Been quiet lately, haven't I? Yes, that's a bi-product of busyness.
What have I been busy doing?
I'm glad you asked.
For one thing, I've finally slogged through the major revisions of Dream Girl! (my YA novel for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about.) It's currently out to the few and the proud readers who will give me their feedback so I can revise some more, as necessary and get this bad boy into the hands of agents and editors.
To keep myself from premature submission syndrome, I put together a book trailer. For a taste of what I've been toiling over for so many years, here's a peek.
The graphics aren't the best, but you know what is? That awesome voice reading my words. It's a powerful experience to give your words to someone else and see how they interpret them. In this case, I couldn't have imagined a better result. In fact, I am so impressed that I decided to interview The Voice, himself, in case you want to give the English treatment to your own words. (I highly recommend it.)
Welcome, Robert Charleston of www.OneLoneEnglishman.com
|This is the view from Robert's studio.|
The Restless Writer (RW): You have a gorgeous voice! Your timing and inflection are just perfect. Have you taken voice or acting lessons or is this 100% natural talent?
Robert Charleston (RC): No lessons of any kind. I simply enjoy speaking other people’s words aloud. Some things I’m asked to read are quite a challenge. All the better!
RW: You mention it a little on your website, but how did you get started doing this?
RC: American friends used to laugh at the way I said things (such as dot-com) and ask me to record the odd poem or piece of prose to send to friends back home to amuse them too. Except that most of the friends (all right, women friends!) weren’t so much amused as... how can I put it... fascinated. And they too asked me to record things. And here we are today.
RW: Have you ever been to the US? If so, where did you go and what did you most enjoy here? If not, what would you most like to see or do here?
RC: I haven’t travelled widely in America. New York, parts of California, hitch-hiked along the odd highway, that’s all. Top place is probably Grand Central Station. Two places I would love to visit are Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio in Memphis (to record one of my own songs in the very space used by Elvis and Jerry Lee), and the Florida Keys (probably because of Hemingway.)
|I am in love with this view!|
RW: Many Americans have a romanticized view of England. What do you like most about living there? Can you tell us a little about where you live?
RC: I like never knowing what weather to expect from one day to the next. I’m also a sucker for open countryside, Spring, harvest-time, tucked-away villages, ruined castles, and big soft ice-cream at the seaside. And where do I live? Right now in a gorgeous old cottage, parts of which date back to the mid seventeen hundreds. It’s in my study at this cottage that I do my recording. There are no straight lines in this building, which makes it constantly fascinating, and the garden is like a small park, with mossy steps, a lily-covered pond, curious walls, and a little upside down house concealed in thick bushes, with a door in the floor only big enough for a child to crawl through.
RW: Your sister, Elspeth, has a companion site www.OneLoneEnglishwoman.com Presumably, you have a good relationship with her. Did you always get along well?
RC: Elspeth and I both provide readings for anyone who wants them, mostly separately but occasionally (when asked) together. We get along very well these days, but when we were kids she was pretty bossy. A couple of years younger than me and wanting to be in charge the whole time. These days, she lets me be boss on alternate Wednesdays.
|Window on the right is the studio where the magic happens!|
RW: Your recording samples are from classic literature. Are you an avid reader? Any favorite authors or passages?
RC: I used to read far more than I do these days. Because I do a fair bit of voice work now I like to seek out passages or poems that I can explore thoroughly, which can mean poring over a short piece for ages, reading it aloud over and over seeking out the most affecting inflexion or nuance without sounding pompous (I hope). I would love to record an extract from something dark, like Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Turn of the Screw. But I like to do modern stuff too!
RW: The recording you did for me, which I used for my book trailer, gave me goosebumps, it's so good! How did you get started doing book trailer voiceovers and what do you most enjoy about it?
RC: When my cousin (an author) asked me to do a book trailer for a YouTube video (The Realities of Aldous U) I relished those few words so much that I just wanted to do more and more. I wouldn’t want to do a whole audio book, but I do like trying to get the most out of a few lines, be it an extract from a novel, a poem or, indeed, a book trailer intro.
RW: Is there anything you're at liberty to share about the most memorable greetings you've been asked to record?
RC: Ah, The Song of Solomon. Whew! I’ll record that again anytime, with pleasure, particularly the bit about the (CENSORED!).
RW: If someone loves your voice but doesn't have a literary passage or any specific material in mind for you to read, what would you recommend?
RC: I would suggest that they email me (OneLoneEnglishman (at) gmail (dot) com)or Elspeth (OneLoneEnglishwoman (at) gmail (dot) com) and say what sort of mood they wish to invoke or convey and we’ll see if we can find something appropriate. No extra charge for the research. Elspeth and I enjoy it, we really do.
RW: Are there any famous voices that inspire you?
RC: I don’t know about ‘inspire’, but there are some that are a joy to listen to. Orson Welles for one. Garrison Keillor for another. And Cary Grant, Antonio Banderas, Alan Rickman, and oh, to sound like Geraldine McEwan...
RW: Ok, give it to me straight. Many Americans turn to putty for a good English accent, but do you have a thing for American accents? (of any variety)
Thank you, Robert!