Narrator (Audiobook) Interview | A seasoned journalist finds a new passion in narrating audiobooks: my convo with Greg Hernandez

Posted Tuesday, 27 June, 2017 by jorielov 0 Comments

Audiobook Narrator Blog Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts! You might have noticed I’ve slowed down the frequency of posts arriving on Jorie Loves A Story this Spring? The reason is quite a simple one: my allergies have been beastly this year and it’s taken a lot out of me as our unusual dry season has rendered me quite ill moreso than well. If we get a monsoon rain season (as per usual) with consistency, I’ll be a happy camper as this will be the formidable end of my seasonal allergies! Until then, I appreciate your patience as I work through some of the worst attacks I’ve experienced with my allergies overall.

As I start to re-emerge sharing my thoughts on the books which are keenly fascinating right now on my shelf to read – I am going to start things off this week by sharing a lovely convo I had with a journalist turnt audiobook narrator – a man who has had quite the blessed career in journalism has found a second passion in life to bring voice and characterisation to the stories once originating in print. One of the novels he has voiced has been on tour with Audiobookworm Promotions – the blog touring company specialising in audiobooks and of whom, I’ve had the joy of hosting for since the ending chapters of 2016.

Realising he has interviewed a number of well-known people – I decided to let him decide which person he wanted to highlight when I asked him a particular question – his response touched my heart as I was thankful to know a bit of insight into the person he picked as I, too, grew up knowing this man – except not in person like Mr Hernandez, but from afar; from his broadcasts and his empathy for revealling the news in a way which showed his humble heart for the topics in which he spoke about so well throughout his career.

I hope as you read over this conversation, you’ll end up smiling as much as I did. Let’s celebrate Mr Hernandez’s new career and get to know ‘the narrator’ and ‘voice’ behind some of the fiction which might whet a thirst of interest for you to be #amlistening, to next! Curiously – if you want to reach out to other listeners, I recently discovered the #nextlisten tag on Twitter!

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Deadly Shore audiobook by Andrew Cunningham, narrated by Greg HernandezIt’s July 5th, and the Cape Cod roadways are clogged with tourists heading home from the holiday weekend and trying to outrun an approaching potentially catastrophic hurricane. But in the blink of an eye, their lives are thrown into chaos when terrorists bring down the bridges to the Cape. Instantly, a half million terrified people have no way to escape. And when the terrorists threaten to release anthrax on the captive population if their demands aren’t met, fear turns to all-out panic.

With time running out, Marcus Baldwin, a private investigator and former CIA operative, and Sara Cross, a disgraced ex-homicide detective, are brought together by a sole clue to the identity of the terrorists. They quickly realize that they may be the only ones with even a chance at stopping the plot before it’s too late.

With Hurricane Chad barreling up the coast on a path for a direct hit on Cape Cod, it becomes frighteningly clear to everyone trapped on what has now become an island – one way or another they are probably all going to die.

 

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How did you develop your style of narration by switching from NOAA  podcasts to genre fiction? Is there a different approach you gave to how your voice conveyed the information or did you build on the foundation you had established as a voice-over presence?

Hernandez responds: The first order of business when narrating audiobooks is to leave the news reporter behind. Imparting news and narrating an audiobook are diametrically opposed. The inflection used during a news broadcast is based on key words of a story. The delivery is basically the same throughout. When narrating an audiobook, you have to act for the ear. It’s very close to old time radio plays. You take the role of the each character. You breathe life into each one through inflection, tonal quality and stepping into their shoes and viewpoint.

Has anyone noticed your narrating voice reminds them of a news anchor? I noticed part of your career was in broadcast news and I simply smiled. What interests you most in narrating Mysteries and Suspense stories vs other types of novels? What draws your eye into them?

Hernandez responds: I always have devoured mysteries, thrillers and sci-fi over my life. I enjoy being scared and being caught off guard by a twist or a turn. I’m fortunate to have been a radio news reporter because there have been several books that I’ve narrated where the author wrote passages as heard on the TV or radio. That brings me back to the journalist in me. I try to leave that radio reporter behind whenever I step into a character or the narrator of the story.

From a narrator’s perspective, what do you try most to fuse into your voice as your bringing an author’s words and characters to life? What do you want the listener to impart with the most?

Hernandez responds: One of the things I’ve learned from reading reviews is that people want more distinction when they hear a narrator. They want to know who’s speaking without rewinding, which can detract from the story. I now make every effort through tonality and inflection to create a voice for each character, including the narrator of the story. For my latest audiobook, DEADLY SHORE, I was very gratified when the author told me he felt like he was listening to a play. Using hand gestures, without them being picked up by the microphone, also are necessary to help you emphasize a character’s dialogue.  I want listeners to get lost in the story.

Have you ever narrated a book which you felt was a challenge? What made it difficult and how did you work through the hurdles?

Hernandez responds: Without naming the book, there was one that had characters who spoke in terrible English. There were lots of contracted words and sentences. That certainly was a great challenge. I now select my projects with greater care looking for excellent writing.

Do you regularly read the text your about to narrate or do you go into narrating a book blind to the actual story itself in order to give an honest performance as you discover it’s content?

Hernandez responds: I always read the book first. I want to immerse myself in the story and the characters. I want to know the turning points, the surprises, the heartbreak. In narrating WISDOM SPRING by Andrew Cunningham, I actually started crying when I got to the interplay between two characters. That’s why I just love great writing.

What types of audiobooks do you personally listen to regularly and why do they capture your attention more so than others?

Hernandez responds: I listen to biographies and celebrity books. I also love listening to mysteries and thrillers. There’s nothing like being scared while driving around doing Saturday errands. I can’t imagine what people must think when they see me walk into the store with a pensive look. I just can’t wait to get back into the car to get back to the story. I’ve enjoyed audiobooks by Dick Van Dyke and William Shatner.

I am thankful my local library is starting to carry audiobooks by certain actors & celebrities I have appreciated throughout my life – I will have to look for Mr Dyke and Mr Shatner’s releases – thanks for the suggestions! I am unsure if they narrated their own stories and/or books, but I have noticed quite a few actors are starting to do this such as Robert Wagner, Carol Burnett and Lauren Graham.

What is your favourite way to listen to audiobooks and why?

Hernandez responds: My favorite way of listening to audiobooks is through my cell phone while in the car. I use Bluetooth to connect to my car’s sound system. The audio surrounds me while I’m driving around. I’m transported to my audiobook’s world while doing mundane things. My next favorite way is using Bluetooth headphones connected to my phone while doing the dishes.

I must admit, I was surprised you listen to audiobooks in the car whilst your driving – I, for one, like to be in one place and without any other distractions around me – which is why I love to colour as I listen, as it allows me to jettison straight into the story without worrying about losing bits I might misplace whilst trying to concentrate on the world-building and the character development. I give you credit – how you’re able to tune into the story in such a strong capacity and still drive – that’s definitely an interesting gift to have as aside from the radio, I know I’d be too focused on the road to enjoy it.

Do you have any favourite narrators or voice performers in fiction? What did you like most about how they dictate the stories their narrating?

Hernandez responds: Ellen Archer and TJ Richards have become my favorite narrators for mysteries and thrillers. They take me into the action. Their narrations make me feel as if I’m in the story with them. They grab me and never let go until the audiobook ends.

As you’ve worked across fields which field surprised you about being your favourite and why?

Hernandez responds: My first love was journalism. I enjoyed seeking out the facts and reporting them. It’s like solving a mystery except the information you imparted to the listeners was of vital importance like the approach of a hurricane or severe weather. Radio news, I feel, prepared me for being a federal government spokesman and now narrating audiobooks.  All of my fields have revolved around telling stories. In the news business you tell stories with no bias. Being a spokesman you speak with reporters in support of your federal agency. Narrating audiobooks is taking the listener for an aural adventure.

Yes, I do agree – aural or visceral experience is the best way to describe how audiobooks transport us ‘elsewhere’ through the voice of the narrator.

Of all the people you’ve met throughout your career, which person surprised you the most? What was your favourite takeaway from meeting them?

Hernandez responds: That’s a difficult question because I’ve had the good fortune to meet and work with some outstanding people. My ultimate favorite was Peter Jennings of ABC News. I worked at ABC News for a decade. Whenever the news program “World News Tonight” was broadcast out of  the Washington, D.C, bureau where I worked, I was Mr. Jennings’ editor for his radio commentary Jennings Journal.  After five years of working with him, I asked him if he was willing to record my outgoing message for my home answering machine. He did it, and it was an instant hit with those who called. Plus, he was my news hero.  I was lucky to work on the same team.

I am so thankful I edited my final question to be left open for you to decide whom you wanted to talk about as I had initially chosen to ask you about Barbara Walters as I noted she was amongst those you had crossed paths with in the past. The reason I was so overjoyed by your response, is like you, I found Mr Jennings to be a news hero of my own, especially in the early 1990s when war was raging and the world felt uncertain – he had a way of telling living history which was developing as we were living through our sixth and seventh grades at school to be both thought-provoking and approachable. I never forgot how he gave us as middle schoolers a chance to understand the ‘headlines’ but give such a heartfelt approach to breaking it down into something we all could understand in a more tangible way. I’m thankful to know he was someone you enjoyed working alongside inasmuch as someone you admired.

About Greg Hernandez

Greg Hernandez

For more than 20 years I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer. I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau. I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House. I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news.

I have worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies for more than 20 years. At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, U.S. Commerce Department), I introduced podcasting in 2005 just a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. The 19 podcasts I narrated and produced from August 2005 to June 2007 were downloaded more than 600,000 times during that period.

I enjoy narrating audio books because it gives me great satisfaction bringing to life books of all genres, especially mysteries and thrillers.

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This interview is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Audiobookworm Promotions Event Host badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

Whilst participating on:

Deadly Shore audiobook blog tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsKindly leave your thoughts and reactions for Mr Hernandez in the comment threads below. If your an avid audiobook listener, I welcome your commentary and recommendations, for Suspense & Thriller!

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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.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Deadly Shore”, book synopsis, narrator biography, narrator photo, Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Narrator Interview Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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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 Tuesday, 27 June, 2017 by jorielov in Audiobook Narrator Interview, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer




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