Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse is now an audiobook narrated by the talented Sonja Field.
Q: How did you get into narrating audiobooks?
Sonja: I’ve always wanted to do audiobooks. I have a good friend who’s been recording audiobooks for a few years now, and she told me about a website, acx.com, where publishers post auditions directly on the site, and you can audition for whatever book you want – as long as you’re then able to produce a high-quality recording on your own. I invested in equipment and taught myself how to use it, and then dove right in.
Q: Describe your recording space.
Sonja: I have a sound-proofed closet that I lock myself in. I hang quilts and blankets to deaden the room. I have my microphone and other equipment on a table in front of me, and my laptop on a table to my left. It feels pretty funny at first to be spending so much time inside a closet, but you get used to it. 🙂
Q: What is your process when you are recording an audio book?
Sonja: Every book is a bit different. For Yogi’s Curse, I would sit down and record an entire chapter without stopping. If I made a mistake, I’d just pause, say the sentence correctly, and continue recording, rather than going back and re-recording over the mistake in the moment. I like to get a good flow going.
Afterwards I would go back and listen to the chapter I’d just recorded while editing out any mistakes and all of my audible breaths. After that, Maria from Fantastic Press would have a listen and let me know if there were any other edits to be made. Finally I would master the track and upload it to the website.
Q: Describe a typical recording session. How long do you read? Do you take a lot of breaks? What do you drink?
Sonja: Again, it varies! While I was recording Yogi’s Curse, I was also rehearsing for 2 separate plays that I was about to perform in a rotating repertory. This left me with very specific and strange pockets of time in which to work. Typically I would wake up early in the morning, record a chapter, and start editing it. I would finish editing when I got home – sometimes as late as 10pm – and would be uploading tracks into the wee hours of the morning.
Since my schedule was so crazy, I didn’t really have time to take breaks – I had to just power through. I always have water with me as I record, or coffee – depending on the day. 🙂
Q: Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse has a lot of different accents as well as a lot of Hindi words. How did you prepare for reading that?
Sonja: I love doing accents, so many of them were already in my back pocket. I did research on Indian accents before reading those characters. Accent research mostly consists of watching YouTube videos, studying the accent’s particular sound changes, and really internalizing the music and rhythm of the accent. Maria provided me with a really helpful pronunciation guide for the Hindi words, as well – I would not have known how to do those!
Q: What did you like most about recording Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse?
Sonja: I had a wonderful time recording overall. I loved that the story was always moving forward – never a dull moment! I loved that I had the opportunity to create so many distinct character voices.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the process for you?
Sonja: Probably the editing, since it was so time-consuming and I didn’t have a lot of extra time in my schedule. Reading the book was absolutely delightful!
Q: Which of the characters did you feel the strongest personal connection with?
Sonja: Definitely Zoe. How can you not? The book is from her perspective. She’s brave and compassionate and always wants to do the right thing.
Q: Who is your favorite character?
Sonja: Zak cracks me up. He’s got a great sense of humor and a fun, easygoing attitude about life. He’s a supportive friend and a great counterpart to Zoe, who gets very task-focused and business-like, and sometimes stresses out about all the things she has to do. Zak is great at balancing her out and helping her see the fun side of life.
Q: What was the hardest voice for you?
Sonja: Talusar’s voice was pretty challenging! I found it very vocally demanding.
Q: Which part of the story was the most fun to narrate?
Sonja: All of the dialogue between Zoe and Zak was a lot of fun to do. They have such an entertaining relationship and a particularly fun dynamic.
Q: Why is this a good story to listen to?
Sonja: This is a great story to listen to because there are so many fun, unique characters and a new adventure in every chapter. There’s an intriguing mystery that gets introduced in the beginning, with a super cool twist at the end.
Q: Who would enjoy this story?
Sonja: Kids who like adventure or fantasy books would enjoy this story. I think it would be equally appealing to both girls and boys.