Jorjeana Marie has given voice to more than 100 audiobooks in a spectrum of genres for all ages. She now knows that when she was a child, she wanted to grow up and narrate audiobooks, though she didn’t know such a thing existed as a career. “I remember reading out loud in the classroom, and we had to change readers every page. I always wanted to keep reading–I wanted to read the whole book.”
Marie has a special gift for rounded characters, a skill she attributes, in part, to her training as a character actress and years of theater work in New York City. “I’m always looking for depth in things that I work on, and I feel the same way when I meet people because everybody has a story.”
Marie’s audiobooks provide strong connection for listeners. “People often talk about narrating audio as if the person listening is right there next to you and you’re telling them the story. As human beings, we’re very connected to story and have been for a long history–back to the campfires. I want to be a good campfire teller–bringing a story to life and pulling people in who are sitting around me–though sometimes this is a bit hard to envision when you’re sitting in a booth with advanced equipment.”
Sometimes Marie’s deep involvement with characters can be hard. She just finished narrating a story about someone who lived through lots of trauma. “It was written in the first person, so I was really living it. That’s part of the depth, making the decision to fully embody that person, but it can be emotionally exhausting to live inside somebody else for six hours straight.”
Marie has the most fun portraying children, creatures, aliens, and animals. Best of all for her is inhabiting a character she created, the one she’s building a show around. “It’s totally a kid’s thing, and I love playing Bubble Cheeky.” He was born when she volunteered for an organization through which sick people can phone in for a “feel-better call.” Presently she’s producing YouTube videos, animated scripts, and books starring Bubble Cheeky. His sweet, squeaky voice instantly charms and cheers.
Marie herself has been cheered by listening to audiobooks; in fact, they saved her career. “There’s a lot of driving in Los Angeles, and being trapped in traffic for hours made me so frustrated that I almost quit acting. Then I got a bunch of audiobooks, and suddenly I was ready to drive across LA, to the grocery store, anything to get back in the car and listen.” Marie had an uplifting start to 2015 by listening to Fred Stella’s recording of Leo Babauta’s transforming POWER OF LESS.–Susie Wilde[published in AudioFile, APRIL/MAY 2015]