Between the Sheets with Tim Campbell
Romance Narrators: You were at the SOVAS awards last week. How were they? Were you there to cheer on a specific project?
Tim: SOVAS were great! I was very happy that one of my favorite series of all time (Inspector Hobbes - Witcherley Book Company) was nominated in the Fantasy Narration category. It's kind of a comedy/fantasy/mystery set in the Cotswolds... super fun and funny. I was nominated in a category with several good friends and great narrators, so it was just a big party to celebrate their talent and to feel honored to be in their company. It was really fun to see so many fantastic people honored for their work.
Romance Narrators: Yeah, we saw a pretty studly photo of several of our favorite narrator fellas dressed to the nines and posing together that night. Well played, gentlemen. Oh hey, we hear you could kick our collective butts in a game of soccer. That accurate?
Tim: Everyone except James Cronin. That guy is a wicked good goalie. I play striker so we have a natural rivalry on the pitch going back years. His goalkeeping is like his narration... smooth and skilled and oftentimes breathtaking....#ManCrush
Romance Narrators: Mancrush indeed. So… you're an accomplished singer. Film scores! Chorale! Opera! Tell us all about it. Where should we go if we want to hear you sing to us?
Tim: I studied opera performance, theater, and philosophy in undergrad, grad school and post grad school, and I actually started narrating as a side gig between singing. I still sing with the LA Master Chorale, LA Opera, etc. and you can hear me ooo'ing and aaahhhh'ing with my vastly-more-talented-than-me friends (and wife) on film scores like Creed II, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Venom. I have a lot of relationships in classical music in LA going back to the early 2000's, some of my best friends here are still full time professional musicians. It's great for me to be able to narrate full time but still do something like Candide at LA Opera this past season with Kelsey Grammer and Christine Ebersole, when the opportunity arises. I feel very grateful to casting directors in both worlds for being flexible and patient with my ever-changing schedule.
Romance Narrators: Those are some sweet gigs, sir. Do you find that your work as a singer/musician affects your narration work at all? Or vice versa?
Tim: Absolutely and in almost every way possible. Breath support, healthy production, resonance, vocal flexibility, line, rhythm, characterization... I learned it all singing and onstage. And I think these days when I sing onstage or in the studio I can tell a pretty good story and kind of understand the overarching structure of good storytelling a little bit better from my years narrating.
Romance Narrators: Love it. Tell us about your collaboration with author Christi Caldwell. You've been working together for years, yes? What keeps you two teaming up to tell stories?
Tim: Christi is one of the dearest people in the entire world. She's a totally adorable nut who loves her family more than anything and is fiercely loyal. I can't tell you how much I enjoy our relationship. I think we've done almost 50 titles together now? As long as she keeps hiring me, I'll keep working for her. A truly wonderful friend. It's almost like we can read each other's minds after all these years.
Romance Narrators: 50 titles, wow. You post some really impressive videos from your recording sessions on social media. Switching characters and accents and genders like gangbusters! All while looking incredibly relaxed. Seriously. You look incredibly chill while you work, like you're having a fireside chat with a pal. Have you always been this way?
Tim: Hahahaha I think if you described me as "chill" or "relaxed" to my wife and/or friends they might laugh in your face, hahahaha. I guess I'm doing a good job channeling all the rumbling wild, joyful energy inside me into a focused read... at least I'm glad it comes across that way hahaha. I try to get rid of any extraneous stuff and focus on the text and the character's intention and objective, and don't really think about anything else when I'm in there.
Romance Narrators: Well, it’s working for ya. Speaking of rumbling, wild, joyful energy… your booth looks quite festive! Like you're surrounded by a forest motif. Do you have greenery in there? Wallpaper with trees? What's going on in there?
Tim: When my wife and I first got married all we could afford was a tiny little one-bedroom apartment, and our bedroom wall was about a foot from the end of our bed. To make it seem spacier we bought a wall tapestry of a forest from Urban Outfitters. When we moved into a bigger space I turned it into the inside of my booth...I guess it's pretty Zen. Maybe that's why I'm so chill in there???
Romance Narrators: Perhaps! Tell us about your time at the Great Books Colloquium of Pepperdine University.
Tim: Best part of my eight years of college. Taught me how to think critically, I got to read a huge chunk of the greatest ideas in western civilization, and more than anything it taught me how to take existential responsibility for my actions... how to live truthfully and to understand the context of the ways in which I view and analyze the world. Some insanely brilliant teachers and students really pushed me to be a better, less lazy thinker, and it's paid off every single day of my life since. Plus when I reference Kant or Buber or Kierkegaard in my narration, I actually know what I'm talking about... for the most part...
Romance Narrators: You won an Audie Award in Contemporary Romance. How was that whole experience?
Tim: I did! It was wonderful. Totally and completely unexpected. It was a great book for a great company. I was nominated with an INSANE group of narrators, some of whom worked together on a couple of the projects... so thought "no chance in hell". I think I may have yelled a naughty word or two when they announced the title, hahaha. Couldn't believe it. Very honored.
Romance Narrators: Word on the street is that you are pretty darn smitten with your wife. Tell us what makes your lady so dreamy.
Tim: She's the strongest, most brilliant, most loyal person I've ever met. Stunningly beautiful. Almost indescribably cool. I just wake up every day so thankful that I get to know her better than anyone else on this planet. Biggest miracle of my life. And she's a total and utter nerd, just like me... so that works out well when we both wanna put a Star Wars/Harry Potter/Doctor Who crossover bumper sticker on the car... stuff like that. I think I'm maybe known a little bit as the dude who's totally obsessed with his wife... and I'm totally cool with that.
Romance Narrators: What exciting audiobook projects do you have on the horizon?
Tim: Oh man... so many cool things lined up! I've got a ton of great ongoing series with releases scheduled this year for Blackstone, Brilliance, Tantor, Bee Audio, Harper/Harlequin, Dreamscape, Podium, etc. some already scheduled into May and June. I'm doing a bunch of fun fantasy and sci-fi as well which is what I listen to most of the time, including an epic three book fantasy series for Podium, my first major series with them. Most of my ongoing independent romance series for Christi, Julie Johnstone, Cecelia Mecca, Emma Prince, Cynthia Wright, etc. etc. have releases as well. Oooo I've got a project I'm co-narrating with Emily Woo Zeller coming up... she's soooo talented and so brilliant, I can't wait to work with her. It's already shaping up to be a busy 2019! Hopefully I'll be able to take some time off this summer and travel with my wife, we were too busy last summer and that's my favorite thing to do in the whole world!
Romance Narrators: Where can people keep up with you online?