Audiobook voice casting – need help!

Sorry for the non-father’s day-related post.  We’re celebrating here by weakly cheering on my husband for holding down an apple.  Yep, it’s pukesville U.S.A.  It’s just as well we didn’t get him the bourbon he really wanted, because Pepto Bismol makes a lousy mixer.  The steak is going back into the freezer, the whiffle bat is going back on the porch, and we’re having strawberry shortcake anyway, because what the hell.

Anyway, I need some quick help from you guys, especially if you’ve been reading my stuff for a while.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m putting out an audiobook in the fall. will be using one of their professional readers, but they are letting me help choose someone.  The editor says:

Casting an audiobook is much like casting a film— use any description you like, to pinpoint the voice you imagine.

E.g.:  “Greta Garbo crossed with Tom Hanks and a pinch of mustard!”

Any casting notes you give me will go directly to the Audible Studio’s casting director, who will bake them in to the production of your audiobook.
So, I can’t just say, “Hire Anne Bancroft!”  I mean, she’s dead, but also, even if she were alive, I couldn’t say that.  But I can ask for someone who sounds like Anne Bancroft.
I look pretty much exactly like this, especially around the . . . ears . . .

I look pretty much exactly like this, especially around the . . . ears . . .

My problem is that I don’t know names.  I’m not familiar with a lot of famous voices.  I’m looking for someone who sounds friendly and motherly, I guess, but who can deliver a punch line with a real punch in it.  The book is chatty overall, grave in some places, and pretty tart many others.  I would like a woman with a deeper voice, maybe a little gravelly, with a good sense of comic timing.
I would be very grateful for any suggestions!  I said I’d turn in my casting notes on Monday.  Thanks!
Oh, and tomorrow I will have a Big!  Anouncement! (still not pregnant)

  • kathmurphy

    April Winchell is awesome. She’s done voice work for Disney and others.

  • Bridget Green

    Doris Roberts?

    • Bridget Green

      I mean, I would say Bea Arthir, but, well, you know.

  • ramblingfollower

    Simcha: I sent a message to an old friend who is a professional film/TV/stage actor and directed him here….he might have suggestions…

  • Kevin O’Brien

    Simcha, why not let me audition some of our Theater of the Word actresses? I’ve personally done over 30 audio books, and I personally could do it – though I’d use my Our Lady of the Pants-suit LCWR smoker nun voice (which probably isn’t exactly what you have in mind). Anyway, if you don’t want a man playing a woman, Maria Romine might work – she was just on “The Journey Home”. We could produce the whole thing here, as well. If you’re interested, let me know.

  • Barb

    Simcha, there are thousands of out of work actors who desperately need jobs. Most have great voices. Hold an audition, or contact an agent. Please hire an unknown with a great voice! It used to be, that stage actors stayed on the stage, and movie actors stayed on the screen and those trying to make it in the business did the “voice overs”. Now those already making a good living on stage or in the movies are taking all the voice over parts, as well! (Can you tell I am the frustrated mom of two Chicago actors?)

  • Simcha Fisher

    Guys, I would love to hire someone unknown and deserving, but I’m not doing the hiring! Basically they’re just being polite and asking my opinion, but they’re making the decision, and choosing from among their established readers.

  • Cherie

    Cameron Diaz.

  • Janen7

    How about Patricia Heaton? Catholic to boot!

    • Jessica

      That’s who I was going to suggest!

    • Kelly

      She was going to be my suggestion too!

  • victor

    +1 for getting Kevin O’Brien to read it in (vocal) drag.

  • Mil

    Bonnie Hunt. In my mind you are the same person.

    • Rebecca

      Same here!

    • TRS

      Oh so much yes!! I’ve never seen it before!

      Bonnie Hunt is so wonderfully hilarious and charming!

  • Rebekah Es

    Why not the great Simcha Fisher? The best non-fiction audio I have heard is always read by the author. I believe I have heard your voice in radio and you could do an excellent job.

  • Laura

    I have heard Martha Plimpton read books and she’s very good and I think fits what you are looking for.

  • http://ladyhobbit'sjournal Jeannine

    I think you need the lady who recorded that hilarious imaginary phone call–the one that ends “Does this mean you’re not coming?”

  • Katie

    Simcha, I’m a trained voice actor… very motherly, friendly, comedy-sensitive. Deeper voice. With a demo. Would absolutely love working with you!!! :) If you’d like to see if my voice fits your needs, please message me.

    Sincerely, a fellow Catholic, sometimes-humorous mommy blogger. Who is also a huge fan. And giving my kids chocolate just so I can write this. At 8:55 PM. Hope you guys feel better soon!

  • katecous

    I agree with the person who suggested a Bonnie Hunt-type voice. I think that’s the right mix of motherly and tell-it-like-it-is. :-)

    Or if you want it delivered dry, then a voice like Kate whatshername who played Captain Janeway.

  • Alicia

    How about a Kathleen Turner type voice? Lower and gravelly, and as for comedic timing she was great in Undercover Blues :o)

  • Alaina

    My husband records and edits audiobooks as an audio engineer so he has some knowledge of the narration talent out there. I showed him this post and he recommended Barbara Rosenblat.

  • Suzanna

    1) Bonnie Hunt, 2) Piper Laurie, 3) Helen Mirren, 4) Julie Walters

  • Suzanna

    5) Elizabeth Banks, 6) Debra Winger

  • anna lisa

    I second the comment that it should be *your* voice. It’s your story, your words…

    Barfing is the WORST. So sorry about that. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating next weekend!

  • Susan

    Finally got my WordPress password issue resolved…because for some reason it’s incredibly important to tell you that your celebrity voice is…Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson, Rhoda Morgenstern’s little sister).

  • mhf

    Peri Gilpin. (Roz from ‘Frasier’)

    • Melissa H-K

      That was my idea! She has a wonderfully sarcastic, slightly gravelly voice. Seriously, you should try to get her!

  • Otepoti

    Stockard Channing, if she’s still in the biz. But I agree that your voice would be the best for your work.

  • Ag


  • Lisa

    You can go to and hear samples of the books. I’d suggest you go listen to a few of the female readers and at least get a feel for their reading style and inflections.

  • Rebecca Mlinek

    Anna Gunn (Skylar from Breaking Bad.) Her voice is similar to Bonnie Hunt’s, feminine/gravely/motherly, but a little more acerbic.

  • Pingback: Lucky Ducks

  • Taylor Olsen

    Oooh. Suzanne M. Wolfe, wife of Gregory Wolfe, who publishes Image Journal (also my boss). Deeply Catholic, scathingly hilarious, has a voice you could listen to for hours–plus, British, specifically an Oxford accent. An accent might not be what they had in mind, but you should just hear her say “sinners”–it sizzles. Her demo is more dramatic in style, but if you had conversational Suzanne reading the book, aaahh!! It would be great. Here’s a link:

  • Steven Lowell

    Check out this website I work at It is really helpful for such work, and the people do audiobooks all the time. Yes, I work there. I found this request while bouncing around today. :) – Steven