Between the Sheets with Gary Furlong
Romance Narrators: It's always cool to hear about narrators' facility with other languages. Talk to us about your relationship to Japanese. Are you fluent? Have you narrated books where your experience with the language was helpful?
Gary: I love languages. I think being bilingual is such a great thing. My relationship to Japanese started with the German language! In secondary school I studied German as my foreign language and it was probably my strongest subject. So when I went to University I chose a course centred around language (Languages for International Communication). In my first year we could choose two languages. I chose German as my first and as I was looking through the list “Japanese” really caught my eye. I had never really had any experience of the language but it was just so different to European languages I thought I would give it a try.
From there I started to learn about Japanese culture and history. I became interested in Anime and Manga. Then, in my second year I focused solely on Japanese.
For my third year we had the opportunity to study abroad for the academic year. I chose to study at Toyo University in Tokyo. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Tokyo was such a unique place and I made a lot of great friends, played bass in a metal band (Killer Bee wooooo!), and learned a lot about Japanese culture. It also did wonders for my language level. I am a natural mimic and definitely more of a hands on learner, I struggle with pure book learning so the immersion really helped.
I have had one or two instances where my Japanese skills have come in handy. I actually have an upcoming project which will be based in ancient Japan!!
Romance Narrators: You co-narrated The Runes Extended Universe Series by Ednah Walters, who recently passed. She is deeply missed in the book community. What was your experience working with her words?
We were all saddened to hear about Ednah’s passing. I was very grateful to have worked with her. She had very exacting standards and really knew what she wanted. She was also a great supporter of her narrators. She once emailed me out of the blue just to tell me how much she enjoyed my work on her Eirik series.
The books I worked on dealt with gods, magic and adventure. All the things I absolutely love in a story. Narrating her work was a joy. She wrote great characters and the stories were intriguing. You can’t really ask for more.
Romance Narrators: What is a "street theater company"? Word on the... <ahem>... street is that you performed in one for 10 years??
I did indeed work in a street theatre company for many a year as a freelance performer. In my case it was a Wexford based company called Bui Bolg. The hugely talented artists and model makers there would make giant character puppets, inflatables, costumes etc. And we, the performers, would don these costumes and provide entertainment for parades, corporate parties, VIP areas at sporting events, and lots more.
They run a youth group where young people can go and learn circus skills, improv and acting.
It really was one of the best things I have ever done. I learned so much about acting, improv, engaging with an audience and made some life long friends.
Romance Narrators: You've narrated quite a few M/M romances. What fellas have you been paired with as co-narrators? Any particular titles you think we should listen to?
I have actually never narrated with another fella! It is madness! That is next on my work bucket list!
I have been lucky enough to work on some great projects. I am actually finishing up a project, at the moment, by Tara Sim and Forever Young Audiobooks. Her first two books “Timkeeper” and “Chainbreaker” are on Audible right now and were just lovely to narrate!
Romance Narrators: It's the holiday season. So... you gotta tell us about Fred and Ginger: A Christmas M/M Romance. Guessing this is not Astaire and Rogers we're talking about?
Fred and Ginger is a lovely story by Isobel Starling. No Astaire or Rogers in this one! It follows a young patisserie chef called Christopher Miller. He was looking forward to a nice lazy holiday but then his boss calls with the order of his dreams. He gets to make cupcakes for his idol, actor Jason Beck.
Good day to be Chris Miller!! At least it was, until a rogue chocolate Labrador crashes into him as he is transporting the cupcakes, knocking him and his hard work to the ground! The owner of the dog finally shows up and turns out to be Robin Summers, a one night stand from a few months before…the man Chris could not forget!
Romance Narrators: You've collaborated quite a bit with Isobel Starling. What do you think it is that makes you a good narrator/author pairing?
Isobel really takes pride in the audiobook side of her work. She is extremely supportive and very easy to work with. I will usually provide her with samples of how I will perform her characters, she gives me succinct feedback about what she likes and dislikes and we are able to hone the characters and narration style through honest and open communication.
We also have a similar sense of humour and have developed a real friendship over the years.
Romance Narrators: What's the last audiobook you listened to that knocked you out?
Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. Narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. I love Sanderson’s writing but the narration of Kramer and Reading is the reason I got into Audiobooks. “The Stormlight Archive” series is a must read/listen for fantasy buffs.
Oathbringer is the third book in the series which keeps getting better and better. Go listen to it now!
Romance Narrators: What exciting audiobook projects do you have on the horizon?
2019 is looking great! My first big project is book three in the Exit Unicorns series by Cindy Brandner (one of the few books I narrate in my native Irish accent) called “Flight of Angels”. There are, of course, some books with Isobel Starling which I am really looking forward to. I am not sure how much I am allowed to talk about the rest but there are dragons, samurai, and lots of romance in my narration future!
Romance Narrators: Where can people keep up with you online?
You can find me at my website: www.garyfurlongvo.com
Facebook: Gary Furlong Voiceovers
Links to people mentioned in interview: