Author: Andy Zach
Narrator: Phil Blechman, Raven Perez
Length: 6 hours 10 minutes
Series: Life After Life Chronicles, Book 2
Release date: Jan. 18, 2018
Publisher: Jule Inc.
Genre: Science Fiction; Humor
My mother-in-law’s a zombie. And she has anger-management issues. My mother-in-law, Diane Newby, zombified by accident. She still volunteers at her church bake sales and cooks pot roast for her daughter and son-in-law, Ron Yardley. What ticks her off is when people don’t treat her like a normal human being – with glowing red eyes and super strength and speed. And if she doesn’t get her own way, look out. She explodes and leaves broken plaster and body parts in her wake. Nothing stops her: not brick walls, the federal government, or middle-aged spread. But the world’s most powerful criminal plans to control zombies. His only problem with zombies is that they have way too much free will. He has a solution for that. But will it work with Diane Newby? The world divides into pro-zombie and anti-zombie factions. Battles break out everywhere. Which side will you take? Who will live and who will die? You might not survive this audiobook. But at least you’ll die laughing.
Andy Zach was born Anastasius Zacharias, in Greece. His parents were both zombies. Growing up, he loved animals of all kinds. After moving to the United States as a child, in high school, he won a science fair by bringing toads back from suspended animation. Before turning to fiction, Andy published his Ph.D. thesis “Methods of Revivification for Various Species of the Kingdom Animalia” in the prestigious JAPM, Journal of Paranormal Medicine. Andy, in addition to being the foremost expert on paranormal animals, enjoys breeding phoenixes. He lives in Illinois with his five phoenixes. With his first book, “Zombie Turkeys” Andy blazed new ground in paranormal humor. The second book in his Life After Life Chronicles, “My Undead Mother-in-law” expands the zombie plague from turkeys to humans, with hilarious results. You can find both volumes on Amazon Kindle, Createspace print, and Audible audiobook editions. Not content to keep in zombies earthbound, Andy puts them afloat in his third book, “Paranormal Privateers”. Just when you thought every funny zombie trope had been explored, new humorous horizons open up. You can get “Paranormal Privateers” in Kindle and print formats. The audiobook is available now on Audible. Having conquered paranormal animal humor in his first series, Andy Zach launches into middle school superhero genre with Secret Supers. Four disabled seventh graders all get superpowers. Who knew a disability could be so useful for hiding a superpower? But the four friends, Jeremy, Dan, Kayla, and Aubrey confront problems that can’t be solved by superpowers. Phil Blechman is a mystical voice wizard from the New Yorkian borough of Queens. His narration and audio production work is supplemented by professions in sports journalism, theatrical writing and direction.
Q&A with Narrator Phil Blechman
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- I always wanted to do audio work and narrating audiobooks was part of that. Even though I’ve done over a dozen titles, I am still early in the game. I still need representation, I always feel like I can make improvements to my recording studio — better equipment, better setup, etc, and I always feel like there are more voices I could work on to expand my range.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
- It was/is extremely difficult. I am still not represented by an agent so I have to work a full time job in addition to audiobooks and other narration work. Booking gigs (pun intended) that offer enough pay are harder to come by.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- I have a BFA in drama from Syracuse University and I’m happy that I have that training background. It’s good to have acting training, but not essential for audiobooks in my experience. Voice training is more useful because you have to convey all the emotion and resonance of the world in your voice. And patience. Lots and lots of patience and cough drops.
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
- I like to work closely with them to hear what they want specifically. Like if an author already knows the kinds of voices they want for certain characters, that is great to have before starting because it saves a lot of time. If they don’t know what they want and are open to interpretation, that is great too. Ultimately, as a narrator, I am performing pretty much only for the author because if they approve a chapter then it is good to go for the audience at large. I would only submit something I’d be happy for a larger audience to hear so if the author is happy, I’m happy.
- Who are your “accent inspirations”?
- A big factor that I think many narrators neglect is sound texture between characters. If you have characters that talk to each other a lot, you want the voices for them to be distinctly different so that you can cut out as many “he said”s and “she replied”s as possible. Those lines that inform the listener who is speaking should be clear by the voices of the narrator. So I’m inspired by accents that allow me to cut out the most ‘who is speaking’ lines as possible.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
- I use the context the author has given a character to play around with what that character is likely to sound like. The trick is that some voices can work for cameos but if you have a principal or recurring character, you have to ensure you can speak comfortably in a voice under any circumstance.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- Find a structure/routine you can follow that is manageable and treat it like a job — you start at a certain time and stop at a certain time. Once you consider it a hobby that you do “when you have time for it”, you’ll likely not reach the success you’re aiming for.
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