The audiobooks are coming!

Audiobooks are coming to Five Rivers’ catalogue of books, with the first releasing this summer, that being From Mountains of Iceby Lorina Stephens, and narrated by Díana Majlinger. That audiobook will be quickly followed by the first in Ann Marston’s Rune Blades of Celi series, Kingmaker’s Swordnarrated by Austin Vanfleet, A Time and a Placewritten and narrated by Joe Mahoney, and a cascade of others to follow.

All we be available through Audible, Amazon and iTunes, with possible distribution to other channels as new opportunities become available in July 2017.

Along with the audiobook release of From Mountains of Ice, will be a new and fabulous cover by Jeff Minkevics for both the audio, ebook and print editions of the title.

Diana Majlinger

And we’re happy to welcome to the Five Rivers family the extraordinary talent of Díana Majlinger. She is a native of Budapest, Hungary, born of a Russian mother and Hungarian father, is quadrilingual (Russian, Hungarian, Italian and English), and feels she should likely learn Chinese just to round out the mix.

Díana says of herself: “My passion for languages started early. In elementary school, I started English and it’s been an integral part of my daily and work life ever since. Apart from English, I always wanted to learn Italian, even though my parents were pushing for Russian, which made me want to learn Italian even more. I started learning it when I was 15 and as English, it is now a language I use every day. During high school, I decided I wanted to become an interpreter and for that course I needed to have a BA degree first. After much deliberation, I started my BA studies in international relations which gave me a good base to build on in various fields such as law, history, economics and social sciences. I also spent five months in Leuven, Belgium, as an Erasmus student.

“After finishing my BA, I started my MA in the same area, and at the same time I did a one-year course in conference interpreting in English-Hungarian and Italian-Hungarian. If everything goes well, I am going to finish my MA degree next semester. Apart from university, I work full time at a multinational company in delivery operations. In my free time, I love travelling and I do aerial acrobatics (hoop and silk) 3-4 times a week.”

When queried about how she came to narrate audiobooks, she says, “It all started in April 2009, when I had a small and not too complicated eye surgery. The doctor told me in advance that after the surgery I would have to refrain from computer screens and reading until my eye fully recovered. I was in panic, not only because of the surgery itself, but because I wouldn’t be able to read for a while. I started to look for audiobooks on the internet and I stumbled upon LibriVox. It is a free audiobook collection, recorded in its entirety by volunteers. I listened to audiobooks at first, and then I decided to register and to give it a try as a narrator.

“At the beginning, it was awful to hear my own voice, my pronunciation, and all the mistakes I made. I started out with short poems and chapters, in English and Hungarian, and when I felt more secure, I narrated entire books. It was still a challenge (and it still is!) but my English improved considerably, my thick accent got much better, and I got used to my own voice, plus I also gained a basic knowledge in sound editing. I became an administrator at LibriVox and later I was invited to participate as a proof-listener at Iambik Audiobooks, founded by the same person as LibriVox. And it is there that I came across Lorina’s novel (From Mountains of Ice), had a sudden urge and decided to audition. And I got chosen!

Díana’s approach to narrating audibooks is an organic one. She says, “It is difficult to generalise the process. I like to get familiar with the text itself of course, although I rarely read the whole novel in advance. I would spoil the book for myself that way. I usually give it a glimpse here and there to get familiar with the style, then only read the chapter(s) I am about to narrate. I check for words which I don’t know (or I am not sure about), the pronunciation, check the names of characters, places and any other words that are not in English.

“In Lorina’s novel, From Mountains of Ice, there were several Italian names and words which were not a problem for me as I am fluent in Italian. English pronunciation can be trickier. I also pay attention to consistency in the pronunciation of names, especially if it’s not a standard name and I have some freedom to decide for myself how to pronounce it. As I am not a professional voice actor, I don’t usually do very different voices for different characters. In general I speak more softly for female characters and a bit deeper for males, but it also depends on the personality and style of the character.

“The most difficult part in this is to be consistent with the voices and styles—let alone accents! Speaking of which, yes, I still have an accent. I think in English the pronunciation is almost impossible to learn to perfection if you are not a native speaker. You can speak it very well, but natives will hear right away that you are not a native speaker. Apart from the difficulty of the pronunciation, I also tend to mix different versions of English. At school, we are usually taught British English, but we are exposed to American English in popular culture, so it is inevitable that we mix the two (in general we are not or rarely exposed to other versions like Australian). However, I love to listen to people speaking English with different accents, so I hope mine doesn’t bother many people!”

We think her accent and narration of From Mountains of Ice is delicious.

The audiobook of From Mountains of Ice will be available this summer through Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

More news about other audiobook releases forthcoming in the next weeks. Come join us on this remarkable journey.

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