Etta: The Audio Book

Preeeesenting the Audio Book
Listen to a Sample and Where to Buy
Interview Between the Author and Kirsten Potter, Narrator

As Buffalo Bill might say, "preeeesenting the audio version of Gerald Kolpan's novel, Etta!"

Blackstone Audio, one of the country's premiere producers of audio books, has produced this exciting sound edition. Whether you're at home, in the car, on a plane or on the road, now you can follow the exciting adventures of Etta, Butch, Sundance and the various villains complete and unabridged.

Listen to a Sample, Purchase the Audio Book!

Blackstone's Etta is available in four convenient formats: 1 mp3 CD, seven cassette tapes, the eight CD retail edition, and the eight CD library edition. Listen to a sample here:


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An Interview with Kirsten Potter:

The noted actress, Kirsten Potter, reads the audio version of Etta. Kirsten, based in Los Angeles, has a long list of credits including movies and television shows such as Judging Amy, Bones and Medium. Theater is Kirsten's first love and she continues to appear in stage productions throughout the country. As a voice actor, Kirsten has read for audio books such as The Snowball, Major Barbara and Proust and the Squid. She also keeps very busy providing characters for animated cartoons and video games.

Since the author himself had no idea how an actor actually prepares for and approaches an audio book, Gerald Kolpan put on his reporter hat and talked to Kirsten about recording Etta.

Gerald Kolpan: In addition to acting in films and on stage and Kirsten PotterTV, you're a well-known and busy voice actor. You do everything from audio books to commercials and cartoons...even video games. What was it like to read Etta?

Kirsten Potter: Recording Etta held several unique challenges. First, there was the daunting prospect of voicing such famous historical figures. What did Butch Cassidy or Buffalo Bill sound like? And did I dare try to recreate the sound of Eleanor Roosevelt's distinctive voice? When I record a book, the premise I always try to keep in mind is that my primary role in this process is to tell the story. It can't be a theatrical performance, or a showy one-woman demonstration of vocal prowess (although I do think my Della Rose was pretty good!). My job is to tell the story as clearly and engagingly as possible. And when you have a story as colorful as this one, you don't want to get in its way.

GK: So with all that to think about, how do you approach the various voices? Do you do different characters or is it more subtle?

KP: With each one, I tried to give a suggestion of a character's regional background where it was appropriate. For instance, I'd try to suggest Eleanor's regality and education, or Sundance's rural upbringing, but I didn't attempt to actually portray these people as I would onstage. For that we'll have wait for the film version of your book!

GK: May there be one. Still, this couldn't have been easy. Etta isn't written in the traditional novel form. How did you reconcile all those telegrams and diaries and little pieces of paper I threw in?

KP: That was the second challenge. The manuscript is peppered with newspaper articles and letters and diary entries and inter-office detective memos. When you actually read them, they establish a context immediately, and I felt the listener deserved the same experience from the audio book. So when these sections arose I utilized a voice that I thought suggested each format. For the newspapers I applied a tone reminiscent of the old movie newsreels of the 30's and 40's. I knew they didn't come around until well after when the book is set, but it I think it gives the listener an immediately recognizable idea. For Etta's diary I adopted a softer, more intimate tone; and the detective memos got just a hint of our most famous detective - Sam Spade. Again, the idea was not to get in the way of the text, but to give the listener the same shift aurally from listening to the audio book that the reader is offered visually when reading it.

GK: Ok, we've discussed what was hard. What was the most fun about reading this magnum opus of mine?

KP: The most fun part of the recording for me was of course, playing Etta herself. Stepping inside to voice her as she talks her way out of a jam or holds up a train or consoles the future First Lady was a role-playing joy ride; and I'm grateful to you and to Blackstone for letting me run. It was well worth the effort to get the chance to ride along on such a vibrant romp.