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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Kiley

Interview with Kilt Trip Audiobook Narrators Alex C Stewart and Kate Handford

I’m here today with Alex C Stewart and Kate Handford talking about the UK edition of the KILT TRIP Audiobook! They did such a fantastic job bringing Addie and Logan to life and I’m so excited for you to hear it!



When my publisher sold the rights to the UK, my UK publisher recorded their own version of the audiobook. (So if you’re in the US, the audiobook available here was narrated by Angus King and Vanessa Johansson.)


For the UK edition, my editor sent me samples of Alex and Kate reading parts of the book and I was so blown away! Alex has such a clear voice with the romantic cadence I always pictured for Logan and Kate has a beautiful range of crisp and soft tones that matched Addie’s tougher outer layer and her soft, soft heart so perfectly. I wrote back immediately, Yes!! They are fantastic!!


Authors don’t typically have a ton of insight into the audiobook process outside of narrator selection, so when I met Alex and Kate, I was so excited to hear about their experience and what goes into making an audiobook. I had a bunch of questions and included some from readers on Instagram, so let’s dive in!


INTERVIEW WITH KILT TRIP AUDIOBOOK NARRATORS

ALEX C STEWART AND KATE HANDFORD


First, tell us a bit about yourself! Where did you grown up? 


Alex: I'm nerdy type who grew up on a little farm next to the forest of Ae in the Scottish Borders. As far back as I can remember I've loved animals, great stories, and learning silly songs that don't belong on acoustic guitar.


Kate: I grew up in Canada, and came to the UK about a decade ago to go to drama school. I’ve been in London ever since!


What drew you to audiobook narration? 


Kate: I came to voiceover and audiobooks almost by accident - a chance meeting with a voice agent who suggested I give it a try. It felt very natural, as my parents used to read aloud to me for years every night, and I loved listening to story tapes as a little kid (and making my own!)


Alex: I used to spend hundreds of hours working on the farm with one earphone in listening to audiobooks, everything from Terry Pratchett to Madeline Miller. When I got into voice acting, the idea of getting to do so many different voices on a single project made getting into audiobook narration an absolute must!


How do you select which projects to apply for? 


Alex: I'm very lucky to have an amazing agent with Phillipa and the team at Voicecall, and they've yet to send me a project that hasn't made me at least think "hell yes!"


Kate: I have brilliant agents who I work with on this side of things. There are a few authors and publishers who I’ve been working with for years, which is wonderful, and it’s also always nice to try out new genres and keep learning.


Did you change up your accent for this project? 


Kate: Not for Addie or the narration - but certainly for Logan and all the Scots!


Alex: I toned it down a little for the narration, but only so much as I might to talk to someone from outside Scotland and avoid the "sorry, do you speak English?".


How do you come up with the different voices for each character? What’s your process? 


Alex: I kind of cast the whole thing as a movie in my head as I read the book the first time, trying out voices to myself and adjusting as I get to know the characters better. (It's important not to do this in company.)


Kate: It’s a bit different for every book, but this time I was so lucky to be sharing the book with Alex [C Stewart]. We each came up with voices for the characters in our native accents and sent over voice notes as a starting point for the character voices. I like to approach book characters like characters in a play or a film, and work out how I might play them, and let the voice come from there. After that it’s about technical tricks like lowering the pitch, changing the pacing or rhythm of the speech etc.


Is it hard to switch between characters as you read or do you read for one character and splice it together when you’re finished? 


Kate: I don’t find the switches too difficult usually - you get so familiar with the characters that they seem to step in pretty naturally. That said, some accents are tricky to jump between and definitely need a few tries to get right!


Alex: It's a fun challenge to read on through and switch between characters as the story goes!


What’s your favorite accent? 


Alex: It's hard picking just one! This question took ages but I really like doing South African. It's extremely versatile: often in games or movies it's threatening but it can be pretty adorable.


Kate: I’m Irish on my mum’s side, so I always love the chance to play Irish characters - and I must say, Scottish is pretty charming as well.


Do you two interact as you record a dual-POV story or is it a surprise when it’s all put together in production? 


Kate: We had some great back and forth on this book working out character voices, but it’s always a surprise when you hear the whole book put together.


Alex: This is my first experience of dual-POV but working with Kate was fantastic. We swapped character voice clips for continuity and I must have listened to her Addie clip about a hundred times while I was recording my side! Just so much character, it was an education.


Have you done any of the touristy things in KILT TRIP? 


Alex: I spent New Years Eve 2023 at the top of Calton hill with friends (and a truly disproportionate amount of whisky) watching the fireworks. The next day half of them did the Loony Dook, though I have to admit I was in the more hungover and cowardly half.


Kate: I have been to Edinburgh several times, and climbed Arthur’s Seat - but never been to any castles! Lots of exploring still to do…


What’s your favorite place in Scotland? 


Kate: I would love to go to the islands - Jura and Islay etc, but so far my favourite place was Loch Lomond. So beautiful.


Alex: Tayvallich, a little village on the west coast near the Isle of Jura. My folks live moved there and I love visiting, to see them (and their many pets) of course, but also to be in a stunningly beautiful place by the sea.


What’s something that most tourists don’t know to do in Scotland? 


Alex: The Corryvrecken whirlpool is pretty dramatic!


What was your favorite scene to narrate in KILT TRIP? 


Kate: I loved chapter 30, when Logan takes Addie to the spot by the river where her mum’s photo was taken. It’s a beautiful moment on Addie’s journey back home to herself.


Alex: The bit in The Heart's offices when Addie is trying her best to do her job and Logan is trying his most childishly obstinate to prevent it. I just couldn't stop laughing! It took longer than it should but I had a great time.


What is your favorite Scottish slang or phrase? 


Alex: "Whit's fur ye'll no go past ye."


Alex Kiley: Will you translate for us!


Alex: It depends on the reader a little, but I find it an optimistic kind of "The good things that are coming your way will reach you, don't worry."

Direct translation is "What's for you will not go past you."


Do you believe in Nessie? 


Alex: Do I believe in rocks, in the sky?


Is Outlander a big thing there? 


Alex: I'm somewhere in the background of episode 2 and I worked on it as an animal handler for many seasons. When that comes up in conversations most folks here are like "Oh yeah, Outlander! Is it good?"


What’s your favorite brand of whisky? 


Kate: Now this will be controversial, but I’m quite partial to Green Spot, which isn’t even Scottish! But to choose something more on theme, I’d have to say Lagavulin 16.


Alex: Talisker! Smokey, sweet, delicious.


Have you been to Skye or hiked the Skye Trail (Jack’s Book 2 is set on Skye!)? 


Alex: Not yet! But I plan to visit this summer to climb some Munros and see the sights (and the Talisker distillery).


Have you ever had a close en-coo-nter with a Highland coo? 


Kate: Not with a Highland coo, but certainly with sheep! Addie’s sheep-induced van crisis was all too familiar…


Alex: A few! I have a pet Highland Bull called Arnie that my dad and I rescued and bottle reared a few years ago. I used to be able to carry him around but now he weighs like four of me.


Alex Kiley: Thank you so much for chatting with me and giving us some insight into the recording process and letting us get to know you!


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