by | Mar 27, 2018 | KJ Howe, On writing | 2 comments

Hosted by K.J. Howe

Audiobooks are on the rise, as people unwind listening to stories as an alternative to reading them.  What better way to diffuse the boredom of a long commute than listening to a gripping novel?  I’m honored that Audible is handling my audiobooks.  

I had the distinct pleasure of connecting with my narrator, Therese Plummer, as I have many international names and places in my books.  Therese is a true professional, so she wanted to make sure she pronounced everything correctly.  I was quite curious about the process of creating an audiobook–so I asked Therese if she might join us here today at Rogue Women Writers to answer a few burning questions!

Therese in action!
What is the best thing about being an audiobook narrator?

Telling stories for a living.  Becoming characters someone else imagined and being trusted to bring that world to life through audio and characterization and emotion.  It’s never the same day, and I love being transported into these different stories.

How long does it take you on average to record a novel?

I can record a 400-page book in about 5 days recording from 10a.m.-4p.m. with breaks.  Must use the bathroom, eat lunch, drink water and coffee and tea and laugh with my fellow narrators and engineers.

Can you kindly fill us in on the preparation necessary for recording—any tools of the trade?

I receive a pdf of the book and download it immediately to a program called iAnnotate on my iPad.  This allows me to prep with highlighters and notes and underlining and anything else I need so that when I walk into the studio I’m read to rock-n-roll.

Who are some of the authors that you read for?

I have worked on Robyn Carr’s Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan Crossing’s series as well as Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden series.  I have recorded over 350 books for various authors so you only have to look me up on audible and they are all there.  đź™‚

We all stumble over words from time to time.  How do you handle it when you make mistakes?

I make mistakes for sure and I work with a method called punch record, which means the engineer will play the last line before the mistake and I get to say the line again and keep going.  Mistakes are part of the process and even if I didn’t flub the line I may want to redo it for emphasis or emotion.  My engineers rock!

Therese Plummer

How do you keep your voice strong for such an extended time?  If you’re sick or have a cold, do you have to cancel the recording session?

I will definitely cancel if I have a cold and it is severe enough to affect my voice, but for the most part I’ve developed strong coping skills to stay active for 6 hours a day.  The biggest one is sleep.  I will get at least 10 hours.  The other is hydration and the third and most important is to have fun and maintain a good sense of humor.  

Rumor has it that you have an impressive blooper reel.  Can you share a story or two about these wild forays?  

It seems to be in my nature to joke around with my engineers a lot and I will go off script sometimes and start improvising a scene off the top of my head just to blow off steam.  Word has it some of them have been recorded and they are pretty epic.  

How did you get into this field—we’d love to hear more about your background?  

I’m from a family of creatives and have the acting gene.  I loved psychology and studied it in college and worked as a counselor in various facilities for 5 years before taking the plunge to head to NYC to give acting a professional try.  It took about three years, but I gained momentum and was asked to read for Audible when they were still building headquarters in Newark, NJ.  The rest is history.  Between film, TV and voiceovers, I have been a successful self-supporting artist for the last 15 years.

How are you assigned your books?

Each publishing house has producers that cast the projects and as I have built a reputation for myself in the industry, I’m cast for many of different projects.  They will usually email me that they have a book for me or want me to read an audition for the book and then depending on the author, I either get the job or not.  It’s important the author has the right voice for their project.

In THE FREEDOM BROKER or SKYJACK, which scenes were the toughest for you to read?

In TFB the toughest scenes emotionally were the memories of Nikos’ abduction and what he endured.  Physically was the end of the book.  đź™‚  no spoilers!! 

Click on this link to hear Therese giving an audio blurb to SKYJACK!

How did you enjoy the international names and places in my novels—are you ready to move to Salzburg?

I loved it, as I felt like I was back in school and learning about the world.  Some things, like in history class, I wish were not happening but I’m so much better off being informed.  And now onto SKYJACK!!!

ThĂ©rèse Plummer is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator.  She has recorded over 350 audio books for various publishers.  Therese was recently awarded the 2018 Listen List Award from the American Library Association for her work on SOURDOUGH by Robin Sloan.  She has been nominated for 5 Audie Awards in 2018 for her narration, most notably ANY DAY NOW by Robyn Carr, SANDPIPER COVE by Irene Hannon and I LIKED MY LIFE by Abbie Fabiaschi.  She is the recipient of the 2016 SOVA award for Irene Hannon’s, Sing You Home.   She has received multiple Earphones Awards for her work.  Most notably on Sing you Home by Jodi Picoult, Faith by Jennifer Haigh and We Are Water by Wally Lamb. She was named AudioFile’s Best Voices of the Year for 2015 for her work on Robyn Carr’s A New Hope. She is the voice of Maya Hansen in the Marvel Graphic Motion Comic Ironman Extremis, Dr. Fennel in Pokemon and for various Yu-Gi-Oh characters.  Learn more at www.thĂ©rè

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  1. Karna Bodman

    Fascinating Q&A with Therese — an awesome narrator. I love audio books (we were early investors in Audible, which does such a great job making so many books available now) – and I truly applaud the talent of someone like Therese. I learned – first-hand — how hard it is to narrate a book when I was asked to record chapters of two of my thrillers for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic – I remember the routine of making mistakes, coughing, needing a drink and having to stop so my producer could go back and let me re-record. It is NOT easy. Obviously, Therese is a real pro! Thanks for a great interview, K.J.

  2. KJ Howe

    Thanks, Karna. I agree. Even doing readings can be a challenge. You need a lot of energy to inject into a book to make it sounds fabulous, and Therese has that special talent to do it in spades!