Recently, we had an opportunity to ask the narrator of The Target List audiobook, Allen Grunerud a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
I had been thinking about audiobook narration for several years prior to retiring from teaching a couple of years ago. I have experience in voice-over and commercial work, so this seemed a logical transition.
How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
I am relatively new to audiobook narration. I taught theatre and English for many years; that combination leads to a love of language and a reverence for the spoken word. Narration provides an opportunity for artistic expression in the comfort of a home studio.
Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
I use the ACX format to find audition opportunities. ACX is the Amazon Audible production site that matches authors and producers and streamlines the business end of audiobook production. It was not too long after I began auditioning that I began receiving offers.
A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
I do think it is essential to be able to interpret an author’s words and be able to verbalize a character or mood. Having been an actor and director for decades has made the move to audiobooks fairly seamless.
What type of training have you undergone?
I have my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theatre and I produced and directed plays and musicals for professional, educational and community theatres.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
As I indicated, I am fairly new to audiobook narration, so the process still feels fresh and enticing. New projects bring new enthusiasm and I love to explore a new book and work with authors.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I am an audiobook listener; it was my salvation several years ago when I was commuting to work. It is an excellent way to catch up on “reading” without having to read.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
My favorite part of narration is the interpretation and presentation of the author’s vision—trying to bring that to life. I have great respect for writers; creation is a very personal thing, so I want to come as close as I can to make my narration fit the author’s intent. My least favorite part, I suppose, is the technical end of things: editing and such. Also, I spend an inordinate amount of time re-recording in order to get the words right, get the sound right, get the mood right.
What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
I guess I bring authenticity to my narration. A believability. You never want the narration to sound like you are just reading a text.
What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
“The Target List” really piqued my curiosity because of its subject matter, its unlikely heroes and its suspenseful nature. Once I began working on it I appreciated the economy of language and the very accessible and endearing characters. In addition, John (Reizer) is a very supportive and nurturing author to work with, which made the project a joy from beginning to end. This is a terrific book and I hope I have done it justice.
About the Narrator
Allen Grunerud is a recently retired theatre and English educator. He brings a love of literature and a reverence for the spoken word to his work.
Bringing characters’ stories to life has been Allen’s primary goal; each new challenge becomes his new passion. Allen holds himself to rigorously high production standards in order to deliver a product worthy of an author’s vision.