Catherine Cruzan

A New Realm of Fantasy

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Ring in the New Year with Eargasms!




Eargasms-Narrator-Andrea-EmmesHappy New Year, Everyone!  I hope 2015 is kind and generous to all of us, because we worked hard in 2014, and we deserve it!  Right?!!!

Meanwhile, if you like audiobooks, and you like contests and giveaways, check out a terrific write-up by Eargasms author/reviewer April.  She interviews my friend, Narrator extraordinaire, Andrea Emmes on the Eargasms website.  It’s a lot of fun, and best of all, you could win a free audiobook.

The original post on Eargasms can be found here!  Visit this link to enter the giveaway.

I’ve included interview highlights below for the interview by April:


1 – How did you get involved in recording audiobooks?
I’ve been an actor for over 20 years, 12 of those years doing voice overs.  But I took some time off to go back to college for a Game Designer degree and then did that for a couple of years.  This past May, I found myself needing a new job and decided that I needed to delve back into my first love: acting.  I set up my recording booth in my apartment, researched audiobooks, found a coach (Sean Pratt) and signed up with ACX. I haven’t looked back since!

2 – What is your favorite thing about recording books?
Bringing amazing stories to life.  It’s important to me to offer the listener a chance to escape from their “real” life and problems and take them into the world that an author has created and help them forget all their bills, issues, etc. and just entertain them.  I do mostly Young Adult fiction and I absolutely love to perform various characters and see how I can make their characters sing off of the pages and into the listener’s imagination.  I’m a total Bibliophile so it’s fun to read books for a living!

3 – Do you have a favorite genre or author to record?
I’m really enjoying Young Adult fiction, especially Sci-fi or mystery.  As far as authors go, I’ve enjoyed all of the authors that I’ve recorded so far and it’s really hard to call just one of them out.  They are all so good in their own way.  I do have a couple of authors that I’m going to be working with on other titles.

4 – What do you think is the most important part of the recording? 
Making sure you have the right equipment, the room is well sound proofed and that you’re focused on what you’re reading.  I’ve learned this the hard way about the sound proofing but that’s the joy of starting anything new is the learning curve.

5 – Do you have a narration superpower? Awesome accents, infusing emotion, super-fast read? What is your best trick?
My “catch phrase”, if you will, is The Girl with a Thousand Voices.  I love characters and differentiated them with different tonal qualities so that they are each unique and show personality to them. This way the listener will be able to tell who is speaking.

6 – What was your favorite book to read so far? And why?
Wow, great question.  I’ve got two actually, “The Lie” by Ashley Fontainne because it’s an emotionally thriller that has some pretty cool twists and great characters.  I also love the emotional journey that the main character, Karmen, goes through.  And the one I’m currently recording, “Jane and Austen (Hopeless Romantics” by Stephanie Fowers, not only because I’m a HUGE Jane Austen fan but because the story is super clever with how the author integrates Austen cannon into her story that is really interesting and fun.

7 – What was your most challenging read? What made it so difficult?
I think so far, I would say that “At Last, Goodbye” was the most challenging. It’s a really compelling short story and it’s just the narrator speaking to someone else (don’t want to spoil it) and there’s a lot of heart as she’s talking, describing life during this apocalyptic time.  I had tears streaming down my face as I was reading the last part of the story, it moved me that much.

8 – Is there a book out there that you desperately want to do the narration for? 
Hard to say. I would have LOVED to have recorded The Mortal Instruments series. I read each book and was hooked. I loved the characters and would have had a blast!  I think for me, as long as the story and characters are interesting, complicated and fun, I’m a happy narrator!

9 – Do you have a ritual or routine when you are recording a book?
In a way. I first read the book, make notes about the characters, highlight sections or questions that I have for the author. Then I’ll send a note to the author/publisher to send me any characterization notes they might have that will help me in coming up with their voices and “who” they are as characters. I really like to perform what I read so diving into my old acting techniques.

10 – What is a fun fact people might not know about you?
I’m a huge Disney fan and many, many years ago, I had the pleasure of singing as Ariel in the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show at Disney World! One of the best jobs EVER!

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Audiobooks: A New Frontier in Entertainment

Today’s media landscape is more cluttered than ever, with thousands of titles available at any given time—software, games, music, television, movies, books, graphic novels, magazines, podcasts, art—downloaded, streaming live, on demand, on a wish list, in your cart.

Yet in the face of this entertainment frenzy, stands one of the bright, shining truths: Anyone can be reading anything, at anytime, anywhere.

You can put dozens of books in your pocket. You can summon them with a touch, and with a tap of screens, you can even share. That’s quite a place to find ourselves mere handfuls of years after experts projected the demise of the publishing industry.

Publishing has certainly suffered its setbacks, with major houses merging and folding every year. But like the music industry of the new millennium, it appears publishing is merely suffering its growing pains as it reinvents itself to suit a new generation of consumers.

This reimagined vista is arguably rife with self-published swill, while the archetypes continue to push a crass selection of celebrity biographies and real-house-wife guides to life. Gone are the days of great literature. The era of marketing platforms has prevailed. Or so it would seem.

We cannot discount the tenacity of writers and artists, and editors who love good books. Thanks to this new strain of self-made publishing houses, we find ourselves embracing the age of Small Press, where great stories are plentiful.

In the advent of this new frontier of books, a beautiful media marriage has emerged. Reminiscent of the radio dramas of old, audiobooks provide a perfect blend of audio entertainment and the written word. And they are gaining traction at impressive rates according to the Audio Publishers Association.

People who used to lament their lack of time to read are banging out a book or two a week—while commuting or running errands, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, walking the dog, playing with the kids, even exercising.

Well-known actors, entertainers, and authors are stepping up to the mic to transform their books from pages to recorded bytes. And listeners are quickly discovering a whole new means by which to connect to their favorites, both old and new.

One such up-and-coming narrator is Andrea Emmes. Known as The Girl with a Thousand Voices, she delves deep into every character she brings to life, creating a fun, unique experience for listeners and readers alike. Get to know her here, and then visit her on her website or on Facebook for an opportunity to hear more. If you drop her a note, she will happily share her work with you.

Who is Andrea Emmes in a nutshell?

I’m a simple woman, who loves to entertain and be entertained. I love people, life and God. I’m 5’ 1” and sassy. I hail from Northern California where I live with my husband.

What compels you to be a performer?

Growing up as an only child, my need for attention is fierce, but that is only part of what drives me. I thrive as a performer, feeding off an audience’s reactions. I love to take people to an imaginary place, and allow them to escape their real-life heartaches and stresses, and find some joy.

I enjoy being someone else, experiencing things I would not have encountered in my regular life.

What and/or who inspires you?

Performing is WHO I am. I love it. Entertainment brings people joy. It allows them to escape, to be moved emotionally, or partake of a powerful message.

When I was first diagnosed with a neurological pain disorder, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), I found myself diving into depression. I had lost hope, until I felt the Lord call me, and remind me there is always a reason to live.

I wrote my first Christian Album, pouring out all of my pain and heartache. And I discovered I wasn’t alone. We all need uplifting reminders of hope. Providing such a gift to others, inspires me in return, and keeps me going.

What is it you love most about what you do?

I love hearing how my work has affected others, whether it’s as simple as “You made me laugh,” or as touching as “Your performance reminded me I can be happy again.” I also love reaching people through my music.

You have been a stage actor, and you’ve been behind the camera. How does that experience affect your narrating style?

Narrating isn’t just reading the words an author wrote. You have to inject excitement and passion into the story, and really bring the characters to life. I want listeners to be sucked in. I use my years of experience as a stage and film actor to create my performance as a narrator.

AndreainboothWhen I start a project, the first thing I do is simply read the book. Then I read it again, taking notes, learning the characters and their relationships. I look for what the author is trying to convey, and discuss it with them, so I can be as true to their work as possible.

A narrator will add artistic elements to the story the author didn’t anticipate, and it may sound different than the writer envisioned. But that’s the beauty of what I do. It’s important to have that freedom as a professional to deliver the best interpretation and performance possible. It takes a great deal of trust.

In my experience, the authors that embrace the process are pleasantly surprised and pleased with the end result.

You have a background as a game designer. Does that impact the kinds of projects you pursue, or how you approach your work in general?

Yes! It truly does. I took a break from performing and went back to college for a degree in Game Design. I was able to work for a couple of years designing mobile games, which was super fun.

The key to being a good game designer is to find the FUN in the game, so players immerse themselves and find their own enjoyment. I think it’s the same for a narrator. We want to enthrall listeners, so they are drawn in and really enjoy the experience.

Do you have any advice for aspiring narrators?

Absolutely. Start by taking the TEST created by my mentor/coach, Sean Pratt.

Read a story out loud for 2 hours straight starting over again where you’ve made a mistake. Add emotion and character expression as you read. If you find you are still interested after 2 hours, Audiobook narration might be for you.

Find a coach to help you with what comes next. There is additional information on Youtube and the ACX website.

booth3Even if you’ve had prior acting experience, narration is a different animal. You cannot approach it the same way you would a play or a TV script. You need to learn new skills if you want to be successful. I have worked with Sean Pratt for over 5 months now, and you can hear the growth from my earlier works.

Spend the money on a good recording system, and sound proof your booth to avoid echo and reverberation. A high quality microphone and Audio Interface is essential to getting good, level sound.

Learn your vocal style and stick to it. My voice lends itself well to Young Adult, New Adult and some Adult books, because I sound younger. I would never audition for a book which requires a mature voice.

Make sure your demos and your website are up to par. Learn the business standards and follow them. My website is a good place to start your research.

Marketing is important. You need to put yourself out there and make sure the right people are hearing you. Create the perfect resume, quarterly newsletter, review sheet, and/or demo cd, and then figure out who you should be to sending them to.

Lastly, develop a thick skin. Not every book is meant for you, so be okay with rejection. Provide a good audition, and then let it go. Move on to the next project. The right book is out there if you persevere.

What can you tell us about some of your favorite projects?

I recently recorded ELFKIND by Catherine Cruzan, an epic Fantasy novel set in a vivid, compelling new world. I loved the characters and the story so much. It was a joy to record each time I stepped up to the mic. Working with Catherine was really special, because she was so on top of things, and so engaging and easy to talk to. It was nice to have a creative discussion about our views for her book, and to work together to agree on the best possible approach.

I also really love WITCH HEARTS by Liz Long and ALWAYS YOU by Kirsty Moseley, which I am recording now. It’s a Young Adult/New Adult Romance about two best friends, Riley and Clay, as they navigate the normal high school trenches with some twists. The emotional story speaks to me, and the characters are so much fun to play.

I enjoyed working on EVERNIGHT by Maia Rodriguez, a full cast musical available on iTunes and Amazon. My character is a silly pirate cook who loves fish. Her voice is a lot of fun and the songs are hysterical!

The authors I’ve worked with are a joy, with amazing stories and beautifully rich characters. That’s what I look for when I’m chosing my next book to narrate. I want interesting characters and a strong story that I can latch onto and believe in. It is obvious when a narrator doesn’t like what they are reading.



Visit ANDREA EMMES on her website, on Twitter, and on Facebook


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Experience ELFKIND Audio!


14 October 2014 | Los Angeles, CA

Visit for contact details, review samples, photos, and an author bio.


ELFKIND Audio—available on Amazon, Audibles & iTunes, 31 October, 2014!

A young woman must find the strength to overcome great loss and hardship if she wants to save not only herself and her people, but the Elvin kingdom as well. This engaging tale by Catherine Cruzan is written with the finesse of a savvy feminine perspective.  It is brought to life in audio format, as told by brilliant actor-performer-artist, Andrea Emmes (

Catherine Cruzan is breaking new ground in the world of Young Adult (YA) Fantasy with epic flare. Elfkind is the first in a series of books set in a realm dominated by intriguing characters and complex storytelling.  It has received high praise from talented peers, critics and readers alike.

“An intriguing fantasy adventure.”      ~Tim Powers, author of On Stranger Tides & Hide Me Among the Graves

“In ELFKIND, Catherine Cruzan crafts a vibrant new world filled with adventure and magic from an exciting feminine perspective. The deft storytelling, engaging characters and poignant prose combine to create an exceptional debut that not only satisfies, but leaves readers eager for the next installment in this epic fantasy series. “       ~DeAnna Cameron, author of The Belly Dancer & Dancing at the Chance

“ELFKIND is a fluid, well-paced tale by a bright new voice in the genre.”      ~Tony N. Todaro, author of the Lightriders Saga

Andrea Emmes has been called “The Girl with a Thousand Voices”, and for good reason. Each and every character in the book is uniquely crafted, giving the story a vibrant, lively flavor.  She is a SAG-AFTRA member, having been a voice over actor for over 12 years, and a performer for over 20 years.  “Keep your ear out for her, because she’s really going places!”  ~ Sean Pratt, Audiobook narrator, actor, author.

Catherine Cruzan is an avid Fantasy reader and fan-girl in her own right, having been influenced by her exposure to J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Jules Verne and so many others from a young age. Chapter and audio samples from her short works and her first full-length novel, Elfkind, are available on her website.   She is currently working on the next installment in her epic Fantasy series.