One of my great joys this year has been getting to know Dollcie Webb, who is the narrator of The Gateway Chronicles. Not only has she been fantastic to work with and someone who I almost immediately felt really got the books, but she brings a particular joy and light to this story, which is so precious to me. Here's a fun fact: Dollcie lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where The Gateway Chronicles is set! I think you can hear those roots and that sense of place and love of home in her narration of The Six, but maybe you should pick up a copy for yourself and check it out!
I invited Dollcie to answer a few questions so you all could get to know her a little bit, especially if you plan on listening to the audio versions of The Gateway Chronicles. I hope you enjoy this interview!
1. Tell us a little about yourself! How did you get into voice acting and narrating audiobooks?
I discovered voice acting my first year of college. It was actually one of the things that drew me to attending Michigan Technological University waaay up in the snowy tundra of the upper peninsula of Michigan. The Theatre and Electronic Media Performance major has you participating in radio dramas and theatre from your very first semester — one of the perks of attending a smaller school with fantastic Sound Design and Audio Production programs. There are performance opportunities abounding, and I always knew I wanted to be involved in voice acting. My third year of college is when I experienced audiobook narration for the first time and it is something that has continued to stay with me. The fact that I’m still narrating audiobooks is entirely serendipitous with how my life has worked out since graduation from Michigan Tech.
2. What is your favorite part of narrating an audiobook? What is the most challenging part?
My favorite part of narrating is when I find my illusive narrating groove. When I’m so in-tune with the book, my body, and when there are absolutely no environmental distractions — I can marathon read with the best of them! Hours of standing in my booth reading will drift by when I reach “the groove”. It’s an almost meditative state and I feel like I’m at my truest self with no mental hangups and I can be as vulnerable as I need to be. It doesn’t happen often but I hope with more practice the easier it’ll be to find that mental state.
I have to say the other small joys I get that occur on a more frequent basis are 1) getting that fresh manuscript from the audiobook rights holder and delving into the story while there is still so much to discover about the plot and characters and 2) Submitting the final audiobook to the rights holder. There is always an excited rise in my heart rate when I go to press “submit”.
The most challenging part of the audiobook process is when it’s time to bring in music. My husband, Jonah, writes all the music for all my projects. He has an incredible ability to transform the feelings of a scene and turn them into wonderful original musical pieces. I couldn’t do it as well as him if my life depended on it. The hardest part for me is forcing myself to take a step back and allow him room to explore creatively. We think in inherently different ways and this has caused us more than a little disharmony in life and work. He’s a stop and savor, single-thought, linear thinker, while I have to be in motion, always moving forward, multitasking, and progressing to the next opportunity. We’ve known each other for 6 years and have finally reached the point where we appreciate the others’ unique skills and thought processes and don’t immediately dissolve to frustrated discussions.
3. What drew you to The Gateway Chronicles?
Before I audition for any book I would like to narrate I do extensive research. On the book, the author, the person responsible for posting the listing and anything else deemed interesting or noteworthy. I was surprised and intrigued when I saw that The Six had been previously published and had been well-received on it’s initial release. There were amazing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and the first book of The Gateway Chronicles had received the Literary Classics Gold Book Award. All of those things individually were nothing to sneeze at but when I considered them together with the research I did on K.B. Hoyle, I knew then this was an opportunity to be a part of something really special. I realized that this audiobook (and all the following audiobooks) would mean as much to me IF NOT MORE to her and there’s something unusual in that. I’ve met authors who treat audiobooks with indifference and view them just as a way to bring in a little more cash. K.B. Hoyle spoke about her stories with passion and everyone who had posted or commented about the book always left a positive response. That kind of energy and zeal made a powerful impression on me and I knew then that if I didn’t audition I would live to regret it. So I, of course, recorded and submitted my audition that afternoon.
4. How do you think the audio version of The Gateway Chronicles brings the story to life in a unique way?
The audio version of any great story should offer a fresh perspective that humanizes the characters and narrative. It should provide that extra spark to light up the listener’s imagination and transport them into and solidify the world the text sets up. It really laudes back to the days before humanity could keep written documents and instead passed down lore with oral tales. To me, there’s something really beautiful about that. The connection between this technologically advanced society reinventing a prehistoric form of communication that’s existed since the dawn of humanity.
I like to think that the audiobooks of The Gateway Chronicles strive to embrace that philosophy. To embrace the story and honor the author's intent while offering that extra spark to fuel an inferno of creative, immersive experiences for the listener. Jonah and I put pieces of ourselves into each story to offer a pure listening experience. No facades or preconceived notions and with that much love and hard work SOMETHING good has to come out of it!
5. Who is your favorite character to voice in The Gateway Chronicles, and why?
Samantha Palm! She is such a pure soul and a great friend. She’s the kind of person I’d want to be friends with in spite of, or maybe because of, her annoying optimism. She’s the glue that holds the group of friends together and has an innocent and unfettered zeal for life. I feel like everyone could benefit from having a friend like Sam.
6. How can people follow and support your work?
My narrator instagram and FB handles are @daydreamingdollcie. They serve as platforms for all of my professional audiobook works. I have a lot of exciting things in the works and you’ll hear about them there first. The Daydreaming Dollcie website is currently in the works and when it’s launched it’ll be announced on FB and insta-. My studio, Various Audio, has a website and is on FB. Follow me there and see a lot of the work Jonah and I have collaborated on as well as cute updates with our family!
If you want to support my work, I’d love for you to listen and leave a review of The Six! Reviews of audiobooks are one of the best ways to support your favorite narrators and authors while providing proof for future listeners that the work is something worth investing in.
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