I have been an audiobook lover for a long time, but it’s only been the past six months that I’ve discovered one of the best things about listening to books: it makes time spent at the gym almost bearable. Not just any audiobook, though. I need to listen to something that will keep me lifting those weights and pedaling that bicycle – it can’t be a book with a lot of long, lyrical passages of description. It has to move quickly – and humor is a great bonus. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum titles are the perfect audiobook companions to working out.
Meet Lorelei King. While it is Janet Evanovich’s mind that has created the characters I have come to know and love, it is Lorelei’s voice which brings them to life. Because of her incredible talent for reading aloud, I can not only hear Stephanie, Joe, Ranger, Grandma Mazur, Lula, Connie, and a whole slew of other characters – I can see them in my mind’s eye.
Lorelei is an accomplished actress with many screen, television, and radio credits, as well as the multitudes of audiobooks she has narrated. She reads the UK version of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone series – I wish those versions were available here in the US!
A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted about listening to a Stephanie Plum book, and began a Twitter conversation with Ms. King, which resulted in her graciously agreeing to be interviewed via e-mail for the delight of my blog readers, many of whom I know love the Plum audiobooks as much as I do.
Can you please tell us a little bit about the preparation you go through before reading an audiobook?
Lorelei: I normally just read the book through once, making a ‘character list’ as I go. I jot down any clues that the author might give about the character’s accent and personality. This helps me make a decision about the voice. Of course, the great thing about narrating a series like Janet Evanovich’s ‘Stephanie Plum’ stories is that you get to know the core characters very, very well! On the other side of my character list, I write down any words – place names and so on – that I might need to check for pronunciation.
How do you keep all the characters’ voices straight?
Lorelei: Characters tend to take on a life of their own, so it’s actually not that hard! I love getting a conversation going with loads of different characters – a dinnertime scene at Stephanie’s parents’ house is a perfect example! If I ever get stuck, I just refer to my character list.
Do you have a favorite of the Stephanie Plum books?
Lorelei: Simply because it was the first one I recorded, I have a real soft spot for Four to Score (although I have since gone on to record 1, 2 and 3). I had no idea what to expect when I started to prep it – it was so funny and fresh and original. Then my next favorite is always the last one I recorded – in this case, Finger Lickin’ 15!
Which characters are your favorites to play?
Lorelei: Oh, sooooo many! Janet is brilliant at characterization, so it’s hard to choose…. but Lula and Grandma Mazur have a special place in my heart. And Albert Kloughn, who I based on Henny Youngman. I miss Albert!
My post on Ranger vs. Joe Morelli is one of the most popular posts on my blog, so I have to ask: are you Team Morelli or Team Ranger?
Lorelei: I like them both and am firmly in the BabeCake camp! (So I’m greedy – sue me!)
Tell us about some of the other audiobooks you have read. Any favorites?
Lorelei: I recently recorded Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, which I adored. An imaginative, near-future vision and glorious writing… I also record the Sue Grafton alphabet series here in the UK, which I love – she’s kind of like Stephanie Plum’s serious, more sensible sister!
I just added the film version of The House of Mirth to my Netflix queue after finishing the book, and noticed that your web site lists that as one of your film credits. Which character did you play?
Lorelei: That film – directed by the amazing Terence Davies – is wonderful! We filmed it in Glasgow. I played Mrs. Hatch, a rather odious social climber. Loved working in a corset!
Do you continue to do film and television work, as well as audiobooks? Which do you prefer?
Lorelei: I love all media – and continue to work in as many as I can! I really like television (it moves more quickly than film – and I have a short attention span!), but of course an actor in visual media is very limited by physical type – whereas in audiobooks, I can play anything from a 5 year old child to an 80 year old man… any age, race, nationality, or gender. Heaven!
But there’s not that much time for ‘straight’ acting recently, as I’ve started an audio digital download publishing company,
Thank you so much, Lorelei, for taking time to answer my questions! I am heading to the gym this afternoon, and Plum Spooky is going along for the ride. 🙂