Narrator (Audiobook) Interview | Conversing with the ‘voice’ behind the theatrical presentation of “The Cryptic Lines”!

Posted Sunday, 6 November, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Narrator Blog Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A few months ago, I was approached by Jess @ Audiobookworm Promotions to consider reviewing audiobooks and hosting the authors and/or narrators attached to the audiobooks as a bit of a switch-up from reading print books! I, was quite excited by her pitch to me, as for one, I had already started to consider breaking into audiobooks in the New Year (2017) as my chronic migraines returnt this past Spring (2016) and have continued to be an annoyance straight into Autumn!

Ergo, I have heard positive feedback from readers who have chronic migraines such as I do finding a better balance of reading their books and listening to audiobooks – wherein, you off-set your physical books by giving a go at the audio versions! It’s a whole new territory for me! I was quite the traditionalist, too! I never fathomed I’d get so giddy over listening to digital audiobooks until of course, my previous computer died a sad death in a lightning storm and had to be replaced post haste approx. a month later (early October). You see, my old computer was half dead already from the 90 days of lightning storms from Summer of 2015; part of the casualty then were the speakers! So you see, without the benefit of needing to replace said computer, digital audiobooks, podcasts or even internet radio was all a ‘non-go’ for me!

All things being equal, my new computer has opened a few new doors for me! Listening to digital audiobooks is just one of them! Coincidentally, my local library offers physical copies of audiobooks and digital audiobooks – which is rather smashing! If I’m in the mood for either of them, at least they are readily available! They also take purchase requests and can fetch others via ILL’ing (inter-library loan). You can well imagine my surprise then, when Ms Jess approached me! All of this was being considered in due haste on my part, sorting out how to navigate the new world of audiobooks (as I’ve been privy to some of the movement therein via chats on Twitter) whilst embracing a new avenue for me to pursue as a book blogger! I’ll talk more about this new path of mine between now and when my second audiobook tour arrives in December, but I wanted to give a bit of an introduction to my new showcasing of audiobooks – especially to those of you who have been so very loyal in following my bookish life and might be curious to know about this new interest of mine!

I do still credit Katie @ Doing Dewey as being the one person who initially inspired me towards this end, as one of her Non-Fiction Book Club choices was a CD audiobook I enjoyed listening whilst reading the print book in tandem! This is a special treat I enjoy doing, perhaps you do as well!?

Today, marks my first contribution to the blog tour featuring the Historical Suspense Thriller “The Cryptic Lines”. I had originally planned to post my review today, but have inverted my tour stops (the 6th and 8th respectively) at the last minute! Please return mid-week to see my ruminations on behalf of the story and a bit of a new method of revealling my impressions as I change my format of how I review a novel I’ve read, er, listened too!

I am looking forward to hosting narrators and sorting out which narrators will become my most beloved in the industry. I can attest the one I am interviewing today is definitely at the top of the list for owning his characters and for the incredible capacity he has for theatrical voicing!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Narrator (Audiobook) Interview | Conversing with the ‘voice’ behind the theatrical presentation of “The Cryptic Lines”!The Cryptic Lines
Subtitle: an audiobook read by Jake Urry

Set in a sprawling Gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently.

After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines.

If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears…

Places to find the book:


on 16th March, 2016

Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I love how you’ve taken such a theatrical tone in narrating “The Cryptic Lines” to where it feels textural like a live-action play rather than a narration of a novel. What is your process for enveloping yourself inside the atmosphere of a story such as this one that has a unique pacing of revelation of it’s twists, events and the final reveal?

Urry responds: Thank you! It was important for me to get across the different personalities of the characters in this book, as they are all so well written. For me the process starts with finding the voices for each character and then thinking about how they fit in with the overall atmosphere of the story. For instance Lord Alfred in many respects sets the whole mysterious atmosphere up and revels in the game he’s created, so his voice was more theatrical and menacing. In contrast the character of Meg is very much acting in her own tempo, unconcerned with the urgency of the contest, so I had fun making her more whimsical and carefree.

You honestly gave such a strong impression on the characters, I felt like I had turned to a theatre production on the radio (like they used to do?) as it was just brilliantly executed! I loved how you found the individual quirks of character and instinctively knew how to draw them out!

There were three characters who I genuinely loved listening too, as each of them was individually unique – not only in personality but in voice. How did you approach the style of choosing how to articulate Lord Alfred Willoughby, Charles and James!? There was a poignant way in which you delivered each of their roles to help craft the back-story of why this Gothic Mystery was so warmly received in it’s audio format.

Urry responds: With Lord Alfred I’d had a lot of practice! I’ve always been cast as older authoritative figures since my first school plays, and more recently played the domineering and witty Noel Coward in a speculative play about his life. So the lord of the manor role came most naturally, as I’ve always loved playing those sorts of roles.

Charles was most challenging. I went with a softer, calmer tone but also wanted to get across the premature world-weariness I detected in him. I also wanted him to contrast with the more bullish Matthew, and not give too much away about his character through his voice so the listener could keep guessing about his possible motives. So all in all quite a lot for me to think about!

And James was an absolute pleasure. When I read his description as the ‘archetypal butler’ I saw it as a licence to go completely over the top! And Richard wrote him so well that it all sounded plausible.

I honestly love how you portray the elder characters! Your voice is fitting for that kind of a role and you do have a knack for not only owning the atmosphere of the genre your lending voice too, you have a way of making each individual character stand out and be wholly true to themselves, too. Not easy to do, I’m sure, but you make it seem as if it were! Very organic how your voice and the narrative blend together!

When it comes to the process of choosing how to intone nuance and small gestures into a narrated version of a novel, are all the cues to speak the lines chosen for you or is there leeway for your own input on how to work a scene? What do you find the most difficult to draw out of a novel through narration?

Urry responds: All my audiobooks so far have been self-produced, so it’s entirely my responsibility to direct myself. Hopefully I’ll get to work on some projects with a director in the studio – it’ll make life a lot easier! Oddly enough I find it hardest to narrate passages where the tension is low and there’s not much dialogue. You’d think this would be easier but as a narrator you always have to be thinking about keeping the listener engaged.

Oh, my! I can well imagine how difficult this would be! Similar to how directors must act whilst filming a motion picture or a tv series! They wear two key hats but how to keep the balance whilst directing themselves to hit their marks? Whichever way you’ve resolved your rhythm, you do remarkably well being in charge of all aspects of the production! You’ve set the bar a bit high I think when it comes time for me to seek out other narrators! Only one comes to mind of whom I previously adored outright – which was when I discovered the author of “The Ghost Bride” narrated her own audiobook! I consider this an ‘unputdownable’ read of immeasurable joy – simply by how you conceived to tell the story aloud and how the atmospheric layering nestled in so well with the novel’s core of heart.

Do you read each of the novels your to voice for audio readers or do you fully immerse yourself in the process of narrating the piece instead – seeing as the two versions might differ from one another a bit to allow for a more theatrical presentation? Which do you prefer, going in blind or being well versed on a story ahead of performing the characters?

Urry responds: I tend to skim through and find the voices for the characters first, and then start recording from the beginning without having read the whole thing first. I find this helps keep me on my toes, and gives a better performance personally, as I’m experiencing it for the first time as the listener will probably be.

I wouldn’t have thought this but I definitely agree about how it gives you the edge! Such a wicked surprise knowing that as your reading the story for us to enjoy hearing, we’re all embarking on quite the adventure together!

As you’ve narrated other stories, what is your preferred genre or theme of story to perform? Which do you think gives you the most creativity in voice performance and stretches you a bit to see what you can take-on?

Urry responds: I’ve mostly narrated Thrillers and Horror titles, but my favourite genres to narrate are Fantasy and Sci-Fi. They often have such a range of characters and situations that it can be a real challenge to make them sound believable, and really rewarding too.

I’m celebrating Sci-Fi November for my 4th Year, so I do understand how you can have a preference for Science Fiction and Fantasy! To me the readings of both walk hand in hand – and I do think it’s a brilliant way to keep yourself challenged, as everything within those worlds is so intricately conceived!

When it comes to narrating the women in “The Cryptic Lines” I honestly nearly forgot about the fact this was a one-man performance, without additional voices! How did you tap into how those women would sound whilst giving a performance that was incredibly believable at the same time?

Urry responds: I think there’s a trap a lot of male narrators fall into, which is narrating female characters with generic high pitch voices. I prefer to think of the real women I know in life, whether family, friends or colleagues, and voice the character as a version of them. I won’t divulge the ‘real’ Meg’s name of course but I based her around the benevolent grandmother of a friend of mine.

You’re way of presenting real women with real female articulations is the best choice to have made!! I love how you gave us a bit of a back-story of which women inspired you and how you stepped into the women of “The Cryptic Lines” shoes! Quite smashing, thanks!!

How did you first get interested in voice acting and performance for audiobooks? What motivated your interest in setting the scene for readers to feel like their co-participating in an audio experience of how a story can become transformed through voiced narration?

Urry responds: I got into audiobooks simply by listening to them all the time! And while I was training as an actor I did some radio practice and the interest grew. I decided to take it up properly at the start of this year and am loving it. I love bringing a writer’s world alive for people, and really just want to give listeners some of the enjoyment and experiences I’ve had listening to audiobooks – they’ve got me through a lot of hard times!

Stories are like that – they speak to us on a deeper level and through our readings (or listenings) we emerge through a well of experiences and memories; sometimes the very thing we needed at a particular moment to act as saving grace to distract us from adversity. You truly have a gift and I am thankful I have discovered your collective works as a narrator! This shall not be the last audiobook I listen too of yours!

You mentioned on your site people are surprised by your voice not matching your appearance – does a deeper voice run in your family and/or how do you approach people who are surprised but appreciate your talent for embracing the characters with an layered intuition and realism?

Urry responds: Well my natural voice is slightly less deep and raspy, and much less creepy! In fact, when I call writers who have only heard my narration before, they have a hard time believing it’s me on the phone. I think it’s an extension of the fact I’m used to playing older characters, it comes out in my narration because the stories I tell demand a more authoritative tone. No doubt if I started narrating romance I’d lighten it up a little!

Creepy!? Hmm. I hadn’t considered that when I pitched this question! Laughs. I see your point though – as some of the characters you’ve portrayed give a different impression than ‘the bloke behind the mic’ whose doing the voice work! Ahh – you should seek out ChocLitUK novels – they have a heap of heroes who’d love to be brought to life! Don’t mind me, I am slightly addicted to their releases and regularly blog on their behalf. But if you were considering Romances – I look forward to seeing which ones you pick to narrate! I hope not always a Rom Suspense!

What is your personal favourite scene or moment of narrating “The Cryptic Lines”?!

Urry responds: Aside from all the lovely meals that got me turning of the microphone and heading for the kitchen, I’d say the final image of the two characters at the end (don’t want to give any spoilers!), as this genuinely made me tear up when first reading. I think it’s a wonderful end to the story.

Oh, dear, yes I do suppose this walked that fine line towards a spoiler! River Song would be so cross with me, eh?! I do know what your eluding too, here and I agree with you about the ending! I was so hugged inside the narrative, I was not quite prepared for how it all knits together – such an emotional ending, at last for me! Beautiful and evoking of such a lovely heart of where a story can lead, too! You were so apt in your presentation, I felt the emotions through your voice.

What uplifts your spirit the most when you’re not working on a performance and want to unwind?

Urry responds: Honestly, audiobooks! But listening to them instead of narrating them. I go for lots of long walks to think things over and as I don’t yet have a dog to join me it’s usually someone like David Copperfield, Captain Ahab, Harry Potter or if I need a laugh, Brian Blessed or Alan Partridge.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Thank you for such wonderful responses to my questions, Mr Urry! I truly enjoyed our conversation about The Cryptic Lines! Especially since I am wicked excited about sharing my review in a few short days! I am hoping my readers will be as keenly curious as I was prior to reading it once they find out a bit more about the story-line!

I honestly thought your last response was quite brilliant! I am a book blogger – but I still find a great level of enjoyment in ‘reading’ without composing a review; reading for pleasure is cross-relatable to me as your narrating stories and I’m blogging about them! We each work hard on what we’re doing but at the end of the day, something is quite magical about curling up inside of a story that simply carts you off to someplace unexpected and beautifully writ to where it fully immerses you into it’s world!

For those of you who’ve enjoyed this conversation, Mr Urry has a second blog tour arriving in December on behalf of his narration for “Shadows of Tomorrow” by Jessica Meats.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

About Jake Urry

Jake Urry

Jake Urry is a British actor and audiobook narrator, and also co-founder of Just Some Theatre.

Since graduating from an Acting degree course in 2012 he’s toured with Just Some Theatre as an actor and producer, worked on a number of commercial voice over projects and most recently started producing Audiobooks.

Jake has produced over 10 titles since March 2016 and has rapidly found himself at home narrating Thriller, Horror, Mystery and Suspense titles. His audiobook work includes dark psychological thrillers White is the Coldest Colour and Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl, occult mystery series The Ulrich Files by Ambrose Ibsen, and gritty Sci-Fi novel Shadows of Tomorrow by Jessica Meats.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This interview is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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Whilst participating on:

The Cryptic Lines Audiobook Tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsKindly leave your thoughts and reactions for Mr Urry and myself in the comment threads below. If your an avid audiobook listener, I welcome your commentary and recommendations, for Historical Suspense, Thriller or Cosy Mysteries, too.

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 6 November, 2016 by jorielov in Audiobook Narrator Interview, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller Suspense

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