Sightwitch Author Susan Dennard Chats with Narrator Bahni Turpin

Susan Dennard, author of The Witchland series, chatted with narrator Bahni Turpin about what it’s like to narrate an audiobook. Don’t miss their fun back and forth to learn more about the audiobook process, and then check out Sightwitch by Susan Dennard, now available.

Susan Dennard, author of THE WITCHLAND series

Susan Dennard: How did you get into the audiobook voice acting business?

Bahni Turpin: About 13 years ago, an actress I was working on a play with mentioned that Random House was seeing people to narrate audiobooks. I called up and got an audition appointment. At the time I didn’t even listen to audiobooks and thought it was kinda weird. I went out to Random House, and they had me read a couple of parts in two different books. Then some time later, months later they called and I booked my first audiobook, A Piece of Cake.

SD: It seems in fantasy novels, subtle accents are used to distinguish different cultures and characters. What is your favorite accent to use? Or is there one you HATE to do or find annoyingly tricky?

BT: It’s interesting, I’ve lived on the east coast and I now live on the west coast. I consider myself pretty good with dialects, but now that I’m in LA, Latino dialects are tricky. I sometimes find it hard to access my Puerto Rican or Caribbean Latin dialect, because I’m more in contact with Mexican/Salvadoran/Colombian. They’re all different in subtle and not so subtle ways. American Southern, Jamaican, Trinidadian, West African, British, are all in my toolbox. Irish and Scottish, not so much, but it has come up. I’ve even had to do German. Surprisingly, I’ve got a pretty good handle on Russian!

Bahni Turpin, Narrator

SD: How do you keep track of different voices/characters while reading? Is there some trick to it? Whenever I try to read a book aloud with voices (and yes, definitely have done this before), I immediately lose track of who sounded like what.

BT: An experienced engineer or director will mark each character when they first speak. That way, when they come up again there’s a reference for what you did before. Sometimes I annotate beforehand how I want this person to sound, usually the reference is to an actual person I know of.

SD: Is there an audiobook that was the most fun to work on? Or one that you’re most proud of?

BT: The True Meaning of Smekday

SD: What’s up next for you? Any other audiobooks we should be on the lookout for?

BT: Of course! But I’m not allowed to say!!!


Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch follows Ryber Fortiza, the last Sightwitch Sister as she treks deep underground to rescue her missing best friend.
Listen to an excerpt The Sightwitch