Howdy there, Blogosphere! Today I have a special treat for you. But first a quick update. I've begun working on the final draft of Interstellar Dad, which I'm hoping to have done by January 7th. We'll see how it goes. I'll make sure to keep you posted!
Second, my audio producer and I have completed the production of the audio book for Optical Osmosis. We're just waiting for ACX, the company we've gone through to produce the audio book, to validate Optical so we can have it on sale. The site says it'll be upwards of 14 to 20 business days. Based on this, it looks like it might be ready in time for Christmas Eve. If not, well I guess Interstellar Dad will have an audio cousin joining it on the promotional circuit come the start of 2014.
Now for that treat I mentioned! Recently, I sent a few questions to my audio producer, Robert DeVoe. For length purposes, today will be the first of two installments. So without further ado, here's Robert!
1. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Robert. How did you get become an audio producer?
I think that for starters, when I read a book, I always hear a voice in my head. That could be either the narrator voice, which of course is usually my own voice, or a character voice with specific speech traits. When I'm doing an audio book, what I do is first read through the material to get a feel for it, and through that process I just sort of "hear" the voices in my head, and then reproduce them.
For Optical Osmosis, it was very easy for me to choose voices for Greg and Serenity. It was clear from the start that Greg was an out of work construction worker who lives his life coffee cup to coffee cup, and has a sort of loner mentality at least towards people outside of his social circle. As such, I put together a voice that was deep and strong but also careless and passive sounding, which really doesn't change much until later in the story when he needs to do more to take charge of his life. Serenity would be this sort of husky, breathy, mystical woman who takes her own words very seriously and speaks a little like she imagines she is royalty.
The voice I enjoyed doing the most for Optical Osmosis was definitely Flint. For him I built an arrogant surfer dude hipster mixed with an 80's valley girl accent to give his voice that bite that just makes you want to punch him after every single word he says. Now when I hear recordings of myself reading in Flint's voice, I have a hard time even thinking of it as something that came out of my own mouth. I had a little trouble coming up with the voice of Butri. I figured I had no chance of really making a believable Thai accent, so I just came up with this voice that had these really odd cadences and speed shifts and was kind of sing-songy, and oddly enough it came out really good!
As far as the hardest voice I ever did, I recently did a book called The Nacogdoches Trail, which is a Western that takes place in Texas. As you can imagine, it was full of Texas accents. I needed to voice a character named Morris Birdwell, and it took me quite a few days of experimenting to give him a voice that sounded tough and strong, but also loveable and friendly, and most importantly, Texan! The other issue was that he needed to sound distinctly different than any other voice I had done for the project. I solved the problem by talking out of the side of my mouth, which made the character sound a bit more weathered and experienced. My author was from Texas, so he was able to approve my accents, so at least that made me feel better about getting the accent at least mostly right.
3. Okay, I’ve just got to know this. What was it about Optical Osmosis, or any other book for that matter, that made you audition to be the narrator for it?
What attracts me to a book is simply this: If I saw it in a book store, would I pick it up and look at it more closely? I thought the catchy title, as well as the great cover art by S.A. Hunt (Whose novel I'm reading now in my spare time) just makes a great combo to get people interested in it, including myself. Once I'm sufficiently interested, then I'll go into the actual audition text to get a feel for the writing style and see if it fits with how I like to read, and that it's not loaded with mistakes.
Stay tuned for the second part of my interview with Robert, coming up tomorrow!