I completely lucked out when the talented actress, Gabra Zackman was assigned to narrate all my Study books (and my Healer books as well). I remember getting a phone call from the producer. Gabra was about to record Poison Study and wanted to know how to pronounce some of the names. Right there was my first clue of Gabra's professionalism and attention to detail. Because of her, my audio books are very popular and sell well.  And when I heard her voice telling Yelena's story for the very first time, I got goose bumps!

When I first met Gabra in New York City, I had a total fan girl moment! We had a drink together and it turned into a mutual love fest that has deepened into a wonderful friendship.  I still have the postcard she signed for me!  Last January, I had the pleasure of watching her work and I recorded an introduction to Shadow Study (narrating a book is HARD work! I hadn't realized just how much went into it - I must have recorded my intro about five times before everyone was happy with the results).

Please welcome Gabra Zackman!

For Maria, To Celebrate Ten Years of Poison Study:

I first came into contact with Maria’s work at the very beginning of my career as a narrator with Audible.  I had been an audiobook narrator for 2-3 years at that point, but mostly recorded only non-profit work through the National Library Service For the Blind.  (It was early enough in the business that we still called them “books on tape” :) I was called in to audition for Audible, and my very first job was to record Poison Study.  In short:  I completely fell in love with it.

I find it’s rare as a narrator to have a completely personal relationship with our books…usually we connect to pieces of them: the characters, the language, the genre, the rhythms.  But with Poison Study I felt like I had fallen in love with the book in its entirety.  I remember telling both my producer and director that I was experiencing something very new for me in the field of audiobook narration: I was going to miss it when it was over!  I had become so attached to the characters that I felt like I lived inside their world for the week I recorded the book.  That’s a valuable lesson to learn as a narrator, and Maria’s book taught it to me:  to love the story as though it were my own.

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of recording both the Soulfinders Series as well as the Healer Series.  And I’ve had the same experience with every single book: I’ve fallen in love with Maria’s characters, her words, her stories.  Right now I’m in the midst of reading a book Maria sent me as a gift: Inside Out/ Outside In is an entirely different kind of work for Maria—and I’ve had the same experience.  I am inexorably drawn into the worlds she creates, the depth of her imagination, her powerful gifts as a storyteller as well as her strong female protagonists and effortless sparks of romance.  I am, in a word, transported.

Some years ago I finally got to meet Maria, and have had a beautiful friendship with her since.  We had coffee with her daughter in New York when they came to visit, and recently we had the privilege of her sitting in on a recording session of Shadow Study (the fourth in the Soulfinders Series) and then going out to dinner together.  I find Maria is just like her books: she is filled with charm, enthusiasm, wit and adventure.  When I spend time with her, as with her stories, it is like being around an old friend.

I count myself so lucky that one of my earliest experiences in my career was with such a prolific and generous writer.  And as it was my first recording experience for Audible, it makes it that much more special.  I’m thrilled to celebrate ten years of Poison Study…and even more thrilled to celebrate Maria for all the years of beautiful stories, of magical adventures, and many many more to come!

Cheers, Maria!  Cheers to you, to your characters, to your stories.  I am always going to be one of your biggest fans!

Xoxo Gabra

And I'm one your biggest fans as well, Gabra - thanks for the lovely blog post.

Please find Gabra at the following links:
GAME ON, book one of the series, out NOW
ALL IN, book two, out NOW
DOUBLE DOWN, book three, forthcoming January 2016


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