This is a happy time: having approved the audiobook edition of The Music of Us. It is a sad time too, marking the end of my work with a gifted artist, at least for now.
Having worked with several talented voice artists over the last few years I pride myself on having an ear for expression, but even with that there are surprises: enter Don Warrick.
Having three distinct voices, the audition script proved a challenge to many actors, but upon hearing Don I knew instantly that he’s the one--or rather, he’s all three. For my mature protagonist he had a deep voice, rendered intimately as he reflected on his life’s journey; for the flashback character he had a younger, more upbeat voice, and as for the love interest, Natasha, he had a velvety, youthful female voice with a full range of emotions. In the story, Natasha has a long monologue, and it was crucial not only to get her voice right but also to hold the illusion for 10 minutes. Listening to how Don does her, it was hard to imagine the voice was coming from the throat of a man.
What I did not know at the time was his ease of producing accents (from Russian to Scottish), his range of ages and most of all, his capacity to immerse himself in the character, to the point that he can live in their skin. This is the real magic.
And another thing: for The Music of Us, there were several segments with lyrics, which Don sang oh so beautifully. As a lifelong stage actor he can easily project himself from the stage to reach the last row of spectators, but here, for my story, the songs were intimately rendered. For example, he sang Amazing Grace as a young war widow whose voice is choked with tears.
I had a great time working with Don. There we were, author and narrator giving it all, in service of their characters. I am so grateful for the joy of creative collaboration.