The Book: Ghost Light
Fiona Corrigan is in love…but she has some difficulty discerning between the realities of the stage and her real life, especially when it comes to her handsome costar, Patrick Berenger. He wins her heart nightly onstage but seems hesitant to go any further.
Patrick is a man running from his past and is hell-bent on never confronting it, until one night when it catches up with him, summoning him and his acting troupe to the far reaches of Scotland. Fiona looks forward to the trip and to finally having time alone with Patrick. She never anticipated the appearance of his estranged brother Sean, or the manipulations of the eccentric Lord Thornbury, and the frightful apparition of a woman who haunts the stage each time the ghost light goes dark with her dire warning that death is waiting in the wings.
Set in 1920s Scotland, Ghost Light is equal parts tingling romance and chilling ghost story.
I’m so excited to be able to announce the release of the audio for Ghost Light – this book is one of the first books I ever reviewed as a baby blogger and it taught me what blogging could be; the author was the first I ever interviewed and it seems fitting that this is my first narrator interview!
This book is a gothic romance, with an emphasis on the gothic – if you’re a fan of Eve Silver, this should be right up your street!
As the story is set in Scotland, it’s only fitting that many of the characters have Scottish accents and I can confirm that Adam Barr NAILS IT (just in case you’re like me and get twitchy about dodgy accents). Also, he sings and it’s awesome.
The Narrator – Adam Barr
Adam Barr is a recovering lawyer; a 25-year veteran of the golf industry (primarily as a print and TV journalist); an actor and singer with a lively, wide-ranging baritone voice – and a lifelong lover of books and reading. He has studied with audiobook and voiceover veterans Johnny Heller, Steven Jay Cohen, and Tom Dheere, who have helped him focus on well-crafted stories and characters instead of just bare words on the page. He lives near New York City with his family.
1) I hear that you’re a golf commentator as well as a narrator, how did you get into that?
I was a golf journalist for 17 years, and most of that was on TV for Golf Channel, which is now part of the Comcast/NBC empire. I just loved the game; still do –and of course, the origins of the game of golf we know today are Scottish.
Around 1992, I was a practicing lawyer, and I had had enough of that. My wife, God bless her, encouraged me to go do what made me happy. So I started freelance writing about golf, then got a position on a golf magazine–that happened to be right across the street from this new cable network that was all about golf. I did a lot of guest appearances, and then the TV people came to me and said, “Hey…can you break stories for us like you do for that magazine?”
“Um…sure. Can you teach me how to do TV?”
Well, the training was, “Here’s the mic; let’s go.”And I did, for more than 12 years. Traveled a lot of the world, including much of Scotland. I got to meet and interview some of the greatest stars of the game (yes,including Tiger) and witness a lot of the sport’s modern history.
2) What are the different challenges between commentary and book narration?
Sports commentary on deadline is a frantic thing that has to sound well-grounded and calm and smooth and prepared. It takes a lot of energy, focus,and sometimes, sacrifice. A book, on the other hand,is a marvelous play in which the reader comes and sits on the edge of the stage and works music and lights and scenery with you.Readers supply so much of the sensory “atmosphere fill”between your words; they bring to it all their experiences and expectations and desires. In a lot of ways, that’s even better than a play –and there’s time to prepare and, if necessary, go back and do it again. None of that in live TV.
Speaking of live –whenever I feel too tired to get into the booth and record, I think of our friends on Broadway. Eight shows a week, feel like it or not, as live as it gets, each one gotta be as good as the best you’ve ever done (theoretically). That gets me back on track pretty quick.
3) Where/How did you learn your Scottish accent?
“Learn” would be a stretch. I’m a mimic; have been since I was an annoying little kid. I’ll try anything. I’ve always been fascinated with all things U.K., Scottish, Irish, Celtic, you name it –which is odd for the Pittsburgh-born grandson of Lithuanian and Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. But there it is. This means I can pick up many accents easily –eastern European, for example. Others are a complete mess for me, such as Australian.
For Ghost Light, I tried to recall all the people I’ve met in Scotland over the years and match what I heard with characters and situations.There was always the question of intensity, and when an accent threatened to go over the top –which might be OK in a humorous context, but perhaps not so much when deep emotion was involved. And there was the whole Lowland versus Highland question, and whether a character impressed me as steeped in the royal intrigue of Edinburgh or redolent of the moss of the far hills of Sutherland.
Little known fact: I do a flawless Rodney Dangerfield
4) Who is your favourite character in Ghost Light, why?
This is difficult, because there are so many strong characters, and LeeAnne did such a marvelous job drawing them. Pressed to choose, I would have to say Fiona. First of all, every Fiona I have ever met has been a breathtaking combination of smarts and Celtic beauty, real knee-weakening charm. Fiona Corrigan is doubly endearing because she is a constantly shifting mix of confidence and confusion in a time when male-dominated literature didn’t give women credit for having such alluring complexity. And for all her 1920s decorum, there is the inescapable notion Fiona is a woman who is quietly comfortable with her sexuality.
5) Is this the first audiobook you’ve narrated?
Ghost Light will be my 17th audiobook. I’ve done a number of mysteries and thrillers and some great young adult titles too, and one other romance –although I have another one coming,and I’m looking to move more into that genre. All my books are available on Audible.
I did Bartleby the Scrivener, Herman Melville’s classic novella, as a labor of love. The YA stuff has been a blast –an excellent post-apocalyptic series called America Falls by Australian author Scott Medbury. Scott makes characters you can believe in and root for. One of my early books, Finding Pegasus by John Pearce, is the kind of international spy thriller I love –zinging around the world trying to save the world.
And I did a deliciously dark Chicago detective thriller with a vampire twist in Chris Markham’s Missing: A Mason Gray Case, in which he introduces Gray, the no-nonsense private investigator with a heart. Recently I completed another international thriller, Silver Strand Legacy by T.E. Stouyer, about the ins and outs of making superhuman spies and the trouble that can happen when some go rogue.
6) What do you look for in a book when choosing to narrate?
Well, I do this for a living, so it would be disingenuous to pretend there aren’t economic considerations. We all want to narrate books that will sell. But beyond that, I’m looking for characters and situations that challenge my acting ability. I want to have material that will enable me to keep people sitting in the car in the garage to see what happens next instead of going inside right away. (Please turn the engine off, OK?) And I like working with authors who have a notion of what they want, but are also willing to collaborate and build on their vision by sharing it with me.
7) What’s your personal favourite book/genre to read?
Spy novels, history, biography, literary fiction…there’s very little I don’t like.
8) What was the biggest challenge when narrating Ghost Light?
We talked about accents and going over the top. The challenge for me was to maintain authenticity but to remain understandable, so as not to distract from the story. And as a relatively new romance narrator, I had to make sure I let the women’s point of view shine through when appropriate, especially Fiona’s.
9) What was your favourite scene to narrate in Ghost Light?
Another tough question. Fiona and Patrick on the train on the snowy night was a good one. We get to see a lot more into Patrick’s troubled heart. I also liked the scenes with Carlisle –he was alternatively quirky-funny and complex
10) What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up my first nonfiction title, a memoir of a blind author who is also a devoted bibliophile. He won’t be deterred in his quest to read, listen to, discuss, and write about as many books as he can. And I just signed on to do my first book for Findaway Voices, a deeply textured love story with a shattering plot twist. It’s novella-length, and it packs an emotional wallop.
(Bonus Question) What is something you really wish someone would ask you? Or something you would like to talk about?
It’s a long story –but suffice to say, I never should have been a lawyer. I wanted to be an actor from the time I was old enough to know what plays and movies were, but I followed the path my Depression-era parents laid out for me. Not their fault –but I should have gutted it out and followed the dream.
And yet, after all I’ve done, here I am, a professional actor –perhaps not in the way I first imagined, but in a very real way nonetheless. That moment when I first wrote “voice actor”on my tax return? Doesn’t sound emotional, does it? Well…it was.