Thursday, December 20, 2018

Narrator Interview with Drew Bacca

Good day in the cafe!  This week we get the chance to talk with narrator Drew Bacca.  We'll be giving away one of his most recent (and favorite) narrations, Suzi Hawke's "Peppermint Spiced Omega."  A sweet treat just in time for the holidays! We'd also like to wish you a fun, happy and safe holiday season!

FSC: What is your coffee house beverage of choice?

Drew: Does making coffee at my house count? My prescription: Peet’s Aged Sumatra, dark roast, whole beans. Grind a cup’s worth, heat water to 180°, brew in a press pot for 3 minutes stirring frequently. Add two sugars, and half & half or evaporated milk until it’s roughly the color of milk chocolate.

FSC: Can you talk a little about your professional background? What are some of your favorite projects you've worked on?

Drew: I actually have very little formal training at any of this—I’ve had to learn by trial and error what works as I went along. I’m kind of awed that people have responded so well.

As for favorite projects, right now it’s probably Peppermint Spiced Omega from Susi Hawke’s Hollydale series. One of the leads, Tom Collins, is a total force of nature who goes from being this kind of puckish scene-stealer in the other books to being a three-dimensional character in his own right. Learning to cultivate my Inner Tom has been very good for me.

FSC: How did you get started as a narrator?

Drew: One moment I was delivering pizza to you guys at Falcon, the next I was in a recording booth in front of a mic and a screen. I’m still not sure exactly what went down, my therapist says it’s probably best not to dig too deep.

FSC: And you haven't brought us pizza since! One thing that surprises many audiobook listeners is how long it takes to create an audiobook. What's the longest day you have spent recording?

Drew: Actually sitting in the booth talking? Maybe three hours max. My voice starts to conk if I try to push it, and my performance goes pfft because then I’m thinking about technique instead of letting myself be the character moment to moment. But then my workflow is unusual in that whatever I record any given morning, I like to have it done and mastered by the time I knock off for the night. Makes for an 8-10 hour workday, depending on what else I’ve got going.

FSC: How long did your most recent project take you, and how long is the finished book?

Drew: My most recent project came out around 3 hours of finished audio. Production was done over the span of 5 workdays or so, in between podcasts and doctor appointments and critter-sitting for my mom.

FSC: When you record, how do you break it up? Do you, for instance, read multiple chapters in one sitting?  

Drew: Single sitting, absolutely. It’s a lot easier for me to wake up, caffinate, and get right into the zone than if I tried to have other parts of my day happen first. And once I get in I’m staying there, cause who knows what baggage I’ll bring with me when I come back? If I need to clear my mind between chapters I’ll pick up my bass or a video game for 10 minutes or so, but nothing too thinky.

FSC: How do you decide what kind of tone to take with each new book? What is it like reading different characters' dialogue lines?

Drew: Really, everything I need to know is already there on the page. The author made those decisions when they created the world and story, I just try to pick up on their voice and interpret it. And sometimes they’ll leave room for me to improvise which is one of my favorite things to do, but it’s always within the context of this is the author’s show. I’m just a player in the band.

With dialogue, I make a pretty detailed set of notes for each character—where the sound resonates from, facial expressions, even body language sometimes. It’s the voice actor’s version of getting into costume. So when I cock an eyebrow just so, put on a warm smirk, and murmur “Very good. I must say, I’m amazed,” that gives my mind the signal that Hot Daddy Colin is about to speak and it’s time to get out his way and let it happen. I really try to think about it as little as possible while I’m narrating.

FSC: What do you enjoy the most about narrating?

Drew: Sheesh. What don’t I enjoy? I enjoy having the freedom to be creative every day, and the flexibility to lead the strange life I do. I enjoy the challenge of learning how people think who aren’t necessarily like me, and the profound empathy that engenders. I love the way narrating has brought me together with so many amazing people, authors and listeners included. It’s awe-inspiring, and humbling.

FSC: When can we expect to hear from you with a new book?

Drew: As I type this I just wrapped on Champagne Spiced Omega, the fourth book in Susi Hawke’s Hollydale series, yesterday. I’m not sure exactly how the wheels turn at Audible, but the thought is that it’ll be available in time for New Year’s.

We're giving away a copy of "Peppermint Spiced Omega!" Tell us on Facebook What your favorite holiday tradition is, spicy or not, for your chance to win. Thanks for playing, and as always, happy listening!

Find Drew and Falcon Sound Company on Facebook, or at To find more of Drew's work, check out his narrator page on Audible.

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