Between The Sheets With Donna Postel
Romance Narrators: Let’s dive right in, Donna! What draws you to the romance genre?
Donna: Probably the same things that draw most people to romance - the story. I love great stories about real, flawed human beings trying to figure out how to do life, and all the crazy messy smexy ridiculous predicaments they get to on the way to Figuring It All Out. And as someone who is a little bit older, I of course love stories featuring more (ahem) mature characters, like The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown, which was nominated for a 2018 Audie Award in Romance - the heroine, Trudy, is middle-aged, and funny, and dealing with too damn many things at once. Her daughter is in open rebellion, her mother has dementia, and she finds out her husband has been cheating. Of course she needs to inherit a dilapidated (but formerly grand) old house with an eccentric-but-hmmmm-kinda cute next-door neighbor, who turns out to be very handy with a hammer.
Romance Narrators: Yes, congratulations on your nomination! How was that whole Audies experience for you?
Donna: I was so over the moon excited to be nominated! It really took me by surprise to be nominated along such amazing storytellers as Therese Plummer, Elisabeth Rodgers, Andi Arndt and Joe Arden. I am so grateful to the folks at Brilliance for trusting me with this little gem of a book. Then there was all the fun around the Audies event itself - I mean, what a great excuse to dress up and hang out with my favorite people, right? I know I'm not the first to notice that people in the audiobook industry are the nicest, most supportive and enjoyable group of professionals in the world.
Romance Narrators: Yeahhhh, we’re an ok bunch. You’ve worked on several books with Joyce Carol Oates. Tell us about working with her.
Donna: I love love love narrating JCO's stories! Her writing is so dark and rich and layered and delicious (hmmmm, it must be time for lunch). I was really intimidated the first time I was cast in a collection of her novellas, because I was still very new to audiobook narration and here's this Pulitzer-winning genius who's at the pinnacle of the art form, and who am I to be attempting this? So I went out and got help. Fantastic coach, writer, director, and all around mensch Paul Alan Ruben talked me off the ledge of imposter syndrome and helped me find my way into the heart of the story. From there - once I got over myself and just let the story speak - it almost narrated itself.
Romance Narrators: That’s the best feeling, isn’t it? When you truly let go and take the ride? So. You have a “cozy mystery” voice sample on your website. I think most of us have heard that genre described this way, but perhaps take it for granted. What actually makes certain mysteries “cozy”?
Donna: As I understand it (and don't quote me on this), a cozy mystery requires the person who does all the sleuthy stuff to be an ordinary citizen who just happens to get into crazy situations or become involved in whatever bad thing has happened. They then take it upon themselves to get out there and catch the murderer/terrorist/kidnapper/generally bad person. If the protagonist is a cop or detective or professional hitwoman or spy, then it's a straight-up mystery. But the cozy detective very often has deep connections to "official" detectives, so it all gets mushed up together sometimes. And sometimes there are dogs! I've been narrating a couple of super cozy series from Donna Ball - one is the Raine Stockton series, where, true to cozy form, the heroine, Raine, is an amateur (she is a dog trainer and search-and-rescue volunteer by day), but her ex-husband is the sheriff. She and her golden retriever sidekick Cisco find themselves in the center of all kinds of messes.
Romance Narrators: Thanks for clearing that up! You’ve had some unique voiceover jobs in your over 20 years in the business. Is it true you’re the voice in the elevator ride to the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis? What other fun gigs can we be on the listen for?
Donna: I'm not sure if I'm still in the elevators, as the entire park has been revamped, but it's possible. If you're ever in St. Louis, take the ride and let me know, okay? :) By far the coolest gig I ever got is one that very few people will ever get to hear. I'm the cockpit warning voice in several military jets. Pull up! Pull up! Pull up!
Romance Narrators: How cool is that?! Donna Postel, saving lives with her beautiful voice. You have narrated a great many self-development titles. Is there any particular one that stuck with you and affected your life after working on it?
Donna: You know, part of the joy of this job is learning so many things. The curse is that now I retain information like a steel colander. I get so much out of each book I work on, and some publishers will tell you I get almost evangelical about some of them, but when it's finished, most of the knowledge gained is pushed out by the next book, which has my full and rapt attention.
Romance Narrators: With all the narrating you do, do you still find time to read for pleasure? If so, what books are lucky enough to snag your affection?
Donna: Ohhhhhh, I miss reading for pleasure. The side effect of reading professionally is that I can not for the life of me pick up a book and look at words on the page and just enjoy it. I can, however, listen to audiobooks for pleasure. I always have one or two cued up on my phone. Right now I'm listening to Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton (narrated by Scott Brick) because I've been obsessed ever since seeing the musical, which is based on this book. Have you heard The Joy of Doing Just Enough? Emily Woo Zeller is hilarious. Looking at what's in my queue right now, I see some Meghan March, CD Reiss, and M. R. Carey.
Romance Narrators: Emily actually performed a piece from The Joy of Doing Just Enough at APAC’s Listeners Lounge. She brought the house down! You recently worked on Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe. What was that like? Learn anything about her you didn’t already know?
Donna: I learned so much about Marilyn - she was way way smarter than people gave her credit for. She was politically progressive, and passionate about the causes she believed in. The author researched the book for something like 17 years (spoiler alert, Bobby Kennedy), but the most heartbreaking thing about Goddess was how impossibly difficult it was for women in that day to be heard and valued and respected for their talent and intelligence. She played the game that she and every other woman had to back then. Imagine if #MeToo had been around 60 years ago.
Romance Narrators: You narrated a book about the Making of America’s Favorite Movie, aka “The Sound of Music.” We should obviously just download it immediately and listen, but until we do, please tell us a tidbit or two you may not know!
Donna: How about, Christopher Plummer did not want to do the movie?
Romance Narrators: No way! Edelweiss wouldn’t have been nearly as sexy with someone else. Is it ok to say Edelweiss was sexy? Anyway, moving on. What exciting projects do you have on the horizon?
Donna: I'm prepping a book right now about scandal magazines of the I Love Lucy age. It looks juicy!
Romance Narrators: We can’t wait to listen!
Keep up with Donna online:
Donna’s Audible catalog: https://adbl.co/2lvv2kB
Links to books and folks mentioned in interview: