Author: Andrew Cunningham
Narrator: Greg Hernandez
Length: 7 hours 50 minutes
Series: Eden Rising, Book 1
Publisher: Andrew Cunningham
Released: Jun. 25, 2020
“The Earth died in less than a minute. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. It’s not like the planet ceased to exist altogether. It just seemed like it. Cities were reduced to rubble. Millions of people died that day. I’ve since been told that 95 percent of the Earth’s human population was wiped out. I don’t know if that’s true – I mean, who can know that for sure? It’s not like we still have any of the technology that we once used to determine such things. But I do know that it was almost empty of people – live ones, that is…” Thus begins the journey of Ben and Lila, two ordinary teenagers forced to rise to extraordinary heights when faced with a world that has suddenly and inexplicably died. Dealing with the sorrow of all they have lost, but the love they have found in each other, they set off on an odyssey that will bring them to the limits of human endurance and face to face with the frailty of their very existence. From the extreme violence of many of the surviving humans toward one another, to a world physically falling apart at the seams, Ben and Lila are determined to make it through the devastation in their quest for a place to quietly share their life together. In the process, they have to become as violent as the world around them in order to survive, while struggling to hold onto the humanity that will keep them sane. Eden Rising is a survival tale and a love story, but it is also a book that delves deeply into the human psyche to discover just how far we would go to survive, and how much inner strength can be found when things are at their absolute worst.
I’m the author of novels in several genres, including, mystery, thriller, and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Under the name A.R. Cunningham, I’ve also written the Arthur MacArthur series of mysteries for children. I was born in England, but have spent most of my life living in the U.S.—including 25 years on Cape Cod before moving to Florida. A former interpreter for the deaf and long-time independent bookseller, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for many years. A 4th-degree Master Black belt in Tang Soo Do, I finally retired from active training when my body said, “Enough already! Why are you doing this to yourself?” I’m married, with two grown children and two awesome grandsons. My wife and I spend as much time traveling as we can, and are especially fond of cruising the Caribbean. I have been gratified by the response to my books. When I published Eden Rising back in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. When I sold my first few copies, I was excited beyond belief that someone was willing to take a chance on it. Numerous books and thousands of copies later, I am still humbled by the emails I get from readers telling me that my books kept them up late into the night. In October of 2014, Wisdom Spring made me an official Amazon Bestselling author, a thrill I never thought would happen. But it still comes down to being able to bring a few hours of escape to a reader. That’s what it’s all about for me. I hope you will try my books. Please feel free to email me with your comments.
Author-preferred Narrator of Mysteries & Thrillers Narrating audiobooks is highly gratifying. I immerse myself into an author’s story in order to bring it to life for the listener. I’ve enjoyed working with Andrew Cunningham for several years. His books are filled with rich characters, and the stories keep me turning the pages. I also work as a background actor in movies and TV shows. For more than 20 years, I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer. I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau. I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House. I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news. For nearly 24 years, I worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Mint and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Greg Hernandez. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrator Greg Hernandez
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
- In 2014 I was looking down the road toward retirement from my federal government job. I knew I wanted to do something with voice over, but I didn’t want to go to an office. I read the book, “More Than Just A Voice: The REAL Secret to Voiceover Success” by Dave Courvoisier. The chapter on audiobooks was very intriguing. I did some research and auditioned in late 2014. I was ecstatic that I was selected quickly. It’s been a great adventure and learning experience ever since that fateful day.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
- I was a radio news reporter in my first career. Being in front of a microphone was my comfort zone. I was very glad that I got my first audiobook a few days after my audition. It helped a lot that I worked with digital audio in 1987 when it was first introduced at ABC Radio News. Those skills have worked in my favor as an independent narrator not working with a publisher. Plus, I was an audio engineer when I was a student at Syracuse University working with analog audio.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
- I believe it’s necessary to know a little about acting because that’s what narrating mysteries and thrillers is all about. Through my first reviews, I learned that listeners want distinct character voices so that they know who’s speaking. They don’t want to keep rewinding to keep up with character dialogue. I’ve studied acting and taken acting classes in order to make the dialogue sound like a movie soundtrack.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- Audiobook narration is like running a marathon. You have to keep your voice in shape, and you have to maintain your energy level high throughout the whole book. In my early narrations I’d sometimes have to re-record sections because the energy was flagging. Now, I make it a point to maintain a constant energy just like a runner trying to keep up a steady pace.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I listen to hundreds of hours of audiobooks each year. My favorites are biographies narrated by the author. There’s nothing like hearing someone’s story as told by them. I also love mysteries and thrillers. I also am very picky about narrators.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- I enjoy the whole process from narrating, editing and processing the audio for final production. Since I edit my own narrations, it’s my goal to make certain the audio is the best quality to give the listener a terrific experience. The only frustrating part of narrating is when I get a cold. That shuts down the whole process behind the microphone. That’s when I go into editing mode.
- What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
- Over the past five years, I’ve made it a point to come up with distinct character voices. I don’t want them to sound over the top. I want them to sound like every day people and believable. Some voices come naturally from the author’s words, and others take a little time to get the right cadence and inflection.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
- I have narrated six books by Andrew Cunningham. I haven’t auditioned for a book since 2015. Andrew and I have a great collaboration. I call him my director because he’ll let me know if I’ve gotten a character’s voice the way he envisioned it when he wrote the story. There are about four more books that Andrew wants me to narrate. This latest series allows me continue voicing the two main characters, Del and Sabrina, that I now consider my alter egos.
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
- I enjoy authors that listen closely to my narration and provide feedback. I’ve been fortunate to work with Andrew Cunningham on several books because he provides valuable input that makes my narration all the more real sounding. I get great satisfaction when an author says I’ve brought their book to life.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- I advise aspiring audiobook narrators to do their research. Narrating an audiobook is time consuming. When starting out, it takes about three hours to narrate and produce a finished hour of an audiobook. With time and experience, you can cut that down but not by much. You have to be prepared mentally and vocally for the long haul. It takes even longer if you edit and produce your own narrations.
- Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
- There are some words and long sentences that sometimes pose a challenge. I’ll get half way through a long sentence and then blow the next part or run out of breath. It’s amazing how some words come out that are not on the page. When I hear the playback, I’ll have a laugh. Take two, please!
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