Interview with narrator Emma Wilder

With Yael Waknin

Questions for narrator Emma Wilder

1 – How did you come to narrate romantic novels?

Some of the very first books I narrated were romance novels, so I’ve been narrating romance for as long as I’ve been narrating books, period. I trained as an actor, and worked as a theater actor for many years before I decided to try to build a career as a narrator.

2 – Have you narrated books from different genres?

Yes! I’ve worked in all the genres—nonfiction, literary fiction, young adult, memoir, mystery, thriller, horror. Like many narrators, I record books in those genres under a different name than the one I use for romance novels, though, to keep those brands separate.

3 – What was the most fun \ easy book you narrated?

This question is too hard—I’ve narrated so many fun books! The most fun book that I’ve narrated recently, though, is Kayley Loring’s Funny Business, because I got to play the ukulele (badly), sing (also pretty badly), and act with some of my best romance narrator friends, like Teddy Hamilton, Mackenzie Cartwright, Zach Webber, and Jason Clarke.

4 – What was the most difficult book \ character you narrated and why?

I’m not sure. Lots of factors can make a book difficult—challenging accents, emotional/upsetting things happening to the characters, dozens of different character voices—so it’s too hard to say.

5 – What are the preparations you make before each project? Do you read the whole book in advance? Do you rehearse out loud before the recording itself? or maybe something else?

I always read the whole book in advance, and make notes about each character, so that I can give them an appropriate and consistent voice (and accent, if necessary) and so I can look up the pronunciations of any words/place names/etc that I don’t already know. I don’t think you can tell a story well unless you know the arc of the story, and how it’s going to end, so I certainly want to know the whole story beforehand so that I can guide the listener through it the way I think the author would want.

6 – Is there a genre \ book \ character that you won’t agree to narrate? If so – why?

I won’t narrate romances in which non-consensual sexual acts are presented as titillating/romantic/sexy. I’ve certainly narrated rape and abuse scenes in other genres (it comes up a fair amount in thrillers), and that’s difficult but I’m okay with doing it, usually, if it serves the story. I know some people enjoy romance and erotica that involves unclear consent or straight up non-consent, and everyone is allowed to like whatever they like, but when you narrate/perform a story, you have to live through it, and there are some stories that I don’t want to live through in that way.

7 – How long does it take you to record an entire book?

One finished hour of audio takes about two hours to narrate, and then there’s also the time spent reading the book beforehand, and the time spent actually getting the job and emailing back and forth about the project, so I maybe spend 3 hours for every one hour of the finished book? That, of course, doesn’t include the time someone else spends editing, proofing, inserting the corrections (because nobody reads everything perfectly the first time), and mastering the book.

8 – Are you working on more than one book at a time?

I usually narrate one book at a time, but I’m always prepping the next book, and probably also recording corrections (which we call “pickups”) from previous books.

9 – What is the genre you like to read in your free time?

Mystery! Though to be honest, I don’t have much time for pleasure reading these days.

10 – Is there a writer you particularly like? To read or to work with

So many! Recently, I’ve loved working with Sarina Bowen (her book Boyfriend, the last book in the Moo U Hockey series, comes out in October, and will be narrated by me and Jason Clarke). I always love working with Rosalind James, whose books are often set in New Zealand. C.D. Reiss and Lauren Blakely are also favorites of mine.


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Emma Wilder

About the narrator

Emma Wilder is a classically trained actor and narrator who has worked on everything from steamy romance novels to Shakespeare. When she isn’t on stage or behind a mic, she can be found rescuing and training animals, sipping fine bourbon, and watching home renovation shows.

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