Barrie Kreinik Interview
Hello, book lovers! Welcome back to my Narrator spotlight (oh but performers, are they) interviews! Other interviews include Imogen Church, Karissa Vacker, Hillary Huber, Amy Landon, and Angela Dawe (not in any specific order). I’ve also posted a Top Ten Tuesday Narrator! Please check it out!
Barrie Kreinik, What Are You?
Yes. Let’s all do it together, every post! Shall we?
I gave a list of general titles- narrator, actor, voice-over, etc… to find out exactly what narrators are (they aren’t cartographers or Sun Summoners, sorry, Darkling).
In the world of audiobooks, I’m a narrator. In the broader world of the arts, I’m an actor/singer/writer/narrator. (Or that’s what my website says, anyway.)
What My Friends Think I Do, What My Family Thinks I Do, What I Do…
I think my friends and family have a pretty good grasp of what I do, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that the job of a narrator involves more than just the time I spend in the recording studio. I also spend many hours at home prepping scripts—highlighting character dialogue, looking up word pronunciations, etc.—and I often have to submit auditions, which involve recording and editing a sample from the book for the author to consider. It’s a multifaceted job.
Where Do You Record/Pandemic
I don’t have a recording booth in my apartment, so I do my narration work at various professional studios here in New York. There’s one particular building in Midtown that contains four different recording studios, so I’m there a lot. I love working in-studio because I get to chat with the other narrators and engineers who are there when I am. It makes what can be a fairly isolated job into something more social.
At the start of the pandemic, when the studios shut down, I went to stay with my mom in Connecticut and created a home studio in her storage closet. It was basically a blanket fort with a microphone inside it, but it worked! I was very fortunate to have that option, as it meant I was able to continue working from there until all the New York studios reopened.
Misreads can be very funny. If I read a word wrong and it changes the meaning of the sentence to something ridiculous, I’ll start laughing, and sometimes it’s hard to stop!
Thank you to Barrie Kreinik and MacMillan Audio for supporting these spotlights.
Preparation and Routines
I always do a vocal warmup at home before I leave for the studio. I make sure my body is awake and stretched, I do several voice exercises, and I recite some tongue twisters to make sure my mind and mouth are connected. Then I drink herbal tea with honey all day long while I’m recording to keep my throat warm and lubricated.
The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne is how I discovered and remains my favorite work of Barrie Kreinik.
Favorite Book, Character And Genre
I couldn’t possibly choose a single favorite audiobook! I’ve enjoyed narrating so many. As far as characters, I love when I have the opportunity to narrate a series because I get to develop a cast of characters over time. Some of the best series I’ve narrated are the Rose Gallagher Mysteries by Erin Lindsay, the Ingrid Skyberg Thrillers by Eva Hudson, the Dragon Heart Legacy by Nora Roberts, and the Emily Dickinson Mysteries by Amanda Flower.
Artist Extraordinaire —Writing, Acting, Singing, Narrating
I think all arts media have the same basic aim: to tell stories to audiences. But yes, the act of participating in each one is very different. Stage performance is an immediate, ephemeral art form: actors and audience share an experience in real-time, and afterward all that’s left is the memory of it. To me, there’s nothing like being onstage and feeling that energetic connection with the audience. I really enjoy it.
With audio narration, the audience receives the finished product long after the narrator has completed it, so the performance itself is given to the imaginary listener you know will eventually hear your words. What I love about narrating is the opportunity to create an entire world with just my voice. And to play all the characters at once!
Writing is another thing entirely—the creative process happens in isolation, and the audience doesn’t usually receive it until a whole lot of editing has happened. So there’s even more distance between the artist and the audience. The writer lives in her own imagination.
I love them all and find each fulfilling in a different way. That’s why I do all three!
Once again, I couldn’t possibly choose a single favorite narrator. There are so many talented people in this business—I feel honored to be among them.
Reading Through Books You Loathe (Courtesy of Imogen Church)
When I’m narrating a book I don’t like, I think of an interview I once heard with Davina Porter, who narrated the Outlander books. She said, “Somebody out there wants to listen to it. And that’s who you read to. You’re not a judge. You are a conduit. The book is there, you want to make it sound the best you can.” So I try to just get through it and give the best performance possible. It’s not always easy! Sometimes there’s a lot of eye-rolling. But I try.
About Barrie Kreinik
From her website (linked below)
Barrie Kreinik is an actor, singer, writer, and audiobook narrator based in New York City. Barrie’s <acting> performance credits include Off-Broadway and regional theatre, recorded media, concerts, and cabaret. She holds an MFA in Acting from Brown/Trinity Rep and a BA in Theatre and English from Cornell. As a singer and songwriter, Barrie has performed at Birdland, 54 Below, The Bitter End, and the Laurie Beechman Theatre. She was a semifinalist in the 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition. Her debut EP, Unlearning, was released in 2019 and can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon. Barrie began writing short stories and poetry as soon as she could read. In the intervening decades, she transitioned to dramatic writing and creative nonfiction, focusing on plays, screenplays, personal essays, and opinion pieces. She also worked for seven years as an editor of academic journal articles.