I recently had the opportunity to meet Karen White at a narrator luncheon. We sat right across from each other and I suddenly had 20,000 questions I did not know I had until we were there chatting. 🙂 Thankfully, she gracefully and patiently answered all my questions… and now she is about to answer some more. Please welcome to Book Journey, Karen White. ~ Sheila
Hi I am Karen White and I started narrating books in 1999. Some of the books I have narrated would be:
Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo
The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Here and Again by Nicole Dickson
Not The Killing Type by Lorna Barrett
It Happened One Wedding by Julie James
My favorite literary fiction books i have narrated this past year are Here and Again, What I Had Before I Had You, and Sea Creatures. My favorite memoir this year (and very sad as this inspiring woman just recently passed away last week) Until I Say Good Bye by Susan Spencer Wendell.
Although the industry conventional wisdom is that it takes 2 hours in the studio to record what we call a “finished hour” (an hour after the recording has been edited and readied for release), for me it’s really closer to 2.5 or 3, depending on the complexity of the writing. I am pretty meticulous and I try to avoid recording many “pickups” (re-recording bits where mistakes were made). Not including breaks, I spend about five hours recording, about five days a week. I usually fill in the rest of my workday with preparing upcoming books, engaging in social media, and looking for work.
When I am not narrating,
I have two kids, a husband and a dog, so much of my time is spent hanging out with and doing things with them. I go to my girls’ soccer and softball games (and try not to yell too loudly so as to save my voice but am not always successful!). My husband and I like to cook and give dinner parties. He’s great with the grill and various fancy French recipes, I’m a pretty good baker and try to be creative with the veggies. We all like to make pasta together!
We live near the beach in NC, so in the summer we make trips to the water. There’s an island across the inter-coastal waterway only reachable by boat – it has a gorgeous, uncrowded beach – and we are slowly learning the ins and outs of getting there (you need TWO anchors to make sure your boat doesn’t float away while you’re swimming, you need flips flops to get across the island unless you want 2nd degree burns on the bottoms of your feet, etc.)
When looking for good audio when traveling, we are huge fans of the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, narrated by Katherine Kellgren. It is hilarious and unique and kept us awake driving across the country last summer.
Favorite movie and movie snack?
I am definitely a popcorn and a coke kind of gal. No butter.I just saw THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and that’s my favorite (I have a short-lived memory). I love movies that make me feel a LOT, whether I’m laughing or crying – and this had both. Besides all the obvious great moments, my girls and I really loved the casting and original song by the guy who led the support group – what is that guys name? See I already forgot. He was spot on, I remember that.
Bonus question – a funny narration happening
This is a little embarrassing, but I burp a lot when I am recording. I’ve directed other people quite a bit, and while everybody inevitably has interesting stomach noises, usually before and after lunch, I think I am the most prodigious belcher. I think it’s a combination of the fact that I drink a lot of Xiao’s Blend tea which has peppermint, which I learned relaxes the esophageal sphincter and the fact that when I’m reading, my diaphragm is just jumping up and down on my stomach as I’m breathing! I self edit as I go now, but I used to feel bad for the poor editor who had to hear all my loud burps. Now I just yell at my body in between takes when it burps too much or makes weird stomach noises (“Seriously!? Shut UP!”), often in the middle of a really good take… 😉
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46 thoughts on “Beyond Books by Narrator Karen White”
The support group guy was named Patrick and he’s loosely based on the author, John Green (more in role than personality, I believe!).
I think narrating sounds like a really rewarding career. How nice of Karen to stop by and share. 🙂
Thanks Sam – I am loving these narrator posts 🙂
Thanks for that name! I did notice that the actor who played him wrote his own song to sing, but I didn’t know the character was based on John Green!
Oh y gosh – I did not get that either…. LOL… guess I have to go again 😀
I really enjoyed this post. It’s always interesting learning the how’s of how things are done. Very Interesting. Thanks Karen for sharing…oops (burp) sorry!
LOL – I knew there had to be narrator bloopers! 😛
I’m sure yelling at your body like that is really helpful in getting it to cooperate. 😉
You are probably right. But I get a little loopy in there and sometimes that involves talking to myself. And/or my body parts.
Oh, I didn’t mean it like that. I’d probably be doing the same thing in that situation!
I love Karen White – I swear I could be friends with her – but had no idea she is a great burper! lol
I can even burp on purpose! 🙂 But I cannot burp the alphabet or anything fancy like that (unbelievably I do know people with such talents).
I agree Kathy, Karen is so great!
Thank you for sharing behind the scenes Karen. Always great to put a name & face to a voice.
That is fun isnt it?
I’ve just recently started paying attention to who narrates my audio books (my brain can only hold so much information and I didn’t realize how important narrators were until they started ruining my books!) I love these behind the scenes posts!
I am learning as well! 🙂
You know, bodily noises, whether the stomach or elsewhere, can be so embarrassing *sigh* I feel for you, Karen! And living near the beach is wonderful, I think. I often wish I were closer. I’m only an hour away, but it’s far enough I can’t just say…I’ll go for an hour or two and come back, you know? And any chance of getting that recipe for the fruit galette? 😉
Thanks for the fun interview, ladies 😀
Of course I will share. I had a food blog for a short time, and this recipe is on there. It is very adaptable – I usually combine peaches or blackberries with the blueberries – plums or nectarines would be good, too. And this is a really good pie crust recipe – I do not freeze the flour mixture as instructed anymore, but I do follow the rest of the steps and it always seems to come out well.
I had no idea you had a food blog! That is a fun fact!
Karen, thank you for the recipe! 😀 And especially for the behind-the-scenes look at your work/life 🙂
OOH.. yes the recipe. That did look delicious 🙂
I had just been listening to a sound byte of Karen reading Emilie Richards “No River Too Wide” last night so was interested when I saw your post. I believe she is doing the first two in this Goddesses Anonymous series which I love. While I have read the three of them, I look forward to the audio as well.
I am recording all three of the Goddesses Anonymous series, but they had me do the 3rd one first (I guess so it would be a simultaneous release with the print). I just finished up One Mountain Away and will do Somewhere Between Luck and Trust in July. I could not stop crying at the end of OMA – so moving! I really love the premise of the whole series – women helping each other is always a good thing 🙂
More audio I need to fit in my life 😉
Ha!! Love the burb issues! I adore the Carolinas … wish I could talk my husband into moving, but alas, our lives are definitely here.
I am in Minnesota… you think I wouldnt complain about not living near water… ha! But still… being neat a beachy area has always been my dream home… of course, as an introvert – I would also like that beach (and beach home.. lets dream here) to be in a secluded area.
I’ve been known to select an audiobook because of the narrator…like The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. The narration was excellent.
I have started doing that as well 🙂
I could never be a narrator! Loved your little Elsa!
I couldn’t either – form what I imagined and from now I have been hearing in these posts – it is hard work 🙂
It’s definitely not for everybody – as my kids say, “No offense, mommy, but I could never sit in a box and read to myself all day. Yuck.”
Elsa says thank you 🙂
Love the post and the behind the scenes look at Karen’s work/personal life *burps* and all … hey better than the other end LOL. I adored the Goddesses Anonymous series, just finished No River Too Wide, it was review read but I’d love to listen to them on audio. Thanks for sharing 🙂
LOL Thanks Sheree!
Anyone who is interested in a review copy of One Mountain Away (first in Goddesses Anonymous series) audiobook, let me know. I am pretty sure I can wrangle some of those!
OOH I would be interested Karen!
One Mountain Away copies sound like a great offer, Karen – and a 1st hand treat 😉
I would love to know more about your recording that allows for interruptions and body reactions without causing issues ! must be a handy mute switch .. really 😉 some way to keep from having to re-record everything !
& thanks for your accessibility to Sheila and us readers/listeners (( ))
Happy to do it 🙂
When I first started recording, it was necessary to have a director or engineer outside of the booth who made marks in the script at every re-take (or to mark bodily noises that should be edited!). Several years ago, ProTools recording software introduced a feature that allows the narrator to do what we call “punch in”. When there’s a mistake or noise, you stop and set the cursor where you want the recording to re-start. When you start up again, you hear a few seconds of what was happening previously and then jump in again. This can all be done with one hand on the keyboard, so it eliminates the need for a person on the outside, and allows you to basically edit as you go. Someone still listens to the “raw” recording once its complete and marks mistakes & noises that were missed, which are then fixed by editing or by the narrator doing what we call “corrections” or “pickups”. This has made it possible for people like me to work from home. Some narrators still like to work with an engineer or director (and actually hire one themselves) and many studios still work that way. I like working on my own, though I can’t imagine starting out that way. I know newer narrators do it, but I think there’s a pretty sharp learning curve there, because you have to monitor so many different things: sound quality, noises, as well as your perfomance!
Can anyone who is interested in a review copy email me at firstname.lastname@example.org? I have Sheila’s email, but I couldn’t find yours, faith hope & cherrytea. Then I will send it on to the folks at Blackstone Audio. Thanks!