Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Interview with Vanessa Hart, Narrator of "Growing Up Ethnic in America"

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

June 3, 2008

Comments (4)

Vanessa HartAlthough the 2008 Audies have already happened (May 30, 2008), I didn't want to miss the opportunity to shine the spotlight on a member of our community whose work was nominated for an Audie this year.

I'm pleased to present an interview with voice actress Vanessa Hart.

VOX: Congratulations on your nomination! What's the title of the audio book you narrated and which category were you nominated in?

VANESSA HART: Thank you Stephanie. The book is called "Growing Up Ethnic in America" and is produced by Audible.com It was nominated in the category of Short Stories/Collections, along with 4 others.

VOX: Can you tell me a little bit about the audio book?

VANESSA: The book is a collection of short stories with various authors. Some famous, such as E.L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison and Amy Tan. From AudioFile ". . .they illustrate the conflict between tradition and contemporary American culture". I narrated two stories, "Red Velvet Dress" by Naomi Shihab Nye and "Drowning" by Mary Bucci Bush. These required several American Southern dialects, as well as Italian and Arabic words and accents.

VOX: Who is the audio book publisher?

VANESSA: This was a collaboration between Penguin and Audible.com

VOX: How did you get the gig?

VANESSA: Stefan Rudnicki was the producer/engineer and he had someone drop out at the last minute - and luckily he took a chance on an unknown - me. He is amazing and I learned so much from him.

VOX: What was your favorite part about recording the audio book?

VANESSA: Prep is my favorite part. Choosing voices, layers of narration, story arcs and the like.

VOX: How many different voices did you need to develop for the audio book? Were there many characters?

VANESSA: Oh gosh Stephanie - dozens of characters with different voices plus the all important narrator and author voices.

VOX: Where did you record the voice over?

VANESSA: This was recorded at Stefan's studio in the Studio City, CA - just a few minutes from my studio in Burbank.

VOX: How long did it take you? How many words in total?

VANESSA: I was in the studio for under 2 hours. Words in total? I have no idea.

VOX: Where can we find the audio book?

VANESSA: Audible.com

VOX: Did you attend the Audies in Los Angeles?

VANESSA: I did not attend the ceremony but did attend APAC and the Master Class associated with it. I was also one of the narrators chosen from the Master Class to present at the conference. Presenting before a panel that included such masters as: Scott Brick, Arte Johnson, John Rubinstein, Grover Gardner, Gabrielle de Cuir and the aforementioned Stefan Rudnicki - was . . . well petrifying. But also thrilling and an amazing opportunity.

Have you narrated an audio book? Let us know what you've done! Leave a comment.

Best wishes,


Related Topics: Accent, Audible.com, Growing Up Ethnic in America, Los Angeles, Penguin Books, Stefan Rudnicki, Vanessa Hart


    Congrats on the nomination Vanessa and I thought this was a great interview Stephanie.


    Posted by:
    • David
    • June 4, 2008 12:06 AM


      My congratulations to Vanessa on her nomination. I've voiced a number of audiobooks in the last few years, the most significant of which was cast through Voices.com -- a recording of the entire Bible for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I've done lots of smaller audiobooks too. What I enjoy most are non-fiction titles because I learn so much while I'm working.

      Be well,

      Posted by:

        I too have narrated some books-- a couple for Audible.com (Harlequin Romance Novels!) and many children's books for another publisher.

        I would love to know with whom I could train to learn more about the technical aspects of preparing to read a book, such as choosing voices, layers of narration, story arcs and transitions. Can anyone recommend someone in NYC?


        Debbie Irwin

        Posted by:

          Thank you Bob (means a lot coming from you) and David. And, of course, thank you Stephanie for asking me to do this interview.

          Debbie - the really great thing about audiobooks is that the people involved are truly the "nicest in the business". And in that spirit, I invite you to contact me directly @ vanessahart@charter.net with any questions you might have. You've already done some work in the area and that's HUGE! So . . . I'm thinking you know what you are doing and just need some clarification. Just ask and I'll share all that I know. I would not be here today without lots of people sharing what they know with me. That goes for anyone who has questions. I'd love to help. Truly, what goes around, comes around.

          Best of luck to you all.


          Posted by:

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