I’ve been living with the characters of Furyborn for fourteen years, since I first came up with the idea for the Empirium Trilogy in 2004, just after graduating high school. During that time, I’ve written and rewritten and rewritten this story. Each draft brought me closer to what the story needed to be; each moment spent with these characters helped me get to know them more deeply.
Now they feel real to me. They are living, breathing people with loves and hopes and dreams and fears, with whom I’ve intimately bonded through countless hours of work. I know the shape of them, their various sharp and soft edges, the flavor and frequency of their thoughts.
I also know their voices.
When writing, I often read my work aloud. Since I was a child, I’ve always loved reading aloud to myself. I love hearing the rhythm of words; I love feeling the texture of them on my teeth and tongue. Now, as a writer, reading aloud helps me develop characters’ narrative voices. What words do they use? How do they construct their sentences? What’s the rhythm of the conversation between these two characters? How does this character sound when she’s happy? Or angry? What about when she’s confessing feelings to a loved one?
Both Rielle and Eliana—the two protagonists of Furyborn—are young women of incredible passion, intelligence, and determination. They are also often women of fury. Quick to anger, and quick to love. After so many years of getting to know such complicated women, and reading so many passages of my writing in their voices, I had a very clear idea of what they should sound like, were Furyborn to ever become an audiobook.
And once I heard Fiona Hardingham’s performance in The Scorpio Races and An Ember in the Ashes, I knew she was the perfect narrator for my brave, angry girls.
Fiona has this wonderful quality of being able to convey both tremendous strength and heartbreaking vulnerability in her performances. She imbues every line of dialogue with such personality and emotion, and there’s a delicate precision to her narration, a thoughtful musicality, that feels so perfectly suited to the world of a female-centric fantasy novel.
When I suggested Fiona’s name to the audio producer, I crossed my fingers and held my breath. I didn’t dare to think it would actually work out, that Fiona would be able to fit us into her busy schedule. You can imagine my joy when she responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!” And now that I’ve begun listening to her performance, I could not be happier with the match of story to narrator.
For Rielle, a character raised at court—privileged yet isolated, deeply hurting but determined to pretend otherwise—Fiona created a refined, lilting, playful voice. And for Eliana—a ruthless, street-smart bounty hunter with sharp knives and a sharper tongue—she crafted a slightly less refined accent, one a little rougher around the edges. Each girl’s voice brims with power and passion, just as I’d always heard them in my head—and just as I’d always attempted to create through my own, at-home narration.
I listened to the first few chapters of Fiona’s performance with a ridiculous grin on my face. With the introduction of each new character, she brought something interesting and unique to the table: Remy’s stubborn, childish enthusiasm. Simon’s low drawl, simmering with restrained violence. Audric’s princely steadiness, his birthright weighing heavily upon him. Ludivine’s prim, sharp sophistication. And Corien’s seductive, mysterious allure.
I’m so pleased with Fiona’s work, with how much care and thought she obviously put into each chapter, each line, each word. I hope that, when you listen to the Furyborn audiobook, you enjoy it just as much as I do. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s back to the world of Avitas for me—and back to Fiona’s magical narration.
“Fiona Hardingham expertly narrates this thrilling fantasy, giving voice to two remarkable young women.”—AudioFile
“The two narratives are deftly interwoven, and plot twists will keep teens on the edge of their seats.”—School Library Journal
“High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies.”—Kirkus
“Action and steamy romance abound…will leave invested readers eager for the next installment.”—Publishers Weekly