Interviews

An Interview with Linda Park, Narrator of Star of the North Audiobook

Editor's Note:

Linda Park was born in South Korea and raised in California. She is a member of the Antaeus Theater Company and a founding member of Underground Asylum. Her television credits include series roles on Star Trek: Enterprise, Raines, Women’s Murder Club, and Crash.

D.B. John’s Star of the North is a thrilling tale of abduction and escape in North Korea. Set in 1998, it centers on a teenage girl named Jenna who would do anything to find her twin sister again. Each turn of the page reveals new secrets, leading to an explosive ending that will have readers on the edge of their seats.

We had the opportunity to talk with Linda Park, an actress primarily known for her role on ‘Star Trek Enterprise,’ about her experience in narrating the Star of the North audiobook. Read on to find out more about what she brought to the table as an actress, why this book is important to her, what books she loves to read, and her plans for the future.

SIGNATURE: Star of the North is the first audiobook you’ve narrated. What was the experience like? What was one unexpected thing you learned along the way?

LINDA PARK: It was hard to sit for such long periods of time because I was six months pregnant! It was a lot harder than I thought in the sense that maintaining vocal energy takes a lot of stamina even if you’re not moving. Vocally you’re setting the pace of a section, whether it’s a tense scene or an action-packed scene. At about hour six of recording, I would hit a wall – the director was great at calling it when I was fried. The unexpected thing I learned along the way was building the muscle to remember everyone’s voice. You create so many voices that at times you can get confused and think to yourself, “Wait what did that general sound like? As opposed to the other general?”

SIG: What skills did you carry over to audiobook narration as an actress? How does script reading differ from reading a book?

LP: The skills of storytelling carry over into any artistic medium; the ones I used most from acting were pacing and character arc. When you are one person telling the story, pacing is crucial I think. That doesn’t necessarily mean fast all the time. Rather, it means finding the rhythm of the story of the scene. Also, character arc is huge. By reading the book first before recording, I had an idea of my main characters and what their arcs were. It’s important to know that so you can craft their emotional arc since these are the characters the audience will be most connected to.

SIG: Given your roots in South Korea, what part of this story resonated with you the most?

LP: The insight into life in North Korea was the most enthralling for me and my favorite parts of the book. Growing up, North Korea was this black hole where people disappeared and I could only imagine what life was really like there. It was heartbreaking and infuriating to read. The strangest part was that it read like some dystopian fiction and I had to keep remembering it’s not fiction, there are many parts of the world where people are not free and citizens are  oppressed and abused. It’s easy to forget that living in America.

SIG: What makes Star of the North different from other thrillers? Why is this an essential read today?

LP: Again, I think the insight into North Korea is something that all people will be fascinated by especially given our current climate. It’s a thriller but it’s also a political book that plays with the real life timeline and accurately portrays aspects of Korean culture, North and South. Since North Korea is such a talking point in politics today, this is an entertaining way to learn more and feel on the inside of what the human factor is rather than just the talking heads.

SIG: How do you capture the rising suspense of a thriller without sounding over dramatic?

LP: Like with acting, just be honest.

SIG: Are you an avid reader? What are some of your favorite books?

LP: Yes, I am an avid reader and have a couple different books going at one time. Usually one classic novel, a contemporary bestseller, and a book on some aspect of Buddhism. Although lately, I’ve been reading a lot of pregnancy and baby books. My favorite books are Jane Eyre, The Martian Chronicles, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Rilke’s Letter to a Young Poet.

SIG: Do you plan on narrating more books in the future?

LP: Sure, if the book is something I resonate with. I’m actually interested in YA novels, I think the genre is really expanding and getting some great talented writers. It also would be a fun world to live in, reliving adolescence. I was obsessed with all the Lois Duncan books when I was about 12.