Giving Voice to the Voice of a Generation: Meet Haley Catherine, Narrator Extraordinaire
Translating the incandescent prose of arguably the greatest book ever written by a guy named Sean about a sassy bard named Heloise who is friends with a really crass giant talking rat from page to ear is unarguably one of the greatest challenges ever to face performing arts professionals.
Thankfully, Haley Catherine was more than up to the task. She somehow managed to elevate nigh-unelevatable source material to something even more brilliant (Editor’s note: the author thinks highly of himself and cannot be trusted to maintain any semblance of impartiality here; he is also probably drunk). If you haven’t yet checked out the audiobook version of THE PART ABOUT THE DRAGON WAS (MOSTLY) TRUE on Audible, we encourage you to do so posthaste.
If you’re still not convinced, I guarantee you will be after you read this interview with Haley, who was kind enough to take some time away from narrating a bevy of great books and MAKING DICE (what?!) to chat with us. This will be the best 5 minutes of your day, I guarantee (though I guess it is Monday, so, you know, low bar).
1) You are very convincing in the role of a half-elven bard...but, I'm pretty sure you're not actually a half-elven bard. Also, that song in Chapter 12? You totally crushed it with the world's best singing (non-Sammy Hagar division). Do you have a performing background?
Why thank you, sir! I’d like to say it’s all an act, but I secretly AM a half-elven bard!! Well, a little less than half-elven… Ok fine, just plain old human. BUT I am indeed a Bard by trade! Before the apocalypse, I spent my time and made my living, such as one can, doing theatre and music professionally. Mainly in London but also in NYC and, for a short time, as a musical pirate (aka cruise ship singer)! (Editor’s note: But, seriously—that song. Check it out. And Haley graciously agreed to donate all of the proceeds to Impact Justice.)
2) How did you get into the audiobook narration game?
With the world in such a state of trash fire, my usual industry is on hiatus. It’s hard to do live theatre and performance when you’re not allowed to gather in groups! I had a decent home studio recording set up for singing, so I thought I’d upgrade it a bit and give VoiceOver a try! I took a few classes and absolutely fell in love with audiobook narration. Books have always been my best friends, so what better way to spend my time in lockdown than trying to make money with my best friends!
At the recommendation of the teachers and other friends who already work in VO, I signed up for ACX, a website where narrators, publishers and authors can connect to create audiobooks. I sent in a few auditions, and hey-ho, a few months later, Heloise and Co were released into the world! (For which, I am equally excited and so incredibly sorry…) 3) Other than THE PART ABOUT THE DRAGON, which is everyone's favorite book (except for that one reviewer who declared it "a chore, and luckily not one I really have to finish"), what is your favorite book?
Well that is just an unfair question! I don’t have children, but when you ask me that, I feel like I understand Sophie’s Choice that much better...
I tend to want to spend my days in fantasy worlds (because this one is a mess), and pretty much any book I read will most likely have some kind of magic in it! I play a lot of D&D as well, so there is sort of a theme in my life I guess.
One book that has meant a lot to me of late is Pat Rothfuss’s the Kingkiller Chronicles series’ first book, “Name of the Wind". The writing and the characters are so beautifully created, and the author plays D&D so it feels like he’s writing for us nerds! (This should also probably tell you a lot about why I applied to narrate “Part about the Dragon…”)
4) What do you like to do when you're not narrating? I assume you know some sort of trade craft.
Before the world found itself in a state of flux, I had been living in London, working mostly with a company called Secret Cinema, bringing some of the greatest films to life on a massive immersive scale. Seriously, look up Secret Cinema… such a cool company! I particularly enjoyed doing “Blade Runner” and living out my Opera-Singing-Replicant Fantasy.
But since the world went inside, I’ve taken up some new hobbies and crafts. And sticking to the Nerd Theme that is my life, the main thing taking up my time when not narrating is making resin dice! You know, those pretty, shiny, click-clacking gems we use in every good TableTop RolePlaying Game! (Editor's note: Haley makes KILLER dice...though they do not necessarily roll high numbers when you need them when playing Kids on Bikes. Ahem.)
5) You will undoubtedly win millions of fans based on your performance of this book. Where can those fans keep up with you and your goings-on?
If my myriad of new fans want to keep an eye on me, they can find all kinds of things (including a link to download the audiobook of “Part About the Dragon…”) on my website: www.HaleySCatherine.com
Or if you are a fellow nerd and want to check out my math-rock-dice exploits and experiments, you can find me on Instagram @3_ElementDice_3