrator Simon Vance

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Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Janis Ian, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and audiobook narrator, talks with AudioFile

The Download: Audiobook Conversations

Janis Ian by Lloyd Baggs

The Grammy Award-winning singer, author, and audiobook narrator Janis Ian was kind enough to sit and talk about SOCIETY’S CHILD, her experiences making her inspiring audiobook memoir, and the world of audiobook narration that it opened up for her. Listen to our conversation to hear more about Janis’s life in and out of the recording booth.

“The preparation to read an audiobook is the same as the preparation to go on stage, or to write a song.”—Janis Ian

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Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

The Download: In Conversation with Robin Miles

Behind her dynamic and moving narrations there’s a lot of work, and a lot of heart

Robin Miles by Jordan Matter

Golden Voice narrator Robin Miles is known for her powerful voice and has narrated hundreds of audiobooks, including thoughtful readings of important historical works and dynamic narrations of breathtaking fantasy. Listen in to our interview to hear about the work behind her narrations, and what she’s imagining as she sits behind the mic.

” I always have a person sitting there with me. I never forget, and  I imagine that person listening a foot and a half away, and then I care about whether or not they get what I’m saying and the point of what I’m saying.”— Narrator Robin Miles

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Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

The Download: In Conversation with Alan Bradley and Jayne Entwistle

We brought the creative forces behind the Flavia de Luce audiobooks together for the first time

Alan Bradley by Shirley Bradley and Jayne Entwistle

We love bringing authors and narrators together here on The Download, and we’re especially excited to share today’s interview. Author Alan Bradley and narrator Jayne Entwistle bring the historical mysteries starring the irrepressible and enchanting Flavia de Luce to life. The two had never spoken before today’s interview, which is hard to believe! They make an excellent team.

“I didn’t know that I wanted to be an audiobook narrator . . . I had no idea that would become a major part of who I am and what I do. And it was Flavia who led me there.”—Narrator Jayne Entwistle

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Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

The Download: In conversation with YA author Nic Stone and Dion Graham

Go behind the scenes to learn about DEAR MARTIN

Nic Stone by Nigel Livingstone
Nic Stone by Nigel Livingstone
Photo by Nigel Livingstone

Listen in to the engaging conversation between author Nic Stone and narrator Dion Graham for insights on the writing and recording of the captivating DEAR MARTIN. Stone’s moving young adult audiobook allows listeners to reflect on the trauma and impacts of racial profiling as her characters ask the questions we would in their situations.

“The best way to reach young people through literature is to reflect actual young people who mess up, who do good, who do bad, who have good things that they are a part of, who maybe have some things that they shouldn’t be a part of.”—Author Nic Stone

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Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

The Download: The extraordinary audiobook productions of Philip Pullman’s fantastic worlds

A conversation with the creative team behind The Golden Compass and The Book of Dust

The Golden Compass

It’s no secret that our AudioFile team loves Philip Pullman and the worlds he built in the HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy about Lyra Belacqua, the clever young protagonist we first met in THE GOLDEN COMPASS. We were thrilled by his most recent audiobook, THE BOOK OF DUST: La Belle Sauvage, the first in a new trilogy set in the same world. We brought together some of the creative team behind these audiobooks: Orli Moscowitz, Penguin Random House executive producer; Garrick Hagon, the director of the first trilogy and the voice of Lee Scoresby; and Tim Ditlow, the publisher of Listening Library who produced the unabridged multicast recording of the original.

“When I walked in the studio with Orli to watch the magic happen, the chemistry was a certain ingredient that I think we’ve all witnessed first-hand when we’ve seen a Broadway show, or a symphony orchestra.”—Tim Ditlow

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Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

The Download: Joe Hill and Strange Weather

Author Joe Hill and narrator Dennis Boutsikaris share the secrets of making this chilling audiobook collection

Strange Weather

Listen to a conversation between Joe Hill and Dennis Boutsikaris on recording Joe Hill’s latest audiobook, STRANGE WEATHER. Boutsikaris reads Hill’s Aloft in this new collection of four novellas. Authors and narrators rarely get the chance to sit down and talk about their work. Our conversation gives audiobook fans insights into the creative process of both author and narrator.

“You can tell when something hasn’t been read aloud, and that is a great test of a manuscript—everything should be read aloud, everything should be tested by hearing it.”—Author Joe Hill

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We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

The Download: Stephen Fry’s Sherlock Holmes

Join us as we discuss the legendary Sherlock and this masterful new interpretation of the classics

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesAudioFile contributing editor and reviewer Aurelia Scott has been a lover of Sherlock Holmes since she was a little kid poring over the annotated collection, as regular blog readers are well aware! I was excited to learn of actor Stephen Fry’s new narration and commentary on the complete works of SHERLOCK HOLMES and decided to sit down to chat with Aurelia about our mutual love of the detective and all the many interpretations we have listened to over the years.

Stephen Fry’s narration is special, as it not only includes his complex rendition of Sherlock and the engaging Watson, but also his own introductions that share with listeners his reflections on the novels and short stories. Listen in as Aurelia and I discuss our love of Sherlock, our appreciation for this masterful collection, and why Sherlock is still so relevant today.

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Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

The Download: Barbara Rosenblat on The Painted Queen

On recording Elizabeth Peters’s final Amelia Peabody mystery

Barbara Rosenblat recording The Painted Queen

The Painted QueenGolden Voice narrator Barbara Rosenblat chats with AudioFile’s Jo Reed about one of the most enduring partnerships in the audiobook world—that of “the Barbaras.” Barbara Rosenblat and Barbara Mertz, aka Elizabeth Peters. THE PAINTED QUEEN is the 20th in the Amelia Peabody mystery series—all narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.

THE PAINTED QUEEN was left as a partially finished manuscript when author Elizabeth Peters died in 2013. Mystery writer Joan Hess completed the manuscript, and as our reviewer said, Barbara Rosenblat brings to life the “delicious blend of love and mayhem.”

“What you’re doing is creating a world. You’re channeling an author and an author’s intent . . . and you let the author be there with you, because in fact you are collaborating in every sense with the author as you move along.”—Narrator Barbara Rosenblat

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Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

The Download: 6 Picks for the End-of-Summer Road Trip

Some favorite audiobooks to take on the road

Travels With CharleySummer is a time to hit the road, and a good audiobook can go a long way towards making car trips not just bearable, but enjoyable. Some are actually stories about road trips.

Join Robin Whitten and Jo Reed as they discuss their picks for summer road trip listening. And before you declare summer to be over, remember that you may well have a road trip ahead of you this Labor Day weekend!

Listening to audiobooks about road trips while making your own way on the road can enhance your travel experience and make the miles speed by, whether you’re making a trek across the country or making your way into the woods for your last summer camping trip with the family.

“Whether you’re heading out in a car, in the train, or on the bus, nothing beats a good audiobook.”—Jo Reed

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We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!