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Richmond School fifth grader Llvelya Matlock shares her thoughts with Alumna Emma Faye on a book displayed at a display table shortly before an assembly held for Richmond school. / Laura Austin Photo

Richmond students were wowed by Alumna’s storytelling skills

By Christina MacGregor News Review Staff Writer–

Emma Faye, known as the Clean Reads Queen, visited Richmond school on Friday, March 3rd, to entertain students and teachers with her vocal talents. Over three assemblies, she narrated various books with unique and interesting voices that intrigued and excited those watching her.

“I loved reading for the kids and was impressed with how well they listened. That is the power of books and narration; it is captivating.” mused Faye. “Kid’s books are super fun to narrate, as you can do crazy and unique voices that are a bit bigger than you would use in, say, a romance or mystery book for teens or adults. I had a lot of fun developing the various voices in these books.”

Faye, the Clean Reads Queen, entertained students and teachers with her vocal talents over three assemblies; she narrated various books using unique voices.
/ Laura Austin Photo

Faye is a talented audiobook narrator who has recorded over 60 audiobooks in her professional home studio. She has narrated stories from many different countries, as well as many genres of literature. She has especially enjoyed telling YA fantasy, middle-grade, wholesome fiction, and clean/sweet romances. 

Faye said, “My goal is to have 100+ books in my portfolio by the end of the year. I also had a goal of doing Cozy Mysteries this year, and I just booked my first one, which I’m very excited about. I hope to be able to continue this job for as long as possible.”

Faye strongly believes in listening to clean, wholesome media and often speaks out about its power. She feels that the media people consume is as important as what they consume nutritionally. Hence, she made it the purpose of her audio production company to bring more clean audiobooks to listeners everywhere.

While Faye currently lives in Utah, she claims California as her home. She grew up in Ridgecrest and was a Richmond Tiger from Kindergarten to fifth grade. Her mother, Gwen Lakes, is currently an office manager at Richmond Elementary school.

“I grew up in Ridgecrest- 18 years there,” said Faye, “I don’t miss the heat (haha), but I miss California.”

“I remember when I was little, I loved to go out and catch and release lizards and play with friends. Mostly I remember finding any chance that I could read. My teachers were often concerned that my sisters and I didn’t like to go out to recess and preferred to stay in and read, but we just loved escaping into new worlds and letting our imaginations run wild. Our mother instilled a love of books in all of us.”

Faye’s teachers also remember her for her kindness and intelligence, with her fourth-grade teacher, in particular, remembering Faye’s love of characters and dialogue is a big part of her writing and reading. It was that same teacher who asked Faye to do the assemblies.

“Mrs. Speredelozzi, who was my 4th-grade teacher when I went there, is now the librarian at Richmond,” explained Faye. “She saw a TikTok I did where I shared a bunch of voices from one of my books. She thought it would be super fun for me to read to the kids. It lined up perfectly with Read Across America week for me to come out.” 

Faye enjoys acting on film and stage and has been doing so since childhood. She comments that watching her older sisters participate in a yearly local patriotic production excited her to turn 6, simply so she could join the play.

As an adult, Faye trained in Los Angeles as an actor at ITM Acting Studio. She also performed many roles on film and stage when she attended film school in LA. Only in the past few years did she add narrating audiobooks to her list of accomplishments.  

Fast forward to today, and Faye continues to use her skills and talents to entertain and help others around her. In addition to narrating audiobooks, Faye is President of the Eagle Mountain Community Theatre. Her theater group is set to perform Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, As You Like It, and Beauty and the Beast this year. Faye also has a philanthropic side- she is a betrayal trauma advocate and runs multiple support groups weekly for women going through betrayal trauma. When looking at Faye’s resume, it is impressive to note how much she has accomplished in life, even though she is still young.

Faye enjoys cosplaying at comic conventions and Renaissance Faires in her spare time and snuggling with her four cats. Faye also enjoys Irish dancing. (She graciously showed off her skills to the curious students who asked about them during the assemblies.) Faye feels that her life experiences bring her characters to life in the stories she reads. 

Recently, Emma and her husband narrated and got rave reviews and recognition for their audio narration of the series “Ash and Smoke.”  Now one of her goals is to share her successes with young audiences and encourage them in their narration goals.

“(I) aim to interact with and engage readers and help them know and understand what goes into audiobook narration. It’s so much more than just reading a book,” said Faye. 

Faye explained that she reads a whole book before recording and how crucial it is to her work because sometimes a character’s accent is revealed after some time. She also does this to understand the book’s flow better and to research the correct pronunciation of words, especially with non-fiction and fantasy.

As for the actual time it takes to record the books, Fay said, “In general, it takes 3-5 hours per finished hour of the book; this includes prepping, recording, editing, etc. So producing a 5-hour book will take 15-25 hours.” 

“With AI narration taking over many jobs, it’s a scary time in the industry. The more readers/listeners understand the level of talent, skill, soul, and heart that goes into audiobooks. I hope that they will choose human narrators.” (#humanvoice)