Hello everyone! I am so excited today to welcome the fabulous Charlie David to the blog. Among his many talents, Charlie records audio books for Dreamspinner Press. He was kind enough to indulge me when I tracked him down and agreed to an interview with me to share more about making audio books and some of his other interests.
Charlie has also brought giveaways for EVERYONE in the form of a free audio download of his recent release. So hurray, goodies for all! So please join me in giving Charlie a big welcome!
Hi there! Thanks so much for taking an interest in my work!
So as I mentioned, you are a man of many talents. Can you start us off by telling everyone a little bit about yourself?
I live in Montréal, Canada with my boyfriend. We have a very simple but wonderful life in an area called Le Plateau, which is filled with amazing restaurants, shops and is close to the mountain and many parks. Montreal is a wonderful city for public transit so we choose not to have a car, instead we get everywhere we need to by bicycle, metro or bus. While he’s working on learning his third language I’m still struggling to become bilingual. The multicultural and multi-language aspects of the city are some of the reasons we find it so special to call home.
One of the things that most interests me is your job recording audio books for Dreamspinner Press. How did you get started doing this kind of work?
It’s such a fun job! I love it! I’ve done voice work for TV narration and radio commercials since I was a teenager. One of my first gigs was singing jingles and that progressed into infomercials (can I interest you in an amazing, life-changing set of Tupperware!?), recording songs back when I had a band and then narrating shows like my world travel show Bump!
When Dreamspinner Press began publishing my books we discussed the option of me narrating them. I think it was actually a good experiment to read my own work first and then begin to work on other author’s work. Audiobook recording is an interesting challenge so I got to work out some kinks on my own work first!
Can you tell us a little about how you approach recording a new story? Do you read the book first? How do you “hear” the characters in your head to know how to present them out loud? I’d love if you could walk us through the process of how the audio books are made.
Absolutely I read the book first. Books are often layered with discovery so it’s important to get as many details as possible. Sometimes I have a discussion with the author prior to recording if they’d like that to gain any insight into how they imagined the characters. Sometimes the character ‘cues’ are easy or maybe it’s more apt to say – they are easy to jump into like the guys in author Damon Suede’s Hot Head. I felt like I knew those guys fairly quickly – I recognized the big Italian family from my neighborhood here in Montréal so I could already ‘hear’ who these people were from the first page.
Other books are much more challenging if they don’t have obvious characters with accents or a well constructed ‘voice’ for each character. It’s kind of writing 101 but if the writer has written every character to speak the same on the page – it’s very difficult to voice a book like that. It’s equally boring to read a book like that. It hasn’t really been developed and at best the characters are thin. When characters are written with variation in cadence, vocabulary, and idiosyncrasies – it’s a much more enjoyable experience.
I don’t always ‘put on’ voices for all the characters in a book. It really depends on the style and what feels right. The most important thing is being able to relay to the listener who is speaking now. Generally a writer doesn’t write thinking ‘this is going to be an audio book’, so you may find pages of back and forth dialogue between as many as 5 or 6 characters (in my nightmares and it does happen!) with very little narrative break. Those are certainly challenging books to narrate.
I generally get out my collection of highlighters and give each voice a different coded color – that certainly helps the process!
Ok, so I am dying to know, is it hard recording romance novels, especially when they get all steamy? Or is it fun to get into these intense scenes?
When the writing is good – it’s great and a really fun ride for me to read these scenes as well. Sometimes I have ‘OMG’ moments as in, I really have to say this!?
Most of the work I do – whether with my films, documentaries, TV shows or books circle around sexuality. Sex is fun, exploration is great and I think there’s definitely nothing wrong or shameful in enjoying some entertainment in this way.
There have certainly been a few authors who have managed to turn my crank the right way in their work. I usually record in just my underwear as well, those are the benefits of a home studio!
Can you tell us about any books that were particularly fun to record, or unusually challenging?
Eric Arvin’s Woke Up in a Strange Place was a book that I really enjoyed, felt inspired by and was definitely a really fun departure from the more traditional M/M fare. It was a good challenge in that there was a large cast of characters and since it was rooted in a fantastical setting – it allowed me to just play. I really enjoyed recording that book.
Recently narrating some of Cardeno C’s work has been fun. I’m a sucker for a shifter story and so working on Until Forever Comes and Wake Me Up Inside was a real treat. Her writing style is a natural fit with me so it’s never laborious, it’s always easy, enjoyable and wonderful escape.
In addition to recording audio books, you are also an author for Dreamspinner. Can you tell us more about some of your work?
My first book, Boy Midflight, I wrote when I was 18. It’s not a perfect book by any means but what I like about it is that it’s just an open invitation viewing into my mind as a teenager. It’s like the ramblings of Claire Danes as Angela Chase in My So Called Life. That series also cemented the fact that I was gay in both my mind and boxers every time Jared Leto came on screen. [Sigh, young Jared Leto]
My next book, Mulligans, became the movie by the same title and is the story of a family where the father has an affair with his college age son’s best friend… It’s definitely a read (or listen!) to the book before watching the movie situation. I feel that we fit a lot more of the trials and tribulations of the characters into the book but that’s often the case. Either way the film is definitely worth a watch because of the absolute DILF of a Dad played by Dan Payne. The man is big and handsome every inch of his 6’4” frame.
My latest book is a collection of short stories titled Shadowlands. The stories are paranormal, homoerotic and kind of like episodes of Night Gallery or The Twilight Zone. I think Shadowlands is my best work as an author.
Shadowlands book trailer:
Do you have an upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
What my mother was to craft projects I am to film/TV projects – a busy bee!!
I own a production company called Border2Border Entertainment and I think readers of your blog will enjoy my latest documentaries I’m a Stripper (we’re currently filming the sequel imaginatively titled I’m a Stripper Too!), I’m a Porn Star, and our web series Coming Out, which is based in Montreal. It’s in French but with English subtitles and is a cool insight into the gay village in this unique North American city.
We always post new trailers for our shows on my youtube, facebook and twitter so if you like the look of what we create – those are good ways to stay in touch.
If my readers want to learn more about you or your work, where can they find you online?
By all means – please come and play on my social sites!
Thanks so much for stopping by today! It was really great meeting you!
Charlie and Dreamspinner have been kind enough to offer some giveaways to everyone today. Hurray, we all win!
Just follow the link below for a free audio download of Shadowlands. There are also some audio excerpts from some other Dreamspinner books.