Author: Cordelia Rains
Narrator: Michael Kirby
Length: 10 hours 56 minutes
Publisher: Cordelia Rains
Released: April 22, 2022
Genre: Crime Thriller
It’s 1978. The drug trade is booming, and law enforcement can’t keep up. Enter the Cleanup Committee. They’ve all lost children to drugs. They’re rich, they’re organized, and they have resources. Will they succeed where the law failed?
Cordelia Rains lives and works from home in the beautiful pacific northwest. Her debut crime novel, The Cleanup Committee, was inspired by her parents: a police dispatcher and a nurse. A children’s series is also in the works.
Cordelia enjoys coffee, movies, and rock music. She can often be found walking with her family and their Saint Bernard.
Michael Kirby is a classically trained actor who has performed in film, television, theatre, and voiceovers for more than twenty-five years. He has developed a style that envelopes the audience in the narrative, bringing to life the writer’s work from the page. With clarity, grace, and a deep range of vocal techniques and characters to draw from, he puts the listener right in the heart of the story. He is a California native a lifelong skateboarder, outdoorsman and sci-fi nerd who spent a number of years living and working in New York City. Michael is a driven performer that brings mindfulness to all of his projects. As a father of two toddlers, he also approaches all things with a patient and nurturing spirit. Michael loves his craft and thrives on storytelling, both fiction and non-fiction.
Q&A with Narrator Michael Kirby
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
- As a classically trained actor I realized audiobooks are just like the long plays of Shakespeare and Chekhov, they require endurance and a connection to the characters in a visceral way. I love to tell stories on an epic scale and when I found audiobook narration, it just felt right as an actor.
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- I stumbled upon audiobooks completely. I was in a production of Henry IV at my theatre company and the actor I was sharing the role of Prince Hal with was Ramon deOcampo, a phenomenal actor and audiobook narrator and he introduced me to the world and helped me to get started with it.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
- The community of audiobook narration is unique in the acting world, it is a community filled with generous and wonderful people who want to help you. Everyone I have come across has been willing to help answer questions to newbies in the community so no, it wasn’t too difficult. It just takes patience and a willingness to learn. I hope to pay that generosity that was extended to me forward. The independent author community is also an incredible world of kind and generous artists and the first several books I have done have all been with independent authors and their kindness and support is the reason I am on this audiobook tour. Thanks to people like Cordelia Rains.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- I too have a background in theatre. While I don’t think it is necessary, I think it definitely helps for fiction. It’s not about finding different voices, it’s about finding what each character wants, what their motivation is and what they are fighting for and bringing that to the narration.
- What type of training have you undergone?
- I have a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Old Globe/ University of San Diego. I have studied with Audiobook Narrators Scott Brick, Sean Pratt, Andi Arndt, Ronnie Butler, and PJ Ochlan. I also have a BA in Theatre from Cal State Fullerton, and studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. I have also studied with and am a member of the prestigious Antaeus Theatre Company in Los Angeles.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I am an audiobook listener. I love listening to the narrators and hearing how much of themselves they bring to the work. My favorite thing however is when I listen to a narrator’s technique, and then I end up getting lost in the story and immersed in the different characters and no longer pay any attention to technique.
- What would you say are your strongest narration abilities? In all my work I try to find the heart of the story. Where is the love? Once I find where the love is, I am able to key into the story. Honesty is very important to me, being truthful is my highest priority as a storyteller. And truth is usually connected to love.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
- The story felt like such an adventure. A secret organization of vigilanties bent on stopping drug dealers and the lengths to which they are willing to go to stop them. It is so fun and I really connected with the lead character, it felt like a good fit. Luckily I got the book!
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
- I love to work with authors. I want any and all backstory and character information they have developed. The more involved the author is, the better it is for me to interpret what they want in an audiobook and it can only help me give them what they are looking for.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
- This was a challenge because there are over 100 characters in this book and most of them are from the same part of the country, namely Oregon. Os I had to look for different qualities based on the characters age, sex, and what their function was in the telling of the story.
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