Image from APA (www.audiopub.org)
June is Audiobook month (JIAM 2013). The audiobook community is giving back by teaming with the Going Public Project by offering a serialized audio story collection. All proceeds will go to Reach Out and Read literacy advocacy organization. Throughout June, 1-2 stories will be released each day on the Going Public blog and on author/book blogs. The story will be free (online only – no downloads) for one week. In collaboration with Blackstone Audio, all the stories will be available for download via Downpour. The full compilation will be ready June 30th.
The full schedule of the story release dates and narrators are at Going Public. Engineering and Mastering are provided by Jeffrey Kafer and SpringBrook Audio. Graphic design provided by f power design and published by Blackstone Audio. Project coordination and executive production by Xe Sands. (written by Mary Freeman)
I am so pleased to welcome Luke Daniels to the blog! Many of you already know Luke as the voice of the Iron Druid Chronicles and you’ve told me how much you enjoy his work. I’m fantastically lucky to have him narrating the series.
Hailing from a family of performers, Luke Daniels is an audiobook narrator with close to 200 books recorded. In 2012, Audible named Luke Narrator of the Year. He has been Audie nominated twice and won several Earphones Awards. Luke is also a classically trained actor and has performed professionally for theatres throughout the US, As well as in many television, radio, and film roles.
Luke’s free story and my interview with him are below, and there’s a whole bunch of other great stuff for you to explore during Audiobook Month. I mean lookit: Yesterday there was this spiffy story over at Devourer of Books and tomorrow there will be two spiffy things out there on the Interwebs, one at Bermuda Onion and another at Lakeside Musing. And Luke, the man himself, has a post up at the Going Public site.
Luke recorded a fairy tale of about forty minutes in length that you can stream for free here for a week!
LD: Ahhhhhh…. Lets see. Well, ya wanna know a secret? I don’t really eat any more while I record. I find it keeps my focus sharper. When I eat during a recording session I get kinda logy*, and well, burpy. *editor’s note: did you know this word is pronounced “low-gee.” I always said “lah-gee.” Until I started narrating that is. You would be AMAZED how many words I’ve discovered I pronounced incorrectly all my life. Editor’s note, out. Shoot. While writing the editor’s note (spoiler alert! Yes! I am the aforementioned “editor!”) I forgot the question. Bear with me… Ok. I’m back. Sooooo… It takes about three grueling, mind numbing days… Just kidding… About it being grueling… Not about the three days. I usually start about 8:30. Record a couple of hours. Take a fifteen. Then another couple hours. Then I drink some juice for lunch.* *editor’s note: I should be clear. I have gotten into juicing. (The kind with fruits and veggies. Not tiny wieners.) So I will juice a bunch of stuff in the morning then drink that throughout the day to keep my energy up and to dampen any rumbly empty tummy noises. Editor’s note, out. After lunch I record another couple of hours. Take a break. Then usually another hour and a half to two hours and I. am. done-zo. And then… Well, I eat my weight in whatever I can find…
LD: Thank you techno gods for the all mighty IPad! It has made my life soooooo much easier. Before I used have to carry this with me wherever I went.
Now, using the iPad, I read and mark-up a digital script ahead of time; then narrate from the iPad in the studio. (We used to have to try and mask the noise of turning pages while recording. Now there’s a lost art!) When I mark up a script beforehand I am looking at characters and trying to get a feel for tone and the writer’s rhythm, or voice. I find yours very easy to slip into. Your writing flows well which makes a book much easier to narrate. Now pardon me while I wipe this brown shmutz off my nose…..
KH: Heh! Do you have secret recipes for voice-soothing teas that you drink to preserve your voice? How about exotic salves or unguents that you apply each night to your throat? Maybe a dodgy ritual involving honey and eucalyptus? Burnt offerings of chamomile to a stone idol?
LD: Whiskey. Whiskey. And whiskey… Seriously I only narrate when I’m completely knackered. And naked, for that matter. Yeah it’s messy, but whatever gets the job done, right!? Ok so to seriously answer your question. Neti Pots are fab if I’m coming down with something. I live in Michigan and during our nine-month long winters I have to work hard not to get colds, cause they can really make recording difficult, if not impossible. Other than that I like hot water with lemon and honey. Simple. Good.
KH: Have you ever ululated? I’ve always wanted to ask you that. If so, what effect did it have on those around you? Were they frightened? Uplifted? Stricken by a sense of existential despair because they can’t ululate as well as you?
LD: Great big bears! I just listened to this lady do it on YouTube and my dog about pooped his pants. (Yeah he wears pants! He’s not a savage! sheesh.) That lady was freakin loud! Umm..so, I actually have done this. Or a version of it. I went to grad school for theatre and performance, so lets just say our voice classes were FULL of not just ululating, but undulating, convulsing, and all manner of vocal AND physical quivering. Yeah. Grad school was awesome.
KH: Do you have a dream project or five—some work you’d like to have a crack at narrating?
LD: I would love to record some Shakespeare. Both with a full cast and solo. His language is so aural it really translates well to an audio based medium. That’s why I relish Leif and Atticus’ Shakespearean jousting. I did some Cliffs Notes audiobooks and a few of them were Shakespeare. Lets just say, I’m pretty sure whenever they included a direct quote from the text I shmacted the hell out of it. Other than the bard, I’d like to do more full-cast recordings and radio plays. I would loooooove to revive The Shadow series. (Minus the incredibly racist overtones.) I would like to do a podcast. Omg! What about an IDC podcast!? Then special “wacky” guests can visit! Genius! My five-year old self is all about it. And since that 5 year old self is really my everyday self, I say let’s do it!
KH: You give distinct voices to quite a few characters in my series, and some of them have specific accents. Lots of people are interested in how you develop those. Are these accents coming naturally to you, or are you coaching yourself somehow, and if so, how?
LD: I’m lucky that I have a good ear for them. It’s also something I’ve always been interested in. As a kid I was always doing voices and coming up with characters. Some that I still use in books today. I remember I used to record my own radio shows at home with different “wacky” guests. I also used to fall asleep at night listening on my Walkman to old radio dramas like The Shadow and Superman. I’m pretty sure that had a big effect on me as well. Even now I’m constantly listening to people’s voices and trying to mimic them. Try this, next time you’re watching TV close your eyes and just listen to the voices. You’ll be surprised. A lot of people sound more different than you think. A lot of people sound like Muppets. But when I’m coming up with characters for a book I’m trying to find a natural tone that will support the character the author has established. A lot of it is playing intention too. If you discover what the character wants, what they are trying to do in the scene, it will naturally inform your voice. Plus, good writers, yes K-Hernia I’m including you in that statement, write dialogue that suits the particular character speaking it. Again, I thank you for making my job EZ
KH: Do you read the story in sequence, switching back and forth between the voices, or do you read in pieces and then splice it together?
LD: Sequence. Start to finish. Cover to cover, so to speak. I actually really enjoy the switching back and forth in the moment. I think it speaks to my, shall we say… Diverse mercurial nature? (that’s a euphemism for multiple personality disorder.)
KH: What character from IDC is the most difficult to voice? What character is the most fun for you to narrate?
LD: Sometimes the Morrigan could strain the ol’ vocal chords a bit. But I tried to create her sound from a looseness in my throat, as opposed to tension and clamping down on things, because that can lead to strain and damage. As for the character that is the most fun? Really, Special-K? Ya gotta ask!? I think we alllllllllll know that our big, furry friend gives me a particularly potent delight. But I will say, even though there hasn’t been much of him, yet, I looooooooove monsieur Loki. I think the IDCers need to demand an Oberon novella, AND I would like a Loki novella. In first person. Holy shnikes! Do you know how awesome that would be!? So there ya go. More work for you. You’re welcome.
KH: You narrate other work, of course, besides the IDC. What’s coming up for you soon? What should people look for?
LD: Ooooooooooo! Lots of goodies! I’ve got a Lauren D Estleman novel coming out called THE CONFESSIONS OF AL CAPONE. Fabulous book! Plus I get to play an aging, syphillitic Al Capone, as well as narrate several chapters from his perspective! So there’s that. Lets see, there’s a lil’ book called HUNTED… OH! And I’ve got a Dean Koontz kids’ book called Oddkins coming out! That one was a blast and I’m particularly proud of the voices. Think Toy Story meets The Fantastic Mr.Fox. I’m also getting ready to record a new zombie series called Rise of the Horde by Devan Sagliani. Aaaaaaand there’s another couple cool series I do in addition to IDC if ya wants some fun summer listening and ya hate having to wait for more Atticus and Oberon. Speaking of Atticus, I do the Atticus Fish series by Sean Morey, starting with Wahoo Rhapsody, which I won an Earphones Award for. And the Edward series from Craig Lancaster starting with 600 hours of Edward, which I won an Earphones Award for. I also did a collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s unpublished short stories, for which I won an Earphones Award, as well. (Can you sense my head swelling to ridiculous proportions?) If you like mystery there’s the Mathew Hope series by Ed McBain. Now that dude could write. If you like Sci-Fi I’ve done a bunch of PK Dick, but my fave was DEUS IRAE which he wrote with Roger Zelazny. Oh! and I can’t forget the Jason Kolarich series by David Ellis. Just finished recording his latest and it may be my favorite so far. There’s the Mongoliad series with many different “sidequests” (which are novellas within the mongoliad universe). The Dead Man series is good, gritty horror. Plus I like that they are short story collections cause you get a lot of different great authors in one package. I’ll be recording volume 5 in July. (I especially like them because my brother James Daniels wrote a couple, AND he narrates them. So you can hear both of us on the same audiobook!) Oh I could go on and on… Is anyone even still reading at this point!? Kevin! Hey, Kevin!! Put down those boar sausages! We’re trying to do an interview here!
KH: Sausages down. Cool! And will you tell us a bit about this short you’ve recorded for Audiobook Month?
LD: Undoubtedly! It’s for a great cause! Child literacy! Going Public in Shorts is the brainchild of Xe Sands, a fabulous narrator and producer. I am very lucky to be invited in with so much incredible talent. All the narrators involved were asked to pick a short story from the public domain and produce it. Then it will be released as a collection and all proceeds go to Reach Out and Read. For my story, I picked a kewl fairy tale from Andrew Lang’s Orange Fairy book. Complete with talking toads, lion fairies, a dashing prince, a cunning princess, a noble queen, sea serpents, Magic and some pretty trippy locales. Enjoy!
KH: Thanks again, Luke. Looking forward to your future work!
LD: Let me just say… Thank you, Kevin. You really are a rare and fantastic author. I am honored to work with you. Now c’mon over here an give Oberon a big sloppy kiss!
KH: DOG PILE!