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  • Writer's pictureTheatre Of The Mind

Samantha Henthorn Interview with Lindsay McKinnon.

Narrated by Lindsay McKinnon

You will know from my reviews that I have read and enjoyed all the books in the Curmudgeon Avenue series to date. Samantha Henthorn, the author, tells me that Book 5 is being written now, so I'm looking forward to seeing that in print soon.

While I wait for the next instalment of chaos and confusion at Number One, I am thrilled to announce that Curmudgeon Avenue The Terraced House Diaries is now available as an audiobook, narrated by the versatile Lindsay McKinnon. I downloaded my copy earlier, and plan to become reacquainted with all the wonderfully quirky characters, whilst soaking up some sunshine in the garden later today.

And today, apart from bringing the audiobook to your attention, I am delighted to have an interview with the narrator Lindsay McKinnon. 

Interview with the Narrator ~ Lindsay McKinnon~

Thank you, Lindsay, for taking the time to join me here today, and for answering a few questions for us. I am personall

y looking forward to listening to Curmudgeon Avenue The Terraced House Diaries, and can't wait to hear how you've brought my favourite character, Patchouli, to life! What inspired you to become a voice over artist/writer/singer/actor?

My very earliest memory is from when I was five and I made up a joke, which my sister (eight years my senior) laughed out loud at. I was hooked! From the age of seven my back garden became my stage and every few weeks my poor family and neighbours were treated to the latest, musical, sketch show or dramatic rendition I could throw at them. So, I can’t really say I was inspired to be an entertainer; I’ve never known a time when I wasn’t one.

What do you like most about being a voice over artist? The thing that appeals most to me about being a VO artist is bringing the author’s characters to life. I get to paint what that character looks like in the mind of the listener, using my voice as the brush. It’s so much more intimate than acting on stage or screen. If I’m doing it right, then the listener and I develop a bond. I whisper funny tales or heart pounding romance or blood chilling drama, to them personally.

What advice would you give to other aspiring voice over artists? Go to extremes and be as over the top as you can. You may never record any of those extremes, but it’s a good way of loosening up. PLAY! Have fun with voices. I find I physically hold myself as the character would when I’m voicing them. Their mannerisms, the way they hold their face, their persona all seem to take over; it can make you feel a bit schizophrenic when you are doing a scene with half a dozen people in it, but when you inhabit them (or they inhabit you), it makes it easier to jump between characters seamlessly. I would also suggest not being afraid to be a little different. I once attended a VO course and at the end, we were each given the same audition piece. The audio guy had forgotten to label which VO artist has recorded them. When he played them back, they all sounded so generic that even those who had performed them couldn’t distinguish their own voice. You may as well use a robot if the work is going to be that formulaic. Who is your favourite character in Curmudgeon Avenue and why? Ooh, that’s a hard one! I can’t pick just one, but I can narrow it down to the top three. I love Edna, she is so multi-faceted and multi flawed and I can get so much pathos from her voice. Toonan is a favourite too as she’s so endearingly young and thick and has quite a devilish streak. I can’t leave out Mrs Ali, the canny neighbour who knows everything about everyone, but what do we really know about her I wonder…. Hmmmm.

Was he/she difficult to voice? None of the above were difficult to voice really, once I’d felt the characters telling me what they should sound like. Edith could be a bit of a challenge at times as she is just so nice and sweet and quite naïve, which is always harder to portray than a baddy. You want to get that sweetness across without her sounding one-dimensional. It was a challenge at times to find voices that were sufficiently different when there are so many characters who are roughly the same age, same background and brought up in the same area.

Where else would we have heard you? Mostly live theatre as an actor, singer or comedian. The small amount of voice over work I’ve done on radio plays, jingles and adverts has been lost in the mists of time as I’ve led a very nomadic lifestyle (I am coming up to eight years in my current residence, which is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my adult life).

How long did it take you to produce Curmudgeon Avenue? Approximately eight weeks, but that included a learning curve with a new recording program, new equipment and getting my recording studio set up and sufficiently soundproofed. The next recording should be a lot quicker.

Did you make yourself laugh while recording it? Yes, quite often! Sam has written such a funny book which really captures the idiosyncrasies of the humour and downbeat Manchester style, it’s hard not to laugh. There were some parts that I listened back to a few times when I really captured the right delivery of a particular line, that kept making me chuckle. You have to play back your recording so many times during the editing process, and then again when you bounce it down to a WAV file and then again to an MP3, but I never tired of listening to the recording; which is a testament to Sam’s talent.

What is your favourite genre for reading? My first choice would probably always be humour, but then I would really love to sink my teeth into a psychological thriller or nice gothic horror. Nothing with chainsaws or dismembered limbs being flung about left right and centre; more the tension that comes from the unseen monster that lays in wait on the other side of the door.

Have you had any stories published yourself? I have written short stories and travel articles for magazines and newspapers and I wrote a short film which won Best Short at the Toronto Actors Union. I have a bin bag full of ideas that are waiting to be turned into novels. You never know, now I’m voicing other people’s work, it may be enough of a kick up the bum to get me finishing a few of my own. I started Theatre of the Mind Productions with the idea of creating radio plays and other Voice Over work, as well as the audio books, so there are those exciting avenues to go down too. Do you have a story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that?

I’ve recently rediscovered a work I started on many years ago, which is an adult fairy tale; which I realise is an angle that’s been done quite a few times since I put my notes in the “Ideas Bin Bag”, but I think it might be sufficiently different to be worth a revisit.

Who is your favourite author?

Apart from Samantha Henthorn? ;-) Stephen King, P.G Wodehouse, Tom Sharpe, Leslie Thomas, Sue Townsend, Christopher Moore, Douglas Adams, J.K Rowling

Which writers have influenced you? Stephen King for his brilliance at characterisation and storytelling. P.G Wodehouse, Douglas Adams and Tom Sharpe for how gloriously silly they are (they can still make me cry with laughter).

If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play main character’s name? To turn the question around a little, if this book were made into a film, Samantha has already said she could see me playing Madam Genevieve Dubois. I think I would have to agree with that.

Are you open to approaches from other authors who would like their novels turned into audiobooks?

Most definitely. Bring them on!

What is the best way for them to contact you? You can contact me via my Twitter account at @LindzMcKinnon, on Linkedin or through ACX. You will also be able to contact me through my site, which is currently under construction.

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