Black Water Sister AudioFile Best of 2021 Science Fiction & Fantasy
Narrator Catherine Ho has had a promising start to her audiobook career. Though she’s relatively new to performing books, she’s already earned two Earphones Awards as well as many loyal fans. Catherine draws on her acting experience to enliven children’s stories, history, fantasy, social commentary, rom-coms, memoirs, and more. Her clear voice, excellent enunciation, and ability to render a variety of recognizable accents work together to create memorable audiobook performances.
AudioFile: What is the one thing you wish you knew before you recorded your first book?
Catherine Ho: That the production team had confidence in me that I could deliver! Intellectually, I knew they did since they hired me, but I wish I had brought that confidence with me into the booth. I worked with a stellar director on my first book. It would have been a very different book without them. I have so much gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the production teams I’ve been lucky to work with, both on those early titles and now!
AF: What’s your first reaction when someone asks you how he or she could become an audiobook narrator?
CH: I wonder if they will actually like the work. It’s an intense process and the author decides when a story, and thus the audiobook, ends, not me! I love being totally immersed in a book, getting inside the characters and following the contours of the story. There are many, many titles I wish I could still be narrating. But narration is like taking a long road trip with a driver who won’t let you choose the direction and insists you commit with enthusiasm to every twist and turn. I find it really intriguing and fun but acknowledge this work won’t suit everyone.
AF: What are the pros and cons of recording a series?
CH: I love narrating series. I love following characters a little longer and drawing from that depth of knowledge to inform my narration. I’m often astounded at the sheer scope of the story imagined by the author. I love the intimacy of being with a character over time and the thrill of discovery when the author introduces something new into a world I’ve already learned so much about. The length of the material can sometimes make my job complicated, especially if a minor character from book one unexpectedly becomes a major player in book three! Character notes, color-coded and embedded with audio clips, are the real heroes of an audiobook series.
AF: What’s your go-to beverage when recording? How about after recording?
CH: Throat Coat tea! Two travel mugs full which I refill at every break. If they ever discover there’s an ingredient in it which isn’t safe in high levels, I’m a dead person. After a long day narrating I’m rarely thirsty but I’m usually famished. I’ll eat a huge dinner, especially if I know I’m back in the booth the next day.
AF: What kinds of things do you do to protect your voice in your down time?
CH: I have to be mindful not to yell at events or sing a lot around the house. It’s hard for me because I love to do both. I’m always tempted to be loud when I can since it feels so satisfying and there aren’t often situations where it’s socially acceptable. I am capable of being really loud. -- Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, Catherine. I love your analogy to being a passenger on a long road trip and learning to go with the flow. I hope you continue to find pockets of time to sing and be loud in between recording audiobooks. -- Candace Levy
©AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
Photo courtesy of the narrator.
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