Author: R.K. Gold
Narrator: Kyle Tait
Length: 4 hours 3 minutes
Publisher: Earl of Plaid
Released: Aug. 3, 2017
Neville Canton was about as average as any man can be. He had a mediocre job, a pleasant wife, an on-going feud with his sister, and an average case of cancer that took his life.
But death wasn’t the end of his problems and even average people have to learn to overcome.
Now trapped in a cloud between the living and the dead, he must find his way to the afterlife.
With the help of a spiritual guide he navigates through seven challenges; seven tasks to sever his final connections to the mortal world.
If he fails, he forfeits his eternity and the consequences may be worse than death.
R.K. Gold graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a B.A. in English and is now pursuing a M.S. in Economics from the University at Buffalo.
He is a non-genre specific author who enjoys reading and writing about characters searching for their purpose in life.
Kyle is a professionally trained voice actor and narrator based in Atlanta, GA. He got his start working in sports radio, spending six seasons as a broadcaster in the Atlanta Braves’ organization. He started doing audiobooks on a part-time basis in 2013, and he enjoyed telling stories so much that he transitioned into voice acting full-time three years later. He’s performed more than 20 titles on Audible across a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. He also once had a video go viral after he took the pitch at a baseball-themed gender reveal party.
What I liked most about this book where the different concepts about the afterlife. I enjoyed reading Gold’s take on what happens after we die. The main character himself is pretty ordinary and there isn’t any development per se as he is dead. But there are a lot of things that could be learned from reading through the metaphors about life. I was personally a little bored so I’d give the storyline a 3.5/5.
As for the narration I think Tait had me more sold on the book. He had a nice even tone and I liked how he voiced Canton’s struggles. I’d give the audio a 4/5.
Overall not one of my favorite audiobooks. I’m feeling a 3.5-3.75 on this one.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kyle Tait. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrator Kyle Tait
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator? You know, it’s funny, my Dad told me for years that it would be a great line of work to look into, but I was never really interested until I was 25 years old or so. I worked in baseball full time as a radio broadcaster, so I had a lot of down time in the 6-month offseason. I started doing audiobooks as a hobby/part-time job, and quickly fell in love with it, so I went full time in 2016.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started? Actually, I found it quite easy. As a baseball broadcaster, I was used to “telling stories” on the air every night, so the transition was a natural one. There are a lot of similarities in the cadence and delivery. I also already had the equipment and technical knowledge, since a lot of the editing and mastering skills overlap between radio and voiceover.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career? Not at all. While I love going to the theatre, especially musicals, I have no background in acting whatsoever. My first audiobook was the very first acting I ever did.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating? I like to perform a mix of genres. I love performing all kinds of books–sci-fi, mystery, history, thrillers, fiction, non-fiction–you name it! But I find after I’ve done, say, a sci-fi book, I don’t want to pile another sci-fi right after it. I like to switch genres so it feels new and fresh.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? Very much so. I traveled a lot in the sports world, mostly long bus and car rides, so I loved to flip on an audiobook and get lost in a great narration. I love to listen to other narrators and get ideas for how they approach certain characters or situations, and see how their styles change between a descriptive passage and an action passage.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator? I’ve always had a curious fascination with the afterlife, and the idea of an average guy like Neville having to pass a series of tests really grabbed my attention. As I read the audition script, I realized pretty quickly that RK has a special way with words, and I wanted to be a part of bringing that to life–or, death, as it were.
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors? I like to work very closely with authors, typically texting back and forth throughout the book’s production. My end goal is to make the book sound like it sounded in the author’s head as they wrote it. I want the characters to jump off the page and into my narration, and that only works if I have a good relationship with the author. RK and I had an open line of communication and joked around a lot throughout production. I think that was the biggest key in making this a great audiobook.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title? I think the hardest character to come up with was the “old man”, Neville’s guide to the after life. It’s hard to imagine yourself in Neville’s situation–trying to come to grips with your own death, and now being tethered to this crazy old man, with the threat of possibly having to spend eternity with him. But as I read through the manuscript, I imagined this old man as sort of a creepy, eccentric version of Yoda from Star Wars.
- Do you read reviews for your audiobooks? I’ll admit it… Yes, I do. Negative reviews can sometimes be hard to swallow, but the truly objective or constructive reviews help me develop and improve! I can’t do much with “I didn’t like his voice…” but if they give a constructive reason, like “His characters all sounded the same,” that’s something I can work on for my next performance.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators? Research research research! Listen to a lot of other narrators, both good and bad, to get ideas of how they perform. Read a LOT, even books that you aren’t going to narrate, and imagine how you would perform those characters. And as you prepare to narrate a new book, read it thoroughly before you ever press Record. Take notes on characters, and then talk to the author over the phone about who he had in mind when he created that character.
- What’s next for you? I’m working on a brand new sci-fi work, “Skypunch” by Logan Castle. It’s got a little bit of everything–action, adventure, time travel, even some steamy scenes. Coming to Audible in late August!
- Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio? My wife says she can’t listen to my audiobooks. If she’s home while I record in my studio, she always puts on headphones so she can’t hear me. She says she doesn’t like all the voices in my head.
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