Monday, February 3, 2014

Emma Chase chats with 'Tangled' narrator Sebastian York

by Joyce Lamb)

We have an even specialer (new word!) treat than usual at HEA today. Author Emma Chase got to talk with Sebastian York, the audio book narrator of her very popular Tangled. (There's even an audio clip at the end of the interview.)

Emma: Hi, Sebastian, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! So many of my readers are big fans and are excited to know more about you.

Can you tell us a little bit about how recording an audio book works? Is there an audition? Is the work done in a recording studio? How long does a typical audio book take to record from beginning to end?

Sebastian: Yes, some books call for auditions, because that's the most practical way to get involved with publishers and writers. In my experience, certain books — or certain genres — are read in a studio with an engineer and a producer. The producer monitors the content and more or less guides the narrator through it. Despite the time and practice a narrator takes in getting to know the material — getting pronunciations right, getting places and names right, as well as familiarizing yourself with the feel and tone of the book — there's always a time when you still need a push or a little help with things. Having said all that, some books can take a couple of days; others can take a week or so. Much of that depends upon the length, the content, and the amount of characters, just to name a few factors. Personally, I read most of the books from home.

Emma: How did you first get into audio book work?

Sebastian: Luck, really. I have a friend who engineers (does the recording for) a broad range of audio books. He told me I had a good voice for it, and I told him that it was something that I'd wanted to do for a long time. We made a demo reel at his apartment when he had some downtime, or was between jobs, over the course of a few months. He'd suggest things to read ("Next week let's try a biography — pick one."), and we'd spend about an hour recording another segment for the reel. After we had a sufficient amount of material, he began to pass it along to colleagues and producers.

Emma: Do you have a process for preparing to record a book?

Sebastian: Not too much, honestly. Honesty part two: A bit of wine or beer helps. I really just try to have as much fun doing it as possible. Seen Spinal Tap? Viv: "Have a good time all the time." I sincerely believe that.

Emma: What do you do when you're not working? Any hobbies?

Sebastian: I'll leave that up to your imagination.

Emma: Are you a reader? If yes, what genre do you like? And what format do you prefer — e-book, paperback or audio book?

Sebastian: Yes, though not as much as I would like to be anymore. A friend and I were lamenting the fact that we were "well read" when we were 22. You get older and time for reading seems to narrow. But I still get on some good jags. I have to. Reading is very important to me. But in spite of the lack of time, I usually still have about five books going at once.

Emma: I've read that some actors don't like to watch their own performances on screen — do you listen to your own work?

Sebastian: No, not much at all — only when I'm listening back to passages I'm not too sure I put across well. I like to keep things in the moment, and I like to keep moving ahead.

Emma: As I mentioned earlier, you have quite the fan following — I heard from many readers who were thrilled that you'd be the voice of Drew Evans in Tangled. And I know of at least one listener who was so enraptured by your performance, she forgot to hit the brakes and bumped the car in front of her (don't worry, no one was hurt). What's it like to have women swooning over your voice?

Sebastian: Happy to hear that no one got hurt: Could be trouble. And as long as they're enjoying it, I'm happy. And many thanks, readers. That means a lot to an otherwise embarrassed newcomer.

Emma: Was there any scene that you found particularly enjoyable? Or challenging?

Sebastian: Sex passages are always challenging. I feel like I've missed out on so much perfection.

Emma: Are you on social media? Anywhere fans can get in touch with you?

Sebastian: No. Mystery matters.

Emma: Speed round:

Favorite food?


Dogs or cats?

Both. Can I say that? Cats took some time but, yes, both.

Suit and tie or jeans and a T-shirt?

Suit (no tie).

What's better: Falling in love or staying in love?

What's behind door number three?

Emma: Thanks again for your time and for being such a good sport, Sebastian!

To find out more about Emma and her books, visit

(Photo: Gallery Books)