Please welcome talented audiobook voice actor Joel Leslie to the blog today for a quick Q&A and some of his favorite things.
What made you chose a career doing Audiobooks?
It was a long weird journey… but all the jigsaw puzzle pieces eventually fell into place. I grew up in Bermuda – which is a British colony – and my parents are Canadian and American. I went to a British boys school and all my teachers were from various parts of the UK. So I grew up around this vast array of different sounds…which gave me this weird skill set of being able to sound like a native Brit and a native American. When I went to study performing at University I discovered I had this built-in affinity for accents and dialects and it became a real passion. My partner and I own a theater company and every once in a while I would do one-man radio dramas of classics… Treasure Island, Dracula, Christmas Carol… and I loved doing them. I was always a passionate audiobook fan… particularly the really theatrical British guys like Roy Dotrice and Jim Dale. A friend of mine was having some success doing audiobooks, and about a year and a half ago she said “You really should be doing this”. So I gave it a shot. It came at such a perfect time in my life and I’m so grateful. It’s the perfect blend of my weird set of skills.
What is the most difficult aspect of narrating? On the flip side, what’s easiest?
Sometimes, depending on the contact and the publisher, you aren’t supposed to have direct contact with the author. I find that really stressful, because I prefer to get a lot of detailed character info from them so that I can try and aim for what lived in their imagination. In particular it can be really difficult with minor characters, but often there is no mention of their age or personality type. It can also be really tricky narrating for an author who doesn’t really listen to audio or know what the listener expects. Sometimes they are afraid for it to not be a flat ‘dead read’, like someone just reciting… and that’s not what audio fans really respond to. The listeners are passionate about narrators who add another level to the experience… who bring the characters to life. But, if an author isn’t a fan of audiobooks, for them it can be disconcerting.
What did you want to do or be when you grew up? Have you accomplished that?
I wanted to be Wonder Woman. So… still working on that. For most of my career I have been a theatrical director, and I still love doing that. It’s funny because with audiobooks you’re totally isolated… you direct yourself, you’re alone in a little closet recording… you fly solo. With directing it’s totally collaborative… and I love working with actors and designers and creating something together. So I guess I am drawn to two totally different sides of the spectrum. Doing audiobooks isn’t the exact path I thought my career would take, but it utilizes so many of the things that I am passionate about… performing, dialects, theatricality, great literature… that it feels like the perfect fit. And, unlike theater, which is so ephemeral, there is something really satisfying about creating something lasting. A performance that exists for longer than just an instant. That means a lot to me.
If you had to work a “day job”, what would be the ideal job for you?
Probably something with a night shift… I hate mornings lol. I really love to teach… I was a university professor for a long time. I love the students… I was just driven crazy by the bureaucracy and politics of it. But it was really satisfying to help people grow and broaden their horizons.
If you were a superhero, what would your power be?
Eat anything I want and never have it affect my weight!
I’m a total musical theater queen. There is a song called “It all Fades Away” from “Bridges of Madison County” that takes my breath away. In terms of popular music… I love “Walking in Memphis” and “Breakfast at Tiffanys” a whole lot.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Rat Race, The American President
Favorite TV Show?
Bobs Burgers, Family Guy, Game of Thrones, Great British Bake Off.
Title: How to Deal (All Cocks Stories #3)
Author: T.M. Smith and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
Publisher: TTC Publishing
Release Date: November 4th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Erotic Romance
Length: 4 hrs and 30 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Jon Brennan comes from a long line of men in uniform; all born and bred to both bleed and wear blue. His family and the majority of his co-workers support him every step of the way, so he doesn’t need to hide the fact that he prefers men over women. Between the job and his larger than life, loud and rowdy half Irish, half Italian family, there isn’t much time for dating, much less finding a guy who can deal with the stress and demands placed on the shoulders of an NYPD detective.
Kory White is cocky and abrasive with most people, but it is all a façade he hides behind to keep his heart safe. As a child, Kory lost his mother to an act of violence. Soon after, he and his baby sister Kassandra were separated by the system. Kassandra was immediately adopted, but Kory spent the next 10 years cycling through foster homes before moving to the Big Apple. In an effort to keep everyone at a distance, Kory has meticulously built himself an alter ego: Hayden Cox, All Cocks cockiest model.
These two strong-willed men definitely prove opposites do attract. Both are stubborn and hard headed to a fault, Kory more so than Jon. But Jon is used to being in control, the one calling the shots, and Kory fights him at every turn. Just when it seems they have found a way to navigate the uncharted territory that is love, tragedy knocks on Kory’s door yet again. Volatile and strong, even in the face of adversity, both men refuse to give up on each other – or their love.
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