A Man For All Audiobooks: An Interview With Audiobook Narrator Paul Provo

Paul Provo in actionThis new interview is with audiobook voice Paul Provo. Paul, who resides in Spain, has just completed working on the mammoth task of recording a train orientated audiobook for the Railroad Artifact Preservation Society in Amarillo. This brilliant new book will entertain all train enthusiasts from 1 to 101.

But what about the voice behind the book? How does he make these audiobooks sound so good? What does it take to be a voice of audiobook quality? That’s the purpose of this interview… Let’s learn what makes one audiobook voice tick… You can learn more about using Paul’s voice by emailing Nick@nickwale.org.


What is it about writing, and the writings of others that really gets your interest, Paul?

Writing is very important in my life and only grows in significance as I get older. It is an art craft that will endure, of that we can be sure. Since I was a young boy, I´ve remained a steady reader. I started with things like Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton, all I could find by Mark Twain, and at eleven, started dabbling in the scary world of Edgar Allen Poe. At fourteen, I was into Wilhem Reich, Carlos Castaneda, Herman Hesse and a rather long list that progressed to the Irish reality, yet hilarious story tellers such as J.P. Donleavy and the likes of Frank Mc Court or Wodehouse. Malachy Mc Court, also a favorite, along with Brenan O´Behan and Patrick Mc Ginley. My writing ambition and my current shared task of narrating audio-books is probably genetic: I love the gab, always have, and my ability with words flow naturally, but one has to be careful; the love of gab has a price.

How do you keep all the voices straight?

If the character is properly developed, then he or she already HAVE their own straight voice…no need for me to do anything but give it life through mine. Unfortunately, many authors I run across have this problem.

Who were the most influential voices on you?

“Here´s Johnny!” on the Johnny Carson show. Ed Mc Mahon was the voice that set me off! In the sixties we listened to the radio all the time. I loved the special effects that today are electronically replaced. No matter.

Were you always such a voracious reader?

I would have to say that reading came naturally to me, however, my father was an avid reader. His hobby was reading dictionaries and killing everybody at Scrabble. He must have had some influence on me.

What kind of books should be turned into audiobooks?

There is no barrier in the audio-book realm.

Why do you enjoy working on the Westerns?

I love Westerns and have done several. Being Texan, I enjoy playing with the drawl and twang of cowboys as I imagine them jawing with one another out there in the hot desert, cussing and trying not to step on rattlesnakes while Indians are charging. You get me. Yep, Western audio books are doing very well. Something about the former Wild West and its lawlessness, mixed with pure dangerous living on the edge, generates interest for readers from all over the world.

If you could go back to any time period—where would you go?

I am happy in this life and where I live, though given a choice on where I´d like to be in the past, I´d chose Outer Mongolia.

How would you describe your voice?

I´m a story teller. I have a story teller´s voice. I envision myself sitting around a campfire, shooting the shit with the boys, and it works fine for me.

What will your next project be?

Boy. I´m so busy. Nick Wale at Novel Ideas in London keeps me on the ball. In the last two months, I´ve completed a Western short, a long-ass autobiography—a whopping fourteen hours long, and another very popular book on trains. I have two novels waiting on the list—one is a Western by a new author who is going to leave a mark, and the other a four hundred and fifty page autobiographical novel.

How do people get submissions to you?

To reach me, you must go through Nick Wale. He will get us in touch if he determines I can add zest to your creation. He is choosy, mind you.

Are you ever surprised by how many readers there are, still, in the world?

I am not surprised by all the readers in the world. There are plenty who have exchanged paper for screen, big deal. In the end they are READING. Thanks to audio books, they can expand, and that´s a good thing.

Is there any kind of book you would love to narrate from a different genre?

In answer to that, sometimes I have to turn down a book. Genre is secondary to me. If the writing excites me, I go for it. If it´s plain flat, there´s not a helluva lot I can do. I love surprises, though, so send it by Nick, and let´s see what we can do!

Do you think writers read more books than the average reader—or is that just a myth?

I´ve never met a writer that is NOT an avid digester of books. I can’t imagine it.

How have reviewers treated your books?

Reviewers, hmm. Well, there´s a zillion voices out there doing what I do. I don´t keep a tally. I honestly don´t care about anything more than that the listener enjoys and feels my engagement.

And your luxury item to take to a secluded island is….?

Luxury item I´d take to a secluded island? A bunch of assorted seeds, some basic tools, and pencil and paper.

The new Paul Provo project will be available on the market over the next few weeks. You can hear samples of Paul’s voice work by watching the video below.