Podcast Episode 81: Behind-the-Scenes of Narrating Audiobooks with Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan


In Episode 81, audiobook narrator Julia Whelan goes behind-the-scenes of narrating audiobooks.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).


  • How Julia started narrating audiobooks and a bit about her career path.
  • How Julia got her breakout job narrating Gone Girl.
  • How Julia typically gets hired to narrate an audiobook.
  • How Julia decides which audiobooks she will and won’t narrate.
  • How many audiobooks Julia narrates a year.
  • Authors whose books she would love to record.
  • Types of books Julia generally won’t narrate.
  • How audiobook narration auditions look.
  • How much authors are involved in the recording contract.
  • Julia’s favorite author to narrate for.
  • Julia’s process from when she gets hired to narrate a book through completion.
  • How involved the author is in Julia’s preparation process.
  • How Julia feels about narrating books written by men (and why she mostly narrates books written by women).
  • How Julia feels about narrating male voices, accents, and memoirs (and details about narrating Educated by Tara Westover).
  • How the increase in celebrity narrators has impacted the audiobook narration industry.
  • Julia’s personal reading taste.

Julia’s Book Recommendations [36:53]

Two OLD Books She Loves

Two NEW Books She Loves

One Book She DIDN’T LOVE

One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About

Last 5 Star Book(s) Julia Read [48:56]

Other Books Mentioned

Other Links

About Julia

Julia WhelanWebsite | Instagram | Twitter

Having narrated over 400 audiobooks in all genres, Whelan is, by industry standards, considered one of the top narrators recording today. She’s repeatedly featured on Audiofile Magazine’s annual Best-Of Lists. She was named Audible’s Narrator of the Year in 2014 and is a Grammy-nominated audiobook director. She has acquired multiple Audies and SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts) Awards, including for the performance of her own novel, My Oxford Year. She has won dozens of Earphone Awards, The Audie Award for Best Female Narrator of 2019, and was presented with Audiofile Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Golden Voice Award in 2020. She attributes her distinctive style of narration to her ongoing passion for literature fueled by her decades of acting experience.

Next Episode

There will not be a new episode next week since the podcast is on a bi-weekly schedule.

The following week, JoAnne Tompkins (author of the debut novel What Comes After) will be joining me (airing April 28).

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  1. Adrienne wrote:

    This was a super interesting interview. For those that want to learn about the nitty gritty of recording an audiobook, there is a FANTASTIC interview with Jim Dale about creating the Harry Potter audiobooks. A completely different experience than you guest had.


    Posted 4.20.21 Reply
  2. Lindsay wrote:

    Such a great episode! Julia Whelan is my favorite narrator and I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes info about recording audiobooks.

    Posted 4.22.21 Reply

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