On June 12, 2020, the audiobook edition of Isaac Thorne’s horror novel The Gordon Place, performed by Sean Duregger, won the Horror category of the 2020 Independent Audiobook Awards (IAA). The hardback, paperback, and ebook editions of the novel premiered in April 2019. The audiobook edition followed a mere three months later.
“Sean and I had been connected on social media for a while when he reached out to me to audition,” Thorne said. “I’d put out a call for auditions for the audiobook after having contacted and been turned down by several well-known names in audiobook narration. Sean was just getting started in his audiobook narrator journey then, but he simply nailed his audition. The Independent Audiobook Award nomination for horror was proof enough of that, but his awarding of the category is the icing on the cake.”
He points out that Duregger’s performance of The Gordon Place was pitted against four audiobooks by more established narrators in the genre, any of whom could have been a natural selection for the award. The full list of nominees in the horror category included all of the following:
- Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz, performed by Matt Godfrey
- Rend: Washington Dead City, Book II by Brian Parker, performed by Andrew B. Wehrlen
- Sever: Washington Dead City, Book III by Brian Parker, performed by Andrew B. Wehrlen
- Some Can See: A Northern Michigan Asylum Novel by J.R. Erickson, performed by Allyson Voller
- The Gordon Place by Isaac Thorne, performed by Sean Duregger
“I’m proud that Sean chose his work on my book to submit for the award,” he continued. “And I’m thrilled as hell that his performance took home the award. The next Lost Hollow novel is currently in the process of being translated from my head to my fingertips. When it comes time to do the audiobook for it, I’ll be reaching out to Sean first.”
Thorne added that Sean’s variety of characterization when performing The Gordon Place is one of the most wonderful aspects of the audiobook.
“Most of the narrators that auditioned saw ‘Southern’ in the performance parameters and immediately went Foghorn Leghorn for their readings,” he explained. “Sean didn’t do that. He gave each character a unique voice so that each one is believably from Tennessee without being a caricature. Patsy Blankenship is the only character that has a pronounced accent, but she’s a total Southern Belle from Georgia, and it’s appropriate that she sounds that way.”
For his part, Duregger posted on social media about having won the award moments after he watched it occur on the IAA feed.
“I am legitimately shocked!” he exclaimed. “I was up against some major talent. Narrators I look up to and absolutely adore. Really, I’m just happy to be among the amazing talents of Matt Godfrey, Andrew Wehrlen, and Allyson Voller. You all are just incredible and inspiring.”
The full IAA 2020 program is available for viewing on Vimeo. The Horror category award occurs at the 52:32 mark in the program. Prolific audiobook narrator Luke Daniels presented the Horror category.