Barrie Kreinik: Audiobook Narrator
Barrie Kreinik: Audiobook Narrator
Barrie Kreinik is an actor, singer, writer, and audiobook narrator. She received an AudioFile Earphones Award for her very first audiobook and has since narrated critically acclaimed books across a wide variety of genres, including historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, thriller, and memoir. Barrie specializes in accents and dialects, creating colorful and distinct character voices in her narrations. She also works as a dialect and acting coach for other performers.
Barrie’s Off-Broadway and regional theatre credits include the world premiere of The Dead, 1904 (Irish Rep), 39 Steps (Union Square Theatre), When I Was a Girl… (Fallen Angel Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof (Goodspeed Musicals), The How and the Why (Trinity Rep), and Othello (Virginia Shakespeare Festival). She has also performed in cabaret shows at Birdland Theater, 54 Below, and the Beechman Theatre, as well as in solo and choral concerts. Her writing work includes plays, screenplays, solo shows, creative nonfiction, and poetry.
Barrie holds an MFA in Acting from Brown/Trinity Rep and a BA in Theater and English from Cornell University. She lives in New York City.
How did you prepare to narrate An Anonymous Girl?
When I prepare to narrate a novel, there are certain steps that I always take and others that I tailor to each book’s requirements. I always highlight character dialogue in different colors, assigning each character their own color so I can tell at a glance who’s speaking. I also score difficult passages by inserting slashes where I want to take a breath or make a change in tone, pace, etc. I do these things on my iPad, in an app called iAnnotate PDF. I generally only have time to read the book once before I begin recording, so I do all my scoring at the same time.
An Anonymous Girl has two distinct features as an audiobook: it has a first-person narrative and two points of view. Since I had to read my chapters as my character, Dr. Shields—as opposed to using a neutral ‘narrator voice,’ as I would in a third-person narrative—I developed a distinct voice for her and practiced switching between that voice and the voices of other characters. I then corresponded with my co-narrator, Julia Whelan, via email. We traded audio samples of our characters’ voices so that our respective readings of them would sound similar. It was also important for me not only to read my assigned chapters, but Julia’s as well, in order to understand how the two narratives fit together. I really enjoy those little collaborations that happen when I share an audiobook with another narrator.
Other books narrated by Barrie:
It’s hard to choose so few, but here are three of my audiobooks that qualify as favorites:
This historical novel is about the life of Alva Vanderbilt, a prominent New York society lady in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I enjoyed the challenge of subtly changing the characters’ voices as they aged over the course of several decades. I also loved the strength, wit, and charm that Fowler developed in the character of Alva, and I learned a lot about the history of New York from the book’s well-researched storyline. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction about fascinating women.
Murder on Millionaire’s Row by Erin Lindsey
It’s a good thing I love speaking with accents, because I had to use about eight of them in this book! It’s an enchanting historical mystery novel (my favorite kind) about an Irish-American maid, Rose Gallagher, who gets entangled in a world of secrets and spirits when she begins to solve the mystery of her employer’s disappearance. Another novel of old New York, it includes characters of Irish, English, Chinese, German, Italian, and American origins. And I’m pretty sure there’s a sequel coming out this year.
Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine
This colorful trilogy comprised three of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever narrated. It is the early 19th century and England has colonized the planet Mars. Seventeen-year-old Arabella Ashby dresses up as a boy and takes a job on an airship in order to return to the Martian land of her birth and save her family. A kind of steampunk spin on Jules Verne, these books will entertain people of all ages who love a swashbuckling adventure story with an outer-space twist.
Other places to find Barrie:
I do a number of other arts-related jobs in addition to narrating audiobooks.
I’m a singer of all kinds of music—mainly musical theatre, with the occasional venture into folk, pop, and jazz. Here’s a link to a recent performance at Birdland Theater, where I appeared in Susie Mosher’s bimonthly variety show, The Lineup:
I love the theatre, and I’ve been acting onstage since I was a child. As a professional actor, I’ve appeared in several Off-Broadway and regional theatre productions, as well as in numerous readings. Here’s a video I shot while working as an understudy in 39 Steps Off-Broadway at the Union Square Theatre. (In the course of our nine-month run, I went on 37 times!)
Speaking of readings, I’m the cofounder/co-producer of a New York theatre collective called Wyrd Sisters Productions. We produce staged readings of plays that feature female artists, and we raise money for women-centered charities. Here’s a link to our website: https://www.facebook.com/wyrdsistersnyc/
Finally, my specialty as an actor/narrator is accents and dialects, particularly those of the British Isles. I entered a “special skills” contest once, and though I didn’t win, the video entry I created has proved quite popular. It’s called “Acting in 25 Accents”: