#AudioTour “Faes Ascent (Clover Book 2)” by Nicole Kilpatrick

audiobook cover

Author: Nicole Kilpatrick

Narrator: Cassandra Alling

Length: 9 hours and 4 minutes

Series: Clover, Book 2

Publisher: Nicole Kilpatrick

Released: Apr. 1, 2022

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

May the road rise up to meet her.

After barely escaping Alistair’s clutches, Clover struggles to unleash and master her dormant powers as she embraces her merrow lineage while still staying true to her human self. With the Seelie and Unseelie armies on the verge of war, the clock is ticking, but when a centuries-old secret is uncovered, alliances and loyalties are put to the test and both her worlds come crashing down around her.

To defend against Alistair, protect the fate of the Fae, and safeguard her loved ones, Clover must soar higher than she’d ever thought possible.

In this action-packed sequel, the very loss and heartache that could lead to Clover’s ruin could also lead to her redemption. The choice is hers.

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Nicole Kilpatrick is the author of the YA fantasy novels, Clover and Fae’s Ascent. When not writing, she can be found lounging in a cabin by a river, curled up at home reading a book, or concocting recipes in her cozy kitchen in Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband.

Cassandra Alling loves vocal shapeshifting and finding a part of herself in entirely different characters. She lives in NYC, where she loves walking in Central Park, discovering traces of the creative process at the elegant Morgan Library, and catching the subway to see friends old and new.

Narrator Interview barQ&A with Narrator Cassandra Alling
  1. How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?

Reading aloud has long been part of who I am. Whether on family road trips, nights in with a roommate, on dates, or workshops with seniors or families, reading aloud is my fantastic excuse to be silly, poetic, dramatic, or just overall generous through the language and structure of a book. I share a story, and I share myself. Narrating audiobooks didn’t start out as my goal, but as I met people who did it, it felt more possible. Not long after I went to a Voice Actors of New York City event, the pandemic began. I started recording books as a volunteer and loved it. I took several workshops and classes. I spoke to people I knew who had recorded audiobooks. Then, knowing there would always be more to learn and the best way to learn is to do, I went for it and started auditioning.

  1. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

Yes, I listen to audiobooks! One of my favorites–put out before it was called an audiobook–is Lauren Bacall reading James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks. His word play and love of language and her delivery of it feels like that’s how the story was meant to be experienced. While some books are meant to be read, often a book lives most when the words are spoken. Audiobooks narrators follow the tradition of storytellers and bards, bringing out the rhythms and melodies of language. Evidently part of Jane Austen’s creative process was reading aloud her work to her family. I feel like I can hear it when I listen to an audiobook; I am drawn in by the sounds and the flow of the words, story, and ideas. When Elevator Repair Service performed Gatz and read every word of The Great Gatsby aloud, the story wasn’t new to me. I had read it in high school. Perhaps then I had skimmed the narration, but here, spoken by great performers, for the first time I really admired and enjoyed the musicality and lyricism of Fitzgerald’s writing. I really love how audiobooks bring language to life. And I get completely caught up in characters and story, too.

  1. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?

I love character voices. Bringing characters to life is just so enjoyable. I also love to surprise people: “wait, that’s you?” they say with wide eyes. YES, it was! And it’s fun infusing a little character into the dialogue, which I did more in Fae’s Ascent. As to my least favorite part, it’s recording small corrections or pickups–especially any “an” “a” “the” or other words I add or accidentally delete. But I really want to honor what the writer has written, and I know having it word-for-word accurate is important–especially with Learning Ally where kids are reading along to what they’re hearing.

  1. What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?

When I read the audition for Clover, the writing made it feel so easy to get inside these characters. It had great language and detail, a clear tone–and I love Irish accents. I had an immediate feeling of ‘oh, you have to record this and get it in! Fast!” When I learned that Nicole had already written the sequel and was working on edits, I started to hope I’d get to narrate it. I wanted to be the person to follow these characters along their journey!

  1. Who are your “accent inspirations”?

I love listening to Irish speakers! The RTE app has been so much fun to explore, and I especially love watching The Tommy Tiernan show. Moon Boy is fun; the second episode of the first season is my favorite. I listened to music, like violinist Martin Haye. And a friend I met through a Facebook group, Sarah Tully, has been so fantastic to help me with phrases and steering me away from “Hollywood Oirish.” She suggested I listen to narrator Aoife McMahon. Aoife is brilliant, and I love having her in my ear, even if some of the stories break my heart. For New York accents, I listened to Robert A. Caro, Tara Clancy, and Josephine Giordano. Nicole Redman and Amanda Quaid are great coaches who helped me in developing my accents.

  1. How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?

There are so many fantastic characters Clover and Fae’s Ascent that I knew I had to just start improvising and try things out. It’s a combination of imagination and physicality: where can I place this voice? What images will help me? Scobert needed a larger voice than Finn’s, and I imagined having a wider throat when creating his voice. Clover’s going through a lot of discovery and she needed a higher voice than, say, Anna. Sometimes traits –including other people’s performances–are useful to me. Having watched Gillian Anderson in a tv show portray power without raising her voice, I knew I wanted to try that for Queen Helena. Merrows move so fluidly I played with that quality with Maera and Sinnan. Some of the vocal choices came through contrasts: Finn needed warmth, whereas Alistair is both older and has a hardness to him. And although it can become a rabbit hole, research helps. When it came to voicing Diana, I watched enough Maine Coon videos to meow and talk along with that Youtube still sends me videos with cats!

  1. What are aspects of the books that you enjoy that surprised you? 

Some of the action in both Clover and Fae’s Ascent occurs in New York City. I currently live in New York City. I’ve had a burger at the park where Finn reveals himself to Clover for the first time. It’s a very everyday world for something so extraordinary to happen. While from TV it may seem like all New Yorkers could live in a penthouse in the Upper West Side, I know, no, for ordinary people, that is luck. And when Andie jokes about online shopping, that is so much a part of everyday life. Being connected to a place has a kind of joy to it. In Clover I enjoyed seeing and posting photos of some of the real places mentioned in the book. That was something I hadn’t realized I’d enjoy so much.

  1. Who is a character you feel you could or might meet?

I imagine I’ve unknowingly crossed paths with Andie. I may have even passed her apartment that Garrett disparages–but, well, that’s just the life of a mortal in an expensive city! She is a New Yorker you’d want to have as your friend. She’s loyal and generous. Her confidence and compassion make it easier to hear her tell-it-like-it-is and her face-what’s-in-front-of-you advice. And she both encourages and embodies an ability to live in this moment. I’d love to grab coffee or a bite to eat with her.

  1. What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?

An acting teacher once asked me “what was working for you?” after he could tell I was frustrated performing a monologue. “You have to start from what was working,” he said. It’s so important, being attuned to what feels right in a performance. At the same time, what I feel is working in an audiobook will differ for listeners. So it’s insightful and constructive when listeners share specific moments that stick with them, or characters they found compelling or fun. Those comments are my favorite.

  1. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

Generally I don’t talk with people whose emphasis is on “real” because they’re not that open to other points of view. Now, if someone feels that an audiobook is “cheating’ because a narrator shapes how the reader is interpreting the story–ok, that could be an interesting conversation! Audiobooks, like books, incite and invite our imaginations; they push us to imagine what isn’t seen. Audiobooks expand who can connect to a text. I’m proud to volunteer for Learning Ally where audiobooks help reluctant or struggling readers identify themselves as readers and have fun in the process. Audiobooks can help people keep their imagination awake as they do tedious tasks. Audiobooks reach people when they can’t sit and read. I love that I accompany people on their drives! And audiobooks can be great company.

  1. What’s next for you?

I’m currently recording a book with Learning Ally. And I’ve been cast in Frank J. Fleming’s Superego: Betrayal. It’s the third book in this science fiction series, which is narrated by Joel Richards. I’m excited to narrate the chapters written from the point of view of Sylvia, who is such a strong, fascinating character.


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