Chocolate-covered pretzels. Elsa and Anna. Beyonce and Coachella. There are some things in life that just work together amazingly well. Let’s add to the list historical romance author Kelly Bowen and esteemed narrator Ashford McNab. In their latest collaboration, A DUKE IN THE NIGHT, we meet Clara and August, who come face to face 10 years after a memorable meeting. August is a 19th-century entrepreneur (and a Duke), and he’s after a company that Clara’s family owns. With two strong-minded protagonists, how will it all end up? We’re lucky enough to have some inside information from narrator Ashford McNab. We asked her a few questions about A DUKE IN THE NIGHT.
AudioFile: Clara and August are such an unusual couple for the time period. How did you approach voicing their characters?
Ashford McNab: I first “met” Kelly Bowen’s work through her Season for Scandal series. Her protagonist in that series is proactive and a fierce modern woman, so I knew that these characters would probably be a step or two away from the regular historical romance characters as well. For Kelly’s writing, technically, I tend to pace it a little faster than I do with, for example, Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. In my opinion this adds the slightly modern edge to the audio that one gets when reading the text.
AF: This Kelly Bowen title has gotten rave reviews. What did you think about narrating it?
AM: I LOVE working on Kelly’s books. They flow off the page and onto the breath really easily. Her descriptions are on point, so her characters are clear to me, and my work is simple—to vocally honor her clarity of vision. Hopefully I am able to transfer her clarity and imagination to the listener! Kelly is very clever in the way she is able to imagine these forthright women without taking away from the beauty, romance and elegance of the period – it is a great honor to voice these books, I hope she has many more to come!!
AFM: You’re well known for narrating historical romance, and for doing it superbly. Any secrets from the recording studio you’d care to share?
AM: I think my main “secret” is that a successful audiobook is, to my mind, a wonderful collaboration. At Hachette Audio (the producer of Kelly Bowen’s work) I have a great team—first, and most obvious perhaps, is Kelly Bowen. Then, my thoughtful and kind engineer Charles McCrorey—whose immense talent allows for my expansive changes in volume, pitch, and tone. Elece Green is the insightful genius behind production on this series, and without her trust, all would be lost. There, is of course, my amazing editor and “QC” artist Nikki Banks, without whom you would hear all my popped plosives and tummy rumbles at lunchtime!! And lastly, but obviously by no means least, the kind, discerning and generous listeners: thank you!!