Interview with narrator Maxine Mitchell

With Yael Waknin

Questions for narrator Maxine Mitchell

1 – How did you come to narrate romantic novels?
My very first book I narrated was a romance! I started my narration career a little over a decade ago. I was living in New York City, working off-Broadway as a stage actor and bartending, and by a stroke of luck got an audition to narrate audiobooks at Audible Studios. They gave me my first book that same day.

2 – Have you narrated books from different genres?
I have narrated a lot of mysteries and thrillers, and some non-fiction as well.
One of my favorite parts of this career is that I get to do so many different things; no day in the booth is ever the same!

3 – What was the most fun \ easy book you narrated?
The most fun? Well, I just narrated Tapped by the Rockstar by Christina Hovland. It is really, really funny. There’s mischievous old ladies in an assisted living facility, sweet awkward banter between two fabulous main characters, and a viral song about cheese. It was a blast to record.

4 – What was the most difficult book \ character you narrated and why?
I narrated Sacrifice by Adriana Locke in duet with Joe Arden. Adriana is such a fantastic writer. She paints her worlds so vividly, and her characters really get a hold on you, but I think especially because we were recording those pivotal relationship scenes at the same time, listening to each other. Also, (TW) one of the storylines deals with childhood illness, and I was immersed in the mom character (and I am a mom) so it was a lot of tears.

5 – What are the preparations you make before each project? Do you read the whole book in advance? Do you rehearse out loud before the recording itself? or maybe something else?
I read the book quickly as a first pass scanning for location, characters, physical and vocal descriptions, accents, and to get an overall picture of the storyline. Then I use some specific search terms in the manuscript to make sure I didn’t overlook anything. When I start recording, it’s pretty normal for me to narrate the first couple paragraphs a few times before I feel like I have the tone right.

6 – Is there a genre \ book \ character that you won’t agree to narrate? If so – why?
I won’t narrate dubious consent or non-sensual scenes.

7 – Did you ever “take” something from a character you narrated? it could be some advice, a trait, a habit…?
I like writing down lines that resonate from titles I’ve narrated. Here’s a mantra from a title I’m working on now: “Your magic is in your uniqueness. Find the people who see your light.”

8 – Are you working on more than one book at a time?
I’m usually prepping (reading and taking notes on) a couple books at a time while recording another. I try to schedule myself so I don’t have to go back and forth between narrating two different books in the booth because I feel like it breaks up the storytelling momentum. I know other narrators can do
this, but I feel like my brain turns into a cluttered storage room when I try.

9 – What is the genre you like to read in your free time?
I just really love books. I love magical realism in fiction, and satire. I love history and biographies. I grew up reading my dad’s science fiction and fantasy books (and really anything I could get my hands on). I don’t end up having a lot of “free time” to read since so many of the books I am reading are books I’m preparing to record, so most of the “for pleasure” reading I do now are essays and short stories in periodicals since I can get those in snippets.

10 – Is there an author you particularly like? To read or to work with.
I have so many authors I have been really lucky to work with and get so excited about when any of their books come my way: CD Reiss, Serena Akeryod, Nadia Lee, Melanie Moreland, Kathryn Nolan, Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, Kate Stewart, Meghan Quinn…I could keep going but now it
just feels like I’m giving an acceptance speech and I’m going to forget to thank someone. I get to tell stories for a living and I get to work with some amazing writers. I’ll leave it at that!

Like it? Share it


About the narrator

Maxine Mitchell is an award-winning narrator of over 500 audiobooks. She is passionate about animals, traveling, coffee, a good bottle of wine, fresh baked goods, and great stories. She had a mobile childhood, moving every couple of years (affording her the opportunity to meet people from many different backgrounds) that she would not trade for anything. She still gets the itch to move around, but now she gets to do that every day in books.

Skip to content