Monday, July 31, 2017
Meet Arnetta Ellinwood, the Narrator Who Brings Books to Life
When I first heard Arnetta Ellinwood narrate the book, The Last Firefly by Kimberly A. Lagrone-DeMarco, it was a done deal. I would ask her to narrate my book, Deception in Plain Sight. And what an extraordinary job she did when delving into every scene, every character’s interpretation and dialogue, and bringing the storyline to perfection with her velvety voice. Switching from one character’s discussion to another is not an easy task, but Arnetta made it seem as though it was a cakewalk because she brought the sequence of events to life through her patience, supportive feedback, comments, and suggestions and going beyond the call of duty when it came to following directions. And if I learned anything from working with her on this project, I could never be a narrator.
Please tell our readers something about yourself. I am a mom of an awesome little three-year-old who I love to sing the Spiderman song with and spend most of my days with. I also love to DIY. When I am not hanging with my son/family or narrating great books, I am usually trying to find my next DIY fix. Lol
I see you have done voice-over work. Is there a difference between a narrator and a voice-over? There is definitely a difference in my delivery between the two. I find my voice-over work is mostly geared toward commercials or voicemails for small businesses and usually when I do these types of voice-overs, the expectation of my voice is always the same: Bubbly and uplifting. As opposed to when I narrate books, I usually have to get a feel for the characters and truly become their personalities. I feel like the audiobook is definitely more of an acting role than most of the voice-over work I do. Although, I absolutely love both.
Is there a book you would like to narrate, and if so, can you tell us the title and author? Never know who is reading this Blog. :) Anything Oprah has written. Lol
Have you ever received a negative comment or review about your narrating, and if so, how did you handle it? I have, and I honestly do not look at it as negative so much as a criticism that I should take constructively. I had someone tell me something about my recording that sounded off to them. My response was simple, give me every detail you can think of and I will work to fix it. I actually ended up fixing the issue and realizing my audio was improved because I took the time to listen to the person. I even wrote them to thank them for the advice and told them how much it helped. They have actually returned, but to buy from me. :)
When it comes to narrating, how do you manage your time? Well, I will say this took me forever to figure out. I make sure the most important things come first. My son is number one priority, providing and caring for him is always at the top of my list. For me, it’s important to keep a planner for my work purposes only. My family and son come first and then it’s to my planner to plan out recordings and editing time for ACX or Fiverr. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love what I do and the opportunities it has and will give me but my first love is my family, so I make sure they come first at all times. As long as I plan out my work week, it’s smooth sailing. I pray I never lose that planner because I will be lost. Lol
What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned from being a narrator? Be consistent and it’s also taught me to listen. I only know what the author wants from their character through how they choose to verbalize that through their writing. I have learned to listen to what they want not only through communication, through email, and simply asking questions, but to really listen to the words they use in the book.
As a narrator, what have been your biggest challenges, trials or tribulations, which you have overcome? I most recently finished a book that required me to speak French in a couple of chapters. This was so scary for me as I have never in my life taken a French class. Lol. I told the author I would work at it and I did and it happened to turn out pretty well. I just finished the book and it should be out soon. I am hoping readers like the French parts and that I am not torn apart too much. Lol. I actually surprised myself in the end though; I joked with the author and told him I wished it was Spanish because of all the years of Spanish classes I took. Lol. I definitely would have knocked it out of the park. Lol. I have also currently started a novel that is very deep in its message and I find it hard to portray one of the characters in the book because of this. I am finding that I have to really dive in and feel the pain and passion within the book to make sure I deliver it to the standards that I know both I and the author want. It has made me really appreciate actors and actresses that have to portray a character who is considered the villain in movies, especially when the movie has a deeper and some times dark message or story that needs to be told.
Do you have any words of wisdom for future or current narrators? Honestly, just love what you do and it will show in your efforts. I can’t tell you how much this rings true. If you want to try narrating, do it. Give it a try and if you don’t love it wholeheartedly, let it go so that you can find something you truly fall in love with. I spent a lot of time doing other things I thought I wanted either because of money or because I had my own idea of what success was supposed to look like. I always say I think I am pretty blessed because narration found me and once I got started it was like love at first sight. So, just love what you do and do it with a good clean heart.
What approach do you use before narrating a story? I always try to read out loud so I can hear myself saying the words. When I do this I am listening for a couple of things. The first is can I hear myself in any of these characters, the second is will this reading catch the ear of a random audible listener? And last but definitely not least, am I interested in what I have read so far? If all of these answers are yes, I usually know this is the book for me and that I need to audition ASAP :) or if I have already been offered, then I know I can move forward.
How can our readers get in touch with you? They can get in touch with me by clicking here.
Arnetta, thank you for stopping by and allowing our readers and visitors to learn more about you and your service and thank you again for making Deception in Plain Sight a more captivating story. It was a joy working with you.
Buying Links to Audiobook - The Last Firefly by Kimberly A. LaGrone-Demarco
Buying Links to Audiobook - Deception in Plain Sight by Vivienne Diane Neal