If you’re a “remote narrator” like me, it’s very likely that you work much of the time without a director. Indeed, aside from my demos, I’ve never worked with a director. It’s the trade-off for the privilege of working at home all the time, and never having to deal with traffic or burning your gas.
June 6, 1944. It’s known as “D-day” in the history books. The day when Allied troops did the impossible – stormed the beachheads of Normandy in France, and took the first bold step in driving Hitler backward, and ultimately to defeat. It was an invasion that literally saved the free world.
Not long ago, my paths crossed with a Boston playwright turned author who told me he wanted his work on audio, which of course made me very happy! Little did I know what I was stepping into – a world of biting satire, hilarious comedy, bizarre characters, and a boatload of “did he really just say that?!” There are probably dozens of ways to aptly describe his writing style, but I would simply call it “escapism.” His very first audio novel, Unethical Therapy from a Not-too-distant Galaxy, is available now on Audible and the iTunes Store. In it, the author takes a satirical swipe at psychotherapy and politics. And like any good yarn, there’s an alien mucking up the works! And I promise – the cover will make sense after you listen. To call this book “fun to narrate” would be the understatement of the century. Or at least the day.
He calls himself “NgTo,” and I think he’s a guy you’ve just got to meet:
John McLain: OK, I’ve got to ask. The name “NgTo” is not on your driver’s license. Where’d that come from?
NgTo: Just something my brothers called me when we were kids. No one has a clue what it means, or under what circumstance it arrived in the world. One of those things that come out of the mist of time, which worries me… I mean what the hell is that mist stuff anyway?
JM: Beats me, man. Unethical Therapy From A Not-too-distant Galaxy is your first book to come out in audio. As an author, what appeals to you about the audio format?
NT: I spent decades writing for the theatre, and as anyone who has written plays knows, the script is only the beginning. Necessary but insufficient. It takes ‘breath’ so to speak, the human voice to bring the language to life. In the beginning was the word, the Good Book says; and the end I’d guess is silence. It’s what comes in-between – the breath forming the word and the word breathlessly uttering, what the f*** are we doing here?
JM: No shortage of satire in your work. Do you have a message, or are you just having fun?
NT: Life is too pretentious not to kill it with an overdose of laughter.
JM: Well, this book definitely has some, let’s say…”interesting” characters running through it. When you wrote them, especially their dialogue, did you hear their voices in your head? Because I did.
NT: Voices rattle in my head, but where those voices come from is anyone’s guess. If from the writer, the voices are an affliction; if not, divine inspiration. A third possibility: divine affliction. The fourth and most probable: plagiarism.
JM: (laughs) As a narrator who appreciates good comedy, I was really struck by the many wonderful moments of comedic timing throughout Unethical Therapy. Does that come naturally for you as you write, because if so that’s really unfair!
NT: At the risk of being tribal, I’d say the comedic timing comes courtesy of my Jewish heritage. Being on the run from your enemies, or hiding in some sinkhole because the Cossacks are on one of their annual pogroms, you’ve got to pick your moments. A word ill-timed could get you killed. A pause timed just right – nothing less than salvation. Now that’s a good laugh!
JM: You live in Boston, and your stories happen there. Anything in particular about the city that inspires you as an author?
NT: I’m a history nut and Boston is nothing if not history… history to its very architectural bones. And given the current affairs of the country, I could either lament the loss of our Republic or laugh all the way down. I prefer the latter and besides, laughter, not lamenting, ameliorates the vertigo.
JM: We’re working on your next audiobook together now, Cowering In Place, and Mark Greene, the hero from Unethical Therapy, is back! Be honest – is he you?
NT: Only in the sense that we’re all thrown in the world willy-nilly and thus we are, if we’re honest with ourselves, straight foils for a hell of a Comic. So Mark Greene stumbles through life, hoping beyond hope for a smidgeon of happiness. That’s all of us, right?
JM: Um…sure, ok. But it’s time to get serious. Tell me one thing that you think will fix the Red Sox.
NT: A rain delay of Biblical proportions.
Listen to Unethical Therapy by NgTo today! Just don’t do it while enjoying a beverage, unless you want to wear it. Available now from Audible.com and the iTunes Store. And watch for NgTo’s Cowering In Place, coming late summer 2015!
It’s hard to believe, but June is almost over again! Summertime is a wonderful time to enjoy great listens, what with all the road trips and long flights going on. Perhaps that’s why we celebrate audiobooks each June.
I’m preparing for my annual trip to New York for a great time at APAC and the Audie Awards presentation. It’s been a great year and I’m excited to find out what everyone else has been up to! It’s shaping up to be another busy summer of audiobooks.
It was June 5th, 2012. We were ready to go. At long last, the wait was almost over. I was attending my first Audie Awards Gala. I was a Finalist for the first time. I had treated myself to a snazzy new bow tie for my tuxedo. Jan and I stood in our compact, Manhattan-sized hotel room and studied the mirror. OK, let’s go.
I’m honored to be a finalist for the 2012 Audie Awards! The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part 1: The Witnesses by Sharon Ewell Foster was nominated in the Inspirational / Faith-based Fiction category. I’m excited for Sharon, and the wonderful team at Oasis Audio. It’s an astounding story that even the author herself admits she didn’t expect to write.
I’m delighted to announce the release of my latest audiobook title – “The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part 2: The Testimony” by Sharon Ewell Foster! Available now from Oasis Audio!
It’s everywhere this year, as it is every year. New Years Resolutions. Should we? Will we? How long will they last? On and on.