An Exclusive Interview With Therese Plummer
Thérèse Plummer is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator working in New York City. She has recorded over 400 audio books for various publishers. She won the 2020 Audie Award for her collaborative work on The Only Plane In The Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff garnering Audiobook of the Year! A 2019 Audie Award for her work on the multicast, Sadie by Courtney Summers for Macmillan Audio, and was nominated for the Multicast Any Man by Amber Tamblyn for Harper Audio and her solo narration for The Rogue: Planets Shaken by Lee W. Brainard for Podium Publishing. The American Library Association (ALA) awarded her work on Sourdough by
Robin Sloan as part of the 2018 Listen List:Outstanding Audiobook Narration for Adult Listeners. Thérèse has been nominated for 5 Audie Awards in 2018. She was named AudioFile’s Best Voices of the Year in 2015 for her work on Robyn Carr’s A New Hope. Thérèse is the voice of Maya Hansen in the Marvel Graphic Motion Comic Ironman Extremis, Dr. Fennel in Pokemon and for various Yu-Gi-Oh characters. Television Guest Star Roles on The Good Wife,Law and Order SVU and Virgin River for Netflix. Regional Theatre: Sister
James in Doubt. Learn more at www.thereseplummer.com
Can you talk a little bit about your professional background? What are some of your favorite projects you've worked on? We know that you do voice work but that your professional back-ground extends beyond that and we'd love to learn more!
I majored in Psychology and minored in Theatre and Modern Dance in college. After working as an adolescent counselor for five years I knew if I didn’t try to fulfill my dreams to become a working actor I would regret it. I got to NYC at 26 years old. After three years of working a nine to five job and beating the pavement I landed an agent and booked roles on Law and Order SVU as well as The Good Wife. As any actor will tell you this career is feast or famine. During a slow spell I took a class in Audiobook narration taught by Robin Miles and from there began working in audiobook narration. The best part of this 16 year career is that it is the most challenging and rewarding acting work I have ever done. If I am not with other actors performing the audiobook I am a one woman show playing every character as well as narrating. It is a marathon. It is absolutely incredible how much my work as a counselor has inspired my acting and storytelling. I was exposed to patients at such vulnerable and fragile points in their lives and to be able to hold space for that never left me. I was a sponge. A huge part of my
motivation to work with young people was because of my own journey growing up and wanting to give back and help someone else.
Many of us know the long hours that it takes to put together a book. How does creating an audiobook compare? How many hours in the studio and what is the most difficult part of the process?
Creating an audiobook requires a lot of time and preparation. It begins with read-ing the entire script and getting to know my characters and their story. Next is looking up pronunciations, highlighting directions in the text (he whispered, she screamed, accents etc). When I enter the studio space I want to be free to per-form this story and bring all my characters to life. If my prep is solid I am free to create and perform. I would say about three to four days to prep and then three to four to record. I work for 5-6 hours a day. For me stamina is the most difficult part of the process. I used to power through but now I am more apt to listen to my body and if I am too tired I stop too I can be fresh for the next day. I would rather the author have the best version of their story performed. I go to sleep at 9pm on recording days. My nickname is
How does the experience of recording an audiobook compare with the experience of recording a voiceover for a commercial or similar?
Recording a commercial is a sprint. Recording an audiobook is a marathon.
What kind of author is a horror to work with, and what kind of author is a joy to work with?
The author’s that are a joy to work with express to me before I record what they are looking for and how to pronounce certain names they have created. The more difficult experiences have been lack of communication or none at all. I have been lucky, most of my experiences with authors have been fantastic.
What would you say about this to an author considering audiobook production for the first time and uncertain about whether to hire a narrator?
I would say listen to one of your favorite books performed as an audiobook and decide after that. I would also say talk to other authors that write in your genre and have had their books performed through audiobooks and listen to their experiences. At the end of the day it is the authors choice. More and more people are “listening to read” so it is a wonderful addition to the book being published.
What list of helpful notes should any author provide after finding a narrator/producer but before the recording begins?
If you have specific character notes such as accents, names, or even who you had in mind when writing the character. If you are writing with specific street names or restaurants in a specific location let us know how to say that. We have access to google and research teams but sometimes the pronunciation is specific to the area and we need that from you.
Have you ever thought about writing your own book? If yes, what would you write about? If no, why aren't you interested?
Yes, I have thought about writing a book and I have started. I think my journey growing up and evolving into a professional Storyteller has been interesting enough for a good story....I hope so anyway