Narrator Spotlight: Jill Melancon

Posted by Holly Simpson on April 3.

The Narrator Spotlight feature ListenUp’s fabulous narrators, one at a time. Get to know a little more about the voice behind the story and see what else your favorite narrators are up to!

This week, Narrator Spotlight features Jill Melancon, who, if you live in Atlanta, you’ve probably heard on your radio. She’s been a DJ on 99x and Dave-FM and is currently doing traffic with All News 106.7. You can also hear her as the voice of “Holiday” in the upcoming video game, Revolution 60.

How long have you been narrating audiobooks?
Officially for about 3 years.  But as a former English teacher, I’ve been reading out loud for a long time.

Of the books that you’ve narrated, which is your favorite?
Firecracker by Charles Verhey.  It was the first one I ever narrated, so I’ll always remember it fondly 🙂  It is the story of a young girl who has “special” powers and has to learn to control them.

What do you do to prepare before narrating an audiobook?
It may sound like common sense, but first and foremost–read the whole book!  There is nothing worse than getting deep into the recording and suddenly realizing one of the characters has an accent you should have been using all along.  It is also good in helping to provide background for the characters to help with characterization.  Next, I look up any unfamiliar words and/or pronunciations.  I keep a notebook for each project with character bios, etc. to keep me on track.
How do you create different character voices?
I have an extensive background in theatre, which has been indispensable for doing audiobooks.  I’ve been involved in theatre (acting, directing, music direction, and technical) since I was seven.  I try to find the one thing in each character’s story that helps me find the tone of their voice.

What is the funniest thing to happen while recording a book?
Early on, when I did my own “engineering,” I got all the way through a particularly long chapter, then realized I hadn’t hit the “record” button and had to do it all over again 😦  But it wasn’t funny at the time!

What is something people might be surprised to know about the job of an audiobook narrator?
I have a lot of friends who tell me they want to get into doing audiobooks.  I tell them to pull a book off the shelf, and start reading it out loud and not stop for at least 2 hours.  If they still want to do it after that, then they should be okay.  But a lot of people discover it is much harder than they thought.  I discovered that after about 3 hours, my voice starts cracking, so I can’t narrate for longer periods…I have to break it up into chunks.

If you could narrate any book, what would be your dream audiobook?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Or if Tina Fey hadn’t already done it herself, Bossypants.

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