Synopsis: The Containment Zone is a 500-mile radius surrounded by mountains and closed in by gates. No one can leave, and anyone who tries will die. Within are lawless bandits, corrupt soldiers, and once-human greyskins that hunt down people to spread the virus. Some say the Containment Zone is where the greyskin virus originated. Others say the people inside are little more than lab rats being studied by the nefarious Screven government.
When 12-year-old Skylar and her father, Liam, are caught trying to escape, they are taken to Vulture Hill, a government prison camp no one has ever left alive. Inside the prison, Skylar learns that the facility is little more than a testing site for finding people of a certain bloodline – the Starborn. These are people with special powers that manifests in various spectacular ways, and Screven wants to exploit them.
Skylar has always known there was something special about her family. For years, her father has had the ability to completely numb pain with just a thought. Lacerated skin, broken bones, they can all be ignored with enough concentration. Learning that her father is a Starborn means Skylar is probably one too, placing them both in extreme danger.
Now, father and daughter must do the impossible and break out of a prison known for killing so many. But Liam has leverage the government may be willing to buy – the cure for the greyskin virus.
The first two books of The Starborn Redemption are set 40 years after The Starborn Ascension and 17 years before The Starborn Uprising. Each Series can be listened to independently.
This book was BETTER than expected. Don’t you love it when that happens? YES. Author Jason D. Morrow does an excellent job ushering you into the point of view of the main characters; Father and daughter tandem Liam and Skylar as they navigate prison Vulture’s Hill. I was impressed with narrator Stacy Gonzalez with her ability to breath life into the characters.
Interview with Narrator Stacy Gonzalez
What are the first things you do as you prepare to narrate a book?
Very first–read the book. A lot of people ask that question, and, yes, I read the book. After reading it, I try to think through the characters. I put either a person I know or a celebrity as sort of the touchstone for each character. Beyond that, I don’t really do too much. I like to jump into the narration once I’ve read the story and thought through the characters.
Does the author help you with voice creation, or is it up to the narrator?
I usually do it all myself, unless I have any specific questions. Or unless an author has something very specific in mind. However, in most cases, the narrator is left to create their own artistic take on the characters.
How do you keep the characters straight in your head as you read through the text?
I usually keep a little mp3 with a snippet of that character voice. Sometimes, there’s a word or phrase that I have to say to key me in to that character. There was a character in a book I did under my romance pseudonym where I had to pause the recording and say a really angry “F**K” to get in to that character. He was an angsty sort of neo-nazi.
Do you have a method for characterizing, or portraying each character?
Once I get the voice down, I just let the story guide me. My method is just to let the author’s words tell the story.
How do you feel about being a medium through which readers can access a story?
I just love doing this. As an avid listener myself, there is nothing better than the feeling of not being able to stop listening. I hope that I can give listeners that feeling. I love when I’m listening to a book while running or cleaning–both of which, for me, can be activities that are hard to keep on doing past a certain point–and I HAVE TO run or clean longer because I just cannot turn the book off.
What do you want readers to know about narrating audiobooks?
I hear a lot of non-listeners say that they like to hear the story how they hear it in their own heads. I would just want to say that listening to the book does not take away from that experience. You still use your imagination as a listener in a very similar way that you would as a straight-up reader. And listening can enhance the experience in different ways.
About the Author: Jason D. Morrow
Jason D. Morrow is the author of more than 15 books in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres, including The Starborn Uprising, The Starborn Ascension, The Starborn Redemption and Prototype D.
Stacy Gonzalez is a Chicago based narrator and commercial voice actor. She is feisty, bright and expressive. Stacy specializes in YA, self-help and romance, especially when the narration calls for a good handle on comedy, wit and sass. Audiofile Magazine has praised her pace and her ability to create bold characters. Stacy, who is half Colombian, speaks conversational Spanish. She has a great love for Old Hollywood—watching the movies and listening to audiobooks about any and every aspect of it! Follow her on Twitter at @stacygonzalezvo or visit her website at stacygonzalezvo.com.
Synopsis: With the new year approaching, hospital chaplain Lindsay Harding heads for a much-needed break in the peaceful resort town of Duck on North Carolina’s outer banks. Her plan to attend the wedding of her friend, Anna, runs aground when a boatload of trouble washes ashore, and as the old year ticks down, the body count goes up. Thrust into the path of an increasingly desperate killer, Lindsay must uncover a sinister secret before she winds up swimming with the fishes.
Old family scandals, sunken World War II U-boats, obscene desserts, and a stolen Doberman all guarantee a far from restful break for the irreverent reverend, who makes her second appearance in this lively mystery.
Another entertaining read that didn’t disappoint. Book 2 in the Lindsay Harding mystery series was just as good the first one. There’s a lot of moving parts to this book, but at the core is the bizarre death of Lindsay’s aunt Patty in the city of Duck. Great storytelling. Narrator Holly Adams delivers another spectacular performance and is just as good as any narrator I’ve heard. The various accents are truly remarkable. Lindsay’s best friend Ron speaks English with an Asian accent. Her best friend Anna and her mother have a distinguished southern accent. Family friend Simmy has an unusual accent from North Carolina which I’ve never even heard of, and villain Leeland has distinct voice of his own. Keeping all these straight, switching back and forth between characters and narrator voice is magical. I’m still not sure how the good narrators are able to pull this off. Amazing!
How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
In my second book, A Death in Duck, there are a few characters who speak with an Outer Banks (of North Carolina) accent. That accent is a trip! It sounds like an Irish accent and a Southern accent had a baby, and that baby was born with a mouth full of marbles. 🙂 Holly and I talked a lot about how to render it accurately, but still make it understandable for the purposes of the recording.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I know this is cliche, but OMG the Harry Potter audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale are THE BEST. I also quite liked Eddie Izzard’s reading of Great Expectations. I knew Izzard as a quirky comedian who often performed in drag, so I was extra impressed by his skill as a narrator.
For me, a good audiobook is all about the sharpness of the characterizations. With the Dale and Izzard readings, you can tell who’s speaking almost as if you were listening to dozens of actors rather than just one.
If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
I’ve seen enough sci-fi movies and TV shows to know that time travel always ends badly. I’ll have to be content with time traveling through books and movies, because I sure as heck am not going to be the one responsible for setting off a catastrophic chain of events by accidentally stepping on a butterfly in 1722.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
That question is best answered by punching those dumb-dumbs in the face. Seriously, though, whatever way someone chooses to inject narrative content into their brains is okay by me. Some people have long commutes, and audiobooks provide a great companion. Some people, like my grandmother, have vision impairments that prevent them from reading. Audiobooks are her lifeline. Personally, I love reading, listening to audiobooks, and watching movies and TV shows. I even like hearing storytellers at events and festivals. A great story is a great story, no matter how it gets from one person to another.
How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
I never really feel like writing projects are finished, so I don’t celebrate. I mean, are you supposed to celebrate when you finish the draft? The corrections? Submit it to your agent? Return the page proofs? See it in print? Register your first sale? Get your first review? I’d be hungover for months, if not years!
I just finished a full draft of a middle-grade novel I’m working on, and I’ll tell you exactly how I celebrated. I went into the bathroom, where my husband was brushing his teeth and said, “Well, I think I’m done with that book I’ve been working on for three years.” We high-fived and then went to bed.
About the Author: Mindy Quigley
Mindy Quigley is the author of the Mount Moriah cozy mystery series, which is based in part on her time working with the chaplains at Duke University Medical Center. Her short stories have won awards including the 2013 Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition and the 2018 Artemis Journal/Lightbringer Prize. Her non-writing career has been stranger than fiction, taking her from the US to the UK, where she worked as the personal assistant to the scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep, and as project manager for a research clinic founded by the author J.K. Rowling.
She now lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with her Civil War history professor husband, their children, and their idiosyncratic miniature Schnauzer.
An actress and physical theatre performer for many years before becoming a Voice Actor, Holly continues to divide her time between stage, screen, circus, and audiobook narration.
Holly began her VO career doing radioplays and audiobook characters with the amazing Full Cast Audio company. Since then, Holly has voiced radio and web commercials, various e-learning projects, documentary shorts. . . and of course, audiobooks! She has been nominated for Best Fiction and Best Female Narrator. Holly has conservatory training; her attention to tone, energy and rhythm make her work personal and dynamic. Holly’s performance projects abroad (Italy, Afghanistan, Haiti, Russia, the UK, France, and the Middle East!) support her training and skill with dialects and languages.
Holly records for Audible, Deyan Audio, Christian Audiobooks, Tantor, and more. Holly loves telling stories!
When she’s not in the recording studio, she is on stage or screen; favorite projects include Richard II, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, the films “Here Alone”, “Gotham Blue” and “Your Loving, Virginia”, working with girls in Kabul for the Afghan Children’s Circus and with performers in Balan, Haiti, as well as with her ‘home circus’ Circus Culture. Holly is a SAG-AFTRA performer, a graduate of the International Dell ‘Arte School, and holds a Master’s in Theatre, Education and Social Change. Https://shearwaterproductions.com/voice-actor and on IMDb as Holly Adams III.