June is audiobook month and we are celebrating all month long! Today, we are shining our audiobook spotlight on the very talented Kelli Andresen, narrator of Mourning Glory.
What do you look for in a project? Is there a particular genre you gravitate towards? What initially drew you to Mourning Glory?
Mostly, a good story! I tend to gravitate toward fiction, but I’ve done memoirs as well. I was interested in recording Mourning Glory because I found the story intriguing, and I knew that Mr. Adler has an outstanding reputation as an author.
How did you specifically prepare for Mourning Glory?
I always start by reading the entire book to understand the characters so I can develop vocal characteristics appropriate for each of them. It’s important to understand the characters’ motivations from the very beginning so I don’t find two-thirds of the way through the recording that I’ve made a terrible choice in their vocal quality or patterns based on the plot or author’s descriptions. I also make notes of words on which I need to check pronunciation. This was particularly important for Mourning Glory as numerous French designer names were sprinkled throughout the text.
What kind of book would you consider Mourning Glory to be?
I see it as a dark comedy mixed with a morality tale, an example of the excesses of the 1980’s and early 90’s.
Is there anything you learned about yourself or life in general after completing the production of Mourning Glory?
Life is short – make the most of your opportunities. I also confirmed that I’m terribly uncomfortable with deception in relationships. The idea of getting something by lying is very distasteful to me.
Which character did you like the most from Mourning Glory and why?
I felt most connected to Grace, primarily because of the initiative and desire she shows for a better life for her and her daughter – though her methods made me uncomfortable at times! I also admired Sam’s ability to be open and honest despite his grief, though his naïveté made me uncomfortable at times as well. All the characters are imperfect in their own way. It’s what makes the story interesting and realistic.
What did you take away from Mourning Glory? What were some of the joys and challenges of narrating Mourning Glory?
I learned a lot as a narrator recording this book, about character voicing, French pronunciation and studio editing. It was a great experience. I did find myself becoming emotionally over-involved with the story at times, though.
What inspires you?
So many things! Attending a live performance, reading a good book, travel, hiking, listening to an outstanding audiobook performance.
What influenced you the most to start becoming an audiobook narrator?
I began acting as a child and continued to act through university. I pursued medicine as a career, which, as you can imagine, left little time to pursue my creative interests! After I finished medical school, residency, fellowship, and got my career on track I found that I missed the creative process terribly. I love reading, especially reading aloud to my family, so audiobooks were a natural choice; it’s creative and combines two of my loves, reading and acting. Being an audiobook narrator allows me the flexibility to record in my home studio when I have time.
Do you have any rituals you practice while you’re recording an audiobook? Certain foods you’ll eat or stay away from? How do you take care of your voice?
I warm up by reading aloud and singing a bit before I hit record. I prefer to stand while I’m recording. Lots of water and herbal tea keep my voice sounding audio-ready. Green apples and crystallized ginger help keep vocal “clicks” away. I also have to avoid foods that cause rumbly stomach noises that get picked up by the microphone.
What was the most unexpected thing about narrating audiobooks that you didn’t foresee going in?
The amount of post-production work! I do all of my own editing. It easily takes 2 to 3 hours of work to record and edit an hour of finished audio.
What’s next for you? Do you have a project you’re itching to work on?
I’m always looking for that next great project. I love narrating fiction, but I’ve also worked on audio continuing medical education for physicians (a perfect fit given my background). I would love to work on a science themed-book; something by Mary Roach or Sam Kean, or a book like The Martian by Andy Weir.
Listen to Kelli narrate Mourning Glory here.
Kelli Andresen is a Kansas City-based voice actor with several audiobook titles to her credit. Besides Mourning Glory, Kelli can be heard narrating the YA novel Trail of Secrets by Laura Wolfe, and She Who Knows and Wrapped in God’s Grace, both by Barbara Bras, among others. Kelli also voices commercials, online videos, and audio CME. Her website is www.gabamedia.com.