Voice Range: Alto
Accents: All sorts (but probably not Australian or Welsh)
Genres: Romance, Mystery, Nonfiction, Literary, Suspense, Horror, SciFi
Fluent Languages: NA
Awards: Earphones, Nominated for an Audie and 2 SOVAS
Tanya is an award winning narrator with over 400 audiobooks to her credit. She loves storytelling of all kind and has a MFA in creative writing. She’s published five novels, two novellas, and is shopping her current piece to agents.
What do you do when you are not narrating?:
I sleep. Ha! I also hang out with my kids and husband. I listen to audiobooks. I’m trying to train for a 5K by doing that Zombie Run App thing. I cook a lot and I also write or blog.
Many audiobook narrators do other voice over work, where else could we hear your work? Do you find there to any big hurdles to jump when going from audiobooks to something else or vise versa?:
Do you have the luxury of picking and choosing the projects that you work on or do you take as many as you have time for?:
I think the luxury is actually in being offered so many different kinds of books to narrate. Unless there’s some kind of line crossed in the piece that just doesn’t sit well with me, then I enjoy the challenge of trying to bring that piece to life. I have produced a few titles through my production company Blunder Woman Productions, and that has been very satisfying. Included in that are THE BUTTERFLY CODE and THE BRINK: STORIES, two pieces reviewed here. Sadly, though I’m passionate about bringing works I connect with artistically to audio, I haven’t been able to recoup costs. I don’t know how many more projects I can do for the love of it. Darn it.
For those of us that are unfamiliar with your work. How would you describe your narration style and voice? What would the one audiobook you would suggest for people to listen to your best work?:
I like to think it changes according to the needs of the book. I’m an alto with a wide range so I can give male characters (or women for that matter) deeper resonating voices, but I can also ‘clean up’ my vocals for higher-pitched and more youthful characters. My vocal style has a kind of natural breathiness to it. For romances, I tend to go for a warm feel. A lightness. For mystery, I like to have a bit more edge or steel. And for sci-fi, depending on the POV, I like something clean and energized.
A recent book I narrated has a lot of disparate characters, a bit of romance and suspense, and a lot of heart. I loved this piece: http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Just-Life-Audiobook/B01F2NLOOK
What do you see as your greatest achievement as an audiobook narrator? What has been your most difficult moment?:
I think I’m really good at connecting emotionally with a piece and bringing out humor or connections. My most difficult moment was when I recorded a book and the author hated me so much, they pulled it and re-recorded it. The author ended up reading it herself, so I try to tell myself that maybe no narrator would’ve performed her book just right, but it still stings.
If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?:
It would be a doctor awakening me from an alternate reality test and letting me know that the certain death experience was really just testing a new game out that takes place entirely in your mind. (I don’t ever want to be in the jaws of death for real.)
If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?:
Don’t tickle. She bites.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another narrator?
The characters in the novel you’re performing…have no idea they’re in a book. I think Paul Ruben said something like that and it blew my mind. These characters are real people in their world. Stay honest to that. Stay true. Honor them.
Is your studio in your home? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this? Do you have something that you would consider unique in your setup? What is it?:
In my home. I’ve been recording in a Harry Potter studio for about five years: literally a little closet under the stairs. There’ve been many times where I’ve told my family “Stop walking so loud!” Now, I have a real sound booth in our basement and everyone likes me a lot more.
How long do you record at a time, on average? What is it about a book that will shorten or lengthen this?:
I usually get three hours recorded in a day, stopping to run errands, walk the dog, get groceries. If the text is dense or filled with, say, an elven language, it’ll take longer. So I usually record a book in about three day’s time.
How do you stop yourself from laughing or crying at some of the things authors write?:
I don’t. I try to stay honest to the text and the moment. If it’s too much, I’ll stop and reign myself in, but there have been times when I let those emotions show in my voice. They’re authentic.
I have heard that many in the industry dislike the term narrator. What do you prefer and why?:
I don’t mind it. Performer, actor, storyteller, they all work for me.
How do you view audiobook narration/production: Art or Science?:
The answer to this is easy: Yes.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring narrators?:
There’s so much information online. Do your research. Listen, listen, listen to audiobooks. Take classes. Join the APA. Part of the screening process in becoming an audiobook narrator is do you have the gumption to figure it out? That seems harsh, but it really will test your ability to be proactive. If this is something you really, really want to do…you will.
How do you feel about authors that choose to narrate their own audiobooks? Any advice to them?:
I’m a writer too so I get how hard it is to hand your work over to others. But narrators aren’t reading your work. They’re performing it. If you sound like you’re giving a reading at a book launch or an MFA program, you need an actor to do your audiobook. Many writers and poets fall into a sing song kind of thing where the focus is on the beauty of the sound of their voice and the words. But in audiobooks, you want to pull that back so the story and characters float forward. Trust your production team. You might be perfect to perform your own work…or there might be a narrator who can bring other nuances and choices to your words that enrich it in a delightful and unexpected way.
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