Pik-Shuen Fung on the Intense Experience of Narrating Her Own Audiobook
In Conversation with Kendra Winchester on Reading Women
In this week’s episode, Kendra talks with Pik-Shuen Fung about her book, Ghost Forest, out now from One World.
From the episode:
Kendra: I love that you performed the audiobook. And you are excellent. I want to put it in a petition for you to narrate more audiobooks because I enjoyed it so much. Since you were very much visual when working on your book, what was it like reading the audiobook out loud? Did that change how you saw your novel?
Pik-Shuen: It was an amazing experience—very intense, but incredibly amazing. I knew that I wanted to narrate the audiobook from the beginning, but I wasn’t sure if I would get the opportunity. I remember sending one of my video works from grad school to the producer, and I was so excited when he wrote back and said, “Yes, looking forward to hearing your rendition of it.” I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that it was going to be quite demanding because the recording day is from 10 am to 5 pm. And mine, because it’s a shorter audiobook, it took about two days. So I went to the studio, and because it’s the pandemic, the director and the audio engineer Skyped in and gave me direction from my headphones.
And it was just this incredible experience to work with them because I was able to share what I envisioned for the audiobook as something that gives a lot of space to the listener. The director gave me the perfect kind of direction. She would say something like, “Okay, I just want you to distinguish this line and the next line.” But she wouldn’t specify exactly how, so there was so much room for me to interpret as well. In the end, even though it was so physically demanding to sit there from 10 to 5 for two days reading my book aloud, it felt like I brought this work alive in a totally different way. I’m just going to cherish that memory forever.