Whether Luke Daniels is bring sexy back with his romance narration or making you laugh while bring funny dogs to life, he will suck you into the novel every time.
Can you walk us through your prep work for a narration project? Do you prepare any notes to help decide the tone and voice to give a character when there’s not a clear description of their voice in the novel (when they do not have a distinct accent)?
When I get an offer for a book I read the publisher’s summary which gives me a general notion of the big three… Genre, Tone, and Character. From that I can begin forming a picture of the kind of world the author is presenting to us. Interestingly, one of the changes that comes from telling the author’s story is that speaking the text turns the intended readers into an audience. As the agent of that change, I rely heavily on whatever clues the author sets down in the text, as well as my own intuition. Once I have the full script, I scan it for more specifics on language and character, such as dialects and foreign words that will need to be researched. Every actor’s process is different and unique to them as a performer. I try to find a balance of preparedness as well as an openness to moment to moment discoveries that I make while performing the text. Ideally this creates a spontenaity in the performance that keeps it from sounding rehearsed or *shiver* recited.
You narrate a wide variety of novels. How do you decide which books to perform?
Timing. Honestly, It depends on when an offer is made and how it’s deadline falls within my schedule. I dislike having to turn work down though. Once a starving artist always a starving artist, I guess. I’m especially grateful that I get to work across different genres. Afterall, variety is the spice of life. That… and cardamom.
I first experienced your narration work when I listened to One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy. How embarrassing is it to record the love scenes? And did you record the audio in front of a director and/or engineer?
I’m pretty sure my embarrassment factor was all but eradicated after the horrors of high school. Plus, as an actor I’m a bit of an exhibitionist so I like to get an *ahem* rise out of people. With OWG there was an engineer and director. But they’re behind a glass window and I can’t really see them. Also I perform with the lights off. Sooo.. Yeah. There’s that.
One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend by Monica Murphy was done with dual narration. Did you get to work Kate Rudd, the other narrator or do you record your parts of the novels separately?
Separately. Kate and I aren’t allowed in the same room together. Seriously. We’re like the Tupac and Biggie of the audiobook world. I’m kidding. We did record our sessions separately, but Kate is one of the sweetest and most talented people I know. Plus she has this hilariously, adorable Dog. What kind you ask? Oh, only an Irish Wolfhound. Right!? If that doesn’t show you how awesome she is.. Well… Then ya probably don’t know about the Iron Druid Chronicals. Bum-Budda-bum…Segue!!!
I have devoured the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. You do a great job with the narration of that series. I love Oberon Khan, Atticus’s Irish wolfhound. What was your inspiration for his voice?
Dogs. I mean, just in general they are hilarious and awesome and I’ve always given them voices. I think because so much of their behavior is anthropomorphic. Oberon’s voice specifically comes from Kevin Hearne’s writing. I am but the vessel. A very hairy and slobbery vessel. I love playing Oberon. He’s two wonderful extremes of tough and playful. I try to allow the pitch, timbre and resonance of my voice reflect that, as well as his inquisitiveness and his compassion. He’s a true Everyman. Uh. Everydog.
Since you spend so much of your time reading novels for work, do you enjoy pleasure reading in your spare time? If so, what types of books do you enjoy? And, do you find yourself thinking how you would narrate those book while you’re reading them?
Actually, I narrate everything. Walking down the street. Signs on the highway. I can’t help it. Thankfully, my family loves it. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
As for my at-home-read-for-pleasure-list? Comics! Thank Odin for comics. One of the side effects of performing hundreds of pages of text every single day is that I have absolutely no time/ability/desire to pleasure read. By evening my head is swimming from all the words I’ve said, so the idea of sitting down and reading more is very unappealing. Thankfully comics are a perfect blend of eye candy and yes, some words, but I don’t really have to read them if I don’t want to. But I usually do anyway. I just can’t help it. It’s like the highway signs. Words are meant to be read! And read aloud!
Luke Daniels was born into a family of actors. Both his father and mother have been performing and teaching for almost five decades. It is because of their influence that, from a very young age, Luke and his two brothers often found themselves in rehearsal halls at repertory theatres all over the country; watching innumerable productions of Much Ado, Julius Caesar, and Midsummer’s.
Luke’s first theatrical role came at the age of 5 as Fleance in a production of Macbeth. He immediately loved the creativity and camaraderie of the theatre. (It also didn’t hurt that he was allowed to miss school for certain performances.)
Over the years Luke has performed at many repertory theatres across the country, including the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Connecticut Rep., and Hope Summer Rep. in Holland, Michigan. Luke has his Bachelor’s from Western Michigan University and his MFA in performance from the University of Connecticut.
Luke has worked professionally as a director, teacher, audiobook narrator, voice-over, commercial, and industrial actor.
But he maintains that the greatest role he has ever played is that of a Father to his daughter.
You can find a list of Luke’s audio book work here.
And you can find audio books I’ve reviewed performed by Luke here.
Check out this interview between Luke and author Kevin Hearne.