Alex McKenna & the Academy of Souls a YA Paranormal by Vicki-Ann Bush Narrated by Marcus Rothenberg ➱ Audio Tour
Author: Vicki-Ann Bush
Narrator: Marcus Rothenberg
Length: 6 hours 45 minutes
Series: Alex McKenna, Book 2
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: March 30, 2021
Genre: YA Paranormal
The highly anticipated second installment in the award-winning Alex McKenna Series! After surviving a harrowing case, Alex McKenna just wanted to rest. Unfortunately, his plans are interrupted by the ghost of seven-year-old Haven, who is lost in an in-between realm. Despite his great-grandmother's warning, Alex crosses the bridge between the living and the dead, sending him and his girlfriend into the world of the Academy of Souls, a high school for dead teens who are unable to complete their journey. There, Alex meets Ophelia, Haven's teenage sister, who's been searching for her for more than a century. Together, with a few friends he meets along the way, Alex must cross the treacherous terrain of the Underworld in-between to save Haven from the clutches of the Soul Gatherer and reunite the sisters.
Author Vicki-Ann Bush's Playlist for Alex McKenna & the Academy of Souls
Q&A with Narrator Marcus Rothenberg
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- It was somewhat by chance. I’ve always wanted to be a voice actor but kept making lame excuses against it. “I don’t have the time to get started now. I don’t have the money for gear. I probably wouldn’t even be very good.” Those kinds of things. One day I dropped all of that and literally googled “how to become a voice actor” and that led me down the rabbit hole. I stumbled on a site where people posted their books and you could just audition right there, and now here we are!
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- Will it help? Absolutely! Is it ESSENTIAL? No. What is essential is a willingness to put in effort and to learn. I’ve encountered some phenomenal narrators that haven’t set foot on a stage even once, but they put in the effort, took the time to listen and learn, and honed their talent.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Absolutely! Even before I became a narrator myself! A main thing that appeals to me is accessibility. I can listen while I’m driving, doing chores, painting, at the office, on a bike ride, etc. I don’t have to be sedentary to take in a great story. Plus if the narrator is good, it can really bring the story alive in a whole different way!
- Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
- Non-fiction. I just don’t think I would be able to bring the same level of expression and story-telling to a non-fiction book. I’d love to be wrong, but I would feel more like I’m giving a lesson as opposed to weaving a story.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
- The way I decide for any character is that I take in their description, then I try to imagine what it would be like if I just ran into them in the street. Are they tall? Short? Easy-going? Uptight? How would this person carry on a conversation with me? Then I emulate that.
- Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
- Yes, and I have to say, it was the coolest thing ever. They apparently heard a short story I did when I was starting out, then they stumbled on my tiktok of all places and reached out to me saying “I’ve heard you somewhere before” and we puzzled it out together. It was a really great experience.
- How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you've done?
- In my opinion, it’s much harder. Not only is it more time consuming, but I think it is more effort intensive. If I get cast as a character in a show or a videogame or something, I’m only worried about bringing THAT character to life. In an audiobook, I have to give that same treatment to not only every single character, but the world itself.
- What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
- Detailed feedback and constructive criticism. If you liked something, please tell me why! If you didn’t like something, again, please tell me why! “I didn’t like it very much” doesn’t give me much to go on when trying to fix it.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- I’d tell them to think about others and not only yourself. What if someone has visual impairments, or has learning differences? Is it cheating for them to listen to an audiobook when they may not be able to read a paperback? But also, who cares? Just let people enjoy things. It’s not like it’s a different story just because it’s in audio format.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- Just record something. Do research, take classes, get some voiceover coaching. Maybe record yourself just reading a book that you enjoy for practice. You may not start out amazing, but you are only going to improve. Just get out there and give it your best shot. Don’t be afraid to stumble, because stumbling forward is better than standing still.
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