Maggie Randolph narrated Phoebe by K Wendt and it is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Audible.
Thank you so much for connecting with us today! We are excited to learn more about the voice behind this book!
First, some particulars:
Title of the Book You Just Narrated For Us:
Phoebe by K Wendt
What City do you live in?
Los Angeles, California
Now for the cool stuff. Here goes!
IHS: What was your favorite part about narrating this particular book?
Maggie: What I loved about narrating “Phoebe” was knowing that kids would listen to these words and really love the story. I love narrating children’s books. There’s an opportunity to really bring the story to life, and hopefully the audience can get lost in the fun. K Wendt made it easy with the incredible writing as well.
IHS: How did you get into narrating audiobooks? Did you fall into it or was it planned?
Maggie: I didn’t know narrating audiobooks was a career! I got a BFA in Musical theatre and from there made a career traveling from one theatre to the next. My Uncle Jim is a successful Voice Actor and VO teacher. When he talked about his world it was something I always thought was cool. I’ve always love storytelling, and I’m an avid reader. Combining this exciting world with a passion for stories ended up kind of falling into place. And the rest is history.
IHS: Do you have a theater background? Is it something you think is necessary to be a success as a narrator?
Maggie: I have many narrator friends who have very successful career that did not start out in theatre. For me, my BFA in musical theatre has done nothing but help me in the audiobook world. When narrating you’re not just reading, you’re creating ALL the characters. You’re creating their voices, their wants, their needs, and I don’t think I would have been able to truly understand that if I did not have theatre training. I will say, it is hard for me to unlearn how to not speak to the “back row”. In theatre you sing/speak for the space and have to project so everyone can hear you, the mic is more intimate and quiet, as if you are speaking to your friend that’s right next to you.
IHS: Were you an audiobook listener before you started narrating?
Maggie: Audiobooks taught me how to read. I am dyslexic and had a very hard time learning how to read growing up. In class I would be made fun for not reading “Harry Potter” like everyone else. I could barely read the date on the board - I couldn’t image getting through a book as big as Harry Potter! Jim Dale was my first narrator. Many count him as their favorite, but for me he became my teacher. I would take the Harry Potter books and read along with my cassette tapes. It was a long journey, but finally when I found myself reading ahead of Jim Dale’s voice, I realized I could read the books on my own. I still prefer reading along with audiobooks as an adult, and will forever be grateful to Jim Dale and the countless narrators who helped me growing up.
IHS: Narrators seem to each have their favorite niche or genre, and things they don’t like to get into. What kinds of books do you stay away from?
Maggie: My favorite genre would have to be children’s books. I always say that if there had been more audiobooks when I was a kid I would have had an easier time learning how to read. I also love a good romance novel… cause they are just so much fun! Books I stay away from… honestly the only genres I steer clear of is medical e-learning. It takes a long time to research the pronunciations, and honestly half the fun for me is the story! Medical books have no stories! I’ll leave it for the narrators who know the medical world or watch ER more!
IHS: So... authors are kind of unique breed of humans. Any funny stories about working with authors?
Maggie: Not yet! I’m still fairly new to the world. I have had a few written words authors give me that are hard to say and take me a few extra takes. For example, quirky alliterations!
IHS: Has anyone ever recognized you as a narrator from your voice?
Maggie: Oh that would be fun! Not yet, but we’re still working towards that.
IHS: Learning to narrate audiobooks can sometimes feel like going through the school of hard knocks. What was the most unexpected lesson you got in your early narrating career?
Maggie: The tech has been a major learning curve for me. As narrators we are expected to act, research AND make the sound quality perfect for listeners. That means we have to know sound editing and mastering. I have been so lucky to have family in this field, plus teachers and friends to help me along the way. There are also many resources online that can help. It may look daunting at first, but patience is key.
IHS: Let’s talk reviews. Do you read your reviews and listener comments?
Maggie: I do not. For me, the most important review and feedback is my author. They are my client and their opinion is what matters most to me. I’m always so touched to be paired with an author. They put a lot of trust asking me to voice their work. And I take that trust very seriously.
IHS: Do you research an author and book before taking on a project? If so, what do you most want to see?
Maggie: When I get hired for a book I always research. The first thing I like to see is if this project is something I will enjoy. I also research my author: check out social media, if there are any video promos about the book to get a feel what the tone is, any other books the author has done, etc. And then, if there are a few pages given to me I will read their work.
IHS: Once a book is finished, then the work of marketing begins. What do you do to spread the word about a new audiobook release?
Maggie: I have an Instagram page and I like to post about what projects I have done. That way my friends and family can take a look and listen to my latest book. I also like post on my website and newsletter. Many family and friends like to know what I’m working on, so this is a way for me to tell them.
IHS: Any audiobook haters in your friends or family? People who are avid “page-turners” or those who think listening to audiobooks is not really reading? What do you say to them?
Maggie: I don’t have friends who dislike audiobooks. I do run into people who don’t know much about them. For example, I recently had a conversation with my dad and he was floored when I explained to him just how many books can be listened to.
IHS: What were you most worried about when starting out as a narrator? Did the worry happen or was it unjustified?
Maggie: I always fear that I will not be good enough in every new thing that I do. I think that comes from growing up with dyslexia. I always tried to hide the fact that I couldn’t read or understand a homework assignment. As an adult, that imposter syndrome sometimes returns. However, I have found that this feeling isn’t unique to me. Remembering that helps me have the confidence needed to seek out and secure work in this industry. And I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do that.
IHS: And, as a follow up, what should you ACTUALLY have been most worried about instead??
Maggie: You put a lot more money in this career than you’re getting out of it at first. In order to get the equipment, a soundproof space to record (I use my closet) and classes in order to know what you’re doing can cost money. However, this is money for your career and to improve your craft, and I would be prepared financially before jumping into this.
IHS: So now, what advice would you give those who are thinking about becoming a narrator?
Maggie: This is a Marathon not a Sprint. This is a career with people who love what they do. I love bringing stories to life, connecting with authors and being able to work from home on my own time. This career takes real self-investment, and for those who want to be a narrator please go into it with patience and love. It’s worth it. I love what I do everyday and I love learning new things about this field and my colleagues.
IHS: Great advice! Finally, what advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook?
Maggie: Just continue to be kind to us narrators. We do a lot to make sure your words are brought to life in the way you imagine them. We spend so much time with your words and stories, we care about them. Please know how much we care :).
Thank you so much for your input!
Maggie Randolph's Top 10 Best Audiobooks:
1. All the “Harry Potter” books for obvious reasons.
2. “The Girl Who Drank The Moon” by Kelly Barnhill. Narrated by Christina Moore.
3. “The Admissions” by Meg Mitchell Moore. Narrated by Allyson Ryan
4. “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier. Narrated by Anna Massey
5. “Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert- I read it every year.
6. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. Narrated by James Clear- I read it every year.
7. “The Series of Unfortunate Events” By Lemony Snicket. Narrated by Lemony Snicket (Another childhood Favorite)
8. “Daisy Jones and the Six” By Taylor Jenkins Reid. Narrated by Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, and Pablo Schreiber
9. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. Narrated by Allan Corduner
10. “Three Women” by Lisa Taddeo Narrated by Lisa Taddeo, Tara Lynne Barr, Marin Ireland, Mena Suvari.
Maggie Randolph's 10 Craziest Accomplishments:
1. Completed an audiobook while opening a show
2. Went to college in Syracuse NY in the freezing snow
3. Won the PE award in middle school for just showing up
4. Traveled to China
5. Moved back home to LA
6. Quit eating sugar… for a month
7. Adopted our puppy Lucy, best accomplishment ever.
8. Went on a blind date… 4 years he’s still here. :)
9. Won 1st place in LA’s Next Great Stage Star
10. I learned how to roller blade.
10 Things Maggie Randolph will do if she got REALLY RICH: 1. Buy a house
2. Create a home studio for my audiobook career/self tapes 3. TRAVEL! (I’ve only been out of the country once when I was 11) 4. Help out my family 5. Attempt to grow a garden (everything I plant has died so far… but this time it’ll work!) 6. Give back to the theatre community 7. Give my friends, family, partner and our dog Lucy the best presents EVER 8. I should go clothes shopping…. Even though I know I’ll probably buy more books. 9. Get out of some debt 10. Honestly, not much would change I don’t think. Things would be a whole lot easier that’s for sure, but I’m living a life that I’ve always wanted and I’m forever grateful.
IHS: Social Media links for you that we can share with our fans so they can find out more about you:
Maggie Randolph is a new audiobook narrator with a career in musical theatre. She has performed in countless tours and regional theatre across the globe. Being dyslexic, audiobooks taught her how to read when she was little, and therefore is honored to have a full circle moment narrating as a new career.
There you go folks, Maggie Randolph - an amazing narrator and great performer.