Here’s Diane Havens, narrator of the Iambik audiobook of Katharine Beutner’s Alcestis (published in print by Soho Press), in the first of (what I hope to be) many answers to 5 questions for Iambik’s narrators, proofreaders, and other magicians. All our titles, including Alcestis, can be purchased at a 50% discount by entering #jiam2011 at checkout through the end of June 2011.
Miette Elm: First off, what are you up to? What titles have you recently wrapped, what are you in the middle of, and how’s it going?
Diane Havens: Absolutely loved narrating Alcestis for Iambik a couple of months ago. Truly a satisfying book to perform. After that I finished The Psalms as part of a Bible series I’m doing for Vendetti Audiobooks, and right now I’m prepping a sci-fi title. Very excited about that since it would be my first book in that genre. It’s another book with a strong woman as main character. I always enjoy those — and that seems to be a voice role in which I am often cast, so it’s a good fit for me.
ME: Anything stand out as the funniest, strangest, or most amazing section of text in your history as a narrator?
DH: Of course that first line we all loved from Alcestis (They knew the child’s name only because her mother died cursing it, clutching at the bloodied bedclothes and spitting out the word as if it tasted sour on her tongue.) That book is full of many gorgeous passages.
I’ve done a couple of legal novels by Will Nathan — with lots of colorful, raw language in them, as befits the subject matter. (I will not allow my mother to listen to either of them.) And they’re filled with observations that I thought were spot on, like this one from Book of Business: “He couldn’t understand why just playing ball wasn’t enough for some people. How they wanted you to like it, too.”
ME: Care to share one of the more colourful compliments you’ve received about your voice or narration talents?
DH: Probably the funniest one I can recall came during an interview with a reporter. Fellow VO Kat Keesling and I collaborated on a huge public service project. We had organized a group of voice actors who volunteered to record sections of all the health care reform legislation as it was being debated in the US Congress, and posted the audio for free download at a site we called Hearthebill.org. We received considerable press coverage, and this reporter told me he’d listened to the first section of the bill, the one I’d recorded, and he’d never heard a table of contents so beautifully delivered. Made me smile for days.
ME: What are the world’s top 5 sounds? What are the worst?
1. the words “I love you” especially as spoken by my son with the word “mommy” added at the end
2. birds chirping on a summer morning
3. waves crashing on the shoreline
4. a cat’s purr
5. an Irish flute
1. traffic sounds/ motorcycles revs
2. construction/demolition noises of any sort
3. a child coughing deep and painfully during the night
4. drip of a faucet … once isn’t bad, but constantly is another thing altogether
5. the sound a cat makes when you step on her tail
ME: Of any book ever published, what’s your dream title to narrate (even if your voice wouldn’t be a good match)?
DH: I don’t know if I could narrow it down to just one. As soon as I think of one title, I immediately think of another I covet as much. I’m never monogamous when it comes to literature.
Get Alcestis, narrated by Diane Havens, at a 50% discount by entering #jiam2011 when prompted at checkout through the end of June 2011.