Very excited to share an Ears on the Odyssey exclusive: our first narrator interview!
Thérèse Plummer is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator with over 300 audio books for various publishers under her belt. Her accolades include nomination for multiple Audie awards, ALA’s Listen List, Audiofile Earphone awards. With so much skill and experience, Plummer’s insights into the day to day life of hardworking narrator are a treat!
How did you get started in audiobook narration and how does it compare to voice-over or other kinds of acting?
About twelve years ago I took a class with Robin Miles and auditioned for a spot for BBC. Mike Charzuk heard my audition and invited me to audition for Audible. The rest is history. I have built my career through relationships with producers, casting directors and colleagues and am very pleased to report that I’m working steadily. Voice acting is different from stage/film acting in that you cannot move freely about. All of the emotion and inflection must come through your voice. It is a very challenging career, but also extremely rewarding.
What do you wish librarians/ reviewers knew about the process of audiobook narration?
I wish they knew how much goes into the preparation and performance of each book. I spend hours and hours prepping a book even before heading into a studio to perform it. I’ve had some reviewers be very callous with their remarks, and it is hurtful until I remember that they have no idea what goes into this. And also, it’s easy to be critical behind a keyboard. I’ve also had amazing conversations with librarians and listeners about the process of recording books, and they have walked away so grateful for the information.
How do you choose which audiobook projects to undertake?
I am sent projects through producers who cast the books, and 9.9 times out of ten it is perfect casting. I’ll receive an email telling me I have a new project or asking if I can audition for an upcoming title, and then my audition and others are sent to the author who will choose the voice they want to tell their story.
Can you describe the process of finding a voice and style for your audiobook narration, especially with titles for young listeners?
This is a great question. So, when I read and prepare a book to be performed, I am listening to the author’s tones through narration and characters. If there is something that feels uncertain, I will reach out to the author and ask him or her, “What are you looking for here? What mood did you hear?” My job is to honor their story through my voice acting. I do my best after that.
As an audiobook narrator, what is your relationship to the producer?
After working together for so many years, I have become friends with a lot of the producers. I’ve built my audiobook career without an agent, so they contact me directly to set up new jobs. They are some of the best people I know.
Why are you so talented and lovely?!!? Thank you!
Thank you for that sweet compliment. All the credit goes to my mom and dad for the acting genes and growing up fearless and imaginative. I love telling stories and hope I get to for a long time:).