Author: Andrew Cunningham
Narrator: Greg Hernandez
Length: 6 hours 12 minutes
Series: Lies Mystery Thriller Series, Book 5
Publisher: Andrew Cunningham
Released: Mar. 17, 2020
Gunned down on a busy Boston street, bestselling mystery author Sabrina Spencer is left clinging to life. Media speculation suggests a deranged fan as the shooter. But was Sabrina really the intended target? For Del Honeycutt, a chilling link emerges between Sabrina’s shooting and that of his father’s murder three years earlier. Discovering that his father was leading a secret life, he digs deeper, and the clues lead Del down a dangerous and deadly path.
Q&A with Narrator Greg Hernandez
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
- In 2014 I was looking down the road toward retirement from my federal government job. I knew I wanted to do something with voice over, but I didn’t want to go to an office. I read the book, “More Than Just A Voice: The REAL Secret to Voiceover Success” by Dave Courvoisier. The chapter on audiobooks was very intriguing. I did some research and auditioned in late 2014. I was ecstatic that I was selected quickly. It’s been a great adventure and learning experience ever since that fateful day.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
- I was a radio news reporter in my first career. Being in front of a microphone was my comfort zone. I was very glad that I got my first audiobook a few days after my audition. It helped a lot that I worked with digital audio in 1987 when it was first introduced at ABC Radio News. Those skills have worked in my favor as an independent narrator not working with a publisher. Plus, I was an audio engineer when I was a student at Syracuse University working with analog audio.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- I believe it’s necessary to know a little about acting because that’s what narrating mysteries and thrillers is all about. Through my first reviews, I learned that listeners want distinct character voices so that they know who’s speaking. They don’t want to keep rewinding to keep up with character dialogue. I’ve studied acting and taken acting classes in order to make the dialogue sound like a movie soundtrack.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- Audiobook narration is like running a marathon. You have to keep your voice in shape, and you have to maintain your energy level high throughout the whole book. In my early narrations I’d sometimes have to re-record sections because the energy was flagging. Now, I make it a point to maintain a constant energy just like a runner trying to keep up a steady pace.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I listen to hundreds of hours of audiobooks each year. My favorites are biographies narrated by the author. There’s nothing like hearing someone’s story as told by them. I also love mysteries and thrillers. I also am very picky about narrators.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- I enjoy the whole process from narrating, editing and processing the audio for final production. Since I edit my own narrations, it’s my goal to make certain the audio is the best quality to give the listener a terrific experience. The only frustrating part of narrating is when I get a cold. That shuts down the whole process behind the microphone. That’s when I go into editing mode.
- What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
- Over the past five years, I’ve made it a point to come up with distinct character voices. I don’t want them to sound over the top. I want them to sound like every day people and believable. Some voices come naturally from the author’s words, and others take a little time to get the right cadence and inflection.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
- I have narrated six books by Andrew Cunningham. I haven’t auditioned for a book since 2015. Andrew and I have a great collaboration. I call him my director because he’ll let me know if I’ve gotten a character’s voice the way he envisioned it when he wrote the story. There are about four more books that Andrew wants me to narrate. This latest series allows me continue voicing the two main characters, Del and Sabrina, that I now consider my alter egos.
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
- I enjoy authors that listen closely to my narration and provide feedback. I’ve been fortunate to work with Andrew Cunningham on several books because he provides valuable input that makes my narration all the more real sounding. I get great satisfaction when an author says I’ve brought their book to life.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- I advise aspiring audiobook narrators to do their research. Narrating an audiobook is time consuming. When starting out, it takes about three hours to narrate and produce a finished hour of an audiobook. With time and experience, you can cut that down but not by much. You have to be prepared mentally and vocally for the long haul. It takes even longer if you edit and produce your own narrations.
- Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
- There are some words and long sentences that sometimes pose a challenge. I’ll get half way through a long sentence and then blow the next part or run out of breath. It’s amazing how some words come out that are not on the page. When I hear the playback, I’ll have a laugh. Take two, please!