How I Chose the Perfect Narrator

Six years ago, when I’d just started self-publishing the Renegade X series, I decided I wanted to make an audiobook. Books 1 and 2 came out pretty much at the same time (book 2 actually came out about a week before book 1, but who’s counting?), and they were doing well enough to support taking a chance on something new.

But I was nervous about actually hearing someone voice my characters, especially Damien, because I already had an idea of how they sounded in my head and I didn’t want to risk ruining that. Not only did I need to find the right voice for Damien, but I also needed somebody who could pull off all the humor and get the timing right. And I’m super picky about narrators. The point is, I had to find someone who was just right, or else I wasn’t going to do it.

So I put up a request for auditions on ACX. I got a lot of of them, but it wasn’t until I went looking around at available narrators myself that I found someone. Phillip Russel Newman was really versatile and could pull off a variety of voices. I asked him to record an audition, and he agreed. And then I went to his website and saw that he had a business where people could pay him to go sing songs to their loved ones in public and embarrass the hell out of them. I mean, embarrassing the hell out of them wasn’t explicitly stated, but you could see just how embarrassed people were in the sample videos.

And that’s when I knew, before I even heard him audition, that he would be the perfect Damien. Because what’s more Damien than that? And of course when his audition came in, it was flawless, and his voices for everyone were spot on and hilarious. (The audition scene was from fairly late in book 1 when Damien’s on the phone with Kat, and Amelia’s getting ready for her party, and Gordon comes in and asks Damien if he put worms in his shampoo, which we all know he did.)

If you’re wondering why I chose now to tell this story, it’s because I have a kickstarter going right now to produce the next audiobook in the series, The Betrayal of Renegade X. We’re at 29% with just under three weeks left to go! But if we don’t hit the finish line within that time, the project won’t get funded and the audiobook won’t get made. So if you’ve enjoyed the first two audiobooks, please consider preordering book 3 through the kickstarter to ensure that it will exist, both for you and for future listeners to enjoy!

And if you’re new to the audiobooks, books 1 and 2 are already available in audio if you want to check them out or hear a sample.

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