Blog Tour: An Interview with Michele Carpenter the Narrator of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest – Part 1

Hey guys! Here today on my blog I’m hosting a post as part of a blog tour for self-published author, Keira Gillet, and her debut novel, “Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest.”
So, without further ado, here is the interview with the narrator of the audibook, Michele Carpenter and author, Keira Gillet!


Good morning! My name is Keira Gillett and I am so happy to be here today at Reader Rayna with Michele Carpenter. This is part one of three of an interview series with Michele, the narrator of my debut novel Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. Watch the book trailer and hear Michele as Zaria:

Keira Gillett (Author): Why did you decide to become an audio book narrator?

Michele Carpenter (Narrator): For the last ten years, I’ve loved listening to audio books! They helped fulfill my desire to read when I didn’t have time to stop and hold a book long enough to dive into a story. And I was jealous of the narrators. There were several narrators who’s performances really inspired and called out to me, such as David Pittu (39 Clues Books) and I soooo badly wished I could do what they were doing! After narrating my first book, I was hooked! I don’t get to be just one character. I’m ALL the characters and that really satisfies my love of acting and performing.

Keira: We talked some about this over Facebook, but for readers can you share what a typical day spent recording is like for you? I know I’ve found it fascinating.

Michele: I wake up at 5:30am and help my kids off to school. Shortly after that, my husband arrives home from work, which is when we get to have coffee, eat breakfast together, talk, laugh, and enjoy one another’s company for a few hours. Pretty soon, he heads to bed, I brew a cup of Tazo Passion tea, fill my water bottle and head into the studio to begin recording. During this time, I may have to stop and research word pronunciations or accents online. Once I finish a chapter, I relax and listen back to it, proofing for errors as I go, and doing what we call “punch ins” wherever I’ve made mistakes.

I stop for lunch, check my social media and email accounts for messages, grab more tea and head back into the studio until I hear my kids’ school bus—which usually concludes my working time, but not always. It just depends on what’s going on with them and whether or not we have karate or rehearsals that evening. After my little ones are in bed for the night, I sometimes do more recording or spend time reading and planning future manuscripts for upcoming books.

Keira: What is your favorite part about narrating books?

Michele: I have two. I love imitating children and teen voices as well as different accents and character voices. The second is that narrating a book is like building something. I’m bringing the book to life with my voice. I’m shaping it into an audio world. That’s pretty fun. By the time the book is over, I hate to leave that world I’ve just created.

Keira: You do voices extraordinarily well, not just kid voices! As a reader/listener and author I knew what I wanted in a narrator, but how do you determine which books you want to audition to narrate for?

Michele: Soooo far, I’ve chosen them by how much the story interests me, combined with whether or not I feel I have the ability to perform it well. If it has a higher sales ranking, then that’s always helpful in the deciding process. And as long as I have a choice in the matter, I want it to be a book that I feel I can be proud of afterwards and not ashamed to have my voice and name on.

Keira: Passion and interest I agree are super important. I looked for a narrator who could share both with me for my story. What’s the most important part of your job as a narrator? What aspect of it means the most to you?

Michele: A great performance! I hate getting rated anything less than a five star. I wish all of my reviewers gave me a five star… I always do my best to give an exciting, five star performance.

Keira: In my (not so humble) opinion you’re off the charts! You brought Zaria Fierce’s world alive and gave the characters heart. Thank you so much for lending your incredible talent to this project. Readers, listen to the audio file below for a sample of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest performed by Michele Carpenter.

Don’t you agree that Michele is super talented? Thanks for joining us today!

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood ForestBook Blurb: On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Early Reviews:

“With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.


Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Purchase your copy of Zaria Fierce today.

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.


Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (keiragillett)

Michele CarpenterNarrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”


Social Media: Twitter (michelecvoice), Facebook (michelecarpentervoice), YouTube (micheleyoutube)

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.