From her studio in Chicago, Illinois, narrator Laurel Schroeder spends countless hours each week reading, narrating and editing award-winning and bestselling audiobooks. In this interview, she tells us about her experience narrating GOOD SAM:
Why did you want to narrate Good Sam?
The first thing that caught my eye was the cover! I still love it, I think it’s just perfect. Once I read the summary and the excerpt provided for the audition, I was intrigued by the story immediately. My usual rule of thumb is to record only a 5 minute sample for an audition, but I got so caught up I think I did twice that! I was also really excited to be involved in a project that was putting so much light and positivity in the world. And funnily enough, as I was narrating it, I became so much more attuned to the “Good Sams” around me, and started looking for more ways to be a Good Sam myself. It’s infectious!1)
What do you like most about narrating an audiobook?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I really love narrating, it’s hard to pick which aspect is my favorite! One of my favorite things is the preparation phase. I sit and read through the whole book, trying to absorb it as any reader would (although my brain can’t help but start to think about how I’ll give voice to each of the character). Then I read through it again, marking up the text and making notes about all the characters, paying attention to everything that is said about them. I love that phase because everything is pure potential at that point. The better I prep a book the easier it is to record, because I feel like I already know the characters so well, who they are and what they want.
I also really love when I get to do a new accent for a character. I recently did a book where I had to do Irish and Bostonian accents for the main characters, which was a really fun challenge! And for an upcoming book, I get to work on my German accent.
Are there similarities between you and the character main character of GOOD SAM, Kate Bradley?
I hope so! She’s a great character. I think something we both have in common is curiosity, and maybe a little bit of stubbornness. 🙂
How did you get into narrating audiobooks?
I got into narrating audiobooks right after I finished my MFA in Acting. I went to visit my brother in New York before settling in Chicago where I live now. While I was there, I met up with an actor friend of mine, who had just started narrating audiobooks. She told me how much she loved it, and the gears in my brain started turning. That same day, I started doing research on building a home recording studio, and the rest is history! I started off auditioning for work on ACX (the Audiobook Creation Exchange), and now get some work directly from audiobook publishing companies as well. My favorite genres to narrate are YA, romance, and mystery. I got to narrate a horror story recently, which was a first for me! It was fun, but I’m such a wimp that I scared myself reading it alone in my booth.
Besides narrating audiobooks, you’re also an accomplished actor. What have you been working on?
Last summer, I worked at Michigan Shakespeare Festival, playing Lydia in The Rivals and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That was one of my favorite theatrical experiences of my life! Both of the plays were fun, high energy comedies — in one I played a rich, very spoiled heiress, and in the other I played a girl so smitten that she’d tromp through the woods in the middle of the night chasing after the boy she loved. We did the shows in rep, so from night to night, I got to play these diametrically opposite characters. It was such fun!
Most recently, I joined the cast of Good for Otto at The Gift Theatre in Chicago for the second extension of their run. It was a world premiere by David Rabe, which tackled the subjects of depression and mental illness. I was very proud to be a part of that play.
Thank you for bringing your many talents to the narration of Good Sam, Laurel! Readers, reviewers, and listeners are really enjoying the audiobook.