Audiofile’s Best Voices 2010 and 2011, she’s also an Audie Finalist and Best Audiobook of the Year winner for 2009, 2010 and 2011 (The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon Reed, Too Good to be True by Erin Arvedlund, and Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor) and she has earned multiple Audiofile Earphones Awards, recently for and You Had Me at Woof by Julie Klam and Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz. Publishers Weekly says of Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, “Karen White delivers a stunning reading, her character interpretations are confident and well-rounded, and she forges a strong bond with the audience.”
Where To Find Karen: Site | Facebook | Twitter
Kati R: Who is Karen? (narrator, actress, mother, international woman of mystery...)
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KR: How did you get into narrating audiobooks and how long have you been narrating?
KW: Literally at my wedding in 1998, a friend suggested that I should look into audiobooks. I’d been doing on-camera work as well as theatre up to that point, but I knew we wanted kids and I thought it might be a good idea to find work that was more flexible (and that it didn’t matter what I looked like since who knew what would happen post-pregnancy!) After some research, I met Dan Musselman, who was at Dove Audio at the time, and he hired me to edit audiobooks (which I had no idea how to do, but I learned quick). Then, a few months later in 1999 he was hired to open a recording studio for Books-on-Tape in Los Angeles, and hired me to be his assistant. For a year I did everything: casting, directing, editing and I started narrating as well. It was a great crash course in audiobooks as Dan is a Grammy-winning champ. I also happened to be pregnant that year, and after my first was born I scaled back. I kept working though, and since my kids started school I’ve been able to gradually work more and more, for more publishers and (with my sound engineer husband’s help) put together a home studio.
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KR: What is your favorite book that you've narrated?
KW: Well, you know, that’s like asking which is your favorite child…I LOVE that I’ve been able to work on such a variety of books. I get to learn about all kinds of random things and have all kinds of adventures. I will say that I loved narrating THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST, which just came out from Blackstone Audio. It’s set in NC where I am from originally. It’s a first novel by Anna Jean Mayhew, and I’d just picked it up this summer to read for pleasure at the beach (in NC). From the first page I KNEW these characters and heard them so specifically in my mind. I sent the author a fan email, we got to know each other a bit online, and then when the audio rights were sold, she requested that I do it. The only problem was that I SO wanted to do a good job, I got really nervous! But I am happy with how it came out and can’t wait to meet AJ when I go home for Christmas.
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KW: It’s funny, I realized just the other day that I do! I always make a big thermos of hot tea (Xiao’s Blend from Peets Coffee) and I make the salt water for my neti pot at the same time (it’s a practice I learned through yoga that cleanses the sinuses as well as the mind but my husband thinks its gross!). Then I have several trips out to the garage before I manage to bring everything I need (always have to forget something!). Then while my computer and recording equipment is booting up I do a full vocal warmup that involves stretches to open up the breathing apparatus as well as the tongue and jaw, and exercises that wake up all my resonators, and then articulation exercises. Then there’s the wiggly getting settled into the chair – got to be comfortable and just the right distance from the mic – and then I’m off (until the first pee break).
KW: I think my character voices tend to be on the subtle side, but yes, I do. When I prepare to narrate, I read through the book and make notes on all the characters, including specific descriptions of their voices (deep, soft, nasal, feminine, etc.) as well as any other way the author describes them (ruddy-faced, imposing, sharp, child-like, hot-tempered, etc.) Then I have a clear picture in my imagination for each and I kind of find a place for each in my body so that when I am recording through each scene each person comes from a different part of me. So even though I am sitting still, I feel like all of me is playing! I should mention, too, that in ANIMAL MAGNETISM as well as the next in the series ANIMAL ATTRACTION, Jill Shalvis writes the animals into the scenes. In a realistic way, they bark and mew at their people. I decided that I needed to voice the animals as realistically as I could (with intention, of course, as my dog certainly barks and growls and whines with intention) and I had a blast with that! Almost as fun as the sex scenes….
Thanks Karen for hanging out today!
Sunshine, Idaho, is a small and sunny town—the perfect home for man and beast. Well, maybe not for man, as pilot-for-hire Brady Miller discovers when his truck is rear-ended by what appears to be Noah’s Ark.
As the co-owner of the town’s only kennel, Lilah Young has good reason to be distracted behind the wheel—there are puppies, a piglet, and a duck in her Jeep. But she doesn’t find it hard to focus on the sexy, gorgeous stranger she’s collided with.
Lilah has lived in Sunshine all her life, and though Brady is just passing through, he has her abandoning her instincts and giving in to a primal desire. It’s Brady’s nature to resist being tied down, but there’s something about Lilah and her menagerie—both animal and human—that keeps him coming back for more.
Where To Buy: Audible | Tantor | Amazon (CD)
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A huge thank you to Karen for stopping by and giving away a CD copy of ANIMAL MAGNETISM and for providing the sample in this post.
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