Interview with a Narrator: Jax Russell - to repurpose for CLO

Narrator Jax Russell

Jax Russell recently completed End of the Rainbow: An Aggie Underhill St. Patrick's Day Short Story, by Author Michelle Hollstein. It is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Audible.

Hi Jax,

Thank you so much for connecting with us today! We are excited to learn more about the voice behind this book!

First, some particulars:

Your Name:

Jax Russell

Title of the Book You Just Narrated For Us:

End of the Rainbow: An Aggie Underhill St. Patrick's Day Short Story, by Author Michelle Hollstein - who is awesome!

What City do you live in?

Spokane, WA

IHS: What was your favorite part about listening to this book come to life?

Jax: I enjoyed the process of playing the different characters and using different dialects.

IHS: How did you get into narrating audiobooks? Did you fall into it or was it planned? Jax: The Audio Tech from our small production company approached me at the end of last year and thought this would be an enjoyable way to stay artistically connected.

IHS: Do you have a theater background? Is it something you think is necessary to be a success? Jax: Yes, I have a Theater background. No I do not believe it is necessary, although I believe it helps.

IHS: Were you an audiobook listener before you started narrating? Jax: Sadly... No.

IHS: Narrators seem to each have their favorite niche or genre, and things they don’t like to get into. What kinds of books do you stay away from? Jax: I cannot say that I have an opinion about this just yet. I will say that I have completed four books so far and they have all been completely different.

IHS: Has anyone ever recognized you as a narrator from your voice? Jax: Not yet...I'm optimistic though.

IHS: Learning to narrate audiobooks can sometimes feel like going through the school of hard knocks. What was a the most unexpected lesson you got in your early narrating career? Jax: ARTICULATION!!! Words beginning with the same letter or sounds in succession have ways of being rather tricky. Also I have a bad habit of wanting to add words that do not belong.

IHS: Do you research an author and book before taking on a project? If so, what do you most want to see? Jax: Not as of yet. Although I could see myself doing this in the not too distant future. I am beginning to realize that I am comfortable reading action, and I could visualize myself looking for authors who are accomplished at writing it.

IHS: Once a book is finished, then the work of marketing begins. What do you do to spread the word about a new audiobook release? Jax: A little too early for me to give an honest opinion. With that being said I am taking a break from this last completed book to investigate and master some tools that will put me in a better position to publicize myself and get my name and work "out there".

IHS: Any audiobook haters in your friends or family? People who are avid “page-turners” or those who think listening to audiobooks is not really reading? What do you say to them? Jax: No audiobook haters. Still people who read their own book have a strong argument in regards to the feelings that a physical book has on them and their thinking. My question is... Is it reading? Or is it having a story told to you or us? Storytelling can be traced back to the earliest times of our existence and has a very powerful effect on the listeners mind and imagination. I see it much in the same way as the effect that radio comedies and dramas had an effect on their audiences in the 20's, 30's and 40's. So far by the people I have surveyed the listeners are not only interested in a strong story but a strong storyteller or reader as well. My advice to people is to give it a try. The people who do not have the time to read the book due to driving or active lifestyles seem to really enjoy them.

IHS: Any advice for new narrators? Jax: Do not allow yourself to become trapped in a monotone voice. Be expressive and passionate. Finally find the intent of the characters through the text, your listeners deserve it!

IHS: Finally, what advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook?

Jax: Think clearly about the "Action" of your piece not just the "Dialogue". Write interesting characters who make strong choices. If you are writing nonfiction and you can sum up a topic in ten words? Do it!

Okay, now. We'd like to know your Top 10 Reasons to Be An Audiobook Narrator. And in 10 words or less, Why?

10. Make your own hours. It’s great for night owls.

9. You get to read cool and interesting books for free. And you can pick which ones, too.

8. You get paid to read and learn. It’s like school but in reverse.

7. Hearing your own voice is a daily and constant occurrence. Like internal monologue, but edited, mixed and mastered.

6. Many opportunities for cathartic screaming into a closet. Not everyone has such a good excuse.

5. The arcane, drummed up mysteries of audio production and mastering are slowly unraveled. “WTH is a LUF, anyway?...”

4. Listener comments and reviews. They like me! They really like me! ... when I’m quiet.

3. Royalties. Passive income is how you get rich in your sleep.

2. Working with great authors. Sharing their ideas and lending authority to their vision.

1. Satisfaction and accomplishment. Everyone feels better when they create lasting works.

And your Narrator Bio?

I have been an actor for thirty five years and have been in more than fifty productions. The majority of my work has been on the stage although as I have aged more opportunities have been coming around for film. I have traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe and portions of Asia. My travels, and the people that I have met have highly influenced me as a person and I trust that through my work as a Narrator you can find integrity, compassion, and empathy for all.  

Perfect! Thank you so much for your time today, Jax!

Folks, we give you: Jax Russell, amazing storyteller.



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