Welcome to our new Narrator Spotlight feature articles. Each article will highlight the work of an audiobook narrator as they answer our questions about their careers.
Our first audiobook narrator interview is with Dan Boice.
Dorothy; What inspired you get into narration?
Dan Boice; I have had a need to read articles and news stories aloud to my friends and family for years. So this finally developed into a circling of this career field from recording IVR up-front messaging while working in the telecommunications industry. My favorite author posted an open casting for his short story work to be voiced. I submitted a few short recordings and ended up the highest seller.
Dorothy; How long have you been an audiobook narrator?
Dan Boice; Not long enough, ha ha. I recorded short stories in 2010-2011, and completed both my first novella and novel in audio this summer.
Dorothy; What books or projects have you narrated?
The short stories I voiced for the open call have been taken down but may reappear in another format soon. I have also provided a voice for a new iPhone game “Geronimo Joe”.
Dorothy; What projects are you currently working on?
Dan Boice; Auditions, auditions, auditions, for both fiction and non-fiction.
Dorothy; How do you approach a new project? Do you read the book first and make stylistic choices?
Dan Boice; I have a bookshelf of unread material I have kept for years, intending to read for leisure one of these days, so my projects are works that I would like to read for personal interest and be able to produce something out of. A two birds, one stone, sort of thing.
I always read the book thoroughly and take notes as I go of interesting phrases, difficult words, and ages, accents, sexes, etc. to prepare myself for how the book should sound to the listener.
Dorothy; Does your approach change depending upon the genre?
Dan Boice; Absolutely. If the work is intended as satire it should sound completely different than the thriller novel I completed this summer. Mysteries and thrillers should be brooding and mysterious, while non-fiction should be informative and neutral-sounding to convey the information. Each genre should have a different approach for the performer.
Dorothy; Does the author have any say in how you narrate their work?
Dan Boice; My work has come through ACX where the author gets to approve the first 15 minutes to make sure the narrator has matched the tone, pace, and sound of the work. If they approve of it, you’re set. If not, you have to re-do it based on their direction.
Dorothy; What are your favorite books?
Dan Boice; “The Wolf’s Hour” by Robert R. McCammon and “Everybody Pays” by Andrew Vachss.
Dorothy; What is your favorite of those you have narrated?
Dan Boice; Since I only have a few, I’d say I’m proudest of “Hunting Delilah”. I did two-dozen voices and really stretched myself to record and produce the whole thing. It was such a daunting and rewarding task all at once.
Dorothy; What is the most challenging thing about being a narrator?
Dan Boice; Finding voices for all the characters within a back-and-forth dialogue and making them sound unique, and realistic in delivering their dialogue.
Dorothy; Do you have any advice for people considering becoming an audiobook narrator?
Dan Boice; Practice, practice, practice. Read everything aloud, road signs, articles, closed captioning on TV, etc.
All those voices you imitated on Saturday morning cartoons, and playing make-believe as kids, keep them around. It’ll help you when you have to find a voice to a character that may only have three things to say but when you have to make them stand out, you’ll have something to draw on.
Dorothy; Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? A website or blog?
Dan Boice; It’s amazing how many words you think you know how to pronounce until you are forced to give voice to them via a script in front of you. I’ve seen words in print a dozen times but never had anyone use them in conversation. So learn how to pronounce things properly.
I can say I haven’t recorded enough to offer much through a blog at this time, as most of my time is still spent auditioning and practicing. But I thank the readers for their interest and I foresee lots of books being published on audio and e-versions simultaneously in the future. Thanks for your time. www.boicevoice.com
Dorothy; Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Dan. We hope you enjoyed a look inside the world of audiobook narration. Be sure to check back for new interviews with narrators of all kinds of audiobooks! This ongoing feature will shine the spotlight on the unsung heroes of audiobooks, the narrator.