Julia Whelan: Actor, Writer, and Audie Award-Winning Narrator

Our Podcast Interview with the Best Female Narrator

Julia Whelan

Julia WhelanNarrator Julia Whelan brought home the 2019 Audie Awards for Best Female Narrator and Autobiography/Memoir for her narration of Tara Westover’s EDUCATED, a memoir that has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Julia’s moving acceptance speech for Best Female Narrator had the Audies audience enthralled.

In our interview with Julia, she reflects on narrating this intense memoir of Westover’s childhood spent in a traditionalist and isolationist family. She also talks about narrating another blockbuster of a very different stripe: Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL. Plus, Julia shares insights into the work that goes into narrating an audiobook, her transition from acting to college to audiobook narration, her love of reading, and the challenges of narrating her own book, MY OXFORD YEAR. Listen to their fascinating conversation now!

“As an actor, you always want to play the sociopath. They’re just so much fun.”—Narrator Julia Whelan

For many more audiobooks narrated by Julia Whelan, browse her extensive audiography.

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David Shih on The Banished Immortal

Journey back in time to eighth-century China

David Shih

For fans of history, culture, and poetry, this will be a title that lingers on the playlist to return to time and again. Author Ha Jin explores the life of eighth-century Chinese poet Li Bai in THE BANISHED IMMORTAL, and narrator David Shih’s gentle, compassionate delivery keeps listeners engaged. Journey back in time with Shih to discover the life and work of poet Li Bai.

“Li Bai led a truly remarkable life, and I think this book really does a beautiful job of telling his life story against the backdrop of his poems.”—Narrator David Shih

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Narrator Robin Miles on the Humility of Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

AudioFile’s Podcast Interview

Robin Miles by Jordan Matter

Robin Miles by Jordan MatterIn our podcast interview with Robin Miles, we learn about her process for preparing to narrate an audiobook, why it can be worth taking risks with accents, and the humility required “to walk in someone else’s shoes and not let your foot stretch the leather.”

We first aired this interview last year and are excited to share it again with our new listeners on Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.

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Christopher Gebauer on The Unteachables

Narrating mischief and mayhem in the classroom

Christopher Gebauer

Christopher Gebauer and a full cast bring the unruly classroom of THE UNTEACHABLES to life. Christopher gives voice to high-energy Mateo, one of the students in this “Self-Contained Special Eighth-Grade Class.” In this video, he shares how much he enjoyed recording as part of an ensemble cast, and what that brings to a project.

“I love multi-cast projects, working with other narrators. It reminds me of the radio plays I grew up listening to.”—Narrator Christopher Gebauer

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Corey Allen on Friday Black

Sci-fi, horror, fantasy—and a believable future

Corey Allen

Corey Allen narrates Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s moving collection of short stories, FRIDAY BLACK. The themes of these stories include the power divide, minimum-wage work, racism, education, and the consequences of ethical decisions, and Corey shares why it’s a collection well worth your listening time.

“What Nana manages to capture in this series of tales of young black people navigating a constantly moving, constantly shifting American landscape is incredible.”—Narrator Corey Allen

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Karissa Vacker on Jessica Barry’s Freefall

Suspense, and lots of it

Karissa Vacker

After a private plane crashes into a mountainside in Colorado, Allison awakens to find the pilot dead and her instincts on high alert. Then she runs. In FREEFALL, narrator Karissa Vacker, as Allison, commands our attention from her first words. Karissa tells us more—but not too much more—about this compulsively listenable audiobook.

“My heart was pounding the whole time—this book will keep you on your toes!”—Narrator Karissa Vacker

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Adriana Trigiani and a Sweeping Novel about the 1940s Big Band Era

AudioFile’s podcast interview with Adriana Trigiani

Adriana Trigiani author photo

Adriana Trigiani author photoNovelist Adriana Trigiani joins us to talk about her latest audiobook, TONY’S WIFE, and narrator Edoardo Ballerini’s engaging performance. In a story about the music of the last century—the Big Band music of the 1940s—two talented working class kids, Tony & Chi Chi, marry and become a successful singing act until time, temptation, and the responsibilities of home and family derail their dreams. Inspired by Adriana’s father’s record collection, the music of Henry Mancini, and the orchestras of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman.

Adriana astutely notes what audiobook narrators bring to the party of an audiobook experience. She shares thoughts on how hearing a story differs from a text reading, and the importance of hearing stories aloud. We learn about Adriana’s career as a dramatist and playwright, and her work in films and on the stage. She explores how her rich Italian-American-Appalachian heritage informs and influences her work. Adriana and Jo talk about the importance of literacy, and Adriana shares her work on The Origin Project, an in-school writing project for students to find their voices about their Appalachian origins. Listen to the whole conversation below.

“Edoardo just brings you into that world, and it tells the story of the last century . . . though flawed people, but really loving people.”—Author Adriana Trigiani

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Joel Froomkin on All That Jazz

The Life and Times of the Musical Chicago

Joel Froomkin

Narrator Joel Froomkin loves Broadway, and he jumped at the chance to narrate ALL THAT JAZZ: The Life and Times of the Musical Chicago by one of his favorite authors, Ethan Mordden. Watch this video as Joel shares his enthusiasm about this deep dive into the history of the musical Chicago.

“Mordden’s writing is phenomenal—it’s entertaining and wry and witty and opinionated, and he’s a master storyteller.”—Narrator Joel Froomkin

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Adenrele Ojo on Josephine Baker

Entertainer, Civil Rights Champion, Spy

Adenrele Ojo

Adenrele Ojo loved experiencing Josephine Baker’s life through narrating Sherry Jones’s historical fiction about the groundbreaking entertainer, civil rights champion, and possible spy. She says JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE is a “definite ride” and an enthralling listen. Hear more about this riveting audiobook from Adenrele herself.

“If you think you know about Josephine Baker, I’m here to tell you there is so, so, SO much more to learn.”—Narrator Adenrele Ojo

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In the Studio with I LOVE LUCY

Recreating the Magic of the TV Classic

I Love Lucy - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom
I Love Lucy - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom
Abigail Marks, Sarah Drew, Oscar Nuñez, Ron Bottitta

Go behind the scenes of making an audio drama as Susan Loewenberg, producing director of L.A. Theatre Works, tells us about their new production of I LOVE LUCY: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom.

AudioFile: Tell us about the casting process for I LOVE LUCY, especially for the roles of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. And once they were cast, what kind of preparation did the actors do to play these real-life characters? Read more…

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