Interview with the Narrator:
|Tell us about yourself--what you do for a living (do you narrate audiobooks full time or have other means of income)?
My full time calling is Christian radio. Iíve been involved in Christian radio for over 30 years now. Most of that time at the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Broadcasting in Chicago. Iím the Program Manager for the Moody Network and I love creating radio programs but I also love hosting radio programs. I host a number of programs here at Moody (PROCLAIM! with Dr. Joe Stowell, OPEN LINE) but I also have the privilege of hosting other national programs like JOSH MCDOWELL RADIO, WALK IN THE WORD with James McDonald, THE WINNING WALK with Dr. Ed Young, and IN THE STUDIO with Michael Card. The recording of books on tape is something of a side thing for me. Most of my audiobook work is through Oasis Audio in Wheaton, IL, and Tyndale House Publishers.
How did you get into radio and what youíre doing now?
I have known since I was a small child that God wanted me in radio, I just didnít know what it was going to be. I have just always felt attracted to radio and loved radio. As I grew and chose a college and then a career, God just kept opening doors for me to be in radio. I started in college radio actually and then came to Moody in 1974 and have been in one place all this time. Itís been a dream assignment. Iíve traveled the world doing radio reports and developing programs. I enjoy it very much.
What are some of the challenges you faced being a narrator or doing narrations? Are there different challenges for each style and genre of book? (ie. Fiction/Non-fiction, third-person/first person)?
I really feel that my specialty would be non-fiction. Iíve done some fiction, but I really try to steer towards the non-fiction. Thatís where my personal tastes lie. Projects like ďHow Now Shall We Live?Ē by Chuck Colson, and ďBoysĒ by Dr. James Dobson, are right up my alley and are the kind of books I really enjoy, the biblical world view kind of books.
Challenges? I canít really think of too many, but I do want to capture the nuance of the writer and make sure it comes through cleanly and is communicated precisely. Itís not difficultólots of people like to read, itís just happens that God seems to have given me a voice that people enjoy to listen to.
|How many audiobooks have you narrated?
I donít know for certain, but I would imagine it is in the vicinity of 20-25.
What are some of the "behind the scenes" parts of the production that you liked? Disliked?
The pronunciation of words is always a challenge. Especially words where there are 2-3 acceptable pronunciations and it doesnít matter which way you go with it, somebody is going to write and say, ďWell, I think you mispronounced it. I think it should be this way.Ē Weíre not always perfect at it, but that would be the hardest challenge.
I actually use a computer software program that pronounces the words in the dictionary. You can read the phonetic pronunciation in print, but if you can actually hear someone say it, itís a lot easier to pick up. Thatís my cheat sheetóto have the computer software that speaks the dictionary to me.
How long does it take you to complete a narration in the studio?
A typical book would be around six to eight hours total time. Thatís just laying down audio, it doesnít include the post-production and the editing.
Did you meet the author or receive any feedback from the author?
Yes. I have talked to several of the authors. Tim LaHaye always walks up to me and calls me, ďThe Voice.Ē Iíve done a couple of Timís books, most recently a book on marriage. Actually because I interview a lot of people on the radio, Iíve met most of the people that Iíve read books for.
How did you feel once you have heard the finished product?
Oh my goodness! That self-critique thingóweíre hardest on ourselvesóis true. I will listen to parts of it in order to improve next time, but I canít subject myself to the torture, sitting down and listening to whole thing.
Any new projects on the horizon? No. Nothing that Iíve been made aware of.
|Working with Tyndale and Oasis Audio, do they contract you and just call you up to do an audiobook or how do you end up becoming the narrator?
They have a tape of different audition voices that they will share with publishers and the publisher can pick and choose. Maybe they want a female voice or male voice with a certain sound to it. They get to choose.
How you had fan feedback? Have you had audiobook fans approach you and talk to you about your narrations?
Not for the most part. I think weíre kind of behind the scenes a little bit. Iíve had a couple people who are radio listeners of mine who have heard a book and will send me an e-mail or comment, but not as much as people might expect.
Itís really fun, though, to meet people. Because Iím in radio, they have the mentality, ďIíve always heard you and never met you.Ē And then, theyíre surprised at what I actually look like. The same thing is true with the Christian books on tape. People say, ďI took a long car trip and really enjoyed listening to your reading.Ē
Do you listen to audiobooks or audio products?
I do. Actually, because of my radio work, I spend most of my time listening to talk radio and Christian radio, but I do enjoy popping in an audiobook from time to time.
Check out some of Wayne Shepherd's great narrations!