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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Audiobook Lovin 2019 Presents: Saskia Maarleveld Interview

Please welcome narrator Saskia Maarleveld to 
Audiobook Lovin'!!

For those that may not know you, why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a narrator?

Raised by a Dutch American father and a New Zealand mother, I was born in Hong Kong, grew up in California, New Zealand and France and now live in New York City. I swear my dad doesn’t work for the CIA. My ability with accents, which I am sure largely came from moving around and having my own accent change when I was a teenager, was what originally led me to audiobook narration. Quite by chance I recorded a New Zealand audiobook for Recorded Books back in 2010. From there I realized this was the job for me and slowly grew it into my career.

Are you narrating full time? Are there other voice over jobs you’ve done?

I narrate full time, ideally 5 days a week but sometimes more. I do some cartoon work on the side as those sessions tend to be shorter and easier to fit in around a full day audiobook schedule.

Audible has that you’ve narrated 379 books! When you auditioned for an audiobook for the first time, and then got the job, did you ever think you’d narrate as many audiobooks as you have so far?

I feel really lucky to have been able to make this into a full time career. My first book was out of the blue and not something I was looking for, and to look back at the moment I got the call about that first job, knowing it lead me to where I am today, is pretty surreal.

Do you record at home or use studios? Both?

I only record in outside studios at the moment.

What do you love most about being an audiobook narrator?

The Virgo in me loves that I get full control over telling the story! I love getting to play all the parts as well as spinning the web that holds it all together. It’s very fulfilling to see something through from first page to last.

I LOVE the “All Souls Series” by Deborah Harkness and you narrated “The World of All Souls. The Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life” and “Time's Convert” which is Marcus’s story! Both books have a large number of characters and set in various locations. This includes accents! You completely nailed it and I was able to tell who was speaking as you provided each of the characters with unique tones, speaking cadence and again accents. How did you select how the characters are going to sound/their tones?

I had a very long phone call with Deborah while I was prepping this book, and that was so helpful in making sure we were on the same page for characters and pronunciations before I then went on to flesh it all out on my own. She is amazing and being able to have a dialogue with an author like her is wonderful. Her books create such full characters, so much of that descriptive work was already done for me - then I just had to translate them into my own version of what was on the page. As you mentioned a lot of that involves finding unique ways to separate those who would may sound more similar so the listener knows who is speaking. Even when accents separate character I still want to play around with pitch, cadence, intent, attitude, etc, as all will bring out subtle differences.

Speaking of accents… What is your favorite accent to perform? Which accent is the hardest for you to perform?

I feel very comfortable in a standard British accent. I think this comes largely from having been read to so much by my mother who has the most lovely accent. I also learnt to read in New Zealand and in a kiwi accent, so I think that will always influence the way I read. Now that I have an American accent rather than my original New Zealand accent, British seems to fall in the middle and be very comfortable and natural! And as for difficult accents - a Jamaican accent is very hard for me to sustain for more than a few lines!

How do you manage or what is your process of remember what the character from a previous book sounds like when they reappear in a new book (or if not part of a series, but standalone, characters as they pop in and out of the story)?

I am lucky to have a good memory for character voices. I find that usually I can come to a character, visualize them and their voice comes naturally from that without my needing to refer to my notes. It does get tricky when going back to a series after a long time, and often in those cases the engineer will have markers in the audio from the previous book so that we can listen back to my characters I may I’ve forgotten. Especially when doing a book full or different British accents, for example, it can get confusing to remember whether a minor character who returns was Cockney or Liverpudlian!

What is your favorite sub-genre of Romance to perform and why?

I think that considering love is so central to the human experience, almost every genre out there tends to have some element of ‘romance’ in it, so it’s hard to answer. I do love a beautiful historical romance!

You’ve narrated in various genres including History, Fiction, Teens, Sci-fi & Fantasy. Is there a genre that you have yet to narrate in that you’d like to (either within Romance or outside of it)?

I get to narrate my favorite genres on a regular basis, which makes the work so enjoyable. In my personal life I enjoy true crime podcasts and writing, so that would be something I would like to try my hand at - I have a dark side!

When you’re not working… what do you do for fun? 

When not recording I spend a lot of time with family and friends, especially my sister and 10 month old niece who live near me. My husband and I tend to get out of the city on weekends for adventure and quite time. I love hiking, cooking and enjoy some guilty Bravo reality TV watching when I’ve had too much reading at the end of the day. This is starting to sound like an online dating profile ;)

What are you working on next? 

I have a whole slew of fantasy and historical fiction coming up, which is all good with me since those are two of my favorites!

Thank you Saskia for joining us today and being part of the Audiobook Lovin Series! Looking forward to your next releases!!! 

Check out the audiobook samples below, learn more about Saskia, where you can find her and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Audiobook Samples

Available for  purchase at Audible | Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Kobo | iTunes | Nook 

Available for  purchase at Audible | Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Kobo | iTunes | Nook 

About The Narrator

Saskia Maarleveld is an Audie Nominee for Best Female Narrator 2018 & Audiofile Earphones Award winning narrator of over 300 audiobooks. Raised in New Zealand and France, Saskia now lives in New York City, working full time in the voice over world. Able to switch seamlessly between accents, she can often be heard speaking in British, Australian, New Zealand & various European accents, in addition to her natural American accent. 

You can find Nicole at

Website |  Twitter | Audible  


  1. I enjoyed the interview and clips and have enjoyed listening to a number of Saskia's books.

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