FINDING THE RIGHT NARRATOR
Thank you, Delilah, for having me on your site again today. I’ve just come back from a month-long vacation, a cruise starting in Italy and winding up in Brazil. This week I was thrilled to learn my second audio book in the SEAL Brotherhood series, Fallen SEAL Legacy, was live and for sale on Audible/ACX. I worked on it with my narrator, J.D. Hart, while on board this cruise ship, and I have to say it was probably the most fun of my day! We battled the seas of the Atlantic and internet holes between Africa and South America to get this project done. But I’m over the moon pleased with the results.
There are a number of things I was looking for in a voice narrator. First, I wanted a masculine, slightly husky, mature male voice reading my story. I’m not sure why, but I prefer to listen to men narrators over women, if the voice is right. The instant I heard J.D.’s voice it was like my character came to life right in front of me. He was exactly how I thought my SEAL would sound.
I took other’s advice and asked several people to audition for the narration. What I heard was a variety of voices and tones, but none of them seemed to capture the “feel” of my story the way J.D.’s voice did. I imagined a listener spending eleven hours hearing my book on audio, and while other narrators eagerly wanted the job, I knew only one person was the perfect fit. I think an author knows when they’ve found the right voice.
Then came time for other characters to be portrayed. This is where I got to experience the genius of the narrator. Because he is a trained actor, and because of his extensive experience in doing voiceovers and commercials as well, he was able to give me accents and characterizations for my entire cast. It was not something I’d considered before. I can see that had I not chosen J.D., I would have been stuck with someone who perhaps wouldn’t be able to tackle this burden.
There are a whole host of other things I learned while doing these first two audio books, so perhaps on a future post I’ll go into them. At the end of this post, please leave me a comment. One lucky person will be chosen to receive the Fallen SEAL Legacy audio book for free.
Excerpt Cruisin’ For A SEAL:
He got up and left some coins on the table, and made the mistake of looking over at her. He gave her a little crooked smile. She’d have to be completely insane not to pick up he found her attractive. She arched one eyebrow as he couldn’t help but admire her rack. Okay, to be perfectly honest, he wondered what they’d look like released to his hands.
He was normally the gentleman with these types of hot women, not knowing anything about them. It wasn’t proper to admire another man’s lady, and this one was too fine not to be attached. So, he closed his eyes by way of an apology and then looked back at her as if to say Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.
She did the wrong thing. She blew him a kiss with those red lips of hers in an obvious flirtation. The luscious lady slung her yellow Gucci bag over her shoulder, slipped her soft arm around his and snuggled to the side.
She said something in Italian. Marc was stunned. His legs felt like lead, unable to move as she unexpectedly squeezed her body next to his. He could feel her full chest pressing his resolve to the breaking point. His arm suddenly became the second most sensitive of his body parts.
She was holding him close, but leading him, as if he was reluctant. “Si, si, si…” and then something he couldn’t understand. Well, hell, he was reluctant, but for some reason he followed along anyway.
She looked over her shoulder checking out the deserted Piazza, maybe looking to see if her mother noticed her leaving with him. Why would that be a problem? On second thought, if he were her father, he’d definitely not want his daughter going off with some stranger.
But shit, he didn’t care. Whatever she had in mind, unless it involved something dangerous – well, hell even dangerous would be fine – he did that all the time. If it involved some dark underground cellar and beefy guys with lots of dark chest hair, okay, then he’d get out. But he kind of liked how her tits bounced as she walked in those four-inch boots he didn’t know they made. She had a fresh lime spice scent and something else wafting up from her hair.
She kept babbling on as they rounded the corner. She gestured towards the apartments above the shops lining the cobblestoned streets he’d just been walking on.
“Honey, this is all real fun, but I’m not understanding a word you’re saying,” he blurted out before he could restrain himself.
“Ah, Americano! English? No, Americano?” Then she added some other comments he didn’t follow.
You promised you’d learn Italian before the cruise, and now look at where it’s gotten you?
“You speak English?” he stopped and asked.
Her laughter fell like warm water all over him, bathing him in a golden glow he wanted more of. In between her gestures and her giggles, her brown eyes danced. She’d checked out his chest, the size of his shoes and the tent in his pants. Those were things professionals did all the time, or so he’d been told.
He began to worry he’d made a mistake being too compliant. It suddenly hit him that he was not acting with his usual self-control. He dropped his arm and hers slipped out of his grip. He pushed his hands into his jeans and shrugged.
“I’m sorry. Perhaps you got the impression I wanted—”
She cut him off before he could finish. His English was obviously not going to be an impediment to her communication, but it sure was to him.
“Scuse, scuse, signore,” she began, laughing. Then she said something like tey ammo and there was all that fluttering around of her hands. Her breasts were bouncing and the little bracelet was damned distracting on that wrist of hers. Her brown curls flying in all directions. She could have been Brazilian, Italian, Spanish, or anything, but whatever it was, she was live and full of fun and, hell, he didn’t care if she robbed him, it might even be worth it.
He pulled his hands from his pockets as if to say he didn’t have any money. Her reaction was immediate. She slapped him. Hard. She landed her hands on her hips and scolded him. God how he loved seeing her angry. She must have called him every name for a dog and no-good boyfriend and dirty American male, because he heard American several times. He hung his head, nodded as if he agreed, yes, he was a dog. Put his hands back in his front pockets and shrugged a lot.
He started to walk away, worried about attracting more attention than they already were. A shopkeeper was leaning on a broom watching them. A wizened older woman with no teeth leaned out of a lace curtained window overhead and said shouted something in agreement.
“Aye!” the little lady called out, stopping him. She crooked her forefinger and gave him the signal to come back. Well, it wasn’t a signal, it was a full-throated command, if only he could understand her language.
She continued with the finger action, unwilling to be deterred. He brought his palms out to the sides of his pants and didn’t shrug, but knew it was useless to speak. He shuffled back in her direction. She pointed to the ground at her feet emphatically. That got him so close he was almost touching her. She made little growling noises with her throat he took to mean approval. The voice got soft, more melodic. He’d have to say chestier.
She’d dropped her hands but then she raised one again and begged his face to come down to her level. He obeyed. His lips ached to kiss her, did she see it? He saw the soft hairs on her upper lip and the way her nostrils flared as she took in a deep breath, assessing him. He’d stay there as long as she required. He never did this, but it became more important than breathing to stay right in the vicinity of her aura.
Marc was rewarded with her hands pulling his face to hers, locking her lips on him and sucking his tongue deep inside her. He had never been so scared and excited at the same time. He hesitated with his hands.
Oh, fuck it.
Here is a sample of the buttery voice of my narrator, J.D. Hart. This scene happens an hour or two later, and after another exciting love scene. We are still working on this project, so words and tonations may change, but this gives you a rough idea of what we have going. I think you’ll like it. The book will be available in January of 2014, the audio book probably February.
You can here the sample narration here.
Enjoy! Don’t forget to leave a comment with your coded email address so I can pick the winner of the free audio book.