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Rational Creatures Blot Tour

Editor: Christina Boyd

Narrator: Victoria Riley

Length: 18 hours and 3 minutes

Series: The Quill Collective, Book 3

Publisher: The Quill Ink, LLC

Released: Jul. 18, 2019

Genre: Anthologies

“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” (Persuasion, Jane Austen) Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels are timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary - because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after. In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, 16 celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s heroines, brave adventuresses, shy maidens, talkative spinsters, and naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity. Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism. “Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; - that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” (Mary Wollstonecraft) Stories by: Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams
Buy on Audible  
CHRISTINA BOYD wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.

Narrator Bio 

  Victoria Riley is a British voiceover artist and audiobook narrator. Originally trained as a theatre actor, she gradually moved into voice work and is now happiest behind the mic. She loves classic literature and travelling the world. If she isn't recording, she's probably lying in a hammock in some far-flung place, reading book after book after book.

  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Christina Boyd. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Rational Creatures: Stirring of Feminism in the Hearts of Jane Austen's Fine Ladies, the Quill Collective, Book 3 by Joana Starnes, Amy D'Orazio, Caitlin Williams, Karen Cox, Jenetta James, Beau North, Chistina Morland, Nicole Clarkston, Elizabeth Adams, J. Marie Croft, Jessie Lewis, Kara Lynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schoreder, and Brooke West. Now that is a lot of names. Each of these writers brought you a story about a different Austen character. 

1. Self-Composed by Christina Morland. (Elinor Dashwood.) 
2. Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston. (Marianne Dashwood.) 
3. Happiness in Marriage by Amy D'Orazio. (Elizabeth Bennett.) 
4. Charlotte's Comfort by Joana Starnes. (Charlotte Lucas.)
5. Knightly Discourse by Anngela Schroeder. (Emma Woodhouse.) 
6. The Simple Things by J. Marie Croft. (Hetty Bates.) 
7. In Good Hands by Caitlin Williams. (Harriet Smith.) 
8. The Meaning of Wife by Brooke West. (Fanny Price.) 
9. What Strange Creatures by Jenetta James. (Mary Crawford.) 
10. An Unnatural Beginning by Elizabeth Adams. (Anne Elliot.)
11. Where the Sky Touches the Sea by KaraLynne Mackrory. (Sophia Croft.) 
12. The Art of Pleasing by Lona Manning. (Penelope Clay.) 
13. Louisa by the Sea by Beau North. (Louisa Musgrove.) 
14. The Strength of Their Attachment by Sophia Rose. (Catherine Morland.) 
15. A Nominal Mistress by Karen M. Cox. (Eleanor Tilney.) 
16. The Edification of Lady Susan by Jessie Lewis. (Lady Susan.) 

This collection of stories is taking a deeper dive into Austen’s greatest female characters. I thought it was definitely interesting to see someone else’s take on these characters. We had a variety of characters from the heroines to the minors. A lot of the ideas behind these short stories come the feminist ideas that are discussed in Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women.

The narrator was such a perfect match for this book. I loved how she performed all the different characters. She was so easy to listen too. I thought that her British accent fit so well. She put so much life into these stores that I felt I was really able to get to know these characters.

I thought the writers and narrator did a fantastic job with the story collection mash up. I thought the stories were fun and engaging. The audiobook kept me listening for hours. Over 18 hours. I thought this was a fantastic edition. I found that I really enjoyed this collection.

.     Guest Post

Interview with Narrator: Victoria Riley.

1.When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator? 
Well, I've always said that I'd be happy to just sit in a cupboard all day reading books.  I didn't know that I could actually do that and get paid for it. Dreams do come true, folks.

2.  How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
I'm actually a classically trained actress and was originally interested in theatre.  When I started out, audiobooks weren't really a big thing and it didn't occur to me as a career.  I gradually veered into voiceover and my first audiobook was through my VO agent. I then set up my own studio at home and audiobooks are just one of the things I work on.

3.  A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career? 
I wouldn't say it's essential, but it really, really helps.  We've been trained to analyse scripts and characters, to convey nuance and emotion.  With audiobooks, you have to do it all with your voice, though, so it is an added skill.  However, I do think that some people are natural storytellers. My Mum worked as a primary school teacher and I still remember the way she read books to me before bed.

4.  What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator? 
I LOVE Jane Austen.  I love her female characters with their fire and intelligence.  To have such strong minds, but be so restricted with their options in life.  For marriage to be your only way forward when you have so much to offer the world.  It makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. From a working perspective, this is also my first collection of short stories.  Short stories are a real art form. You have to draw the reader (or listener!) into the tale very quickly and make them care about the characters without the luxury of a whole novel in which to do it.  I really enjoyed each one being a separate little project, so I had a sense of closure and achievement after each one.

5.  What types of things are harmful to your voice? 
I wouldn't say I'm that careful with it to be honest.  I've had vocal training drummed into me for decades, so I think it really comes naturally to me to support my voice well and to speak from the diaphragm.  I've been trained to project to the back of a theatre, without a microphone, night after night after night. Some narrators get tired voices, but you can't shut me up!

6.  Who are your “accent inspirations”? 
Absolutely everybody!  I love accents. I have a broad Lancashire accent myself.  I hope you can't tell from 'Rational Creatures'! If I hear a good accent, someone on TV or in real life, I'll be there mouthing the words, fascinated by how they're forming the sounds.  Penelope Keith is a good one for very upper class ladies. Pam Ayres for West Country. Some elude me, though. My Cockney wanders all over the place, though you get a snippet of it in 'Rational Creatures'.  My boyfriend has a London accent and sometimes he helps me with pronunciations. I'll be texting him asking things like 'Transport or traaaahnsport??'.

7.  How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?  
Well, a lot of the characters are very well-known anyway, which helps.  I didn't feel as though I was creating them from scratch. Most of them just jump off the page too.  There are simple things like class to consider. Also character traits, like arrogance, pomposity, shyness or humility, which affect voice and delivery.  I love a character that you can really embody. When it's so obvious how they should sound that you don't even really have to think about it. 

8.  How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you've done? 
It takes a REALLY long time, especially if you're fully producing the work yourself.  It takes around six hours to produce one hour of finished audio, sometimes longer. That doesn't even include all the prep work you have to do first, reading the work in full, researching characters and pronunciations, deciding on voices.  Editing takes forever, combing through the recording, editing out little sounds like mouth clicks or any particular noisy breaths. I also regularly do radio jingles, which is a good comparison, because it takes no time at all! Audiobooks are not for the faint-hearted.

9.  If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?  
Apart from absolutely everything by Jane Austen?  I have so many author heroes! However, if it's from my youth, then I'm going to plump for Roald Dahl's 'The Witches'.  His stories are so evocative and he doesn't shy away from darker themes. I was born in Pendle Witch country, so this one struck a particular chord with me.

10.  Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio? 
We've all done silly things.  Giving an Oscar-worthy performance, then realising you haven't pressed record.  Stuffing a cushion up your jumper to stop tummy rumbles reaching the mic. Gradually getting more naked as you stifle in the booth in summer.  We've all done it.

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