"I want the characters to marinate so that by the time I hit the microphone, they live naturally."
Mexican-American narrator and singer Cynthia Farrell says, “Artists are special people. Audiobooks give us an arena to move other people. I hope that my listeners are taken on an emotional and intellectual ride that is like no other--a ride of the mind and heart without the visuals.”
Farrell began narrating seven years ago when an agent asked her to narrate M.A. Lawson’s thriller ROSARITO BEACH. “They needed someone who spoke both English and Spanish,” she says. At the time, Farrell loved to read but was not an audiobook listener. Happily, years of experience as a Broadway singer and doing commercial voice-overs helped prepare her. Since then, she’s narrated more than 150 audiobooks, both commercial titles as well as titles for the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.
As she is a bilingual speaker, Farrell’s audiobooks sometimes include narration in Spanish or in various accents, which she enjoys immensely. One of her most memorable narrations was EVA LUNA by Isabel Allende. “The characters in that story were so rich and so juicy and fantastical! They were grounded in the reality of that [unnamed South American] country.” She says that, given her own Latin-American background, she was able to relate to the main character. Farrell is meticulous in preparing for audiobook narrations. “I definitely read the whole book. I want the characters to marinate so that by the time I hit the microphone, they live naturally.” She also stresses the importance of researching the setting and dialect, as well as terms she’s not familiar with.
About her recent Earphones Award-winning narration of QUEEN OF BONES, a mystery set in Cuba by Teresa Dovalpage, Farrell says, “Recording it was fun and lively because the characters are so colorful.” She researches her characters so they can be rich and alive to the listener, and when narrating a story, she is intentional with every word she speaks. “I don’t throw away any of my sentences. Each one is infused with a lot of emotions.” By the end of the book, she says, she’s often drained.
Farrell has found that her greatest challenge as a narrator is managing her time. “It’s time intensive,” she stresses. Being a single mother of two children while narrating fulltime and working on her music and cabaret shows is no small feat. Farrell hopes to continue narrating audiobooks into her twilight years as well as performing music with her band all over the globe.--Traci Currie
©AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
Photo by Rod Goodman
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