Oliver Loving AudioFile Best of 2018 Fiction
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�Talking with Michael Crouch
In June 2021, Michael Crouch was inducted as a Golden Voice, AudioFile's lifetime achievement honor for audiobook narrators.
What helps you achieve an emotional connection to a book and the characters?
When I finish reading the book, I grab my notepad and write a brief Gut Response--any thoughts, feelings, or personal connections that jump to mind. It’s helpful to refer back to these notes after doing more tedious work like researching pronunciations, accents, etc. It’s a way to get out of my head and into my body. When recording, I nudge the analytical part of my mind aside and tap into the active or emotional energy flowing through the words. The emotional connection comes from there.
You narrate a lot of audiobooks for children and young adults--what do you enjoy about the genres?
They help me reconnect with the kid in me. Things like dressing up in costumes and making home movies with my cousins. Driving while blasting music for the first time. First love, first heartbreak. I like recalling how it felt when these experiences were brand new.
Tell us about a time you’ve gotten feedback from a fan.
A man who lived through the very worst of the AIDS epidemic sent me a message after listening to THE GREAT BELIEVERS. He thanked me for helping him remember his partner and the many friends he’d lost. He took time to list each of their names. It was incredibly humbling.
What has surprised you the most about your work in audiobooks?
There’s room to break every rule you learn. Each book is different. I used to tell myself things like, “I should read every book at a relatively slow pace” or “I should fill every middle-grade audio with big, animated characterizations.” But then I would inevitably come across a book that just begged to be read at a faster pace or a middle-grade audio that needed really subtle characterizations. I have to stay sensitive to what each book is asking for. It’s an art, not a science.
See also: 5 Questions with Narrator Michael Crouch (Interview with Candace Levy | June 16, 2021
Photo by Christine Cain-Weidner
© AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
Photo by Dennis J. Photography
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