Narrator Stoplight – Carla Mercer Meyer

Eargasms Narrator Spotlight Carla Mercer Meyer

 

I am an Audie nominated narrator and Earphones award recipient.  I was born in the Los Angeles Area to a Father who wrote and performed country western gospel.  I am the youngest in a blended family of 15.  I have always loved performing but hate stage lights and smiling for extended periods of time.  I play the piano a little (just like Jane Eyre.)  I have been married for almost 20 years.  My husband and I have four incredible children and two dogs who are a very big part of our family. I am a coffee connoisseur and snob.  I’m talking black coffee , not blended sweet creamy concoctions that have a slight coffee taste to them   Yes,  I think this should be a part of my bio because I’m pretty sure at this point if you were to stick me, I would bleed out coffee.

 

The Sweet Dreams Bake Shop

 

Echristian

 

The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner
Just Show Up by Kara Tippets and Jill Lynn Buteyn
And it was beautiful by Kara Tippets (coming soon)
Listening Library (Books on Tape)

 

The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach
 

 

Facebook-Carla Mercer-Meyer
Twitter-Carla@mercermeyer

 

 

1 – How did you get involved in recording audiobooks?
I have loved books since I was very young.  (Total book nerd here.) In fact my mom loves to tell the story about how I ditched high school once… and got caught by her at the library, reading a book. Yep I was a wild one!  And my father was a country/blue-grass song writer/performer, so growing up I was always being hauled around to one type of performance or another and there was a lot of downtime.  I couldn’t read in a moving vehicle due to motion sickness so I would make up stories and kind of act them out to entertain myself.  Wow! That sounded a lot less crazy in my head.  Anyhow I discovered audiobooks late in my 20s after my husband and I made the choice for me to stay home with my children which turned out to be the most difficult and equally rewarding job I have ever done, and while doing mundane chores like washing dishes and mopping floors, I had no time to sit down and read so I started listening and fell in love with audiobooks. I knew this was something I wanted to do.    So, I started taking classes and meeting people in the business, but the amazing part of my story is this……  I contacted an author on Goodreads  (Caragh O’brien) telling her how much I loved her young adult series and that I would like to audition for them should she ever consider putting them into audiobook form.  A year later, I received an email from Hilary Eurich at Tantor asking me to audition and I’ve been working ever since.  I totally love my job. ( I cannot stress this enough)
2 – What is your favorite thing about recording books?
I can literally portray anyone.  Voice acting gives me the ability to bring life to any character without the obvious physical, gender, age and ethnic boundaries that I wouldn’t be able to pull off on stage.  The possibilities are endless. It’s so much fun.
3 – Do you have a favorite genre or author to record?
Young adult has to be my favorite.  It’s fun.  It’s light .  it’s oftentimes very honest and emotionally raw.
4 – What do you think is the most important part of the recording?
The story of course , and being able to tell it without drawing attention to yourself.  My goal is always to portray the story in a way that gets the listener lost in the journey with me as I read.
5 – Do you have a narration superpower? Awesome accents, infusing emotion, super-fast read? What is your best trick?  
(blushing and batting eyes profusely)  Well,  I have been told I have a great ear for dialects.
6 – What was your favorite book to read so far? And why?
Is this a real question?  Honestly, I end up loving every single book I have ever read, that is the truth, but if I had to pick one that appealed to me personally,   I would have to pick Sempre by J.M. Darhower, because it’s a young adult love story and I got to play an Italian Mafioso.  I fell in love with the characters, and they had some serious issues. It was delicious and challenging and  intense to perform.
7 – What was your most challenging read? What made it so difficult?
Oh Gosh, since I am neurotic I pretty much stress over every book but Grand Central, Original stories of Postwar Love and Reunion had to be the most challenging for me, but again ,  I fell in love with the stories.  There were just a lot of characters to prepare for, a lot of words I had to look up pronunciations for and a wide variety of ages and dialects. Each tale was so human and heartwarming though.
8 – Is there a book out there that you desperately want to do the narration for, that elusive dream job?
Well, I had wanted to do Go Set A Watchmen by Harper Lee but alas . *sigh*  There are so many classics that I would love to do actually.  Jane Eyre in particular, that is my all time favorite book ever, I also love Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights.  Now that I think about it, I  pretty much want to do EVERYTHING!
9 – Do you have a ritual or routine when you are recording a book?
Yes, so first, there is coffee! Then I look up the book on Goodreads just to see what people say about it, what kind of feel there is for the story and author, then I read it on my ipad.  As I’m reading I highlight the different characters and make a note of anything particular the author mentions about the characters voice and traits.  I underline the words that I don’t know how to pronounce or the ones that I need a clearer definition for. Then when I ‘ve finished reading I start getting to work on research.
10 – What is a fun fact people might not know about you?
My family says I ruin movie night.  I can’t help myself   if we are watching a show and a character appears with an interesting accent or way of talking, I HAVE to imitate it, OUT LOUD, right then.  Sometimes I make whomever has the remote pause and rewind, and sometimes I get stuck in that voice for the rest of the day.  Just the other day my daughter was watching some teenage drama,( I have no clue what it was) and as I walked by I heard this really great accent, so I immediately voiced my imitation of it .   My daughter promptly turned off the television and left the room muttering under her breath, “One more tv show I can’t watch with mom around.”   Wait.  Is that a fun fact or a character flaw?

 

Find reviews for  Carla’s reads here on Eargasms

 

From the narrator one winner will get – Sempre and Sempre Redemption by J.M. Darhower, Two winners will get their pick of her reads from Tantor Madia!
To enter the giveaway you must comment below with a relevant question or heap fan love on the narrator. Don’t be surprised if you get a reply on the day of the posting, most narrators will be checking in throughout their day. You have the whole month to enter, winners will be drawn on New Year’s Day. You can check in on the beginning post to see all the narrator in order. If you want to enter the Grand Prize Giveaway use the Rafflecopter on that page as well. Good luck and happy listening!!!

44 Responses

  1. Mary C. says:

    What was the first audio book you listened to?

  2. First, Hi Mary! Thanks for posting. Ok. so let me think……. It was actually a cassette tape of Jane Eyre that I rented from the library. Wow!! that’s a throwback question. 🙂

  3. julie says:

    Do you do anything special to prepare to stArt an audio

    • Hi Julie, thanks for posting! I think you are talking about when I actually go in to record right? I drink a lot of water and I usually try to stretch out a little. Being in a little box for periods of time tends to make your muscles ache.

  4. Thanks for the chuckles! What a great bio and interview! Your really funny Carla-maybe you should be writing as well as narrating!?!?!

    Not only was your interview fun to read but I was surprised at how much we have in common! I too am from the, “Los Angeles area” (in the San Fernando Valley until 3rd grade then we moved North to Ventura county), I get motion sick if I try to read in the car, I am a total book nerd (I’m addicted to Goodreads) and I too get yelled at during movie nights at my house! I don’t do accents during the movies though, I just talk a lot! Best of all, you and I both began listening to audiobooks for the same reason! As you know, audiobooks make cleaning, driving and everything else WAY more enjoyable! I actually own Sempre by Darhower and am even more excited about listening to it now that I’ve heard your samples!

    Being a book addict, I’ve often wondered if I could ever pull off being a narrator…. You mentioned that you began taking some classes when you initially became interested in recording audiobooks – what type of classes did you take? Or maybe the better question would be to ask you what classes you’d recommend someone take if they were considering trying to become a narrator?

    • Kim, Thank You. I’m glad you can relate to me. 🙂 I still listen to audiobooks when doing menial chores. They are definitely my sanity. I first would recommend acting classes for sure. I actually took some voice over classes taught by Rick Zieff (Im not sure if he still teaches) There are a lot of teachers now that specifically will guide you into the world of audiobooks. Another great thing to do is read for the blind. It gives you a good feel of whether or not reading out loud for long periods of time is something you would enjoy.You can message me on Facebook and I can recommend some teachers to you if you like.

  5. Susan T. says:

    You have narrated a lot of awesome YA which means you are often portraying teens and they often have such a unique way of talking. Do you ever use your children’s voices or vocal mannerisms as inspiration for your characters?

    • Susan, Thank you for posting. What a great question. Why…. Yes I do actually. My kids totally love it when I mimic them. (NOT) In fact , I also use other people in my family as character models. I have family from different parts of the states and world. Sometimes I call them and have them read a few lines for me so I can emulate them. It definitely helps keep the character real and consistent when you can have a familiar reference point for them in your head.

  6. Karen says:

    Carla,
    Huge Fan!!!!
    Your voice is like tiny little cymbals or bells – crystal clear and perfect.
    I also agree with the other who stated you should perhaps write as well. Your bio is fantastic.
    I was wondering if you sang as well as you speak?
    Also, if there is an author or series you would really like to narrate?
    Thanks so much!
    Karen

    • Thanks for posting Karen, and thanks for the kind words. 🙂 Actually i can sing but I do not sing professionally because I leave that up to Beyonce and Christina Aguilera. As far as someone an author or series I would like to narrate….. that’s so hard because lately I don’t have time to read much other than what I am recording for work, so I haven’t had time to check out new books and such. I do really love the classics though. Actually I just remembered this…. I have always wanted to do Where the Heart is by Billie Letts.

  7. Amy Zabala says:

    Hi Carla,

    I was wondering…..do you like coffee?!

    Your interview is funny and enjoyable. I just wanted to tell you that I am also an avid audio book listener. I have listened to several books that you have narrated and I think you are very talented. Your range of capabilities is impressive. Audio books are a little bit of an escape for me and you have a way of really taking me inside the books! Keep up the wonderful work!

  8. Amy. Thanks for Posting and thank you for finding me funny and talented. I hope you will keep listening…and No I don’t like Coffee…….. I AM COFFEE AND COFFEE IS ME! 🙂

  9. Heaps of praise coming to Carla Mercer-Meyer from me! My introduction to her audiobook talent was listening to “The Fringe Hours”. I loved the congruity of Carla’s voice with the author’s message. Her perfectly-balanced, energetic, yet soothing voice quality harmonized beautifully with the author’s tone of both empowerment and comfort. The author’s main message was that by organizing yourself and maximizing the use of little pockets of time usually regarded as insignificant and therefore wasted, you can pursue your life’s passions without neglecting your most important responsibilities, thus achieving a balance in life that leads to a more joyful, satisfying quality of life. Carla’s vocal tone and quality successfully echoed this message.

    Subsequently, I became even more impressed with Carla as I listened to her read from a variety of audio-books including characters representing a wide range of backgrounds and accents. Carla’s voice seamlessly moves from narrator to various characters in a manner that allows the reader to be deeply immersed in vivid pictures of life. Her intuitive delivery supports a continuous flow of the story development.

    Many questions come to mind when I step outside of these stories and consider that one voice is relaying them. How do you prepare for each character? How do you maintain the characters’ voices? How do you decide on emphasis and inflection for both narration and conversation? I am intrigued as I contemplate her work and I applaud her talent and success. I look forward to following her work. Bravo Ms. Mercer-Meyer!

    • Oh My. Thank you for posting Lisa! And thank you for the compliments! Let me get to your questions…I maintain the character voices by having a strong idea of them in my head, either they are my impression of someone I know or a celebrity or character that I am really familiar with,plus I tend to hold my body a certain way for each character. Deciding on emphasis and inflection for both narration and conversation…. ummm I think that isn’t really something I think about beforehand…I just go where the text takes me. I mean sometimes the words are written in a way that you know the author wants them inflected or emphasized a certain way but for the most part, I just trust myself to follow the story. Great Questions. Thank You!

  10. Penny says:

    You are an awesome Woman.

  11. Sophia Rose says:

    What a fun way to enjoy your craft though I can see how others might not perceive the imitating accents stuff enjoyable during their show. LOL
    That’s neat how you got your start with the books you especially wanted to narrate. Sempre sounds really good.

    • Sophia, 🙂 Thanks for commenting. I drive my family crazy sometimes. Yes , I feel like I’m cinderella of the audiobook narrators, but actually I’ve met a lot of narrators with great stories about how they got their first book.

  12. nrlymrtl says:

    I love your unique way of ‘controlling’ the TV agenda – imitating out loud the unique accents you come across. But I bet you don’t get taken to the movie theater often. 😉 The J. L. Bryan books look great – a kind of paranormal detective thing. Do you find yourself trying to guess the whodunit when narrating these books?

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Thank you for commenting. Usually, when we go to theater….I get stern warnings from my family. ;). J.L. Bryan books were so much fun to read. To answer your question, Yes. I am first and foremost a complete book junkie..so I am always wondering what’s going to happen. When I am first reading the book to prepare I often tell my family my predictions for the story’s ending. I love trying to guess.

  13. Alexisa says:

    Have you always enjoyed audiobooks?

  14. Alexisa says:

    Have you always enjoyed audiobooks??

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Since I first was exposed to them. Honestly my mother is an amazing storyteller. She has been reading or reciting stories to us since before I learned to walk so I think that kind of set me up for my love affair with audiobooks. I really love old time radio shows as well.

  15. Lexi says:

    Enjoyed the snippets, looking forward to getting to check out the books on the list

  16. Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

    Lexi, thank you for leaving a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the snippets. I hope you delight in any audiobooks you choose to listen to. 😍 I know I do.

  17. Lilmissmolly says:

    You are a new narrator to me. Looks like you’ve narrated some good ones!

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Thanks for posting a comment. I have been really fortunate to be able to read some fantastic books.

  18. Janie McGaugh says:

    You are a new-to-me author, Carla. I enjoyed the samples and look forward to listening to some of your books.

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Thank you for posting Janie. I hope you enjoy the whole shebang, when you go to listen to them. There are some really great audiobooks out there with all kinds of voices.:)

  19. I am just getting into audio books and am loving all these narrators!

  20. Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

    Deb, Thanks for posting. 🙂 Audiobooks are so awesome. I mean you can have someone tell you a story while you get things done or drive somewhere. It’s my favorite way to get through something I might otherwise put off doing. I hope you continue to venture. There are a lot of really great narrators and super fun stories to listen to. Happy New Year!

  21. Cyndi says:

    I’d watch a movie with you anytime 🙂 I’ve listened to your work and loved it! Do you have a favorite book for 2015?

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Cyndi, Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoy my work. Gosh, it’s so hard to pick a favorite because like I said I really do end up falling in love with every book I perform. So, personally for me I have to say I really enjoyed the Heather Blake books. They were so much fun to do and the characters were just so whimsical and heartwarming and light… I also really enjoyed the the Ellie Jordan Books by J.L.Bryan, which is a young adult paranormal series, and of course the book about St Mark’s Place in New York was really informative and Interesting. It made me think a lot about our culture and the changes we have been going through. Shoot. What are you in the mood for? 🙂 Books are so subjective and singular to a persons moods and particular tastes. What do you like?

  22. I love cute mysteries, although I’ve yet to experience Heather Blake. Your snippets were well performed. I need to check out A Potion to Die For soon!

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Michelle, thanks for posting. I really like the Heather Blake’s as well and thank you for the kind compliment. If you like cozy mysteries you might like Victoria Abbotts books. I think the characters in her books are really fun and endearing as well. Enjoy,
      whatever you pick.

  23. Wow, quite a large accomplishment for you already! How did you discover your love of audio books and your calling? Did you narrate an audio book first or did you used to listen to audio books 1st? My first listens as a reader came from books on tape at my local library. At the time I didn’t know audio books existed and just the thought of being able to read and do something else at the same time was a great idea! I was forever hooked ever since and that was the year 2002!

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Terri, Thank you for posting. I really started listening to audiobooks out of desperation. I was so busy when my children were first born that I had no time to read, so Audiobooks were a perfect solution for me. I started listening first for sure. My experience was exactly like yours except a few years earlier. Actually my first audiobook was on cassette and at that time there was no such thing as digital download which I think is completely amazing. Cheers to a fellow audiofile.

  24. JoAnna B says:

    I know authors have deadlines to complete the books. Do you also have deadlines and if so what are they usually?

    • Carla Mercer-Meyer says:

      Joanna thank you so much for posting. DEADLINES!!! YES, we definitely have them. They vary actually. There isn’t any real formula or norm except the process normally goes like this. A publisher contacts me and says I have a book, I would like you to do, this is when it’s due, are you interested and are you available and sometimes it’s just an idea that the publisher has and they are simply asking in order to submit me for approval with the author. I’ve had deadlines that range anywhere from a week to months in advance. Great Question by the way. Thank you.

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