Audio Spotlight: The Flames + Narrator Interview

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Title: The Flames

Author: Kyle Prue

Narrator: Jon Eric Preston

Length: 12 hours 17 minutes

Series: The Feud Trilogy, Book 2

Released: Jan. 8, 2018

Publisher: Cartwright Publishing

Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult

To survive incredible odds, one teen may have to trust both his former enemies and his fire-forged destiny….

Neil Vapros is one of the last free warriors of the great city of Altryon. He and his brother’s only chance of staying alive involves trusting an uneasy alliance with their former enemies. But in the world beyond his city’s walls, Neil’s life is much more dangerous than he ever imagined possible….

The Emperor has hired a ruthless madman and a vicious pack of assassins to hunt down the last supernatural survivors. As the allies attempt to hide from their enemies, the leader of a rebellion singles out Neil as the answer to a prophecy. Neil isn’t sure he believes he’s been “chosen”, but he knows one thing for sure: their only chance for survival lies in sticking together. While treachery and pain wait around every corner, Neil and his allies may win the day, but victory without casualties could prove impossible….

The Flames is the second book in the award-winning Epic Feud trilogy of young adult fantasy novels. If you like rich fantasy settings, imaginative supernatural abilities, and tough-as-nails characters, then you’ll love Kyle Prue’s electrifying adventure.

Buy The Flames to fire up the action today!

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Q&A with Author Jon Eric Preston
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • I was told by several peers in the VO world that they thought I possess the perfect combination of having a great story telling ability and a voice they connect with and enjoy listening to . As I had been a SAG BookPAL reader, read for both my boys classes in school, and love long form narrative, it just seemed like a natural fit.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • Having received my degree in Theatre from Florida State University, the training of breaking down a script/story has proven to be incredibly useful to me when approaching books to narrate.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • Working out at the Don LaFontaine Voice Over Lab through the Los Angeles SAG/AFTRA Foundation, and learning ProTools has been of incredible value to me for narrating audiobooks. Continuing study, workouts and Narrator forums are ongoing. There is always something that can be learned.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • The ability to paint the picture and tone of each scene, and giving a full range of emotions and depth of life to all of the characters.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • As I had narrated book 1 “The Sparks” and book 2 “The Flames”, some of the characters were already set and determined. When I read a book, I see and hear the story in my mind, so in reading “The Ashes”, with any new characters, the qualities that are given to them individually usually allows the character’s voice to just come through for me.
  • Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
    • ​I’ve had people tell me that when they hear commercials I’ve done that they knew immediately it was me.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
    • Audiobook narration is the marathon of Long Form voice-over. While every script or piece of copy should be approached with the sense of giving a three dimensional life to the read, being responsible for giving the entire book and characters a life is utterly different from a one liner.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
    • I do. It’s good to know how the listeners are receiving the story, and it let’s me know where anything I’m doing can be improved upon.
  • If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
    • ​I’ve learned to take reviews as a cumulative experience. As I am self-directing, I have a pretty good sense of how I need to come across to let the characters have believable arcs and justify their actions with the way they are speaking. It’s rewarding to get reviews that the listeners have laughed and cried because of my narration.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • Personally, I would love for the Audiobook listening community to use the expression “I’m listening to…”, unless of course they are doing it with whispersync, which is listening as you read along. The spoken word and oral tradition of telling stories came well before humans gained the ability to write. The spoken word is the predecessor to the “written book” form of conveying ideas. Who didn’t love having a bedtime story read to them as a child? There is no reason to stop enjoying having a story read to you just because you are a “grown up”. I would also ask them if they knew that Audiobooks have been an incredible tool for helping those with reading difficulties such as dyslexia, and those who want to learn a language. Perhaps if they asked “What was your favorite part of the story?” instead of being judgemental, they might actually find a friend, make a connection, and help rehumanize us all…one story at a time.

Kyle Prue is an award winning author, actor and comedian. Kyle wrote The Sparks: Book 1 of the Feud Trilogy when he was just 16 years old. Kyle has spent the past year on a national book tour visiting over 80 middle and high schools and meeting over 60,000 students. Kyle is now a freshman at the University of Michigan, studying acting and creative writing. He still visits schools and is a keynote speaker for conferences.

Kyle is the founder of Sparking Literacy, a non-profit dedicated to lowering the high school dropout rate by inspiring teens to read, write and follow their dreams. The Sparks has won numerous national awards including Best YA Fiction awards from: The Florida Authors and Publisher’s Association, the Florida Book Festival, New England Book Festival, Midwest Book Festival, Southern California Book Festival, and the International London Book Festival. Kyle also won an International Moonbeam Award and IndieFab Award for Best Young Author.

Narrator Bio

Jon Eric Preston received his Theatre degree from Florida State University after returning from the London program. He earned top honors narrating in the Dramatic Interpretation category on the Speech and Debate team, and performed professionally in Children’s Theatre companies and did National Tours of A Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night, and Othello.

As a SAG BookPAL and a father reading to his two boys for more than 12 years, moving into the booth to record audiobooks was a natural and joy filled progression.
He is thrilled to be narrating and giving voice to the characters for Kyle Prue’s Feud Trilogy.


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Audio Spotlight: The Battle of Danamor + Narrator Interview

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Title: The Battle of Danamor

Author: J. Edwards Holt

Narrator: Philip John Cockell

Length: 3 hours 43 minutes

Series: Little Men, Big Treasures, Book 3

Publisher: J. Edwards Holt

Released: Dec. 18, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Peace turns to chaos in the Mountain Realm when a great evil threatens to destroy the kingdom of Danamor. With their king gone, having mysteriously vanished, the dwarves of Danamor struggle to maintain their peaceful way of life. It seems that no one, not even the fallen king’s trusted followers, are able to unite the divided and leaderless kingdom.

One day, an unsuspecting young dwarf named Dwobble finds himself caught in the middle of the political conflict, but not before embarking on a journey that leads him to learn great truths about his family’s past. Along his journey, Dwobble encounters fantastic mythical creatures, forms an unlikely friendship with a living legend, and is ultimately faced with a life-changing decision in the epic final chapter of J. Edwards Holt’s Little Men, Big Treasures trilogy.

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Q&A with Narrator Philip John Cockell
  1. When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    1. I first had a desire to do audiobooks after I started getting involved with some local amateur dramatic groups.
  2. How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    1. I remember having audiobooks on tapes when I was younger, which I think instilled some idea that I could do something similar, but it wasn’t until someone suggested that I had ‘a good voice’ for narrating audiobooks that I decided to give it a try.
  3. Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    1. It wasn’t too difficult to get started – the main hurdles to overcome for me were getting the right equipment and recording software, and finding a place that was quiet enough to set up. There are plenty of online tutorials available that were invaluable for getting set up.
  4. A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    1. I think a theatre/acting background can certainly help with diction and enunciation – they also remind you that you’re catering to an audience. However, they aren’t essential – as long as you’re willing to learn the business and accept the criticism/feedback.
  5. What type of training have you undergone?
    1. I have no formal training in acting or narration, but i’ve been involved in a lot of amateur dramatics and stage performance. I started off in pantomime!
  6. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    1. It’s important not to take on too much work and start missing deadlines – it just increases the stress. Don’t rush the work either. Try and find a hobby or something that you can go to when you’re not recording too – I have an old Land Rover that keeps me entertained between work!
  7. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    1. I must admit, I don’t listen to many audiobooks myself but I think what’s great about them is that they allow you the flexibility of doing something else while you’re listening – housework/driving to/from work etc.
  8. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    1. Favourite part is probably discovering the story as you go along. Least favourite is the editing out of clicks etc!
  9. What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    1. I think my strongest abilities are good sight reading and a clear voice.
  10. Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
    1. Not sure about the romantic/explicit novels! Ha!
  11. What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    1. I like doing different accents and dialects, this novel looked like a lot of fun to do so I thought ‘Why not?’

Born in North Carolina, United States, J. Edwards Holt always knew that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating high school, he attended college and pursued a degree in education, but later decided to change course and follow his dream to become a novelist and children’s author.

Now a full-time writer, editor, and blogger, Holt spends his free time dreaming up stories and reading. He is passionate about spreading Christian messages through his writing, watching science fiction and super hero movies, and collecting comic books.

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Having been involved in several low-level dramatic productions at a locaI level, Philip John Cockell is able to turn his skills to almost any requirements without any difficulty. He specialises in voice acting and is able to do most British/some American accents.His best voice work would be the RP/BBC English or Standard English accent.

 


 

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