Viewing a list of Abby Craden’s recent recordings may set you whirling. She’s narrated nonfiction, romance, historical fiction, political intrigue, fantasy, sports, suspense, and young adult audios. She loves discovering the perfect expression for each and feels responsible for what she calls “a creative collaboration with the writer.
“I listen to the musicality of the writing, and a sensation washes over me, almost like a heartbeat,” Craden says, and her narrations reflect this. As she narrated WE ARE ANONYMOUS: INSIDE THE HACKER WORLD OF LULZSEC, ANONYMOUS, AND THE GLOBAL CYBER INSURGENCY, her heart raced as she felt the tension in this “strange, shadowy world.’ On the other hand, her animated reading of Jillian Larkin’s YA series about flappers reflects how “everything was new and exciting for them.”
Craden has a special feeling for the YA books she’s been narrating for several years. Recently she narrated Marina Budhos’s award-winning ASK ME NO QUESTIONS, the story of Nadira, a 14-year-old illegal immigrant from India. Not only did the book help her understand the immigrant experience but also a coincidence allowed her to get even further inside the character’s skin. “I’m a younger sister myself, and the author captured perfectly the way you’re just two steps behind and always trying to catch up with the perfect older sibling. Certain books make me feel like they’re my own memories. And because this book was a first-person story, it started to feel like my own voice.”
Both Craden and her 8-year-old son listen to audios. Because he has a problem falling asleep at night, she downloads books on his iPod, and he learns lots of new things. “The other day he asked me, ‘What’s a crumpet?’ We’re having all kinds of conversations I wouldn’t have imagined.” Craden’s own audio listening began when her mentor, Robertson Dean, suggested she listen to the really great narrators. She went to the library, checked out a slew of audios by fabulous narrators and hasn’t stopped listening. She listens to her own narrations as well, judging how pacing, accents, and expression are working. “I’m a big believer in constantly honing my craft. When you’re inside the book as you’re recording, it’s hard to gauge exactly how it sounds.”
One of Craden’s most exciting experiences while growing up was going to the library and bringing home a stack of books. “I always loved reading, and I escaped in books.” Now the classically trained actress blends two of her favorite things--acting and reading. “It’s such a great combination. I use my skills and escape into a book all at the same time.”--Susie Wilde--
Photo courtesy of the narrator
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