Talking with Erin Bennett, Narrator of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Heroes Are My Weakness & GIVEAWAY

Heroes Are My Weakness lg

If you have been around romance listening for long, you know the pure magic that is found in Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) audiobooks. Ms. Phillips’ books were offered in audio format back in the early days of romance audiobooks with It Had to Be You releasing in 1995. Those early SEP titles are considered romance audio classics today. Now with twenty-one titles available in audio format, we find ourselves eagerly watching for each year’s new release, wondering where SEP will lead us this time.

We’re talking with Erin Bennett, narrator of SEP’s Heroes Are My Weakness which is releasing today simultaneously in print and audio format. And to celebrate, we’re giving away five audio copies of Heroes Are My Weakness.

 

The Giveaway

We’re giving away five CD copies of Heroes Are My Weakness courtesy of Harper Audio. Entry is simple. Just complete the easy entry form found at the bottom of the page by midnight (CST) Friday, August 29th. No comments are necessary to enter although we’d love to hear your thoughts in our discussion area. You may only enter once. We’ll contact winners on August 30th so watch your email as we must have acknowledgement of your win within 24 hours. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll select another winner. The giveaway is limited to those living in the U.S. or Canada.

 

The Sound Clip

 

Talking with Erin Bennett

Lea: Welcome to AudioGals Erin!

Erin: Hi Lea! It’s so great to be here.

Lea: I see that you have now been narrating for two years with 58 titles to your name. What led you into narrating audiobooks?

Erin: It was one of the happiest accidents I’ve ever “fallen” into. In the summer of 2012, I was recording a BBC radioplay in Los Angeles for the TV show Torchwood. The studio owner called me out of the blue a few weeks later and asked if I was interested in narrating audiobooks. He remembered me from the radio play and liked my voice. I did that bluffing thing you do when you’re an actor and said, “sure thing, I narrate audiobooks!” Then I started to sweat….

Lea: And just look where your bluff led you!

It looks as though your first narrations were for Hachette Audio. Can you share with our listeners how you came to work with this publisher?

Erin: At the studio owner’s recommendation I had an audition with Hachette and was hired for the job, which gave me about two days to prep my first script. I brought gallons of tea and enough green apples to feed an elephant. (Green apples cut down on mouth noise in the booth and I was petrified of being noisy). I learned on the job, and my director was very understanding. Eventually I found the rhythm and pace, and before I knew it, I was reveling in the experience of being immersed in the story.

Lea: When I discovered that you had been chosen to narrate Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Heroes Are My Weakness, I immediately listened to one of your narrations, as I was unfamiliar with your work. I must say, your performance was very impressive. It wasn’t long before I was thinking, “I have found a new auto-buy narrator!” What background prepared you for narrating? Have you acted? If so, can you share more?

ERIN BENNETTErin: That’s so kind of you to say Lea! In a way I’ve been studying stories for as long as I can remember. I was that annoying kid who wanted to play EVERY part in the school play. In high school? I was a Drama/choir/musical theatre nerd with a capital N. Then I went to drama school at Boston University School of Theatre, and I studied in London, did Shakespeare and Shaw and really dived into text. I remember sitting with a copy of the OED and annotating every other word of the Chorus speech which opens Shakespeare’s great Henry V and having sixteen pages of research for that one piece of text – finding layers and layers of meaning! The power, sublety, and passion of words really blew my mind. At the same time I would do commercial VO, animation, all of it, silly voices, improv, anything behind a microphone. This is a good career for someone like me who is, as my good friend says, a “Dramaleptic.”

Lea: Dramaleptic – I’ll have to remember that one!

Is this your first time to work with Harper Audio? Did you audition?

Erin: I actually auditioned twice for this book – and got direction from the author both times. It was similar to auditioning for a play or TV show – a first audition, and then a callback with more text and specific direction from the author. Heroes Are My Weakness is inhabited by an amazing cast of diverse and specific characters. I needed to prove that I could play all the parts. Luckily for me, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ characters jump off the page and her dialogue, descriptions, actions, story arc – everything is a gift to the narrator. The stories which speak to me the most are the ones where a picture starts going in my head, like a movie. By the time I finished narrating this novel, I could see the freckles on our heroine’s nose. She’s that gifted.

Lea: I imagine you are aware that Susan Elizabeth Phillips has an extremely large following in the romance audio community. Can you share with us how you prepared for narrating Heroes Are My Weakness?

Erin: Lots of colors marking up my script, lots of character clues scribbled in the margins, lots of musical cues notating character vocal ranges. The recording itself was one of the most physically demanding narrations I’ve done. The puppet characters demanded “action” from me – when our heroine slips one of them on, I’d do the same thing in the booth. My engineer sometimes had to remind me that he could hear my clothes rustling if I got too carried away! Oh, that microphone is so powerful it can hear your cells dividing.

Lea: Now that’s an intriguing vision – you with a puppet while performing those characters. I love it!

Please tell us more about Heroes Are My Weakness. What is the setup?

Erin: Well, have you read Wuthering Heights? Jane Eyre? You have, and you say they’re classic literature? Take the Gothic elements of those novels and collide them with a woman born in the 21st century who, to me, embodies the best of both worlds: she’s funny, sophisticated and urbane like our modern gals, but she has a Romantic streak. Anne of Green Gables meets Annie Hall, maybe? She’s searching for something, and she’s forced to confront the hero of her dreams (or is he the hero of her nightmares?). Also, there are puppets. Puppets are awesome.

Lea: Okay, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and gothic – now that’s unexpected. But then she excels in quirky characters.

Did you have a favorite character in the book?

Erin: Annie – and keep in mind, Annie has a troupe of supporting puppet characters around her that are all facets of her amazing personality – they speak, they sing, they play pranks on each other – she’s very much like a young Jim Henson with her family of Muppets all around her. Genius. Annie embodies all I love about those Jane Eyre-type characters – she’s drawn as a real person, someone with faults and quirks who has a hopefulness and joy to her that is irresistible to me. That’s a tough choice though – Annie has some stiff competition in the Great Character category. I haven’t even gotten to the HERO yet…(fanning self)

Lea: I know what you mean about the hero – she has a special knack for writing fan-worthy heroes!

What are some of your current or upcoming projects?

Erin: One of my audiobooks that was recently released just won an Earphone – The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand… very proud to be among the folk who have received that designation… I have a couple of voiceovers for TV commercials running, there’s a videogame I’ll be screaming in that will come out soon, I also sing in an Andrews Sisters trio (I’m a soprano) so we have some gigs coming up for that, and I’m looking forward to the next book I’m narrating, which will hopefully come across my desk soon! Oh desk, who am I kidding? I’ll be reading my iPad on the sofa with my two cats draped over me. THAT’s my office ;)

Lea: Congrats on the Earphone Award!

And now I have a visual of you screaming in that video game. What fun!

I want to thank you Erin for joining us today and taking the time to tell us about Heroes Are My Weakness. I’m sure you have increased many a listener’s level of enthusiasm and influenced others to add it to their wish list.

Erin: Thank you so much Lea. It was so lovely to speak with you!

 

As our newest Narrator Friend, Erin has an AudioGals page dedicated to her. To learn more about Erin and see a list of her other romance narrations, visit her page.

 

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August & September 2014 Picks

What romance audiobooks releasing in August and September do we believe are especially promising? We feel these titles are good bets based on author, narrator, personal knowledge, or print reviews of the story content. Or maybe it’s just a gut feeling we have.

In an attempt to catch up and start offering this feature the last week of every month, we are combining August and September.

 

The Beautiful AshesThe Beautiful Ashes by Jeanine Frost

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

August 26th

I have high hopes for the first audiobook in the new series, Broken Destiny, by the talented writer/narrator duo who created The Night Huntress series. Just as the Night Huntress series helped fuel my love for audiobooks, I’m hoping this series may reignite my love for paranormal romance – BJ

Oh my, oh my – how I love this author/narrator team. I’m completely on board for trying Frost’s new series and sure I will adore it. – Lea Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Back at July – Our Reviews, News, & Features

We’re starting a monthly feature where we provide you with a quick overview of our activity from the previous month. Caz will be writing these features – expect to see this summary the first week of each new month… Lea

We published only seventeen reviews in July (far fewer than our average month) but it was actually a really busy month here at AudioGals once we returned from our summer break. Mid-month we dedicated several days to Lea’s attendance at RWA and her involvement with the Hearing Voices: Why Audiobooks Are Suddenly Chic workshop. But our month actually started on July 7th with our week-long series devoted to all things Outlander in anticipation of the new TV adaptation. So it’s fitting that the first of our July reviews was of…

Written in My Own Heart's Blood

 

Gabaldon, Diana – Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Recorded Books)

Narrated by Davina Porter

A for narration   A for content   Reviewed by Melinda

Read the rest of this entry »

Rocky Mountain Desire by Vivian Arend

rocky mountain desireNarrated by Tatiana Sokolov

Ever since the first book of the Six Pack Ranch series, I’ve had a soft spot for Matt Coleman. He was with his girlfriend Helen for many years and did all the right things to try and make her happy. But she wanted different things than Matt and she dumped him and ran away to Calgary. He’s been miserable for nearly a year, beating himself up for not doing enough to make it work. In Rocky Mountain Desire, Matt gets his happy ending – with Helen’s younger sister, Hope.

That’s a tough sell usually; after all, Matt and Helen did have a pretty active sex life and sleeping with your sister’s ex? Well, ew. But, the book didn’t shy away from the truth and, fortunately for my listening Read the rest of this entry »

Big Bad Bite by Jessie Lane

Big Bad BiteNarrated by Chandra Skyye

They say not to judge a book by its cover. No big deal. I can’t see the cover art so the cover just doesn’t register with me. The title, on the other hand, has the power to reel me in or push me far, far away. When I first heard about Big Bad Bite, my initial instinct was to run really far, really fast. How could a book with that kind of title be worth the read? After finishing the book, I’ve come to the conclusion that judging a book by its title, or its cover, might not be such a bad thing after all.

Jenna O’Connor has been hidden and protected all her life. Her mother has always told her that members of the supernatural community would kill her if they knew of her existence. Up until she turns twenty-four, Jenna buys this, and lives an extremely sheltered life in a small North Read the rest of this entry »

This Time Next Door by Gretchen Galway

this time next doorNarrated by Tanya Eby

Originally titled The Geek Who Loved MeThis Time Next Door is about 26-year-old Rose Devlin, who moves with her best friend Blair from New York to San Francisco. Blair was recently knocked up by Rose’s ex-boyfriend John (it’s complicated), but John’s mother, desperate for a grandchild, has offered a rent-free house in the bay area to Blair. Rose moved with her so Blair would not have to be alone, because when Blair announced her pregnancy, John did a runner.

Rose is a plus-sized girl. She is a size 18, so she’s still smaller than many people but she isn’t petite like her good friend Blair. For the most part Rose is happy with Read the rest of this entry »

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

the corinthianNarrated by Georgina Sutton

The Corinthian, Sir Richard Wyndham, is a dandy in the manner of Beau Brummel – always impeccably turned out. He’s also good looking, wealthy beyond imagination and extremely bored. When pushed to the wall by his mother and sister to make an offer for a certain young woman whose family is in need of cash, he goes to the woman’s home and interviews her. She’s as cold as his brother-in-law has said, and is direct with him that it’s a marriage of convenience – her convenience, that is. Later that evening, he leaves White’s with the intention of a long walk to decide what to do, when a young woman dressed as a boy falls literally into his arms. Read the rest of this entry »

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