Author: Brian David Bruns
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Length: 9 hours 20 minutes
Series: Cruise Confidential Series, Book 1
Publisher: Brian David Bruns
Released: Mar. 31, 2016
Genre: Travel Humor
National Best Seller ForeWord Humor Book of the Year Benjamin Franklin Awards Humor Book of the Year In Cruise Confidential, Brian David Bruns spills the dirt – or, in this case, the dirty water – on those romantic, fun-filled vacations at sea. His hilarious chronicle of the year he spent working for Carnival Cruise Lines takes listeners down into the areas where the crew works and lives, leaving listeners gasping with laughter as they’re assaulted nonstop with events that range from the absurd to the utterly bizarre. Stewards fighting over food. Cutlery allowances and other nonsensical rules. What the crew calls those onboard (no, it’s not passengers). And, of course, the sex. An abundance of ready, willing, and able bodies eager for action on a vessel replete with nooks and crannies leads to love in some mighty strange and seemingly impossible places. Breezy, entertaining, and informative, Cruise Confidential is essential listening for those planning a cruise or for anyone who just needs a good laugh.
Brian David Bruns has adventured in over 60 countries to gather material for his bestselling books and won dozens of literary awards, including the USA REBA Grand Prize. He has been featured on ABC’s 20/20 and was anointed Sir Brian by Prince Michael, Regent of the Principality of Sealand (yes, really). Sir Brian writes of his global experiences with a self-mocking wit and an astute insight into human behavior. His historical fiction seamlessly blends his love of travel and adventure with the fantastical–a sort of Indiana Jones meets Bram Stoker. He is devoted to veterans organizations, such as Operation Homefront and Wounded Warriors Project, to which he’s donated thousands of his books. After several years residing in Dracula’s actual hometown (yes, really), he and his Romanian wife now live in Las Vegas with their two old rescue cats, Julius and Caesar. Originally from Ireland, Gary Furlong worked a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, and a festival performer in Ireland. A naturally-gifted mimic, Gary began narrating audiobooks for a living in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. Gary specializes in accents and dialect, with fluency in Irish, British RP, and Standard American. In four years of working full-time with audiobook production, Gary has narrated over 100 audiobooks spanning Fantasy,Thriller, Romance, YA, and non-fiction for world-class publishing houses and independent authors. In 2018 Gary won a much coveted AudioFile Earphones Award and the Independent Audiobook Award for Romance. He now lives in Texas with his wife and their golden retriever called “Gansey,” which means “Sweater” in Irish Gaelic. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Brian David Bruns. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author Brian David Bruns
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- I feared the challenges of finding a narrator were too great for this book. Sure, I could find someone to just read the text, but I wanted to convey the feeling of being abroad. Accents can be tricky things because many people, Americans in particular, are not exposed to too many of them. So you don’t want to put anybody off. But when you are living below the waterline in a crew cabin of a cruise ship, every single person you meet reminds you that you’re far from home with every single word they say. I thought that was important.
- Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
- I think any story can and should be shared audibly. Perhaps this is because I’m a natural storyteller who insists upon sharing audibly every single thing to every single person I meet. It’s amazing I have any friends left at all. That being said, I am a visual creature too. I love the look of the printed word and take pains to make my writing visually engaging. That’s more of my fiction, though. My narrative nonfiction, such as in Cruise Confidential, is much more like us sitting down over a beer and sharing experiences.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- The narrative voice of the book is entirely my own, but I didn’t have a hope or a prayer of handling the extreme linguistics of so very many “characters” from so very many nations. After a decade I finally mustered the courage to actually seek somebody who might be able to give it a shot. It was a daunting task.
- How did you select your narrator?
- With 60+ nationalities and subsequent accents, selecting a narrator was no mean feat. I searched through copious numbers of samples from many excellent narrators. But really, how realistic was it to find one person who could do accents ranging from all places Asia to all places Europe and North America to boot? Behold: Gary Furlong. He was an Irishman who had lived in Japan who I found by way of Ohio. His mastery of so many accents that one hears living on a cruise ship was so complete I suffered flashbacks.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- Narrator Gary Furlong is a consummate professional, so any word he doesn’t know how to pronounce he knows how to learn. That said I through him for a loop once or twice with some Native American names. The man’s from Ireland, so you have to give him a break. Certainly I’d be lost if he showed me some Gaelic! It was important that the narrative voice was a Midwestern standard American accent because that is what I speak, and where I’m from is fundamental to the plot. It was also important to convey my manner of storytelling, which is often grandiose but in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Transcripts of my dialogue can strip out my presentation and sometimes make me out to be a superlatively arrogant man. In fact I’m only very arrogant.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Contrary to the naysayers, every word of this book is true. When peeling back the veneer of a beloved pastime such a cruising, there is bound to be resistance. I’d imagine anyone writing a tell-all about working in Disney World would encounter the same thing. But what I experienced was absolutely shocking and I felt the story needed to be told. That it had a happy ending was in no way assured and is honestly more a matter of attitude than objectivity.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I love audiobooks. I was a marathoner for most of my life and would listen to lots of books. They made the long, painful miles enjoyable. Well, at least somewhat enjoyable! I am particularly fond of narrators who can do multiple voices. It’s by no means a requirement, but I enjoy the theatricality of it. As I branch into narrating some of my own books I understand just how impressive such skills are!
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- The accents are incredibly powerful. I think the audiobook is orders of magnitude better than the print.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- This book has nearly been made into a TV show on several different occasions, once getting all the way to step 20 of 20 before not making the cut. That was disappointing, as you can imagine. If I had a time machine I would have done anything to get Bruce Campbell to play the narrator (me). If anyone wants to know what it’s like hanging out with me, just watch Evil Dead 2. Looks, personality; we could be twins. Well, barring the chainsaw hand and the misogyny.
- What’s next for you?
- I am learning to narrate my own books for release in 2020, as well as release a series of historical fiction thrillers. My true love isn’t being abused on the high seas, but in fact more akin to something you’d find in the X-Files or Bram Stoker. Travel and history do go hand in hand, and a good historical fiction can be very educational. That’s where my real passion lay.
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