About

Narrator

Karen White has been creating audiobooks since 1999 and has more than 350 titles to her credit, recording for Audible Studios, Blackstone Audio, Books-on-Tape, Dreamscape, Harper Audio, Hachette Audio, Highbridge Audio, Penguin Random House Audio, Tantor Audio as well as indie authors and publishers. She’s a multiple winner of Earphones Awards, Publisher’s Weekly and Listening Journal Starred Reviews, and is a three-time Audie Finalist. She lives with her family and probably too many pets in coastal NC.

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Writer

Karen Grey (also known as Karen White and K.E. White) has had several essays published, in Salt Magazine and the Nevertheless We Persisted collections, and a short story in the collection Vintage Love Stories. Her first romance novel was a winner of the NJ Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book Contest. The first two books in her 1980’s era romance series – What I’m Looking For and Never Gonna Give You Up will be published, fingers crossed, in 2019.

Interviews & Awards

2018

Audie Finalist for Nevertheless We Persisted, Original Work category

Interview at Romance Narrators

Audiobook Lovin’ Audio Guest Post

Podcast Guest, Episode 24, the Audiobook Speakeasy

Interview at That’s What I’m Talking About

Panelist & Coach Johnny Heller’s 4th Annual Splendiferous Workshop

Audiobook Talk for Author Series at The Cedars of Chapel Hill

Behind the Mic: The Last Ballad video at AudioFile Magazine

Tease: Holiday Listening at AudioFile Magazine

Past Awards

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you have two identities?

When I started narrating audiobooks, there were a few famous Karen Whites, including a singer named Karyn White and the actress Karen Malina White. But no audiobook narrators! By the time I started writing, the women’s fiction writer Karen White had made quite a name for herself, so I was counseled to adopt a pen name. (Even though Karen White is her married name. Sigh.) I started out with K.E. White but I didn’t love that. My daughter suggested I use Karen Beige. While I laughed, it seemed a bit too jokey. I researched white paint colors and white synonyms, and ended up with Karen Grey. Grey is the color I wear the most, too!

When will your first novel be available?

I will keep y’all posted on that, but I’m aiming for sometime in 2019. Meanwhile, you can get a taste of my fiction in Vintage Love Stories. The audio is recorded by two of my favorite YA narrators, Tara Sands and Mark Turetsky and I couldn’t be happier with their performances. The story is a prequel to the second book in my to-be-published series.

How did you get into narrating audiobooks?

Back in 1997, a friend from my MFA acting program met a woman in Seattle who recorded audiobooks. My friend contacted me saying, “This sounds like something you would be good at.” That person happened to be none other than the incredibly talented and revered narrator Kate Fleming (known to most listeners as Anna Fields ). Kate generously spent a good hour on the phone with me talking about the industry. She suggested that I get a copy of AudioFile Magazine’s production guide and research audiobook publishers in the Los Angeles area, where I lived at the time. That led me to Dan Musselman at Dove Audio in Beverly Hills, which primarily published abridged audio read by celebrities. Despite my complete lack of experience, Dan hired me to do some editing, and later hired me to work for him at the new Books-on-Tape recording studio he’d been hired to build and open. There I continued to edit, helped with casting and started directing and narrating. After I started having kids, I eventually dropped the editin (which honestly, I was never terribly good at) but continued directing, narrating and also proofing as a freelancer. Since I built a home studio (and my kids have grown up a bit), I’ve been able to record pretty much full-time. I shared this story in this Hot Listens interview. There’s more in my AudioFile Magazine profile.

How can I become an audiobook narrator?

I think this link to the Audiobook Publishers Association website is the best place to start if you are looking to narrate audiobooks: https://www.audiopub.org/industry/getting-started

Most narrators are highly trained professional actors with a great deal of vocal training and performance experience. SAG-AFTRA is also a valuable resource: https://www.sagaftra.org/audiobooks

Can I hire you to record my book (or my voicemail greeting)?

Yes! Send me an email with your project specifics.

How does an audiobook get made?

There’s a good discussion of on audiobook production in this Speaking of Audiobooks column.

How long does it take you to record a book?

In the studio time, it’s about two to two and a half hours to create one finished hour of audiobook. There’s also prep time (see next FAQ). We cover other nuts and bolts of the narration process in Audiobook Lovin’ 2015.

Do you read the book before you record?

Yes! There’s more on how I prepare in these interviews at Hot Listens and Every Day I Write the Book Blog and the Cornell Alumni Magazine.

Is it weird to narrate sex scenes?

Only when you have an audience, as I discuss in Take 5 with Candace:
AF: What’s your most embarrassing moment in the recording booth?
KW: Definitely when I recorded my first romance, which had pretty explicit sex scenes. I was working with a 20-something male engineer, who I thankfully could not see while I was actually recording the scenes, but when we’d take a break there was always that awkward moment where I had to make a joke to address the strange tension that resulted from the uniquely intimate experience we’d just shared.

For a discussion of this topic and others specific to recording romance titles, check out this interview at AudioGals.

Connect with Karen