“Abby Someone.” “Abby Someone? Abby who?”
I grew up in Normal, Illinois, which will forever link me to one of my favorite films of all time, Young Frankenstein, for obvious reasons if you know the film!
I studied theatre at Columbia College in Chicago. While in Chicago I played Carter in ‘Uncommon Women and Others’ by Wendy Wasserstein,Viola in Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, Cassandra in Euripides’s ‘The Trojan Women’, and had the extraordinary experience of playing Lydie in the original production of John Guare’s ‘Lydie Breeze’.
After several years of working as a paleobotanist at The Desert Research Institute, I returned to the field of acting as a Voiceover Artist, specializing in character work for games and animation, and developing an intense passion for Audiobook Narration. I’ve been fortunate enough to study with voice over genius Patrick Fraley, with audiobook legend Scott Brick, and the unstoppably vibrant Melissa Moats.
1 – How did you get involved in recording audiobooks?
My mama read to my brother and me every day at lunch, from kindergarden all the way through the 6th grade. She read us everything from Evelyn Waugh, to Tolkien, to Orwell, to Melville, to Twain. It’s in my blood. I became an actress, then later a paleobotanist, and later still a voice actor specializing in character voices. I avoided audiobooks for a while given the intense, marathon commitment they require, but eventually I was bitten. Now I am obsessed!
2 – What is your favorite thing about recording books?
I love the act of realizing the movie that’s in my head when I read a book silently in my head. I want to make that world come alive, to pull it up off the page! And I LOVE voicing the different characters. Playtime!
3 – Do you have a favorite genre or author to record?
Gosh, I’m just getting started, but memoirs are wonderful, like the one I just finished by Marlayna Glynn Brown, ‘Overlay: A Tale of One Girl’s Life in 1970s Las Vegas’. Marlayna is sort of a serial memoirist. I think she’s written 5 or more. So compelling. I’m working on a second one for her right now, and will start a third right after that. But I love YA and I love short stories, like my 1st book, ‘In Concert’ by Melanie and Steve Tem. Their writing is brilliant, and I was very fortunate to get to read it early in my audiobook career.
4 – What do you think is the most important part of the recording?
It is such a marathon. To compare recording an audiobook to completing an endurance athletic event, I’d say ‘stay comfortable’. How do you stay comfortable? Be consistent. Be organized. Relax, but know what you need to do. Remember, the middle of the race is always the hardest. Keep going, -you can do it!
5 – Do you have a narration superpower? Awesome accents, infusing emotion, super-fast read? What is your best trick?
I’ve been told that I have an ability to ‘talk to the listener’, to make the listener feel like I’m right there with them, intimately sharing the story. I think this is because I can really tap into emotional moments and characters, and am always vividly imagining that I’m sharing the experience with you, my listener.
6 – What was your favorite book to read so far? And why?
That is so hard to answer. I love different books for different reasons. If forced to choose, I’d have to say, ‘In Concert’ by Steve and Melanie Tem. The short stories are brilliantly and elegantly written, very dynamic, moving, disturbing. It was exciting to record a book with such a variety of subject matter and characters.
7 – What was your most challenging read? What made it so difficult?
I recorded my 1st book, In Concert, in the midst of summer in the Mojave Desert. The heat in my audio booth was intense, and the hum of a city full of air conditioning units in high gear was a challenge to block out. Hence I developed the habit of recording very early in the morning and ended up with a booth impervious to outside noise.
8 – Is there a book out there that you desperately want to do the narration for?
I am aching to narrate ‘Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir’ by Lauren Slater. In her afterward, Slater explained she had no choice but to transcribe her life in “a slippery, playful, impish, exasperating text, shaped, if it could be, like a question mark.”
I would have loved to have narrated ‘The Whip’ by Karen Kondazian, about a woman who lived in the 1800’s disguised as a man and became one of the great California stage coach drivers or ‘whips’, but Robin Weigert already did it very well. She’s the actress who played Jane in the series Deadwood. Amazing.
9 – Do you have a ritual or routine when you are recording a book?
I always drink lots of H2O and lot’s of tea with lemon and honey, try to take regular breaks to stretch and walk around the yard, talk to all the plants and bushes and trees, and remember to take time out to play with the cats, meow! It’s so easy to just keep working and never take a break, but this is NOT a good thing!
10 – What is a fun fact people might not know about you?
Back in the day, I sang with punk, heavy metal, and country music bands.
5 Lucky winners get their choice of book from Abby’s Audible catalog
1) Kimberly A
5) Brianne Butler