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January LaVoy manages to straddle the worlds of stage, film, and television and somehow squeezes in recording 20 audiobooks a year, which is good news for audiobook fans.
LaVoy, named the 2013 Audiobook Narrator of the Year by Publishers Weekly , is making quite a name for herself in the field. In the past five years she has recorded dozens of mainstream mystery books by many authors, including James Patterson and Harlan Coben.
LaVoy only recently realized how important audiobooks are. “I used to think audiobooks were for commuters,” she says. “Recently, a war photographer presented me with three flags that flew over his camp in Afghanistan. He said audiobooks allowed them to shut out the war for several hours.”
She also learned how important audiobooks are to America’s prisons. “An announcer at this year’s Audie Awards said that audiobooks are piped into entire cell blocks. Everyone just listens; the whole block is quiet. Many prisoners are illiterate, and this is the only way they can get access to great literature.”
Like many performers, LaVoy reads a book at least twice before recording it. “I read it once straight through. Then I go through and underline important parts, like when it says the character ‘spat’ the words. I play with the voices until they feel right to me. As the narrator, I feel it’s my job to heighten the parts of the story that impacted me.”
LaVoy recorded her first audiobook in 2008 under a pseudonym because she feared her association with a sexy vampire novel might affect her job as an actress on a soap opera. Her most popular work is THE DIVINERS, for which she won the Publishers Weekly award, a raucous novel by Libba Bray set in the Roaring ’20s in which she gave voice to a large number of characters. “They were all trying to make it in New York,” she says. “My favorite was called the Ziegfield girl, who talked like Mae West.”
Her next project will be LAIR OF DREAMS, the sequel to THE DIVINERS. As for what book she’d like to record someday, she says, “I’d love to record Jacqueline Susann’s second novel, ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH.”
What’s the attraction of a racy 1973 novel? “My mother named me after the main character in the novel, January Wayne. When I was old enough to understand such things, I asked my mother if I could read it. She said, ‘Absolutely not.’ I still think it would be fun to record.”--Michael Sangiacomo[AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015]
Photo by Jordan Matter
© AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
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