Thursday, June 27, 2013

Going Public In Shorts With Narrator Amy Rubinate

Going Public In Shorts With Narrator Amy Rubinate

June is Audiobook month (JIAM 2013). The audiobook community is giving back by teaming with the Going Public Project by offering a serialized audio story collection. All proceeds will go to Reach Out and Read literacy advocacy organization. Throughout June, 1-2 stories will be released each day on the Going Public blog and on author/book blogs. The story will be free (online only – no downloads) for one week. In collaboration with Blackstone Audio, all the stories will be available for download via Downpour. The full compilation will be ready June 30th.

The full schedule of the story release dates and narrators are at Going Public. Engineering and Mastering are provided by Jeffrey Kaferand SpringBrook Audio. Graphic design provided by f power design and published by Blackstone Audio. Project coordination and executive production by Xe Sands.
 Today I am joined by Amy Rubinate reading  “Adventure, bySherwood Anderson”.
Check out her website here
Follow her on Twitter here
Amy's Going Public In Shorts Page Here

Let’s get the routine questions out of the way first…
How did you get started in audiobooks?
I have a degree in Speech Communication with an emphasis in Oral Interpretation of Literature. I competed in “Oral Interp” in speech contests, which was like doing audiobook narration onstage.
Later, as a working voiceover actor and singer, I drove around a lot; it seemed like all of my gigs were at least an hour away. Audiobooks were my constant companion, and they changed everything for me. I was spending at least 15 hours a week on the road, and I’m telling you, it’s impossible to get upset in traffic when Scott Brick or Rosalyn Landor is reading to you! Not only did I get peace of mind from listening, I felt like I’d been given back the time to enjoy stories. I realized that my experience performing literature made narrating a good fit for me, and becoming a narrator began to feel like a calling; I wanted to create that experience for other listeners. I took a class with Pat Fraley and then tied for third place in Scott Brick’s Share the Experience Contest. I credit Pat and Scott for helping set me on this path.

What was your first book?
A Faraway Island, by Annika Thor, for Dan Musselman at Random House. It was a Middle Grade Historical Fiction book, and I just loved it. Dan is so great at casting, and it was a good fit for me. Tony Hudz was my first director, so I knew I was in good hands embarking on this new career. All of my books that first year with Blackstone, Brilliance and Random House were in pro studios with directors, so I was able to get a solid foundation. I’ll always be grateful for that.

The first book narrated by you that I listened to was, My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson your co-narrator was the wonderful Nick Podehl, I found this book fascinating and both narrations wonderful. I see you’ve done a couple dual narrations with Nick and I’ve always wondered, Are you in the same studio? Do you ever even meet?
I’m so glad you liked it! I think Nick is one of the best YA narrators in the business. We record in different towns, but on a multi-narrator book, you generally don’t record at the same time anyway. For My Name is Not Easy, Nick and I talked by phone before recording. The book had multiple first person storylines but leaned towards the male protagonist, so Nick took the lead on most character voices and accents and I worked to match his choices. He referenced mine for the female leads. I liked being able to hear his version of the characters; it helped me to adjust to him. We finally met at the studio a few months ago, and he loaned me his humidifier when I was choking in the dry winter air. Thank you, Nick!

I had fun on your website listening to your demos I highly recommend everyone head over there and have a listen. You have three categories of Voiceover Demos Commercial Demo, Animation Demo, and Character Singing Demo plus your audiobook narrations.
Thank you! I tried to make my website interactive and fun, since a lot of the voice work I do is in animation. I feel like I have three careers: voiceover, narration, and singing. Someday I hope to add “published author” to that list…

Which medium do you enjoy the most?
How can I choose? I love it all! But there’s one category that marries all of my skills together: audiobooks of picture books for kids. Before I became an audiobook narrator, I did a series of interactive picture books for LeapFrog, and I had the best time. I narrated, sang and did character voices for interactive versions of classics like The Cat in the Hat, Click, Clack, Moo, and Where the Wild Things Are. Now I also narrate picture books for the audiobook world, which is like coming full circle.

Which is the most challenging?
Audiobooks, by far. I’m doing my 77th book this week, but it feels like my first. Just when I start to get comfortable, I get a book that stretches me and requires me to develop as a narrator. It’s a worthwhile challenge!

Have you always been a singer?
At 4 years old I watched a children’s opera on Mr. Rogers, and knew that I wanted to be a singer. I lived in the middle of nowhere, but I took every opportunity I could to perform. In my twenties I was a cabaret singer, developing thematic one-woman shows based on the American Songbook and performing in wonderful old venues like The Plush Room and Coconut Grove. In recent years I’ve done more session singing for children’s projects, and my weekly church soloing job, which I love. The music is beautiful, and it’s about the only place you can sing without irony; you just sing your heart out, and you know you’ve gotten it right when the congregation gets out their hankies. Now that I have the bandwidth to put up shows again, I’m starting to get back to my first love, cabaret. I sang with a jazz trio the other night and felt like I had come home.

Are you also an actress?
Absolutely. I think you have to be to do this work. I started out doing stage work, straight plays and musicals. I also toured doing theater in the schools, directing kids and performing for them. I do a lot of video games and character animation work for my voiceover career. I like audiobooks because you get to play every character. It’s the best use of a theater education I can think of!

I have so many books narrated by you on my audiobook wishlist that I may have to dedicate a month just listening to your work, you seem to have a diverse body of work do you have a favorite genre to narrate?
I love that some of my books are on your wish list! YA is what I do the most, and I love it. In the past year, my clients have given me a wide range of work that encompasses literary fiction, romance, noir mystery, and memoir. I enjoy the variety.

Can you give us a scoop on any upcoming books you are especially excited about?
I’ve narrated so many in the past year that I’m crazy about. One that you and I have talked about, Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall, for Dreamscape, is really special. It’s set in the heart of Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. It’s the story of a young white girl who runs away and ends up traveling with an African American woman as she searches for her mother. It’s so beautifully written, and so heartbreaking in the best possible way, that I think it will change peoples’ lives. It’s one of those books that will leave readers’ hearts open for a long time after they read it, increasing compassion for others and themselves. At least, that’s what it did for me.

Did you get to pick your short story or did Xe assign them? If yes, What made you choose this story?
I discovered Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio when I was in high school. It was the perfect time to experience this book, since I was being pulled in two directions: stay in the comfort and kindness of small town life, or leave to follow a dream and seek adventure. This conflict ran through Anderson’s short stories, and reading them helped me process the changes I was facing. Xe encouraged us to choose our own stories, so I turned to Anderson. While his stories are affecting, he writes with an emotional remove, an almost reportorial style, so I used that as my guide for the narration. It’s different from the more intimate style of the contemporary fiction I usually do.

  Adventure, by Sherwood Anderson (read by Amy Rubinate) by Going Public Project

Thank-you so much for joining me and thanks to Xe Sands for asking me to join in the fun!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I’ve always enjoyed your reviews and your perspective on audiobooks. And a big “Brava!” for Xe Sands for developing the Going Public…in Shorts project for June is Audiobook Month. It’s a wonderful celebration of audiobooks

See Yesterday's Post at My Bookish Ways with narrator Vanessa Hart
Tomorrows posts at TheOddiophile and Emily's Reading Room


  1. Amy and Susie, thank you so much for this wonderful interview! It's
    a wonderful way for listeners to get some background on this
    truly talented narrator!