Mystery Month feature: Narrator Barbara Rosenblat


Booklist’s 2009 “Voice of Choice” Barbara Rosenblat takes time to visit for #mysterymonth & reflect on the preferred genre of audiobook listeners.  Actor and author of  Audiobook Narrator: The Art of Narrating Audio BooksBarbara Rosenblat is a multi-talented artist, from her role on Orange is the New Black to receiving every major audiobook award and honor – including an Audies Award for The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters. Here’s more from Barbara:

Last year the world lost one of the Queens of the mystery genre, Elizabeth Peters.

And I lost a personal friend. When we first met, I was appearing on Broadway in The Secret Garden and she had listened to one of my recordings of the ‘Amelia Peabody’ series and wanted to meet me. We became buddies at the stage door and over the years our individual talents impacted the audiobooks. She knew I loved to create characters and I knew she would throw ‘curve ball’ characters into her latest tome to challenge me.

A marriage made in audio heaven. Her passing leaves a great hole in my heart.

I’ve never really specialized in any particular genre but recording mysteries have always been a great part of my recording life. Probably because they afford the greatest opportunity for an actor to ‘work’ the dramatic arcs to a satisfying conclusion more effectively than in another genre. I just finished recording the audio of Linda Fairstein’s latest, Terminal City, a gritty. New York City based thriller that lays out all the elements of fast paced, page turning drama with characters that have become beloved over the years. I know that when a new Fairstein project hits my desk, it means I get to ‘pull out’ my cast…’Detective Mike Chapman’, ‘Sex Crimes Prosecutor Alex Cooper’ and so on. There is a level of expectancy from the listening public much like those looking forward to the latest installment of a movie series. Connecting with the special magic that the author has makes the listener eagerly await the next audiobook and I try to live up that expectation every time. And when a new author entrusts me with a book, it is an opportunity to discover a wholly individual ‘gene pool’ of writing skill.

When I was first presented with the ‘dark’ thrillers of Carol O’Connell, I knew I had to take a different approach to best channel the author’s masterly story telling style. Voice actors over the years have asked me about my approach to this craft and I finally ‘bit the bullet and wrote my first book on the subject that came out in March from the Kindle store on Amazon. It’s a personal and specific look at my methodology regarding preparation and voice work in general. My hope is that artists who wish to learn of the craft of audiobooks will find it helpful.

And even though I have been lucky enough to appear in the first two seasons of “Orange Is The New Black” on Netflix, recording audiobooks will continue to play a large part in my performing life.

The storytelling arts have been with us for millennia and I am so very grateful to have been one of its conduits.

Listen to Barbara share more about her friendship with Elizabeth Peters:



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

3 Comments on "Mystery Month feature: Narrator Barbara Rosenblat"

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  1.' Ruth Rosen says:

    Ms. Rosenblat has such a passion for the work of voicing audio books that comes through in her speaking, writing and narrating…loved the piece!

  2. I discovered Emily Pollifax thanks to Barbara Rosenblat , and decided then to listen to the whole series, thankfully all read by her. incredible! I cannot imagine Emily with someone else’s voive

  3.' Linda Rosa says:

    I seek out books read by the remarkable Ms. Rosenblatt. Only she could make the Elizabeth Peters books pure enchantment. Thank you.

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