Author: Chantal Gadoury
Narrator: Ryan Haugen
Length: 9 hours 37 minutes
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: Mar. 3, 2020
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
The village of Krume is plagued by a haunted wood and a hungry witch. It’s been that way for as long as Hans and Greta can remember, though they have never seen the witch themselves; no one has. When men start to disappear once again in the cover of night – their bloody hearts turning up on doorsteps – the village falls into frenzied madness. Hans and Greta, two outcast orphans, find themselves facing accusations of witchcraft and are met with an ultimatum: burn at the stake, or leave the village forever. With nowhere else to go, they abandon their only home. As they venture into the strange forest, their path is fraught with horrific creatures, wild and vivid hallucinations, and a mysterious man tied to the witch’s past. The Shrike is watching, just beyond the deep darkness of the woods.
A.M Wright’s Top 10 Things to Expect from The Shrike & the Shadows
- An immersive narrative brought to life by an amazing voice talent!
- The very opposite of sweets…there are no houses made of gingerbread in our story.
- A witch! But we can guarantee you that the Shrike isn’t your typical, cauldron-brewing witch – but she is a hungry one.
- Dark and graphic imagery. Like I said, the Shrike is a hungry witch and her appetite is insatiable.
- Fear! It’s everywhere.
- Nightmarish creatures! And haunting hallucinations.
- One dark and mysterious stranger!
- An unshakeable bond between two siblings with unresolved issues & a sad past. They stick together no matter what! Even if one is being sort of piggish.
- Some romance sprinkled in, just to give it a nice kick. It gets spicy
- 10. A story you won’t forget! (And maybe a cliffhanger )
Highlights:Main Titles (Sleepy Hollow) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzDdneyRxvE The Gravel Road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ro4FHd51t4 Snow White: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNieoRfBqcU A Window to the Past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrZB9nPMvS4 Mistake of Your Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DquoNl7GsQ8 Main Titles (Chocolat): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7De42gw0jc Show Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K79ig2PKP3Y Day One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DITy3T2BgbI
Q&A with Narrator Ryan Haugan
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
- Around July 2019 I was encouraged by a friend online to “do something, anything” with my voice. For most of my life I viewed the prospect as impossible, but something I’d be great at if I were in “other” circumstances. I’d also been told by players in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign I used to run that I really need to do something “performative” with my voice and storytelling abilities. Audiobook narration kind of came up in discussions with my partner as yet another form of gig work one day around this time, and I looked in to it pretty much immediately. So there’d been this sense that I need to do something with my voice and performative style, at least from people I viewed as honest friends, for quite a while.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
- If you’re willing to work for free, you can break into almost any line of work, I’m sure – your patience will wear thin quickly, though. And that’s my story with narration, and probably most others, too. I was doing 6-10 auditions a day to start out, everything I could get my hands on, from diet books to homegrowing weed to crime thrillers to smuttier stuff, you name it – but ultimately it came down to a string of Royalty Share (no money for you or the rights holder/author unless the audiobook sells) on ACX as a proof of concept, a leg-stretch. Within a week of completing my first Royalty Share project, I’d received an offer to actually work for a wage (!!!) and have since collaborated with that author on numerous projects.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- I’m sure this’ll probably change somewhat, but that I’m able to quit my day job to do much more lucrative/fulfilling work has kept my enthusiasm at a very steady burn. I’m overjoyed at the opportunity to narrate/produce – I’ve known nothing like this in my life. But, it’s easy to tire of longer pieces/narrative styles you don’t particularly jive with. Knowing there’s something else radically different on the horizon reinvigorates me. Shorter projects, subjects I don’t particularly have much interest in – the unknown keeps things interesting.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Yes, an avid one at that. Until this week I was able to listen to them during my entire shift at work, but, now that work is narration full-time, I probably shouldn’t have another voice narrating in the background while I narrate. So of course the convenience factor appeals to me, but an adept narrator can turn a novel in to something of a stage performance. A well-written character is worthy of a demanding performance. I appreciate the added immersion, and this sort of “heartbeat” being given to a narrative.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- My favorite part – intense internal monologues are frequently the most intimate parts of any fiction, but they also flow the most naturally for me. I find myself doing the fewest retakes when I’m directly in a character’s mind. So the ROI so to speak is huge here. Least favorite part? Excluding editing, sticking just to the narration, awkwardly-worded sentences, unnatural character interactions, daily sinus rinses, the list goes on.
- Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
- If work is slow enough, I’ll audition for just about any project that isn’t strictly demanding a female/elderly voice – I’ve still tried to sound elderly, though, don’t think I haven’t! Genres, specifically, I’d say political thrillers, westerns, romance in general – based on anecdotal evidence, harem romance authors don’t seem to enjoy my work, haha. But I do try to do my research and adapt to styles I haven’t tried before.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
- The characters had a pretty big say in how they sounded! A well-written character just screams their voice to you. But I like to collaborate with authors on ideas they have for their characters’ voices, a back-and-forth until some agreement is reached, though I’m usually given free rein over interpretation. I have stock voices ready for a handful of character types, though The Shrike and the Shadows saw me trying some voices I’d never used yet. Father Emory in particular was a blast to portray. I took some influence from the clergymen in Castlevania. Rabble rousers/fanatics allow a lot of wiggle room, so more opportunity to experiment.
- Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
- Yes, though I’ve been busy enough recording them lately that I haven’t really had the time for that. Feedback from authors and their creative teams is far more valuable to me. Narration is not one-size-fits-all; not every reviewer will appreciate what the author is trying to achieve through audio, nor what you are trying to achieve. I have some older pieces in particular that I’m not happy with honestly, though I achieved what the author demanded and they’re happy with the result. So some criticism may be valid, but at times it’s like not enjoying a genre of fiction. Is something bad just because you dislike the genre? Not necessarily.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- Listen. Listen more than you record. You’re an artist, and you need inspiration. Listen to bad audiobooks – however you make this assessment is up to you, but they’re out there – take notes. Watch bad movies, take notes. Learning what’s awful is just as important as knowing what’s good. And focus more on your performative style and consistency rather than having the most expensive setup, starting out.
- What’s next for you?
- Working on M.A. Leon’s first book in her YA fantasy Steel and Magic series, Elemental Links. This book and its sequels should keep me busy for a few months. I’m also supposed to be moving across the country with my partner in a couple months, but there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment. Luckily, I’m an olympic social distancer.
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