Interview with Audiobook Narrator Melissa Reizian Frank

MelissaNewHeadshotMelissa Reizian Frank is the voice talent behind the new audiobook version of Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. When I put Cassie Scot up on ACX for auditions, I got over two dozen applicants! After listening to the first few paragraphs of my book that many times, I was getting pretty tired of hearing it. Plus, no one sounded exactly like Cassie. I suppose that was never going to happen, but I had at least hoped for a touch of her attitude. 

Then I heard Melissa’s audition. Confession time: I had my hand on the stop button, ready for the tiniest little thing to convince me to stop listening. I mean, after two dozen auditions, it was just time to pick someone already, right? Melissa started speaking, and in the first few seconds I thought, “Nice voice, too mature.” But then something happened: She cleared her throat. I stuttered over that stop button, wondering if it was an accident but then realizing it wasn’t. She’d put it in for dramatic effect right before Cassie tells us that her parents named her (ahem) “Cassandra Morgan Ursula Margaret Scot. You can call me Cassie.”

I moved my hand away from the stop button and kept listening. That’s when something amazing happened. After listening to the same paragraphs over and over again for weeks, I suddenly found them interesting again. Melissa wasn’t just reading the words on the page. She was having fun with the story and character. 

In case you missed it yesterday, here is the first chapter of Cassie Scot, read by [hb-Melissa Reizian Frank:

 

And now, without further ado, here is Melissa Reizian Frank:

What do you love most about narrating books?

Really, it’s the listener’s reaction and response that gives me joy after narrating an audiobook. I love doing dialogue-heavy scenes, where I get to play all the characters in an intense conversation. I hope to convey the feel of the old radio dramas. (No, I’m NOT old enough to actually remember them! ) My goal is probably the same as the author’s: to put the image of the story in the reader’s/listener’s mind with words. The best books I’ve read engender actual visual memories in my head of the story.

Tell us a little bit about the career change you made from TV reporting/producing to voice acting. Why did you do it and do you ever look back? 

nd of mom I wanted to be. I had big shoes to fill with my own mother being heavily involved in all aspects of my school. So I actually went to grad school, thinking I would go into the field of Family Studies and address parenting issues. Turns out I am incapable of doing a 9-5 desk job, and after about 6 months in that field, I knew it was not going to be a good fit for me—I’m very creative and project-oriented. So I had an epiphany one day…many people over the years had commented that it was my voice that really stood out to them in my television work. So I thought I’d give voiceovers a try. Luckily my research skills as a reporter allowed me to navigate through the business side of the business fairly well and I made a number of contacts who graciously gave me a shot…13 years later, no, I never look back. I do miss it sometimes when a big story breaks and I’m not on the “inside,” but I wouldn’t trade the time it’s enabled me to spend with my sons: Jarod, Gryffin and Kiayl. year after my first son, Jarod, was born, I began to realize that the crazy, long hours of being a TV reporter just did not jibe with my vision of nd of mom I wanted to be. I had big shoes to fill with my own mother being heavily involved in all aspects of my school. So I actually went to grad school, thinking I would go into the field of Family Studies and address parenting issues. Turns out I am incapable of doing a 9-5 desk job, and after about 6 months in that field, I knew it was not going to be a good fit for me—I’m very creative and project-oriented. So I had an epiphany one day…many people over the years had commented that it was my voice that really stood out to them in my television work. So I thought I’d give voiceovers a try. Luckily my research skills as a reporter allowed me to navigate through the business side of the business fairly well and I made a number of contacts who graciously gave me a shot…13 years later, no, I never look back. I do miss it sometimes when a big story breaks and I’m not on the “inside,” but I wouldn’t trade the time it’s enabled me to spend with my sons: Jarod, Gryffin and Kiayl.the kiAbout a year after my first son, Jarod, was born, I began to realize that the crazy, long hours of being a TV reporter just did not jibe with my vision of the ki

How many books have you narrated so far? Can you tell us about some of your other projects?

I have now finished more than 15 audiobooks. I have done everything from non-fiction to science fiction…with some good old guilty pleasure bodice ripper romances thrown in for good measure…have to admit, those are fun to read!  Besides the wonderful Cassie Scot series, my favorite project lately is Stonewiser: the Heart of the Stone, by Dora Machado.

Was it difficult to learn to mimic a variety of accents and voices, or did this come naturally to you?

I am a fairly good mimic, but what I admittedly need to work on in the (near) future are authentic dialects and accents. I would never take on a book that was really heavy on an authentic accent at this point…so no first-person accounts from Ireland, I’m afraid…but when I get a minor character who has an accent, I sometimes will ask a fellow voice actor who is actually from that country to record the lines for me, and then I do a pretty good job at mimicking. I hope! Be kind in your reviews, please!

Do you do any other kind of acting, either voice or live performance? 

My focus and steady stream of audiobooks is fairly recent. I mostly have been doing TV and radio commercials, e-learning training, IVR for phone systems…I’m even a bilingual talking supply dispenser at some laundromats! I have done video game voiceovers here and there as well. Last Spring, I was excited to make my triumphant return to the stage, after just a brief 24-year hiatus. I sang and danced in a huge musical review here in Lexington, Kentucky, called “Grand Night for Singing.” It was a blast! I minored in theatre in college, and had done plays all my life, but I had been more of a stage mom (the GOOD kind) for years now to my theatre kids…and to be an “on stage” mom was refreshing.

What kind of books do you most like to read for pleasure? (Not necessarily to narrate.)

I love sci-fi/fantasy…and specifically dystopian and speculative fiction.

What do you do for fun?

Fun, what is this “fun” you speak of?  Well, when I’m not locked in my tiny padded room (we call it a “sound booth” ), I love hanging out with my three sons. I love to scrapbook, but haven’t had time in way too long. I love singing karaoke….and I will pretty much play any board or card game. I’m very competitive.

What are you working on next? 

I am finishing up a non-fiction book about the ACLU called “How Sex Became a Civil Liberty,” and then I’m staring in on book 2 of the Stonewiser series—“Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone.” Then, hopefully, I’m going to find out what happens to Cassie!!!!

What did you enjoy most about Cassie Scot: Parnormal Detective?

I loved that Cassie was such a real character. She is flawed. Her life is kind of a mess…she isn’t some cookie-cutter heroine…and you can’t predict where the story was going. It is a real page-turner, and for a narrator, that’s a blessing, because it makes you truly look forward to going to work!

Thank you so much, Melissa!

Melissa’s Website

And here’s where you can buy Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective on audio:

 

Posted in Author Interviews.

2 Comments

    • Thank you! I haven’t seen many interviews like this, either, but it seemed like the thing to do, right? An audiobook isn’t just my story anymore — it’s Melissa’s voice telling it. 🙂

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