Dorothy What inspired you get into narration?
Kevin I have been doing voiceover work for about 30 years now but had not done an audio book until a couple of years ago when I was unemployed and having no luck at finding a full time job in my chosen field of Radio Broadcasting.
While trying to come up with something to do for my two grown daughters for Christmas that year, my wife suggested that I could read and record one or two of the children’s Christmas books that they had grown up with. It would be something they would treasure, and that my future grandchildren could listen to years from now.
That year, I recorded “Twas the Night before Christmas” for them complete with sound effects that I created myself. As it turned out, I had a blast doing it and my kids loved it! The next year I produced their own private version of “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” and the tradition continues today.
I think it was that episode that let me know that perhaps I was looking in the wrong place for work. Maybe I needed to invest in myself, get some training and start up my own voice business. After some training with my coach Bettye Zoller in Dallas, I jumped right in and have been busy ever since.
Dorothy How long have you been an audiobook narrator?
Kevin I’ve been working steadily for the past 2 years on audio books. Before that, I was doing long form narrations for corporate presentations and that sort of thing.
Dorothy What books or projects have you narrated?
Kevin The Surviving Spouse Club – Charles Foster The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind – Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson The Ultimate Why Question: Why is There Anything At All Rather than Nothing Whatsoever – Edited by John F. Wippel
Dorothy What projects are you currently working on? The Keeper – JT Kalnay
Kevin The portal to the center of time and space secretly exists in a circle of trees in the Madawaska Highlands. The Keeper has promised to protect the secret of the portal at all costs. He has been given a diamond arrowhead with special powers to help him protect the secret. Travel through time and space with The Keeper as a series of loves threaten his promise and challenge him at every turn.
Understanding Global Trade – Elhanan Helpman a thorough explanation of what shapes the international organization of production and distribution and the resulting trade flows. It reviews the evolution of knowledge in this field from Adam Smith to today as a process of theoretical modeling, accumulation of new empirical data, and then revision of analytical frameworks in response to evidence and changing circumstances
Dorothy How do you approach a new project? Do you read the book first and make stylistic choices?
Kevin I try to learn about the author and the book itself. I have some standards that I want to maintain when associating myself with a book. While not being a prude about anything, I tend to shy away from those that contain the more graphic language and vivid descriptions of sex and violence. In other words, I try to find projects that match my own interests and style. I have actually passed on a couple of projects that just did not seem to be a good fit for me.
Dorothy Does your approach change depending upon the genre?
Kevin Absolutely, I started out reading a Christian based “self-help” title, then a more emotionally charged book dealing with the topic of Abortion. My next project was philosophy, and now I’m working on a novel as well as a financial history book of sorts. Each of those must be approached differently. Keeping in mind the person or persons who will be hearing the finished project.
Dorothy Does the author have any say in how you narrate their work?
Kevin I am in constant contact with the author with whom I am currently working. He is a tremendous resource for making character voice choices and making sure I am getting the “feel” for the story that he wants to convey. He is not there to nitpick every word and each inflection, but it does help to have his input for the overall big picture.
Dorothy What is your favorite book?
Kevin To Kill a Mockingbird.
Dorothy What is your favorite of those you have narrated?
Kevin That is a hard question to answer with only a few titles to my credit so far. Each one has its own merits, but if I had to choose, I would say I am really enjoying working on “The Keeper” by JT Kalnay. It is giving me an opportunity to develop my talents at creating characters and maintaining them throughout the story as they come and go. It is a big challenge to keep it all straight.
Dorothy What is the most challenging thing about being a narrator?
Kevin Odd that this is the next question and I did not look ahead. Keeping the character voices straight in my head is perhaps the biggest challenge for me. Aside from that it is maintaining consistency in the audio quality and the quality of my voice as I record. I try to make it sound as if I did it all in one sitting, but we all know that is not the case.
Dorothy Do you have any advice for people considering becoming an audiobook narrator?
Kevin Get a coach who knows the industry. Work with them. Explore your own interests and find what you have a passion for when reading for fun or entertainment, and then read aloud as often as possible!
Dorothy Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? A website or blog?
Kevin You can hear samples of my work at www.kevincharlesvoice.com or check out my audio books available on audible.com, Amazon and iTunes.