RJ Gushes About His Audio Book Narrator

Narrator Danielle Muething

NOTE: This blog came about upon Danielle Muething concluding the recording of my latest Audible release, my short story collection Darkness With a Chance of Whimsy. I wanted to update my live blurbs for her and instead ended up writing this couple hundred word blog. Ah, well, it’s what I do.

Back in 2019, starting on my first ever audio book project, Danielle Muething blew me away with her blind audition read. All I knew I wanted at the time was someone who could read my story Haunting Obsession with a convincing “Marilyn Monroe” voice to represent the antagonist ghost of the story. Any narrator who could do that was the best logical choice “voice for hire.”

What became apparent to me quickly as Danielle and I talked through expectations is that I, like any other author, have a specific voice, a “vision” and a point of view, and that my narrator should be “on board” for that vision. More than a voice in a booth reading my work, if the narrator understands my work, and communicates that understanding, they become the public salesperson through which the listener gets hooked on my words and wants more. 

Danielle understood what I was trying to do with Haunting Obsession, was excited to bring my story to life, and grew to love the characters as much as I did. This love and understanding carried over to Haunting Blue (Gunther is her preferred antagonist over Maxine Marie) and finally Virtual Blue, a book that, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to rewrite and republish even while Danielle attempted to record it. She put up with a lot more nonsense on my side than any narrator should have to deal with on any audio project. But she knew how important the story was to me, and it was important to her, too. 

Finally, on the forthcoming collection Darkness With a Chance of Whimsy. Danielle had to come up with character voices for ten completely different stories, with varying themes and tones, but by this time, she “got” me, and my story notes were brief, just enough to close little gaps (My favorite for the short story Robot Vampire being “If an A.I. were also an innocent, if that made sense” and apparently it did). In the end, Danielle makes the very difficult transitions sound effortless. 

To be clear, I do not think, nor do I expect, that Danielle is 100% on board with every decision of every story I’ve put in front of her. 80%, maybe 70%. But when she narrates, I can’t tell the difference. She brings the same conviction to every sentence as if she wrote it herself. This is what you get when you hire Danielle Muething

I have worked with Danielle for four projects and we’re prepping for a fifth, and until I run out of anything for her to do and for as long as she’ll have me, that’s just how it’s going to be. Danielle reads my work with the same conviction I would bring if I were reading it myself, better than I can. And it’s why she’ll be the only narrator of my work if I have anything to say about it. And I do.

AFTER-NOTE: As I was concluding this blog, the Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy audio book went live. Click to order from Audible and Amazon. One-time mentor and USA Today Bestselling Author Debra Holland reads the introduction she penned for the collection, and I read my story introductions before Danielle comes in and saves the day. You can click here to see a complete list of Danielle’s Audible projects, even for authors that aren’t me.

If you want to hear Danielle read the first story from the collection completely FREE, click here to listen to her read “The Assurance Salesman” on YouTube. 

About R.J. Sullivan

R.J. Sullivan’s latest book, Commanding the Red Lotus, is a novel-length collection of three space opera tales in the tradition of Andre Norton and Gene Roddenberry. His novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second part of Fiona’s tale. R.J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. R.J. co-hosts the Two Towers Talk Show YouTube program with John F. Allen. He resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it.
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