Interview Interview: Meet Audiobook Narrator Karissa Vacker

Bestselling author Carrie Ryan’s new YA novel may be called DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE but we can’t keep quiet about this amazing new standalone listen, read by the phenomenal Karissa Vacker. Because this is Karissa’s first recording with Listening Library, we thought we would introduce you to this terrific new talent!

Can you describe DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE in three sentences?
How ’bout one? DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE is a suspenseful tale of revenge and survival born out of great love, tremendous loss, and profound longing.

How do you prepare for a recording?
I begin by reading the book several times. The first pass allows me to get an overall sense of the story, the characters, and the writer’s style. The second time through, I begin to dig into the specifics of each character. I have a spreadsheet where I identify the characters, their age, gender, role in the story and any identifying vocal description (accents, vocal quality, etc.) If a character reminds me of someone in my own life, I’ll mark that person’s name on the page when the character speaks and allow that to influence how they speak. If a character doesn’t remind me of anyone I know, I make sure my visual image of them is crystal clear. I imagine how they dress, wear their hair, and even how they might walk! Having a clear image makes it easier to slip from one character to another on dialogue heavy pages.

KarissaVacker1I adore doing research while prepping a book! It is so fun for me to learn about a particular place, time period, or event because it allows me to immerse myself fully into the world of the story. By the time I need to get into the studio to record, I try to have read the book about three times. The third read, I skim through the characters and try out their voices a bit so when I get in the booth, I’ll have a touchstone for each of them; though the first time I ever try their voices “full out” is in the booth. I find that when I get into the zone of the story, the characters sometimes take on their own rhythm and may be slightly different than what I have planned and I like to honor that!

When you were a child, what book (or audiobook) made the strongest impression on you?
I was a HUGE fan of The Sweet Valley High series of books by Francine Pascal. I know I read many others, but this series sticks out in my memory as my ultimate favorite. My parents would often come looking for me because I could hole up all day with a book and completely lose track of time! (Things have not changed much in adulthood.)

What sparked your interest in narration?
A friend of mine with whom I studied theatre in college at SMU (the lovely and talented Jennifer Bronstein) had begun narrating audiobooks a few years ago. I remember her telling me how much it was like theatre in that you get to play different characters, do research, and immerse yourself in a story. I immediately wanted to know more and began listening non-stop to audiobooks and fell in love with the whole process. Within a year, I recorded my first book and the love has only continued to grow!

Karissa and producer Dan Musselman

Karissa and producer Dan Musselman

Do you have a favorite genre or ones you would like to try?
This was my first YA book and I just loved it! I really identify with the coming-of-age stories (even though YA stories are so much more than that these days) and so I would love to continue down this path. And I don’t know if this is a genre per se, but I am quite drawn to stories that take place in the South. I am from Texas, so maybe it gives me a taste of home, but give me a Southern novel (or better yet, a historical fiction that takes place in the South!) and I feel all things cozy and warm.

What recent books or audiobooks have inspired you?
I recently listened to Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. The book takes place in both Italy and Los Angeles and spans many years and is simply stunning. The compelling story along with Mr. Ballerini’s incredible narration had me listening non-stop. I will also listen to anything that Jenna Lamia narrates. She is a big inspiration for me! I love how simple yet specific she is with each character she voices. She always gives me something to aspire to.

LISTEN TO A CLIP of Karissa reading:
DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE is on sale May 26, 2015.
Available on CD and audio download from Listening Library.
Hardcover and e-book from Dutton Books for Young Readers.

Daughter of Deep Silence is a trademark Carrie Ryan novel—heart-stopping suspense, fine writing, and a heroine who finds and owns her true strength. I couldn’t put it down!”—Ally Condie, bestselling author of Atlantia

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