Dorothy; What inspired you get into narration?
Kevin; I migrated into audiobook narration from the world of voice-overs. I learned about and connected with various audiobook narrators via the voice-over social media sphere.
I began to listen to their work and admire their craft as someone who has been on their side of the sound booth glass. I became an avid listener and was inspired by all the good works out there to jump into this slice of voice acting.
Dorothy; How long have you been an audiobook narrator?
Kevin; I have dabbled in all sorts of narration formats for over a decade; however, I’m relatively new to audiobook narration, having performed my first audiobook just three years ago.
Dorothy; What books or projects have you narrated?
Kevin; In addition to long-form e-learning projects that were both textbook and classroom based, I have narrated one fiction and three non-fiction audiobook titles. My first was a really entertaining financial book for new college graduates (Financial Mistakes of New College Grads by Joe Templin).
The author and I collaborated on the audiobook project, co-writing an amusing introduction, and he provided some of the ancillary voices throughout. We recorded in the depths of a building on the author’s alma mater campus in a catacomb-like studio.
It was a blast, including the campus pub refreshments after long hours of recording. My second title, was my first foray into fiction, and was equally as exciting to narrate.
“Moonbane” is a fast-paced apocalyptic werewolf science-fiction thriller by award-winning author Al Sarrantonio. It’s a fantastically written book with a great story that was been a blast to perform. My two other titles are: Be Good to Yourself and Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action that Changed America. Be Good to Yourself is a classic self-help book originally published in 1920, by the founder of Success Magazine, Orison Swett Marden and now edited for a contemporary audience by Ross Books. Occupying Wall Street provides an insider view of the early months of the progressive movement that began in New York City and has now spread throughout the world.
Dorothy; What projects are you currently working on?
Kevin; I am in between audiobook projects right now, filling my time with a podcast project, voicing a computer character in an independent film, and auditions, and more auditions
Dorothy; How do you approach a new project? Do you read the book first and make stylistic choices?
Kevin; For fiction titles, I read the entire book first, taking notes on the story arc and personality traits and backgrounds of each character. I make stylistic choices and pacing notations through this process. It’s also at this time that I research pronunciations and accents. I draw upon my years of experience as a mental health therapist when developing characters. I get into the psyche of the characters and pull from memorable clients as I embrace the author’s intentions for each character.
Dorothy; Does your approach change depending upon the genre?
Kevin; Yes. I usually do more preparation for fiction titles than for non-fiction works. For non-fiction, I usually read a small set of chapters in preparation for a single recording session, marking up the text as I read for pacing, emphasis, and characterizations as needed.
Dorothy; Does the author have any say in how you narrate their work?
Kevin; This has varied for me across projects. Some authors and publishers want to be heavily involved and others just provide their expectations up front and let the narrator do their work. I have experienced the full range of author and publisher involvement. Each method works provided there is clear communication and a good working relationship established from the beginning.
Dorothy; What is your favorite book?
Kevin; That is a tough question. An easier question would be favorite narrator: Scott Brick (You’re Next and A Pleasure to Burn are two great titles of his). My favorite book, considering both author and narrator, is a tie: Room by Emma Donoghue, performed by multiple narrators and The Help by Kathryn Stockett, performed by multiple narrators. Both of these titles were moving and enhanced by the various voices cast into the performance.
Dorothy; What is your favorite of those you have narrated?
Kevin; Moonbane in my favorite title. It’s not just an ordinary apocalyptic adventure novel; it has depth, it’s about relationships and personal sacrifice. Plus, the ending is stunning.
Dorothy; What is the most challenging thing about being a narrator?
Kevin; The long, grueling hours in the studio are the most challenging aspect of audiobook narration. Maintaining the same energy level and delivery over a long period of time, while also keeping your voice in good working order is a difficult. Also, fighting to stay healthy and keep allergies at bay while recording over a period of weeks can also be a challenge.
Dorothy; Do you have any advice for people considering becoming an audiobook narrator?
Kevin; I’d offer a three pronged approach: listen to audiobooks, get formal training and practice by recreating segments the works of top narrators.
Dorothy; Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Kevin; I’m an avid runner, but its music playing on my iPod, not audiobooks, when I’m out for a run. I just can’t run to cadence of the spoken word.
Dorothy; A website or blog?
Kevin; Sure, my website can be found here: http://www.kevinsvoice.com/