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An Interview with Paul Boehmer, Voice Actor for the Youngest Templar Audio Editions

This week I am honored to say, that Paul Boehmer, the very talented actor who performs and creates the wonderful recordings of the audio editions of The Youngest Templar has graciously taken the time to answer some questions about his work on the productions. If you haven’t heard Paul’s performance on The Youngest Templar, listen to a clip here. And I can tell you, as an author, this was my first ever audio sale for any of my books. There is always a sense of trepidation when your work is given over to someone else to interpret. Yet when I first heard Paul’s voice on Keeper of the Grail, I knew he had hit it right out of the park. (And not only that, when Listening Library told me they had hired Paul, I was overjoyed because, you know, uber-geek here and as an actor he has a very large connection to the Star Trek Universe).

paul-boehmerI haven’t met Paul in person yet, but we have corresponded by email. And the great thing about it for me is I feel like I’ve made a new friend. (We’ve talked about San Diego Comic Con a bit. He’s never been and I’ve told him he needs to go!) Reading his interview is a fascinating insight into how an actor prepares for a role. Having seen some his work on the screen and hearing him perform on the audios, I’ve grown doubly impressed, hearing him speak of the diligence and effort required of a performer for each type of role. As you might imagine, with writing, rewrites, edits, copy edits, galley readings and what not, by the time Keeper of the Grail was published, I had probably read it fifty times. So I didn’t think there was anything new for me. Then I heard Paul’s performance and I realized there was a whole other level to the story. This is what talented actors do. They make us see something that might be or sound quite familiar in a brand new way.

Of course, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of The Youngest Templar audios, even if you’ve read the books I believe you’ll find yourself enjoying the story all over again and experiencing it in an entirely new way. And I HIGHLY encourage you to check out some of Paul’s work on Star Trek and the other performances he’s created both on television and film. For a list of his credits, click here.

Thanks for your many talents Paul, and for bringing Tristan, Robard and Maryam and even Angel, the little golden dog to life.

1) As an actor, is the preparation you do for a recording different from what you do for a film role?

In some ways it is the same and in others it is very different. In both I read the entirety of the script I am given.  In both it is generally a last minute proposition. For a book it is common to have a week of prep time for a project before recording begins. For Film and TC it is generally a day or two before you begin shooting that you get a script and often it is only the pages that you will be shooting not an entire script.  The big difference for the two mediums is that for a film/TV role you are responsible for one character, for a book you are responsible for the entire cast of characters and the narrative.  It is a huge proposition.  I truly love recording books, especially series like Youngest Templar because I get really close to the characters and they become like friends.

2) In the recording process, do you find yourself caught up in the story, or do you focus completely on the work.

I absolutely become involved in the story and sometimes find that (even though I have pre-read a book before I record) I am surprised at how things occur in the book as I record. There is something that happens when you speak the words out loud as opposed to reading them silently to yourself that generates emotion and attitude; that surprise in the moment, and often things happen that are unexpected and surprising during the recording of a work of fiction. That said, often times there is a director who is listening as I record who helps to keep the work in line with what an author intends. We, as recorder and director are absolutely committed to producing the best, most engaging and most honorable presentation of the Author’s work as possible.

3) Can you give listeners an idea of the technical aspects of recording an audio book? How long does it take? Are there outtakes or bloopers?

A book the length of The Youngest Templar Series will take me about three days 6 to 8 hours a day to record. I will sit in a booth that is quite sound proof to give the listener the best quality of sound possible. The Director will sit in a room adjacent with a window and an intercom to allow for communication. There are lots of bloopers, When you sit and read a book it is very focused work and often your eyes will play tricks on you and you will read words that aren’t there or you will finish a line of text and the next two lines will begin with the same words and you might skip an entire line of text, but worry not faithful readers the director will step in, or I will realize mid sentence that I have clearly missed something and I will simply go back to where the error occurred and begin again. Then the editor takes over and removes all the bloopers and you get the finished product. There are also lots of “noises” that happen when you read a book… the reader takes in a lot of air to read and a lot of burping happens. Somewhere, out there, lurking in the dark, someone has a disc of burps that have been edited into Christmas Carols or something ridiculous like that!

4) You’ve had roles on many of the various Star Trek television shows. Have had any close encounters with Trekkies?

boehmer-startrekI have had the good fortune of attending many Trek Cons. It is a lot of fun. I love Trekkies as I have been a fan of the show since I was a little boy. (I still have my Kirk and Spock action figures)  (Okay Paul, that seals it. Next year, I’ll expect to see you at San Diego Comic Con! MS) They are the best group of fans around.  I have been too many cons in the States and have appeared in Britain, Norway and Italy. The fans are so generous and kind and I always love to talk about the shows with them.  Some have even met me at theatres around the US where I have appeared to talk and to say hello and thank you for the work I have done. It is always fun to know that I have become part of a show that I have so enjoyed and that has been such a huge part of my life.

5) If you had a vote, would you want the adventures of Tristan, Robard and Maryam to continue?

If I had a vote… I would say I would love to hear what happens with Tristan next. He has met such wonderful and interesting and frightening people in history that I want to see who he runs into next. I don’t want to spoil the finale for the readers/listeners but I will say I think it very emotional and so satisfying that I cannot wait to see what comes next.

For further interviews with Paul Boehmer follow these links:

TREK’S J. PAUL BOEHMER: A Nazi Hologram Becomes a Singular Borg

Star Trek Interview with J. Paul Boehmer

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