INTERVIEW WITH THE VOICES BEHIND THE BOOKS
Noelle Bridges and John Masterson, the talented actors narrating the Men of the North audio books answer questions from listeners.
If you haven’t already heard some of Noelle and John’s work you can listen to samples HERE.
How long does it take to record a book?
John: I record my roles for these books over two or three consecutive days. It keeps all the characters fresh in my mind and keeps me in the action.
Noelle: I’m much slower than John. It takes me about a week.
Do you read the entire book or only the part that you narrate?
John: I’ll read the full book beforehand to know everything that happens, of course! Noelle and I will reconnect each time and discuss how to approach the new characters.
Noelle: We always read the whole thing. A narrator’s worst nightmare is getting to the end and finding out you didn’t incorporate a vital accent or character trait into a character’s performance!
Do you color code the dialog so you always know who’s talking?
John: I don’t make any notes on the scripts for these books. I’ve gotten to know all the characters over time, and Elin’s writing makes it easy to know who is who.
Noelle: Thankfully I don’t need to. It’s pretty apparent who’s talking when you’re in the flow of the book. I also dart my eyes down the sentence while I’m reading to look for names.
Sometimes the dialogue comes before the description of how it’s said, whispered, exclaimed etc.
How do you get it right? Do you make notes?
John: Again I’ll give all the credit to Elin’s writing – I’ll be able to tell by the pacing of the scene, the dialogue, and the setup how to perform the dialogue. Only very rarely will I miss a direction that comes later and have to re-record a line in the moment.
Noelle: As I mentioned before, I’m actually able to read a sentence ahead while I’m working, but if I do miss something like that it’s the easiest thing in the world to go back and redo it.
Is there a way to see a picture of you?
Do you have FB pages listeners can like and follow your work?
John: Not at the moment, but I’ll be setting up a page in the months ahead.
Noelle: No sorry, I’m not on social media.
Which of the characters in the Men of the North did you enjoy “playing” the most?
John: It’s hard to choose! All of them feel like different parts of my personality. If I had to choose, I’d say Finn is a lot of fun, and Magni’s a great character to blow off steam with.
Noelle: For some reason I feel closest to Christina. Maybe it’s because I played her first? I feel our personalities are most closely aligned.
Which of the books have so far been your favorite to perform and why?
John: I’ve most enjoyed the last two books we’ve done – The Warrior was a great chance to take Magni through an emotional journey, and The Genius was a fascinating leap forward, and interesting to see how the next generation deals with the choices of their forebears.
Noelle: I thought the Mentor was exciting. Setting up the school was fun and I love playing kids.
Are you excited that there will be 10 books in the series? Will you narrate all of them?
John: For my part, I’d be delighted to narrate as many books as they’ll have me for. Excited to see how the saga wraps up!
Noelle: I think we are? I hope we are!
What do you think of the series?
John: I think the The Men of the North books are fun, thought-provoking, challenging, and very sexy! The series has some fun and dramatic insights into the romantic dynamic, and plays out in this futuristic yet primitive setting that’s very interesting to play in.
It’s not at all what I expected when I first sat down to read it. The books are a lot of fun to perform, and they seem to work really well in audio. It’s a thrill and an honor to perform the series, and I’m so glad listeners are enjoying the journey.
Noelle: I narrate a LOT of romance novels. Elin’s stand out because not only do they deliver the romance, but they’re so well written and paint an entirely new, totally creative world.
How did you get into the business?
Noelle: I started out in the theater. I always loved reading and listening to audiobooks as a child. When I got my first microphone and found out it could be a career I tried a book and it stuck! I’ve been narrating ever since.
What do you like most about your job?
Noelle: Playing all the characters I wouldn’t usually get to play in real life: grumpy old Russian men, mischievous fairies, robots…you name it.
Do they have an acting background? What kind of education?
Noelle: I have Bachelor’s degrees in theater and voice.
What do they do when they get to the racy parts?
Noelle: I used to blush, but I don’t blush anymore. I try to paint the picture just enough that the reader is not taken out of it by a dry read, but still leave room for them to fill in the blanks with their own imagination.
What do you read for fun?
Noelle: I love novels with magical realism. My favorite author is Neil Gaiman.
Do you work together? Do you like the back and forth of the narrations?
Noelle: We do not work in the same room because we work from home. But we email back and forth throughout about characters.