Friday, April 26, 2013

Kevin R. Free on SOMEBODY KILLED HIS EDITOR


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?


 

KIT HOLMES! He is EVERYTHING. So much fun; so funny! I love the way he discovers things about himself in as he navigates the way his life changes. In ALL SHE WROTE, I wanted to try making Anna like Bette Davis, but decided against it...one day, I'll get more crazy in a Josh Lanyon book... Maybe?

 

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!

 

Whats 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!!!) hadnt 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.

25 comments:

  1. Kevin, I really had fun listening to both Somebody Killed His Editor and All She Wrote. I found that your narration enhanced my enjoyment of the books (something I hadn't thought was possible, as I love them). I realised just how funny they are are, and I liked your voices for Kit and JX very much. And I can still hear Anna's "Christopher, darling!".

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks so I consider myself qualified to say that you did an excellent job! Thank you.

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    1. I LOVE Kevin's narration of these stories. When the narrator can make you laugh at your own words, that's saying something.

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  2. I absolutely agree with Helena. I'm very happy that audiobooks finally are also recorded in my favorite genre (thank you Josh Lanyon,I'm now buyiny all your books twice ;)and you did a great job with Kit and JX. As an audiobook addict (I don't know if I'm even able to do housework without an audiobook) I know what I'm talking about, especially because English is not my native language, I live in Switzerland.

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    1. It's so surprising -- and of course very gratifying -- that so many readers are re-buying the stories just to get the audio. But then the audio is a very different experience. It's like seeing the stories for the first time. I felt that myself.

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  3. I LOVED Kevin's narration of both the Kit Holmes books. JX (and Edgar's) voices were soooo sexy, and Kit was hilarious. I loved the books and now I love them even more on audio.

    Trot out Edgar's voice again as a hero. Yummm. Reminds me of Clint Eastwood talking dirty to you.

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    1. Oh yes! Edgar's voice was a good one!

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  4. Thank you so much for this interview, Josh and Kevin!

    Kevin, you really did justice to Josh's writing. The combination of Josh's words and your timing, intonation and emphasis made me laugh out loud too many times to count! :-) "Your" Kit is lovely, as lovely as Kit can ever be! LOL. I'm still in the middle of listening to ASW and I'm tremendously enjoying also J.X., Anna (yes, the "Christopher, darling!" is priceless!!!), Poppy and Rowland... oh, and the waiter waving his bread stick! ;-)

    And Josh, once again you've succeeded in finding a perfect voice for one of your wonderful series! Congratulations and Thank you. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Johanna. I feel really fortunate in finding these terrific narrators. I went into audio books with trepidation, but as far as the narrators, I've been overjoyed with the results.

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  5. I thought Kevin's interpretation of Kit was excellent - it's exactly how I heard Kit in my mind when I read the books. I really enjoyed listening and will no doubt listen to both books again before I read The Boy with the Painful Tattoo. Thanks for an interesting and entertaining interview, Josh and Kevin!

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    1. Yes, if I can't get Kevin for BWTPT -- well, I just can't imagine doing the audio without him!

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    2. I agree. He is so completely the voice of Kit. I'm sorry to hear there could be a possibility that Kevin would NOT do the audio for TBWTPT. I guess I assumed he was signed for the entire series.

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    3. Well, I can't sign him for what doesn't exist yet. :-) But when the time comes, I have every intention of seeing if he's available. Absolutely!

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  6. Thank you for the interview! what a lovely surprise!
    Kevin's narration is absolute perfection! I don't think i've listened to an audiobook narration that is such an exact match to what i've imagined! The moment Kit starts speaking, it was instant recognition! :)

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    1. I smiled and chuckled all the way through listening to those audio files.

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  7. I love what you did with Somebody killed his editor and I'm looking forward to All she wrote. I'm keeping it for a rainy day :)

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    1. Aw. I hope Kevin sees these lovely compliments. He deserves to know how appreciated he is!

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  8. I loved Kevin's narration of both books. He's a great match for this series. I think both Kit and J.X. are voiced wonderfully. It's such a treat to listen to these.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! That's it, that's the truth, these books have been enhanced and expanded through audio. It's fascinating to watch (or hear) as the author.

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  9. I am also a big Kevin fan.

    The books are funny, but Kevin makes them HILARIOUS. I have listened to each audiobook about sixty times and I never EVER get tired of them. He *is* Kit Holmes.

    Looking forward to Book #3!

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    1. :-D The scary thing is he's even becoming Kit in MY mind!

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  10. I enjoyed both books, but I think I liked the narration of ALL SHE WROTE more than SKHE. I sensed a hesitation of sorts in the first book that did not seem to be there in ASW. This isn't meant as a criticism at all. Both narrations were well done, but I think he sounded more confident in the second work.

    Keep talkin' Kevin! We'll continue to listen.

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    1. I can't argue that Kevin gets better with each book!

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  12. Hi Josh and Kevin,
    I just finished listening to SKHE and I just wanted to tell you both how MUCH I enjoyed this audiobook. I knew I loved the book and characters (having read it a couple of times), but Kevin's narration (particularly of Kit) gave me a whole new level of appreciation. I can't tell you the number of times that I actually laughed out loud (and trust me...my snort-laugh is not pretty)! Josh, you picked the perfect narrator in Kevin for this series. Thanks!

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    1. The crazy thing is that I had the same experience! :-D

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