Between the Sheets with Shane East
Romance Narrators: Congrats on the SOVAS nomination for Lauren Blakely's Part-Time Lover! We just interviewed your co-narrator Grace Grant last week. She's pumped. How about you? Have you been recognized by SOVAS in the past?
Shane: I love that Part Time Lover is being recognised! Lauren is great to work with and a real fan's author. She seems to involve herself with everyone a lot on social media, which I think is fantastic.
So have I been recognised before? Well, I have, although under a slightly different guise... Cryptic?
Well I’m pretty sure we're all aware of pseudonyms in this genre - I think it actually adds to the fun and sexiness of the whole thing; like having an alter ego who says and does things you may not normally.
So yes, I actually won romance narrator of the year one year for a more “classically” romantic title and therefore "Shane" missed out on being named, but I have been recognised, so to speak.
Romance Narrators: Tell us about your work with Louise Bay. Seems you're her go-to male narrator. What keeps you coming back for more of her writing?
Shane: Louise and I started working together via an intro through Andi Arndt. I can't remember exactly how it came about or how the relationship developed but, as you mentioned, she kept asking me to be her Brit male narrator. I think her writing speaks for itself and as a result she is one of the most popular in the genre so doing her books is a no-brainer on that level.
But I also like that she puts a lot of care and thought into her books - the story and character development; relationships; friendships etc. - and she has a vision for the book in both the written and audio forms. I'm also guessing she's a bit of a perfectionist, which I am (what's the point in doing something if you don't try and give it your best shot?) so I respect that about her, and it's definitely something that makes me very happy to be her "go to" guy. Long may it continue!
Romance Narrators: Listeners are loving If I Only Knew by Corinne Michaels, which you co-narrated with Sophie Eastlake. How are you liking the Audible Originals? Is your approach for working on these any different knowing they are written to be released in audio first?
Shane: To be honest it isn't any different my end. I read the book beforehand just the same and develop my ideas and thoughts about it and how the characters will play out in audio.
I do think it's great that people are publishing in audio first or sometimes only in audio though. Recognition for how great audiobooks can be!
Romance Narrators: You get a lot of love for your various British dialects. As a native, talk to us a minute about the dialects found in England. Which is your favorite? Where does your natural voice sit?
Shane: For such a small island we certainly encompass a vast array of accents, which can differ dramatically only an hour or two (geographically) away from each other.
There's too many to go into but as to myself: I am from London so my natural voice is somewhere around RP which I was taught in drama school (RP being English without any regionality) with a bit of London mixed in.
I like adding in various London accents when I work - that being what I know so well - from what might be considered 'upper class' or 'posh', through to east and south London; the latter I guess veering towards a more cockney vibe, although true cockney itself is a different kettle of fish! I also love doing accents such as Yorkshire and Liverpool, and Scots is always fun. It's good to have a bunch in the armory, it adds so much to the listening experience in my opinion and really makes the ‘book world’ come alive.
Romance Narrators: Every so often, there will be a great quest online amongst romance listeners to figure out "What Shane East looks like." How does it feel to be the subject of such intrigue?
Shane: LOL. Well I guess it's nice to be the subject of intrigue. I think it's all just part of the fun. I think fans of contemporary romance are wonderful, amongst the best you can get, and I love how involved they get.
Romance Narrators: Agreed! What is the last audiobook you listened to that knocked you out?
Shane: Well not a romance title by any means but Trevor Noah, Born A Crime is by far my top recommendation. It tackles a very dark subject - apartheid in South Africa - with honesty, humility, a lot of humour and real grace. I think he as a person embodies a lot qualities we need to see more of at the moment. I became quite a fan of his after listening. It also felt as if he was actually with me, telling me about his life growing up and I was honestly disappointed when it ended. I think that's the mark of a great audiobook: not wanting it to end.
Romance Narrators: Tell us about your recording space. Any must haves while you record? Any funky talismans, photos or good luck charms in there? How do you feel about the many hours of solitude?
Shane: The space is nothing out of the ordinary and I don't have any charms or talismans. The hours of solitude? I'm pretty good on my own, in fact I'm definitely a person who, whilst social, needs alone and quiet time; it's probably why this job works for me! However I did realise - once I was doing this so much and mainly from the home studio - how important it was for me to make definite plans and get out and about at the end of the day. So now even if I'm feeling a bit tired or drained from a long day of recording and really all I want to do is just flop down on the sofa, I will make sure I get out, see some mates or just do something social. It keeps me a more sane and (hopefully!) well rounded individual.
Romance Narrators: What exciting audiobook projects do you have on the horizon?
Shane: On the romance front I have some more titles with Louise Bay coming, 2 to be exact, in December and January. I'll also be working on some projects for Ava Harrison, Laurelin Paige and Sawyer Bennett. And we just recorded a huge multicast project for Lauren Blakely. We all voiced our own particular characters while Sebastian York and Andi Arndt played the hero and heroine and narrated the respective POVs. That is something to look out for as everybody's favourite narrators are on it. It's called Birthday Suit and I know Lauren was telling her fans all about it very recently.
Romance Narrators: Where can people keep up with you online?
Shane: Shane doesn't actually have any social media. Yet… Should he?