Meet Carol Monda, Performer in Vintage Love Stories
Blunder Woman Productions, with the help of eight talented authors and nine equally talented narrators, released remarkable volume of short tales set before the age of the internet and cell phones. Vintage Love Stories features Carol Monda’s narration of Adele by Tony Healey.
We were able to chat with Carol, and we’d love for you to get to know a bit more about her, too!
What has been your favorite book to narrate?
There's honestly been no one favorite; I've been very lucky. But I would say that I love narrating anything by Elizabeth Hand and Sara Gran.
Have you had any funny or interesting things happen while recording?
Neither very interesting nor truly funny, but I've juxtaposed words. Once, instead of, "He placed the dead flowers on the player piano.", I said, "He placed the flowers on the dead piano player."
How do you get into a book/story?
By seeing and feeling it as I go, and letting its world and story grow in and around me.
How do you prepare for all the different characters and their tones/vocal ranges?
I make a character "bio list", get to know their personalities as vividly as possible, see them move in space, analyze what makes them tick. Most times, I hear a character very quickly. If I don't, I'll sometimes speak extemporaneously as the character, trying on different voices until one clicks. Ultimately, I explore and experiment until the person feels organic, dimensional, and true to the writing.
How many books have you narrated and do they have a common thread or theme?
Over 400 books in 17 genres, of which mystery, romance and memoir tend to feature. The themes and threads mostly deal with angst-driven, complex people with secrets.
What do you like most about narrating audiobooks?
Immersing myself in a new world and inhabiting its players, even if that's solely the POV of the author.
What do you like least about narrating audiobooks?
During your downtime, do you prefer to read in print or listen to stories in audio?
I prefer to listen to music. ;) - I prefer to read in print, actual books more than tablets.
How do you select a book to narrate?
I don't. The publishers offer them as auditions or jobs.
Do you prefer a specific genre or types of characters?
I love mystery and dramatic fiction, and smart, dry, gritty characters.
Do you read a book several times before you record the audio?
Rarely these days; the deadlines are tighter, and multiple books can queue up at once.
How do you decide on the specific voice and tone to do for each character?
I take clues from the author, other characters, the character him/herself, and my own interpretation. I see the character, get to know him/her, then hear that person speak.
Do you have a ritual or routine you do before sitting down to record the audio (such as vocal exercises or warm-ups to strengthen your vocal cords)?
Vocal and physical warm ups, drinking water, and taking a moment to connect to the feel of wherever we are in the story.
Is there an audiobook you just loved listening to? What about that narration makes it special?
I loved Edward Herrmann's rendition of No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin. He made the moments come alive -because he was in those moments at every moment.
What qualities make a great narrator?
Love of story, staying present, diligence, patience, attention to detail, imagination and passion for the work. Being an actor doesn't hurt, either.
If you like, share some tips for aspiring voice actors.
Listen. Train. Practice. Engage in best practices for vocal and overall health, cultivating creativity, and tuning in to your instincts. Make sure you know what the craft entails before you jump in. Most of all, you want to feel in your veins the need to do this.
Is there a scene you just loved to narrate?
So many... In Rise and Shine, by Anna Quindlen, I loved a fight scene between two Sisters which really became a bonding scene done with nuance and discovery and surprise. I delighted in an understated, humorous repartee in Elizabeth Hand's Available Dark. It's between a woman and her estranged ex-beau, in which she just smashes a core belief he had, and he hates it and secretly loves it, while she just loves it!
Is there a scene that was especially difficult to narrate?
A gratuitously sexually violent one. Sometimes it's relevant and even vital to the story that violence be described. Sometimes it's perverse, doesn't further the plot, and seems to exist for shock value only.
Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents? If so, what are they?
They're so hidden, even I can't find them. I can do a pretty good Coroner's report from The Wizard of Oz.
ABOUT CAROL MONDA
Carol Monda has voiced promos, documentaries, commercials, short form narratives, animated films, spoken word sound recordings, theatrical narrations, awards programs and television dramas. Her clients include Turner Classic Movies, McDonald’s, Discovery ID, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Marriot, KLX, The Guggenheim, USDA, Bell Atlantic, NY Historical Society, HSBC, Red Cross, Sag-Aftra, Tena, AFL-CIO, American Cancer Society, WNET, CitiCorp and TNT. She is an Audie and Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator of over 400 titles, having read for Recorded Books, Harper Audio, Audible.Com, Blunder Woman Productions, Brilliance Audio, Hachette Audio, Books On Tape, Clipper Audio, Academic Merit, Edge Studio, HighBridge Audio, listentogenius.com, Redwood Audio, Deyan Audio, Harlequin, METABOOK, Blackstone Publishing and Penguin Random House.
Carol is also a veteran actor of various stages including Manhattan Theatre Club, Perry Street Theatre, Arena Stage, HB Studio, The Shakespeare Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Charles Playhouse, and Classic Stage Company, where she voiced the premiere of American Opera Project’s Darkling in the US, Poland and Germany. Stage roles include the Snow Queen at The Kennedy Center, Celimene in Roundhouse Theatre’s The Misanthrope, Limer in Morticians in Love (Helen Hayes Award Nomination) and Hillary in Albee Damned (Best Actress, SpotlightOn Award). She is a member of Emerging Artists Theatre Company and an alumna of Washington Shakespeare Company and Everyman Theatre Company. Her film credits include Out of Season, The Gentleman, Thou Shalt Not Mysogenate and After You Left. She was also seen in the WB TV Network’s The Beat.
Carol has been teaching for 30 years. She’s led classes in acting, voice and speech, scene study, audition techniques, text analysis, accent reduction, audiobook narration and many genres of voiceover. Carol has served as an adjunct professor in commercial VO and narration at NYU’s Digital Design and Film School and has taught Voice and Speech III at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. She’s directed and taught acting at New York City’s Professional Performing Arts School and at Belvoir Terrace in the Berkshires. Carol has also worked in and around Washington, DC at Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts, Roundhouse Theatre, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, Bethesda Arts Center and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
Currently, Carol coaches in voiceover at Edge Studio and The Voice Shop in NYC, and Global Voice Acting Academy in LA. She also offers private coaching (email@example.com). She received her training at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, Boston University Theatre Institute and Catholic University, where she earned her BFA in Acting and a Hartke Award for Best Actress of the Year. Carol is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and Sag-Aftra, where she serves as a member of its National Audiobook Steering Committee. You can hear her at: carolmondavo.com