Guest Post from David Thorpe, voice of #TheAbduction audiobook! @RadioDaveThorpe @AAChaudhuri @A_hogston @IsisAudio #BlogTour #GuestPost

Good morning, welcome to The Reading Closet on my day of the The Abduction blog tour in pre-celebration of A.A. Chaudhuri and the second in the Carver & Kramer being birthed via audiobook thanks to David Thorpe’s wonderful voice and Isis Audio. Thanks Alex for asking me not only to help organise the tour but asking me to be a part of it, as well as Aimee for sending me an audio copy of the book and David of course for this wonderful guest post!

Kramer and Carver are back…

Madeline Kramer has finally got her life back on track at top City law firm Sullivan, Blake, Monroe. But when two armed, masked men burst into a conference room one lunchtime, kidnapping a trainee and a partner, Maddy’s life is plunged into disarray once more—particularly when charismatic DCI Jake Carver, who caught a heartless killer when they last met and with whom Maddy shared a mutual chemistry, is called to the scene.

Things become more complicated when a disturbing video reveals two more trainees have been taken. What initially appears as a random kidnapping for mercenary gain soon evolves into something far more complex, the horrifying events of thirty years ago motivating the abductors and having colossal implications for those in the present…

Against a backdrop of sleaze, sex, lies and murder in The Abduction, Maddy and Carver must work together to unravel the truth, and ensure that no crimes—past or present—are left unpunished.

David kindly agreed to answer some of my questions and also to give us a mini ‘day in the life’, thanks again David – check it out!

How did you initially get into voice acting?

I trained at East 15 Acting School, and started out working primarily in theatre, with a little bit of telly. I was invited to do a radio play back in 1991, and since then by far the bulk of my professional work has been behind a microphone, the following year I joined the BBC Radio Drama Company for a year, the first of 2 stays with them, l then worked for 5 years as a presenter at BBC English, and was Dr Sean Graham in the BBC World Service soap opera “Westway”. In 1996 l began recording books for the RNIB and narrating has, over the last 15 years or so, become the main thing l do.

That is amazing, you definitely have a voice for radio and audiobooks! Do you have a favourite audiobook project?

Favourite audiobook projects include Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy for RNIB, for whom I also much enjoyed being the adult Adrian Mole, The John Milton series by Mark Dawson, anything by Karen Maitland, Michael M Barnett or (for kids) Gareth P. Jones, also the lovely novel Shtum by Jem Lester.

How does audiobook narration work? How do you get into that mindset? How do you prepare?

In terms of working on a book, and how it all comes together, there is a wide variance as to how much input the producer (director) has into what’s being recorded depending on which publisher one is working for. The narrator does all the prepping of the book they are recording and sometimes the producer will have read the book, but sometimes not, in which case they are really policing you for “technical” issues such as tummy rumbles, stumbles, mis-pronunciations or other deviations from the script. Those who have read it will usually take their lead from the reader, steering her or him in different directions only if they feel a performance is not being true to the author’s intent.

Audiobook narration can take it out of your voice and so the vocal training I had at drama school certainly helps. Making sure it’s rested, lubricated and warmed up before use, choosing character voices one can sustain and trying not to strain it – this can be tricky sometimes, I’ve just completed some marvellous books about pirates that took quite a toll. I think it definitely gets easier the more you do, when l first started out I’d be absolutely knackered after a day in studio, now I’m just knackered.

How much I put does an author have in the book narration?

How much input an author has in terms of characterisation and interpretation varies. l would say for the most part they let the narrator and producer get on with it, obviously if a writer has described a voice in a particular way, we try to match that, otherwise one tries to work out a voice that suits each individual. I remember on one occasion there was a character described as having a lovely lilting accent a number of times but it was never specified where she was from, so I contacted the author who told me, a bit bemused “she’s Irish” when I pointed out he’d not actually said that anywhere he was amazed

A day in the life…

I live in Walthamstow, East London and normally when recording at Isis – the Scribe and Abduction publishers – in Oxford , I’d be up 5.30ish, have a banana, get on my bike to Marylebone, take the Oxford Tube (coach) to Oxford having a bit of toast and some coffee before falling asleep for most of the journey, then cycle through Oxford and along the towpath to their Thameside studios.
However during lockdown I’ve been braving the North Circular/M40 which gives me an extra hour in bed, but a lot less exercise.

We normally start recording around 10ish with a morning break, then stopping for the arrival of the sandwich-woman, which is often the prompt to break for lunch, then because there are a number of studios at lsis we would sit around in the green room with other narrators and producers, comparing books and having a laugh for 45mins to an hour. Again obviously, because of Covid, it’s bring your own lunch and isolate, I usually go for a walk in a local park. Then back to the grindstone til 5ish, before hopping back in the car for the journey home accompanied by, of course, a good audiobook.

Wow, it sounds like a great day being an audiobook narrator but 5:30am starts, ouch! You certainly did a magnificent job with both The Scribe and The Abduction, you brought the whole story to life on a whole new level. Thankyou!

To find out what the bloggers on the tour thought of David’s audiobook narration skills, check out their amazing posts using the hashtag #TheAbduction across social media and maybe use your next Audible credit for this chilling thriller mixed with crime fiction!

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