Between the Sheets with Traci Odom
Romance Narrators: You work extensively with The Bodyful Mind. As voice artists, we often dwell on, ya know... the voice. Tell us all about this Mind/Body practice. How does it affect your life? Your work?
Traci: What a wonderful question. Thank you. Quite simply, without the work I have done in my life with the assistance of Doreen Rivera and the entire Bodyful Mind team, I would not have the career or the life that I have. The Bodyful Mind is a journey into my own inner space. One of the great quotes is “Inner Space…the Final Frontier,” and this work truly is just that – the final frontier of understanding, embracing and evolving the truth of me and expressing that in the world. The foundation of The Bodyful Mind is a movement class and through doing class, I have learned to follow the signals I get from my body (what is often referred to as pains or aches) and explore what the sensation really is in more descriptive words, which has lead me to understand the origination of my taught behaviors and patterns, ones that kept me stuck in so many places in my life. A very short answer to a deceptively deep question, I know. How has it affected my career? Well, as so many of us remember from our own experiences, as kids we were often told “don’t cry,” “don’t be sad,” “don’t be mad,” etc. etc. etc. – mostly don’t express your feelings out loud because it makes other people uncomfortable. So, as a kid, I learned to be quiet and keep my feelings to myself. And, now what do I do for a living? I speak – I express - I narrate stories and am heard by thousands of people regularly. What a great gift The Bodyful Mind is and the resulting amazing career I have as a narrator and actor.
Romance Narrators: That sounds amazing. Surely every human could benefit from deep work like that. Is it shallow of us to shift gears and say that you looked FIERCE at this year's Audie Awards? Can we ask you that age-old red carpet question: "Who were you wearing?"
Traci: Ha ha ha ha ha! Thank you so much. I love attending the Audie Awards. It’s such an amazing night celebrating with and cheering on my fabulous colleagues. Who was I wearing? I was wearing Nine West from Macy’s, with a dash of Victoria’s Secret thrown in there. I spend so much of my time – as all narrators do – in a booth, and I am typically wearing sweats (occasionally unshowered), so having the opportunity to put on adult woman clothes, make-up and bling, and then to socialize with my gorgeous narrator peeps is delightful to me.
Romance Narrators: There is a sense that everyone is unleashed from their cages that night, yeah? Happy cages of course, but we all need wide open spaces (and showers) sometimes. Talk to us about the most challenging audiobook you've worked on so far. What made it so?
Traci: Hmm, another good question. Honestly, every single book is challenging in its own way. In my career, I have found that each book has come at a time when there is some kind of message for me to learn from – whether it’s a romance, a paranormal or a non-fiction book. I would say that probably the most challenging so far was a non-fiction for Tantor Audio entitled “The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply – and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself,” by Robyn O’Brien with Rachel Kranz. It was challenging to me emotionally because of the raw truth Robyn and Rachel shared, and then technically because of the scientific descriptions they shared in detail. It was a real awakening.
Romance Narrators: Tell us about the time you played a tree. Was it an oak tree? Christmas tree? Bonsai tree? Inquiring minds want to know.
Traci: You really did your research, didn’t you? Well, that was my very very very first acting gig when I was just a youngster. I was playing a good witch who had been bespelled into being a tree. (Ooh, foreshadowing about my future career narrating multiple fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi projects! Cool!) Given that was yada-yada years ago, I can’t tell you the genus of tree, but it was covered in polyester for sure.
Romance Narrators: If you were a true artist, you would KNOW the genus of the tree, Traci. Sheesh! (Kidding.) So… we love you and want to support you and we heard it’s a dream of yours to become the first female American Ninja Warrior. How can we help that dream come true?
Traci: Thank you for your expression of love and support. I am ever so grateful. I most assuredly feel that support deeply. I would say to assist me, I would probably need a few pieces of equipment to start. First, a pry-bar to get me out of my studio, then a crane to lift me off my couch once I have been freed from said studio, and finally a bionic look-a-like (or maybe a Dragon Shifter would be better) to show up and run the course in my place. Yeah, I think that would do it.
Romance Narrators: Ok, so we have our work cut out for us then. Not a problem! There’s some pretty resourceful people in this group. You've worked quite a bit in commercials, yeah? What are some of your favorites? Any links we can see?
Traci: Yes, I have, gratefully. Most of them are no longer airing, and the one that is currently is a flash of my face, so no links really to speak of sadly. I would say my favorite one was a pharmaceutical ad that I did. They flew me to Prague for the shoot – and I got to fly business class, which was amazing. I felt like Ellie Mae Clampett on the big bird in the sky. Everything was fascinating. What was truly delightful about the whole experience, though, was the female director I got to work with, Yael Staav. She was so lovely, kind, and embracive. I would work with her ANY day.
Romance Narrators: Sounds dreamy. You and Deanna Chase are quite the author/narrator pairing! Tell us about your work together. What keeps you two collaborating over and over?
Traci: Oh my gosh, yes. Deanna and I have had quite the collaboration over the years. I was honored and delighted (still am) to have been chosen by Deanna to voice her Jade Calhoun series as one of my earlier forays into audiobook narrating. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of doing 8 books in that series, 2 so far in her Last Witch Standing series (through Tantor Audio), 3 so far in her Witch Island Brides series, and 7 installments of a series she writes under a pseudonym. (Not sure if I’m allowed to out what that is here, though.). I’m hoping to meet her face to face sometime soon. That’s one of the great ironies of our work, I feel. I’ve had years-long relationships with some amazing writers, Deanna, Connie Suttle, Nana Malone, and Susan Hayes, just to name a few – and have only ever met one face to face, or even had a phone call with them. Deanna is a doll to work with and I am grateful for every opportunity!
Romance Narrators: Yes! Speaking of Nana Malone, you and Sebastian York co-narrated her The Player Series. How was that experience? What can listeners expect when they dive into this 6-book listen?
Traci: The experience was – well, simply put, quite satisfying. He was lovely to work with. We connected via email prior to starting work, and then I had the pleasure of meeting his lovely real self at an event later in that same year. He’s just as charming in person as he is auditorily. What can listeners expect? Sensual banter at its best. Nana Malone is a master (or would that be mistress?) of sexy, clever banter between her characters. Each of the couples in this series had quite the cadre of obstacles to overcome on their way to bliss, and it was loads of fun to navigate and create.
Romance Narrators: What exciting audiobook projects do you have on the horizon?
Traci: I have some great ones coming up. I’ve just been tapped to narrate an autobiography of a woman who made her bones in the music industry (again, not sure if I’m allowed to shout it from the rooftops yet), and the subject matter is extraordinarily timely to say the least. I feel honored to have been chosen by her and her team to voice her journey. I just finished a really cool project for Dreamscape that was voiced by my pseudonym, and woof! Talk about sexy… most definitely. Oh, and I’m continuing a really great sci-fi/paranormal series written by D.K. Holmberg too. It’s the Book of Maladies series, and it has kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat a lot. The future is obviously still unfolding, and I am looking forward to working with some of my long-time authors and connecting with some new ones.
Romance Narrators: Where can people keep up with you online?
Links to people mentioned in interview: