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  • Writer's pictureD.S. Ritter

Repost: An Interview with Natalja Jackson

I was sad to find out recently that Natalija, the narrator of my first two audiobooks, passed away in 2021. Reposting this interview we did in memory of her. I was privileged to have worked with such a patient, creative person.


So, in an effort to get the word out about the upcoming release of the Cthulhu's Car Park audiobook, I interviewed its talented narrator, Natalja Jackson.  The audiobook should be coming out sometime in mid January.  To find out more, or get an alert sent straight to your inbox, please take a second to sign up for my mailing list!

Here's the interview!


What has been your favorite part about working on this project?:

Probably that the main characters all work a low-end customer service job, and the requisite stream of sarcasm that goes along with that. I used to stock at Walmart, thankfully overnight, so I only had to deal with customers a couple hours a day. But that was still enough to make Sam and co. pretty relatable, as I imagine they are for anyone who's had similar experiences. I also enjoyed the tone shifts throughout. Switching between the mundanity of work, the growing mystery of the cistern, the gooeyness of the fight scenes, and the more lighthearted conversations between, kept any one aspect from getting stale. Also, Franklin.

What has been the hardest part about working on this project?:

Aside from technical stuff, the number of characters. I was told you should start out doing non-fiction, and I can certainly see why. It'd be a heck of a lot easier to only have to worry about one voice. Especially with how many of those voices are male! And I don't have a terribly deep voice to begin with, so figuring out voices for everyone was a bit of an adventure. Particularly when it came to the belligerent and/or drunk males. I hope it worked out alright.

What made you want to do this book?:

I found it initially because I was looking at newer authors. This being my first time doing an audiobook, I wanted to work with someone at a similar experience level. I ultimately chose it to audition for because it seemed like the kind of book I would've wanted to read anyway. I love horror, and I like stories with a bit of humor that don't take themselves too seriously, and Cthulhu's Car Park looked like it would fit the bill for both. Oh, and the audition notes were really specific about how much swearing there is. I have a bit of a sailor's mouth.

What made you want to do narration for audiobooks?: 

It's not something I had really planned on doing, largely because I never realized it was even something you could do from home. I don't know why, amidst the ever-growing indie music scene, but it didn't occur to me that would also apply to narration. But when I found out how accessible it is to get started with, it seemed like a no-brainer. I enjoy creative pursuits, and that feeling of having made something that didn't exist before. And I love to read, but never had the drive to finish writing a story of my own. Narrating someone else's seemed like the next best thing.

Is this what you want to do for a living, or is it more of a hobby?:

It's definitely something I'd like to try doing for a living. Books have always been a huge part of my life, and I'd love to be able to work with them in some capacity. I would've formerly guessed if that were to happen it would be through editing, but sometimes we get unexpected turns. I started working from home in early '18, so I've got the freedom in my schedule to pursue it. What I don't have, is spare funds to pour into it for nice equipment. So whether it's something I get into long-term really depends on how my first few projects go, whether I can generate enough money to invest back into it and get the kind of setup I'd need to do this for a living. Well, and obviously talent and all that. But it's easier to blame my limitations on money, haha.

What is your favorite book or audiobook?:

My favorite book is Murderer's Mansion, also titled Moonstone Manor, by Irene Shaw. I'd be pretty surprised if it has an audiobook. It's a romance, which is very atypical for me. Almost everything else on my shelves is horror, adventure, or non-fiction. But there's just something about it that's a little magic to me when I read it. Maybe it's because the story is less about his rippling pectorals and more about the characters growing as people and getting past whatever personal flavour of broken each of them has. I guess I should really call it a drama, romance is definitely not the primary theme. Some honorable mentions: Daddy's Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark, The Thief of Always by Clive Barker, The Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis, Wicked by Gregory Maguire. And, well, a lot by Stephen King, but most notably Rose Madder, The Stand, and The Talisman.

If you could narrate any book, which would you pick and why?:

I think probably The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell, a YA fantasy piece. Aside from it being one of my favorite types of settings, fantasy with some dark realism, I really enjoy how flawed the main character is. And several of those flaws she has in common with me, so I find her very easy to connect with. Also, it's the first of a trilogy, and I still don't own the final book, The Goblin War, so I could score it for free. That said, though, Makenna would probably be more suited to someone with a deeper/gruffer voice. So as an alternate choice, The Land of Elyon series. It was the first fantasy I read as a kid that had a female protagonist, so it's always been special to me for that. It was also unique to me, at the time, for the protagonist beating the villains through wit, rather than finding a magic sword or whatever. Also, who doesn't love the ability to talk to animals?

Is there anything you'd want to say to your audience?: 

Nice to meet you, haha. Well, if you're going to try out the Cthulhu's Car Park audiobook, I hope you like it. It was certainly interesting to work on, so hopefully it's interesting to listen to.

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