Isobel Starling interviews Gary Furlong, the narrator for The Shatterproof Bond series.
I am a huge fan of listening to audiobooks, and my professional background includes years of working in Theatre, so am well-versed in what I like in a narrator/production and what I don’t like. Therefore, when I put my novel “As You Wish” on Audible’s narration site ACX.com seeking a narrator I had very specific requirements. The book is a gay romantic comedy set in Scotland, so I wanted a British principal narrator who could do accents and deliver the funnies. I needed a narrator who could voice a believable Scottish accent for my main character Declan Ramsay, as well as a range of other Scots accents for minor characters. I also needed someone who was comfortable with narrating graphic sex scenes. It was an arduous search but well worth it when I discovered the voice of Irish voice over artist Gary Furlong.
Gary has narrated “As You Wish,” which was released in early May 2017, and “Illuminate the Shadows” which will be released in mid-June 2017. The performances are outstanding, and the reviews have reflected this. I would like readers and listeners to know a little more about the narrator who has captured my characters Sam and Declan so brilliantly.
Hello Gary, tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in narrating/producing audio books? My intro in the audiobook industry was a little strange I think. I tried to get fit while working in Japan. I started running which I really enjoyed but found a little boring when going long distances. I started listening to Harry Potter narrated by Stephen Fry. After that, I was hooked. I listened to more and more audiobooks. Then I emailed two of my favourite narrators about how to get into the industry. They gave me the contact information of an audiobook coach, and I’ve been narrating since then.
How many audio books have you narrated? I think I am up to 33 on Audible. I have many more in the pipeline.
Do you favor M/M Romance or have you just fallen into narrating in this genre? I fell into the romance genre in general. I never set out to narrate romance. For no other reason than I never read it myself. However, I found that I enjoyed the genre. The M/M books I have narrated have all been excellent stories, so as Bob Ross would say: it was a happy accident.
You have a wonderfully wide range of accents. Are there any accents you haven’t been able to master? So very many. My welsh accent is not the best; I’ve been working on getting it up to scratch. I am constantly trying to improve the authenticity of the accents I perform. There is nothing worse than listening to an accent that isn’t quite right or over done. I strive to sound as authentic as possible.
How do you prepare for all the different characters and their tones/vocal ranges? I ask the author for any ideas they have on how the characters should sound. I try my best to work that into the performance. Sometimes the voices and tonal quality will be based on a celebrity or a person I have heard talking in the street. Then I read the book and learn the personalities and try to find the best voice for them.
What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of narrating AS YOU WISH? This is a difficult one. I think perhaps imitating scenes from a certain movie were the most difficult. I was essentially mimicking a Scotsman mimicking a Spaniard (or Englishman). So making it sound like it was Declan or Sam doing the impression rather than me doing it was pretty challenging.
Which character was the most fun to narrate? Why? Declan Ramsay. I enjoyed his inner thoughts, and I love narrating in a Scottish accent.
How do you deal with reading erotic scenes aloud? In general, I find the process no different than any other scene. I do find that these scenes take a little more care when narrating. Usually, these scenes involve a lot of emotion, and each character’s reaction has to be believable. Any overacting can really ruin the scene and take the listener out of the experience.
What’s the most satisfying or rewarding part of narrating/producing an audio book? Not being noticed. It is lovely when people tell you they enjoyed your narration (and I definitely enjoy it when/if they do). But the job of the narrator is to put the author’s message into audio. It isn’t about us, so if a review comes in raving about what a great story it was with barely a mention of the narrator, it means we have done a good job.
Where can readers/listeners find out more about you and your work? You can find out more about me on my website: www.garyfurlongvo.com You can also find me on Facebook as Gary Furlong Voice and Instagram as @gary_furlong_voice and Twitter as @gary_furlong.
Take a listen to a sample of Gary’s wonderful narration:
“Illuminate the Shadows” (Shatterproof Bond #2) released early and is also available now. For updates check out my website: https://isobelstarling.wix.com/books
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.
The Shatterproof Bond series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller. Isobel has just completed her eleventh book and signed French and German and Italian, translation and publishing rights deals for the whole Shatterproof Bond series. The As You Wish translation “Comme Vous Voudrez” is a best seller on Amazon France. It was released in German in March 2017, and as an audiobook in May 2017.
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