Five Questions with Marin Ireland
By Candace Levy
Do you ever pick an audiobook based solely on the narrator? You can count on Marin Ireland to create an emotionally charged atmosphere that perfectly matches the author’s intent, both from scene to scene and for the audiobook as a whole.
Ireland is a dynamic solo voice artist who links listeners to the story through her spot-on characterizations and her ability to shift her pace, volume, and tone, adding interest and depth to the plot. Her strong performances have earned her multiple Earphones Awards, spots on AudioFile’s best-of-the-year lists, and an Audie Award.
Now it’s time to learn more about her life as an audiobook performer.
What’s your go-to beverage when recording? How about after recording?
I have so many beverages! I usually have hot water with honey, and/or a Throat Coat tea, also a black coffee (sometimes decaf, depending on the hour), and a room-temp water. I love a beverage selection. After recording, I might add just a little bourbon to the Throat Coat—it’s my own cocktail invention, I just need to find a name for it . . .
What’s the first task you tackle when given a new audiobook project?
I really like to look up the writer and learn about them, even if I think I know them. Sometimes learning little things like where they’re from gives me a different sense of what meaning might be hidden in the book. And more than that, I feel like since my job is to be the emissary delivering the words directly to each reader individually, the more I understand the writer, the better job I feel I can do representing their voice.
Is it difficult to avoid foreshadowing, especially when recording a book with a twist?
Well, frequently, I don’t read the books in advance! Which is wild. But sometimes the jobs come up last minute, and I’ll be able to get in only about 50 pages before I start. I love recording cold. I really get to go on the ride as the listener and let my own surprise and experience be part of it. So in that case, it’s not [difficult]. When I do know the whole book going in, I feel like I just try my best to stay in the moment and keep myself in the listener’s shoes.
What kinds of things do you do to protect your voice in your down time?
When I’m not recording, I’m often working on another job, so I have to be continuously conscious of my vocal health. It’s a lot of boring stuff like managing allergies properly and taking care of my immune system. When I used to go out, pre-pandemic, definitely no screaming, even if I’m at a concert and really feeling it!
What do you always have with you in the recording booth?
I get cold easily so I need a sweater or scarf and cozy shoes—even in summer I’ll never wear open-toed shoes to the studio—and I have to clutch a small pillow—whatever they have in the studio—to my stomach for tummy noise. My secret weapon. It really helps!
Mystery & Suspense Audiobooks for June from AudioFile Magazine
AudioFile is excited to share five new mystery and suspense audiobooks for June. Start off with an AudioFile Earphones Award winner from David Baldacci, read with skill by a pair of narrators. Looking for a new thriller? Try one that everyone’s talking about: Stacey Abrams’s political-legal thriller that will keep you on your toes. And you’ll find three more captivating audiobooks from ITW members in our list below to help you get ready for a great summer of reading and listening.
by David Baldacci | Read by Edoardo Ballerini, Brittany Pressley
AudioFile Earphones Award[Hachette Audio | 12 hrs.]
Narrator Edoardo Ballerini steps smoothly into the role of Archer, an ex-con who is looking for work as a private investigator. Narrator Brittany Pressley portrays Liberty Callahan, a sexy beauty who craves stardom. As they travel to California, they fall knee deep into a 1940s-style whodunit with more dead bodies than they can count. Ballerini and Pressley’s delivery of dialogue is inspired. They are a duet of perfection, and as the twisting plot keeps listeners engaged, Ballerini and Pressley’s performance—to use a 1940s expression—”takes the cake!”
by Stacey Abrams | Read by Adenrele Ojo, Stacey Abrams [Intro.] [Random House Audio | 15 hrs.]
Narrator Adenrele Ojo marshals listeners through this complicated legal-political-medical thriller. Abrams provides listeners with an engaging, fast-paced plot involving the Supreme Court, weaponized genetics, and a corrupt president. At the center is brilliant Supreme Court clerk Avery Keene, whom Ojo portrays with just the right amount of emotion. Ojo also masterfully presents the male characters, including Justice Howard Wynn, the president, and agents from Homeland Security and the FBI. A smart and intense listen.
by S.A. Lelchuk | Read by January LaVoy[Macmillan Audio | 10.75 hrs.]
Narrator January LaVoy guides listeners into the second book of the action-packed Nikki Griffin series with a performance that is captivating and versatile. LaVoy’s voice is a perfect fit for Griffin, a complicated bookseller and private detective who is hired by a wealthy family in San Francisco to find a charismatic con man who has defrauded the family’s matriarch. LaVoy’s stellar performance captures Griffin’s determination to set things right and punish those at fault, and her diverse array of character voices for men and women, young and old, is masterful.
by Amy Suiter Clarke | Read by Andi Arndt, Kevin R. Free, Khristine Hvam, Michael Castillejos, Jonathan Davis, Dianne Doan[Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 10.5 hrs.]
A cast of six narrates this production in the style of a true-crime podcast. The story focuses on a serial killer and cases of abducted and missing children. Listeners will be captivated by Andi Arndt’s pacing and tone, which are a perfect fit for this thriller. All the cast members work so well together that the ensemble makes this a must-listen for audiobook fans. Each character portrayal is flawless, and the production’s sound effects add to the experience. Listeners will be captivated from beginning to end.
by Rachel Howzell Hall| Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt[Audible, Inc. | 2.5 hrs.]
Narrator Joniece Abbott-Pratt’s warm and vibrant voice embodies Marti Greenwood in this chilling and fast-paced novella. Marti, a writer, is trying to set out on her own away from her ex-husband, Emery. When she’s attacked in her new home, Abbott-Pratt has listeners feeling Marti’s terror and her lingering trauma afterward. Abbott-Pratt uses quick shifts in tone and pitch to enliven the cast and keep up the tension. This propulsive thriller packs a lot of suspense into a short listen.