Carolina grew up in a lazy town in Newbridge, Ireland. She has loved reading, writing and books for as long as she can remember. As a toddler, she loved reciting poems. At the age of two, Carolina and her mammy made a habit of visiting the local sweet shop, where the lady at the counter would write poems on scraps of paper and give them to Carolina to learn, and if she did, she’d get sweets. Carolina’s love for learning (and getting sweets), led her to develop her narrating skills from a young age.
After obtaining her Bachelor’ degree in English Literature, she decided to take a Masterclass with Dan O’Day and David H. Lawrence XVII. Carolina is now narrating books that require an Irish accent, and she is also writing her second fantasy novel. Carolina teaches English to foreign students to help pay the bills.
First of all, I chose Carolina Cioara as narrator because she caught the emotion behind the words I’d put on the page, her vocal inflections capable of expressing them appropriately when they were subtle, overt, or extreme. She reads at a nice pace for listening, and she is easy to work with.
I chose her also for reasons having to do with characters in the novel. Fallen Giants of the Points opens with an “Introductory Note from the Authors.” The “authors” in this case are the two fictional main characters, Alta Mae and Cedric Brewer. The note conveys that the story that follows is an autobiographical account, written by the characters in adulthood of their experiences as children.
Many of those who immigrated to the city in that time, no matter where they came from, ended up on the streets, destitute, jobless, and homeless. Those able to find jobs, in many cases, found themselves over-worked and abused by their employers and landlords. Desperation among these unfortunate human beings frequently led to criminal behavior, and drug and alcohol abuse. Disease more easily claimed the lives of those suffering such hardship.
Children in these situations often fled to the streets to get away from abusive home life or found themselves orphaned and homeless upon the death of their parents. The numbers of orphans increased well beyond the city’s capacity to manage. Some of the children were rounded up and sold into the service of those needing child labor. Others survived as best they could, avoiding the “coppers” and those who would capitalize on their labor.
During much of the first decade of their lives, Alta Mae and Cedric Brewer are homeless orphans on the streets of Manhattan during the 1840s. They spend much of that time free, if hungry and suffering from exposure to cruel weather, especially in winter. They do not possess memories of their parents.
At the time, New York City had immigrants mostly from northern Europe and what’s now known as the UK. The big waves of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe had not occurred yet, so the accents of those learning to speak the main language of the city, English, would have been most heavily influence by the English, Scottish, and Irish who immigrated to the city or were engaged in maritime trade there. Most of the slang of the time, including the thieves cant of the streets, comes from England. Additional significant influence on the language would have come from escaped black slaves fleeing from the South to the North. During the Irish Potato Famine (1845 to 1852), innumerable Irish came to New York City to escape hardship—more like out of the frying pan, into the fire. Many made the passage as indentured servants, then fled their masters upon arrival and hid among the countless homeless on the city’s streets, especially in the neighborhoods around Five Points, in lower Manhattan, areas so dangerous and crime-ridden, the police would not patrol them. This was the neighborhood in which Alta Mae and Cedric spend their early childhood.
Thinking about the voices of Alta Mae and Cedric Brewer, I decided that they most likely would have a light Irish accent. I also wanted that voice to sound young since, in most of the tale they tell, the characters are between the ages of five and eleven years.
Listening to Carolina Cioara read the sample I provided for auditions, I could clearly hear the characters speaking. She also proved herself quite capable of delivering the slang in the novel, mostly thieves cant, quite naturally.
I highly recommend the experience of listening to the adventure tale, Fallen Giants of the Points, as read by Carolina Cioara.
—Alan M. Clark
The audio book of the novel, FALLEN GIANTS OF THE POINTS, by Alan M. Clark, read by Carolina Cioara, is available from Audible.com and other online retailers such as Amazon.