“Sometimes it’s quite a balancing act.” Listening with Elizabeth Medeiros

Do you have any idea how much raw patience one needs to be a proof-listener?   Sometimes I really wonder if our diligent and owl-eared proof-listeners aren’t secretly training for careers as stakeout spies.  Do spies have specialties?  Here’s Elizabeth Medeiros, with the patience of a thousands would-be stakeout spies:

Miette Elm: Let’s start with the obvious. What first compelled you to proof-listen audiobooks? How long have you been at it, and do you have a favourite genre to work in?
Elizabeth Medeiros: I wanted to prooflisten because that was the quickest way I could contribute. I didn’t have a microphone, nor sound editing software, and since I loved reading I realized I could still help out that way. I’ve been doing it about three years. As far as my preference, if I absolutely, positively had to choose, I’d say science fiction is my favorite, with literature a close second.

ME: What are you up to? What have you been working on lately, what’s coming up next, and how’s it going?
EM: I’ve been happily busy at Iambik with four audiobooks currently in active production: Couch, Wild Turkey, Return of the Native, and Writing Fiction which is about to restart after a little mix-up. Sometimes it’s quite a balancing act, though, if I have several long files waiting to be prooflistened as quickly as possible. But I like all the stories, and the narrators so that makes things easier.

ME: What’s the most difficult or daunting part of proof-listening work?
EM: Definitely, telling any of my readers that they have mispronounced a word. It might be a question of a slip of the tongue or British pronunciation instead of American, for example. but a few times it’s just an uncommon word the reader doesn’t know. I try to be diplomatic, luckily the narrators take my feedback in a professional manner and it all gets sorted out without difficulty.

ME: As a narrator, I’m sometimes self-conscious turning over my files to a proof-listener, thinking that it’s only a matter of time before I neglect to edit out some of my less-than-charming interjections or interruptions. We burp, we swear at passing buses or honking horns, we clear our throats, and sometimes we don’t successfully edit it all out. So (without naming names), tell me about one of the more interesting errors you’ve had to correct.
EM: I’d have to refer to my PL’ing experience at Librivox to answer this one. I was proof-listening a Jane Austen book, a dramatic reading, and one of the readers tried about three times to say a line and stumbled. Finally I heard a swear from this very proper Austen character! (Followed by the correct line. Of course.) I had to chuckle, even as I realized narrating is a lot harder than people think it is.

ME: As a proof-listener, you must be the sort of person who listens very closely to the world around you. So, in your esteemed opinion: world’s best sounds? And its worst?
EM:  The best sounds? There are so many sounds that I find remarkable or soothing. To name a couple: Music, especially the sounds from an acoustic guitar or piano, waterfalls, and when after I lost electricity after Hurricane Irene, I really liked the hum of my refrigerator when the power came back on.

The worst sounds I think are fire truck sirens, explosions and lightning strikes because you know danger or tragedy is imminent.

Elizabeth Medeiros’ most recent title as a proof-listener is Janet Woods’ award-winning dark romance Daughter of Darkness. You should enter to win Daughter of Darkness or any of our titles through Iambik’s Birthday Giveaway.  Thanks Elizabeth!