Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in narrating/producing audio books? How many audio books have you narrated?
I had an audition in 1999, shortly after I signed with my manager, for my first audiobook. I didn't get it, but I had another audition for the same company about 6 months later, and I didn't get my first book after another 4 months or so. I think I've narrated about 80 or so books. I never dreamed I'd be an audiobook narrator, but I am so excited to have them as part of my career - especially since I'm starting to record my gay fiction these days.
How much acting is involved in narrating a story?
I guess there's both more and less than one would expect in the narration of a story. There's less, in that I can't really approach performing a book like performing onstage. I want to make the voices evocative, but I also want the folks reading the book to be able to round out each character with their imaginations. There's more preparation involved, because before I record a book, I have to make choices about the character of the book itself. If it's in first-person, like SOMEBODY KILLED HIS EDITOR and
ALL SHE WROTE, it's a little
easier to figure out than if it's written in third person. But in both
instances, I want to be as clear as possible about the point of view of the
narrator, by making choices about the character of the narrator. Is he
sarcastic? Is the trying to scare us? Does he have a low voice? A high voice?
Is he personable? Charming? Do I want to have a drink with him?
What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of narrating SOMEBODY KILLED HIS EDITOR?
SKHE was the first time that I knew for sure that I had been chosen by an author. So the pressure to deliver made it a little more difficult than most. Also, I really connect to the material, so I really wanted to do it justice.
What character was the most fun to narrate? Why?
What character was the most difficult to narrate? Why?
I think I'm still trying to get a handle on the high/raspy/sexy JX Moriarity. I just really want to do him justice. He's an Adonis, so of course I want people to be able to picture him when they hear my interpretation of him.
Was there a particular scene you think you read especially well? Or that you particularly enjoyed reading?
Gosh, I don't know. But I did listen to this book when I was preparing to record
ALL SHE WROTE. It was the
first time I was able to stand listening to one of my books. I think, because I
like the book and its characters, I sound like I'm having a good time. But if I
have to choose a scene, I choose the scene when JX and Edgar make Kit take them
to where he discovered Peaches's body.
How awkward is it to read erotic scenes aloud?
Awkward, but I can't tell you how happy I was to finally be recording gay erotic scenes, after 12 years of recording audio books!
What’s the most satisfying or rewarding part of narrating/producing an audio book?
When people recognize my voice, or when they find me on Facebook. My father was once stopped by a high school classmate who asked him if he had a son who was an audiobook narrator. That was really cool.
Do you ever find yourself wishing the author (naturally not me!!!) hadn’t taken the story in a particular direction? Or is narrating a much more detached process?
The process is pretty detached, in general, but if I'm offended by a book, I refuse to narrate it (it's only happened once). I'm an artist, and I definitely have ideas about what's "good" and what's "bad," but I recognize that that's subjective, so while narrating a book I don't like is difficult, I don't question that it should be narrated and narrated well. My biggest frustration when I'm recording is having to correct spelling and grammar. But it's still a great gig, so I try not complain.
Where can readers/listeners find out more about you and your work?
My website is often outdated, but I think there are fun videos of me on it. www.kevinrfree.com. Also, I'm a tweetaholic, so your readers can follow me on twitter at @kevinrfree to read the crazy thoughts in my head and at my fingertips.