An Interview with a … Narrator

February 26, 2013

Reposted from - Sue Campbell, the book designer, February 25, 2013:

Stephens Press continues its venture into audiobooks with the publication of their bestseller, My Brother’s Voice by Stephen Nasser. This true story about a young boy surviving the Holocaust has been a perennial favorite since its first printing in 2003. The book debuted in hardcover, followed by trade paperback and there have been numerous reprintings in the intervening 10 years. It came to Kindles and iPads everywhere in 2012. And in all those venues it continues to sell well, and spread its message.

Mr. Nasser is the dynamo behind the lasting impact his story has had on his many audiences of students and adults, alike. He has spoken to groups upwards of 800 times all around the USA, and the world. He continues to do so almost on a weekly basis. Soon, the story will come alive in a stage play.

When Stephens Press first decided to venture into audiobooks, My Brother’s Voice was high on the list of books that publisher, Carolyn Uber, (and myself as the newly dubbed “audiobooks coordinator”) wanted to hear in audio. We knew that this book would need a special voice, to bring the story to life. So I began the audition process on ACX (audiobook creator’s exchange) a division of Audible.com. I knew that I wanted a younger voice and one that could convey the emotion and drama of this story, but without going overboard toward maudlin or melodramatic.

I listened to many sample “reels,” and chose a few narrators and sent requests for a “sample” reading. Most all of them obliged me with a five minute reading from our book. What struck me was how different the interpretations all were. They were all good, in different ways, but the one I knew I wanted stood out for me right from the start. That one was Maxwell Glick.

Max had exactly the right tone, and a balance of drama and matter-of-factness. His clarity and pronunciation, superb. He also portrayed just the right amount of youthful “naiveté” that I felt suited they young “Pista” Nasser of the story. And, Max is an actor—that was also something I felt we needed for this story—because only an actor would “get” how to convey the emotional component. He does and boy did he ever!

I was thrilled when Max agreed to work with us on narrating this book. We’re lucky enough to have an interview with Mr. Glick, and following that an audio sample of his work on My Brother’s Voice. Please read on for your reward!

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Maxwell Glick from Long Island, NY. Live in Los Angeles, CA, and I’m an actor!
What inspired you to get into audiobook narration?
As an actor you’re constantly on the lookout for as many opportunities to work as possible. I started doing some voiceover work, and then heard about the website ACX, where authors search for narrators for their books. I love books and I love doing voiceover work, so I thought this was something I could do!

How long have you been doing audiobooks?
Since starting over a year ago, I’ve narrated almost 20 books now. It’s been great.

Do you also do other kinds of voiceover or narration?
I’ve done many voiceovers for all different kinds of things. I’ve done a bunch of commercials, cartoons, and e-learning guides. I’m currently working on a new cartoon where I’ve become the voice of a blue elephant named Bubbles. We’ll be hearing more about that soon once the show really gets underway. (Sue: Max is too modest. He’s also guested TV shows since he came to L.A., including appearances on The Office and, more recently, on Castle.)
What attracted you to My Brother’s Voice?
Stories from the Holocaust are so important for everyone to read and listen to. Holocaust survivors are some of the most brave and inspirational people this world has known. Their stories need to live on forever, and getting the opportunity to tell Stephen’s story was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had.
What was the experience of recording this book like for you?
This was such an incredible experience for me. It definitely was not easy at times. Throughout the recording process, I’d have to pause and regroup because some of the scenes are so emotional that I’d get choked up during the reading. When I finished the recording, I just wanted to tell everyone all about it because it was the best audiobook experience I’ve ever had. I just want the world to hear Stephen’s story. It really was an honor to get to tell it.
Tell us a little bit about the process of narration?
Audiobook narration is a very unique gig! It takes a long time and you need to keep your voice in good shape for the duration of the book.
Where do you record, how long does it take, etc.
It depends on the length of the book how long it takes me to record. I can usually finish it in 1-2 weeks. I record from my home! I have a home studio literally in my walk in closet. I’ve transformed it into a space where I can work!
Do you do any sort of preparation to get yourself ready for it?
My preparation for a book is to read it, and look up anything I don’t know the meaning of. For this, I got to talk to Stephen and actually have him pronounce all of the Hungarian words I didn’t know which made my life much easier going into the book.
Is it just like acting?
Audiobook narration is like acting, but a very different kind of acting. You’re all the voices!

(You can follow more about Max’s career on www.maxwellglick.com and follow his twitter feed @maxwellglick. He also has his own YouTube Channel and is a regular on the popular Lizzy Bennett Diaries on YouTube. What a busy guy!)
Listen to a sample of My Brother’s Voice. The audiobook is available at Audible.com; iTunes; and Amazon.com. We expect the book to soon be available on Amazon’s Whispersync which will let you listen or read on your Kindle device and it will sync your place in both formats! Even if you’re read the book before hearing it narrated by a consummate performer like Max is a totally new experience, and one you won’t want to miss.

Sue Campbell’s novella, “Shadows of Dreams” can be found in Witch Hunt: Of the Blood. She designs award-winning books and jump-off-the-shelf covers from her Colorado studio, assisted by her standard poodles, Pepper and Bella.


Coming Soon to an iPhone Near You!

September 27, 2009

overview_gift_cards20090909Stephens Press and iTunes Producer Michael Bloom have inked a deal to convert Stephens Press books into audiobooks for download at the iTunes store. First to be produced is Sinsational Celebrity Tales, to be read by the author, Norm Clarke. Plans are in the works to also produce SP children’s picture books as iTunes apps. These books can both be viewed and read on screen or the child can press an arrow to have each page read aloud. As parents and grandparents know, having an entertaining book or game at hand can be a lifesaver for a squirmy or bored toddler forced to wait in a line or for service in a restaurant. My four-year-old granddaughter Reese knows how to operate my iPhone better than I do!