Author: Andy Zach, Olivia Smith
Narrator: Michael Stafford
Length: 5 hours 12 minutes
Series: Life After Life Chronicles, Book 4
Release date: Jun. 12, 2020
Publisher: Jule Inc.
Genre: Science Fiction; Humor
Accidents happen. Especially around zombie turkeys. Then you add zombie humans, and problems proliferate. Mix in some ill-planned genetic engineering, and things get crazy.
The insanity continues, from the story where zombies are merged with cucumbers to the one where two basement-dwelling nerds gain access to all video content from the past two hundred years – from aliens.
Andy Zach pulls out all the stops on his imagination as he serves up this smorgasbord of silliness. Try it. Laughter is good for your soul.
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.
Michael Stafford received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 2017 from ACU. He has been performing professionally since 2013. He has performed in regional and educational theaters across Texas for over a decade. “Oops!” is Michael’s first audiobook. He greatly enjoyed the recording process and collaborating with Andy Zach. Michael would like to thank his wife and daughter for their continuous support and love.
Q&A with Narrator Michael Stafford
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- While I think anyone can get into narration as a hobby, it does take training to elevate narration from reading the book aloud to performing the characters. For those who want to pursue narration professionally, formal training also includes learning how to organize your performance as a business.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- I think it’s important to pace yourself, take adequate breaks between projects, and vary your projects. Switching things up allows you to take on new challenges.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- My favorite aspect of narrating is creating the characters and being able to perform them in conversation. If you’ve developed your characters well, you can feel the scene “click”, and it’s very exciting. My least favorite part about narrating an audiobook is going through the process of listening through to filter out errant sounds and mistakes. It takes a lot of time and focus, which can be difficult to make space for in a busy life!
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
- I immediately liked the humor present in the audition sample, and I was excited to take on the challenge of creating a wide variety of characters.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
- For this project Andy and I worked closely to determine how several of the main characters should sound. In addition to his direction, the writing itself informs the tone and attitude of the characters. For example, I knew Diane Newby needed to be outgoing and vivacious, while Wilma O’Reilly was business-first and nearly always applying pressure.
- How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
- Audiobook is a marathon, while most other voiceover work is a sprint. Audiobook narration takes time to set up, and recording takes a significant amount of time. Rerecording is a whole other beast when it comes to narration. In a 30 second ad, if I make a mistake I can re-record the whole thing easily and move on. If I make a mistake in a chapter, I have to make sure the rerecord doesn’t sound out of place, so I have to match my tone and positioning to what I recorded a week ago!
- What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
- Anything that provides actionable feedback is great. General feedback is useful for understanding a listener’s overall impressions, but specific comments about characters, sections, or pacing are things I can reflect on and improve.
- If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
- I would love to narrate Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It was one of the first books I thoroughly enjoyed as a kid, and there’s a wealth of challenging characters that would be a blast to develop.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Neither is better than the other, they’re simply different. While reading allows you to stretch your imagination and create the book for yourself, listening allows the book to come to life in a way that isn’t always possible when everything is internal.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- The best advice I can give is to practice. Take a book you own and narrate a chapter (go through the editing process too) – can you see yourself doing this over the course of an entire book, several hours worth of work? If it is, great! Share it with friends and family and ask for feedback, both on your performance and on the technical side. Explore online resources to improve your work, and start auditioning!
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