It started with an audition. It was for a book titled "The ABC's of Texas Plants" by Sara Barnard. This was during the great quest for a kid's book. Being from Texas, sort of, this appeared to be an ideal match for Tiffany. And after a few questions for the author, we went for it... Whole hog... What? Not genuinely Texan sounding? Fine! Anyway, we didn't get it. (We had also recorded an audition for Sara's book "Chunky Sugars" but didn't get it posted in time. Curses... foiled again!) There were tears, probing life questions, wondering what it all meant... Where, pray tell, did we go wrong...
That is until Sara wrote back to Tiffany saying that she loved her voice and would she consider narrating her beloved first novel "A Heart on Hold." It was a romance novel set during the Civil War. Tiffany immediately stood up from her chair and announced "Challenge accepted!!!" We had been watching "How I Met Your Mother" a bit too much at that time.
Still, this would be Tiffany's first foray into the world of Historical Romance. She researched the genre at the library, checking out other audiobooks, and talking with the librarian who listened to them regularly. How should she approach this new genre? What would be her motivation?
After her preparatory time was complete, we began production. She stepped to the mic, and we rolled tape... figuratively of course as we don't actually record to tape. Would be cool really, but the editing process would be... yeesh, don't wanna think about it. At once, Tiffany became the lead heroine Charlotte Adamsland, and then the romantic hero Sanderson Redding. She became Charlotte's Pa and an orphan named Cotton as well as an assortment of Union and Confederate Soldiers. She was America in the 1860's... (Pretty nifty image there huh... or not.... I'll just stop now...)
But the greatest triumph was her transformation into a family of Romanian Gypsy's and their beautiful young daughter Minerva. She saw this as her greatest challenge... (not in life... i mean she's had greater challenges... but... well, you know) and she attacked these characters with gusto... or passion... she got her swag on let's just say. She captured the pain and anguish as this family came to America for a new beginning, crossed paths with our leading man and his brother, and endured great hardship... primarily the "small pox". *shudder* At no point during these recording sessions did we break into Cher's "Gypsy's Tramps and Thieves." Okay that's not exactly true... we did... my parents had the 45 when I was a kid.. and yeah, I like to listen to 70's on 7 on SiriusXM. Whatever! It was a brilliant performance... only Tiffany, in a moment of uncertainty, wasn't sure. She wondered aloud... "Is it truly brilliant... well I know it's brilliant, but is it Brrrrrrrrrrilliant!!!" That's Brilliant with a rolled R! And I sat there, mouth agape saying, "Darling, you were marvelous!" "Was I?" She said... "Yes," I said... and we embraced, our cheeks pressed together staring past the non existent camera, as imaginary music swelled in the background... I mean, it was an Historical Romance Novel, so we had to get into character.
I have to admit, that was a fun recording session. Not sure why, but it just was. Every day I didn't want to stop because I wanted to hear what happened next. Well, that would explain Why it was fun now wouldn't it. I don't pre-read the story. I let Tiffany tell me the story, and if I'm digging it, then I know we're on to something.
We would go on and do a second book for Sara, shortly thereafter. It was her first Amish Romance Novel (did not know that was a genre but there's a lot I don't know) "Rebekah's Quilt" and we hope to work with her again in the future. Sara's enthusiasm and passion for her work was infectious. I would say contagious, but with the small pox theme, it didn't seem appropriate. And for the first time, Tiffany really got to use her theater training and create three dimensional characters. As I listened back I kept telling her "When I listen to this, I don't hear Tiffany, I hear and I see the character in the book." That is the goal ultimately, and I truly believe she nailed it! Her performance was Legen -- wait for it - dary! Again, it's a How I Met Your Mother thing...