Author: Chantal Gadoury
Narrator: Anne Marie Lewis
Length: 10 hours 22 minutes
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: Dec. 31, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
This Christmas Eve, no creature was stirring, except, maybe, a mouse. At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions and one special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams.
But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse? Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice Anton is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic. Listen to it now!
Amazon Bestselling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published The Songs in Our Hearts, and The Songs We Remember, with 48Fourteen Publishing. Allerleirauh, Between the Sea and Stars, Blinding Night and WinterDream with the Parliament House Press. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. For Chantal, writing novels has become a lifelong dream come true! When she’s not typing away at her next project, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of Iced Coffee, and watching Disney Classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, sister and furry-‘brother’ Taran.
Singer and actor Anne Marie Lewis has enjoyed a richly varied and long career in the performing arts. She has performed across the globe from Carnegie Hall to Boise to Little Rock to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as in Canada, England and Scotland. Chicago area credits: My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, Into the Woods (Music Theater Works); 1776 (Porchlight Music Theater); Midnight Cowboy (Lifeline Theatre); Northanger Abbey, The Skin of Our Teeth (Remy Bumppo); Love, Loss and What I Wore (Oil Lamp Theater); bare (RefugeTheatre Project); Graveyard of Empires (16th Street Theater); Jake’s Women (Spartan Theatre); The Scullery Maid (Idle Muse Theatre); Moon Over Buffalo (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center); The Diary of Anne Frank (Metropolis Performing Arts Center); The Merry Wives of Windsor (Fury Theatre); Fancy Nancy, Elephant and Piggie (Northbrook Theater); Little Red Riding Hood, Camp Wonderland (Theatre at the Center), Don Giovanni, Shining Brow (Chicago Opera Theatre); Pride and Prejudice, The Sound of Music, Hansel and Gretel, Persuasion, Cosi fan tutte (Chamber Opera Chicago); Gianni Schicchi (DuPage Opera); La boheme, Die Fledermaus, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, Carmen (Opera Studio Highland Park). Regional credits: Die Fledermaus, Le nozze di Figaro (Pine Mountain Music Festival), Little Women (Lyric Opera Cleveland), La boheme (Quad Cities Opera, Arkansas Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony); Mozart Requiem, Schubert Mass in G (Carnegie Hall). International credits: Persuasion (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Camden Fringe Festival, Buxton Fringe Festival, Victoria, BC). Anne Marie, a Pittsburgh native, is a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University. She maintains a private voice studio and has recently entered the wonderful world of audiobook narration and production, with fifteen titles to her credit.
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
I started listening to audiobooks several years ago and was hooked. I hadn’t really focused on the fact that narrating was something I could do. But then I heard some really disappointing narrations and I started listening with a more critical ear, thinking “I could do a much better job than that!” I then started researching the narrators I liked and noted their performance backgrounds and then I thought “how could I NOT narrate?” I took a voiceover class where the instructor barely touched upon audiobook narration but I let her know how interested I was in learning the ropes of audiobook narration. A few months after the class ended, she sent me to another Chicago actor who teaches classes on getting started in audiobook narration through ACX. And now I have 15 books under my belt!
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
Most definitely! The skills one hones on the stage, in film or video, or in voiceover carry through to audiobook narration. And it’s not just about acting. Actors study how to analyze text, how to find the poetry in prose, how to elevate and emphasize text, how to use the many colors of one’s voice, how to enunciate clearly, how to employ dialects or accents in addition to fleshing out characters. And even for non-fiction, these all skills apply!
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I LOVE audiobooks! I would love to be able to sit and read a book but with my schedule, I do a lot of driving and don’t have much time to sit and read so I listen to something every day – usually fiction. I love being pulled out of my everyday world and into the one created by an author and fleshed out with a narrator’s voice. I think what made radio drama so fascinating to the world back in the golden age of radio, appeals to today’s listeners. Audiobooks engage my brain and creativity – even though the audio part of a story is set for you, you still use your imagination for how the characters look, how a setting feels.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
Right after I finished narrating my first book for The Parliament House Press (the publisher of WinterDream), the publisher approached me about auditioning for WinterDream, since they liked my work on Hook & Crown. That’s the best way to get a “gig,” although I did have to audition for it!
- Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
- If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
I received a very harsh review that was entitled “I need ibuprofen after this book!” The reviewer really hated my voice saying: “I really liked the storyline and thought it was written fairly well. However, the narrators voice ground on my nerves to the point I just had to stop listening. After several attempts at trying to re-listen to the book, I finally gave up. My head hurt too badly listening to her voice!” I had a good chuckle over it!
- What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
That particular review was not helpful, to say the least! Telling me how I could make my voice less irritating would be helpful – was it my pacing, the choice of character voices, my pitch, my accent choice, my reading of the story? Did the listener have a headache because the mastering levels were too high? Anyway, that was just one review.
- Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
There are so many wonderful authors for whom I’d love to narrate! But my true “dream author” is actually a nostalgic choice. When I started listening to audiobooks, I was hooked on the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series by M. C. Beaton (pen name for Marion Gibbons). Many fabulous narrators have read those books: Alison Larkin, Wanda McCaddon, and Davina Porter, but my favorite by far is Dame Penelope Keith. I think she really nailed Agatha Raisin’s character and made each character so real for me that I fell in love with every character in that series. I also devoured all of Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth mysteries. Unfortunately for us all, Marion died at the end of December, 2019, at the age of 83. Many of us fans are mourning her passing.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
Since a lot of us narrators are self-directed, we need to develop our own critical ear. Listen, listen, listen! Listen to other narrators, listen to your own recordings, listen to feedback from reviewers, authors, friends. We learn from listening and then discerning which bits of feedback we need to heed and which to ignore.
- What’s next for you?
Just now awaiting the release of my first non-fiction book: Smart, Successful and Abused: The Unspoken Problem of Domestic Violence and Hig-Achieving Women by Dr. Angela Mailis. I am also involved in a musical stage production of Jane Austen’s Emma right now so I am stepping away from the studio for a few weeks to concentrate on rehearsals.
Before I write, I honestly always cast my characters just so that I can see them in my head more vividly, and so I can describe them better to readers! So, taking the cast that I originally created at the very beginning of my writing process, this is who’d cast for a film of “WinterDream.”
Clara: Hailee Steinfeld
The Nutcracker: Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Lady Irina: Charlize Theron
Uncle Drosselmeyer: Hugh Bigney
The Mouse King: Himself
Yakov: David Oakes
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