Jannie Meisberger – JAFF Narrator
Writing is a gift from heaven. It allows authors to meet the most wonderful people, both real and imaginary. I am absolutely tickled to introduce you to my JAFF narrator, Jannie Meisberger, a Hertfordshire lass, who is a pure delight to team with on producing audio books. I am proud to say Jannie has become a dear friend. She is talented, cheerful, and clever—I could go on and on—but time and space limit me.
Today is Jannie’s birthday! Please join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.
Born on May 3, 1945, in St. Alban’s, Herts. Jannie was christened in St. Alban’s Abbey and Cathedral. Her parents were married in the Abbey and her mother was a firewatcher on top of the Abbey during WWII – where she remembered seeing London burning during the Blitz!
Stepping aside I will let this charming lady speak for herself.
Jannie on Jannie
My father was a doctor in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) in India during the war and my mother and I sailed out to Ceylon when I was 2 ½ yrs old – it was the first time I saw my father.
Celebrating my 8th birthday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya , where my father was stationed– my cake was made in the shape of the crown Queen Elizabeth wore at her Coronation! I was the only British born child in the convent school I went to then. As it was during the terrorist campaign in Malaya, I was taken to school in an armoured personnel carrier – I thought it was fun, don’t think my mother thought it was!
My maternal grandparents lived in Harpenden, St. Alban’s – paternal grandparents lived in Woodford Green, Essex (Winston Churchill was their MP) before they retired to a tiny village in Sussex, Cross-in-Hand. From age 11 to 18, I spent most of my boarding school holidays with them while my parents were stationed abroad. At the time, the Army only paid for one holiday trip in the 3-year tour for children to join their parents. After the Suez crisis, when all the planes were diverted for use there, and no children were going to be flown out to Singapore (where my parents were stationed) the mothers camped out on the governor-general’s steps and demanded that their children come out for the summer holiday (some of them hadn’t seen their children for almost 3 years!). The Army relented and I made my first airplane flight at age 11. It took 3 days to get to Singapore, including one overnight stay in Calcutta.
School Days in Bath
1956-63 school in Bath (Royal School for Daughters of Officers of the Army – known as RS for short!). Here is where I fell in love with Regency period novels, notably Georgette Heyer, as well as the classic Regency authors including Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.
In addition to the regular curriculum, I studied piano and elocution, or speech training (as it was called then!) with a wonderful teacher, Norah Ball. RS had a great reputation for winning prizes at the MidSomerset Festival held in Bath each year and I took part in the choir competitions as well as the acting competitions. At RS, I also won Gold and Silver medals from LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) and took part in several school plays.
When I left school, my parents were stationed in Cyprus, and I acted in community theatre there before returning to London to train as a bi-lingual secretary/interpreter/translator in French with German as my third language. I also had to take up Spanish, but wasn’t very good at it!
I was in London when Winston Churchill died, and got to view his lying-in-state and his funeral barge procession down the Thames. Years later while in London for a board meeting, I was privileged to be taken on a tour of Churchill’s War Rooms by his grandson, Randolph Churchill. This is why I really loved recording Mister Darcy’s Templars with Lizzie going underground – brought back memories of my visit!
Freeman of the City of London
I became a Freeman of the City of London by patrimony (both my father and my godfather belonged to London Guilds as does my sister) – as you will see from the description, I don’t have the ancient privilege of herding sheep through the City, but it does mean something special to me.
Jannie’s Freedom of the City Scroll
Freeman of the City of London
History: Until 1835 the Freedom of the City – together with membership of one of the ancient guilds which were the forerunners of today’s Livery Companies – was essential to anyone who wished to exercise a trade in the City.
A number of ancient privileges are associated with the Freedom – although they are more a product of collective memory than documented evidence. They include the right to herd sheep over London bridge, to go about the City with a drawn sword, and if convicted of a capital offence, to be hung with a silken rope. Other advantages are said to have included the right to avoid being press-ganged, to be married in St. Paul’s Cathedral, buried in the City and be drunk and disorderly without fear of arrest.
Freemen used to be given a small casket in which to keep their Freedom certificate as it was a document that was carried around as we would carry a driving license today.
Modern Freedom: Today the Freedom of the City has no real privileges but it is still taken up by some 1,800 people every year. Prior to 1996, the Freedom was only open to British or Commonwealth citizens over 21 years of age and of good character. Now however it has been extended globally and persons of any nationality may apply either by nomination or by being presented by a Livery Company. There is a long standing tradition of admitting women, who used to be called ‘free sisters.’
Although the Freedom is not an honour or award except in the case of Honorary Freedom, many people who have lived or worked in the City are proud to become part of the City’s history by becoming freemen. The Freedom is open to all who are genuinely interested and meet the criteria set down.
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
I went to work in Paris as a bi-lingual secretary for SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) part of NATO before de Gaulle decided he didn’t want SHAPE so we all upped sticks and moved to Belgium, with SHAPE’s headquarters being in Mons and NATO’s in Brussels. My husband-to-be was also working for SHAPE at the time.
I came to the States in 1968 and worked in the international department of a bank in Dallas before returning to England to get married.
I took American tourists round Europe while he was in Vietnam (the blurb about me appeared in the tour company’s info page).
I’ve lived in New Jersey, Virginia (close to Colonial Williamsburg – heaven – still remember greengage plum ice cream as well as all the history!), Georgia and Alabama, before finally coming to Washington State, where I worked for 24 years at the University of Puget Sound, first in the Honors Program then as Director of International Programs, responsible for all study abroad and international students. I got my BA in Modern Languages (French and German) and Communication & Theatre Arts as well as my MEd in Counseling at the University.
While in Alabama, I co-founded Buckle Up Babes, a non-profit child safety seat loaner programme that became the model for a number of other loaner programmes both in the States and with the US Forces overseas. My project for one of my Communication classes ‘Are You Putting Me On?’ was published by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Organization) as a model programme for college students.
I have always loved acting and I got into voiceovers just before retiring from the university. I started recording audiobooks in 2014 and have loved every minute of it. My very first audiobook – Penelope Pilot and her First Day as a Captain – I recorded pro bono for a pilot colleague of my elder son. I also work on other voiceover projects, company web videos, on-hold messaging, etc.
Thank you, Jannie! What an adventuresome life you have led.
Happy, Happy Birthday!
Jannie on Narrating
First of all, I always keep in mind that the author has spent many months, even years crafting each book and it takes a leap of faith to trust a narrator to give just the right voice to the story. We are a team. The author’s words are the stars, and I hope my voice allows listeners to be enthralled by the story.
As far as the recording process goes, the average amount of time a narrator spends per finished hour of the audiobook is between 4-8 hours, sometimes more. This includes reading the manuscript, listing all the characters and voices for each (and making short recordings of each voice for reference), and checking with the author for pronunciations of names. I also check various online resources for pronunciations of certain words. Being English this means checking both English and American pronunciations of many common words, to ensure that whichever pronunciation I choose remains consistent throughout the book!
Once actual recording begins, I complete and upload each chapter to ACX and wait for the author to listen back and approve/ ask for corrections. I then continue recording the next chapter using same method.
When completed, the author gives final approval, Audible and ACX do their quality control to make sure the recording meets their technical standards, and then the audiobook is approved for retail through Audible, Amazon and ITunes.
Jannie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or her website ~ www.voicebyjannie.com
To listen to samples of Jannies’ narrations please click on the titles below which will take you to Audible,com. Then click on the word “Sample” under each bookcover. Many thanks to Jannie and to all our wonderful JAFF readers. Group hug!