Author: Michael MacBride
Narrator: Jonathan Belville; Deanna Anthony; Anna Caputo
Length: 6 hours 23 minutes
Publisher: Michael MacBride⎮2021
Genre: Science Fiction
Release date: Jul. 22, 2021
On Earth, Grover Baines (a NASA scientist) is murdered in 1979 when he stumbles upon a secret third Voyager flight. Unlike the two other probes, Voyager 3 was a small manned craft loaded with reproductive material in hopes of finding a suitable planet for habitation on Alpha Centauri. The scientist's family continues to unravel clues about what happened, and whether there's any truth to the papers they discover. Years later, in 2001, a fourth Voyager is sent on the same mission. Though technology has advanced dramatically in the 24 years since the first three Voyagers were launched, this mission manages to remain secret amid the attacks on the Twin Towers. When contact is lost with Voyager 4, plans are put into motion for a 5th Voyager to retrieve its lost siblings. As NASA struggles to reconcile the past, the crews on each ship wrestle with the boredom of space and limitations of the technology available to them, and the Baines family attempts to find peace with the past.
About the Author: Michael MacBride
Originally from Michigan, Michael MacBride now calls Minnesota home. He has delivered newspapers, worked for UPS, delivered pizzas, done collections at a bank, was a roadie for a country band, was a grant-writer and funder-researcher for non-profits, taught English, Literature, and Humanities courses at universities and colleges in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Illinois, and held a few other jobs in between. Regardless of his "regular job", he's always been a reader and a writer.
About the Narrator: Jonathan Beville
Jonathan Beville is audiobook narrator voicing globe-spanning suspense and thriller titles, science fiction, and business audiobooks. A classically trained actor, Jonathan has also enjoyed a long career in international business and has lived in both Europe and the Middle East. Jonathan also works in corporate and commercial voiceover, where he has leant his voice to a variety of clients including Phillips Healthcare, The Consumer Financial Protection Board, The American Bureau of Shipping, and many others.
Jonathan is an avid SCUBA diver, and the father of two daughters. He and his family reside in Maryland.
About the Narrator: Anna Caputo
Anna fell in love with books at an early age and has spent most of her adult life indulging in the spoken word. She was raised in Wisconsin and currently resides in California. You can hear her voice narrating audiobooks in many genres, including Young Adult, Cozy Mysteries and Literary Fiction. She received her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Touro University and has trained in voice acting with many renowned instructors including Joel Froomkin, Carol Monda, and Christina Rooney.
Jonathan Beville Interview
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
I grew up acting but stopped completely about 20 years ago when life took me in new directions. Years later, I was looking for something creative in my life and discovered voiceover broadly. I still do corporate, e-learning, and medical voiceover, but I didn’t find something that truly scratched the creative itch until I was able to immerse myself narrating a novel.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
I do think a theatrical background is helpful and has been a great toolkit for me to get inside the heads of different characters, but it is certainly not the only way to get into narration. I think my experience in business has been just as helpful as any theatrical training I had twenty years ago. Audiobook Narrators are their own small business, and between recording, production, audio engineering, auditioning, marketing (themselves), marketing (a book), there are a lot of hats that narrators have to wear every day.
- What type of training have you undergone?
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
I tend to get lost in the preparation stage---beyond the reading the book, I like to do a second pass to make notes, record snippets of character voices, and play around before I start recording in depth. The most anxiety however comes with pressing the “Submit” button that sends it off for final review and distribution. Many times, I have to convince myself that “I’ve done enough” or “I’ve done as much as I can right now” because every time I listen to a chapter I find something that I could/would do different (not necessarily better, but different): maybe a longer pause here, a different intonation there, was the attitude right on that line? It could go on forever.
- What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
I’ve been lucky in my life to live and work and travel all over the world. As I said earlier I draw a lot of inspiration from the people I have met in my life, but also the places I have been. The first novel I narrated opened with the line “The heat him like a body a blow.” While I’m generally against starting a story with the weather (it was a dark and stormy night is about as a bad a beginning as I can think of even if it was a dark and stormy night), that first line “The heat him like a body blow.” really resonated with me. The character was walking down the steps of an airplane arriving in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. I lived/worked in the Middle East for many years, and indeed, the first thing that hits you is the wave—or rather wall—of oppressive heat. The second thing (in many places) is the smell—and that was the second sentence. So, I knew from my personal experiences exactly how Dan (the character) was feeling at the moment, and I am incredibly thankful for that.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
I love a good opening line. Hemingway once said (paraphrasing) start with a simple statement of fact and move on from there. While Michael isn’t Hemingway-esqe in brevity, the first sentence or two of the book really grabbed me. “Troy’s father worked for NASA, which meant for much of his life his father was seen as a hero. No, he wasn’t an astronaut.” It just kind of grabbed me and made me want to know more. There’s also a beautiful passage later in the 1st chapter that describes Troy and Grover’s stargazing throughout the year. It’s written in a way that is both technical and lyrical at the same time and was a pleasure of a tongue twister to narrate!
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
Most often I try to draw on people that I know. Other times I create a mental movie of the book and cast the roles from various actors in my mind. Of the two, I think I use people I have met in my own life more often. With people from my experience there is a more a personal aspect (positive or negative) that creates a vivid connection to way that a character is voiced, and getting the attitude right is far more important than the sound per se.
- Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”
Oral story telling is the oldest art and pastime in human civilization. We’ve been telling each other stories longer than we’ve been doing anything else. In his book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harrari (I’m paraphrasing here) identifies our ability to share an imagined set of circumstances as one of the defining features of what it means to human.
What’s next for you.
I am currently narrating a 5-book series for Wolfpack Publishing, the Steve Dane Series by Brian Drake, which started with Skills to Kill, and Another Way to Kill. The audiobooks for the last 3 books in the series will be out in September and October.