Author: Jonathan Harries
Narrator: Jeff Bachar
Length: 6 hours and 54 minutes
Series: Tales of the Sica, Book 1
Publisher: Jonathan Harries Ink
Released: May 26, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction; Action/Adventure
I had absolutely no intention of getting into the family business. As I told my father the night he enlightened me on what my ancestors had been up to for over a thousand years, “Sticking a curved dagger into someone’s liver ain’t quite my cup of tea.” As it turned out, I had no choice. When your family’s been assassinating reprobates and other loathsome individuals for seventy generations, you have a certain obligation. So, while it was a little disconcerting to hear how dear old granny would have become a prostitute if Grandpa Joe hadn’t whacked one of Germany’s top agents just before the start of World War I, it certainly piqued my interest. Of course, as I discovered, prostitution and murder were pretty de rigueur for my family. After all, it was my great-grandfather who was hired by the British secret service to kill Jack the Ripper and my mother’s cousins who took part in the attempted assassination of Lenin. My only regret when I finally took up the family sica was not eliminating Jean-Bedel Bokassa just before he crowned himself Emperor of the Central African Empire and ate my two friends. But we all make mistakes.
Jonathan Harries began his career as a trainee copywriter at Foote, Cone & Belding in South Africa and ended it as Chairman of FCB Worldwide with a few stops in between. After winning his first Cannes Lion award, he was offered a job at Grey Advertising in South Africa, where he worked as a copywriter and ended up as CEO at age 29, just before emigrating to the US. Like most immigrants in those days, he started once again from scratch. After a five year stint as Executive Creative Director of Hal Riney in Chicago, he was offered a senior position at FCB. Within ten years, he became the Global Chief Creative Officer and spent the next ten traveling to over 90 countries, racking up 8 million miles on American Airlines alone. He began writing his first novel, Killing Harry Bones, in the last year of his career and transitioned into becoming a full-time author a year ago, just after retiring from FCB. He’s been writing ever since while doing occasional consulting work for old clients. Jonathan has a great love of animals, and he and his wife try to go on safari every year. They’ve been lucky enough to visit game reserves in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Tanzania, India, and Sri Lanka.
Q&A with Narrator Jeff Bachar
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- Narrating audiobooks is something that I thought about doing about 3 years ago. I was looking for more to do as an actor. and I love the way we can immerse ourselves in the journey of the story as a voice artist. As an actor I can’t resist the opportunity to help create the world of the story for the listener. It’s just magical.
- What type of training have you undergone?
- I was in the acting program at the North Carolina School of the Arts and have a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. I studied improvisation with Paul Sills. I’ve worked with Hugh P. Klitzke on commercial voice over, also Edge Studios (David Goldberg in particular) for corporate narration. Recently I started working with an audiobook coach, Erin Moon. I attended a couple of PJ Ochlan’s master classes. Doing plays, films and other screen acting all comes into play; there are elements of those that can apply to creating the world of an audiobook.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- There’s nothing I don’t like about it honestly. I like doing the background work on the characters, analyzing the script, finding personal connections with the characters; playing with different voices. I did get a huge feeling of satisfaction when I finished the final chapter.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
- It fits with my ability to do accents. The story was engaging and a bit different. It has mystery and adventure, mixed with dry humor and many unexpected moments. I just had the feeling I could immerse myself in it.
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
- I love working with authors as much as they would like to; its very helpful to have that collaboration. For this one, Jonathan and I spoke a good bit and he provided great old photos of family members and locations. I had those up in the booth (as well as a few maps since the story covers several countries).
- Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
- Well, not yet really. My mom. My daughter when I pick her up from daycare.
- Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
- Sure. I’ll read them. But I won’t dwell on them.
- If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
- Probably I will take what’s said in a negative review and see if I can apply what was said in a way that improves my work in the future. Then again, you have to keep it in perspective. I try to focus on feedback from a few key people that I trust.
- What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
- Anything that is coming from a place of kindness and a desire to help the narrator improve.
- Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
- Marilynne Robinson
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Um, have a nice day and bless your heart.
Author Jonathan Harries’ Literary InspirationsA very good friend of mine writes a “book letter” every couple of months in which he reviews the thirty to forty books he’s consumed over the time period between letters. I say “consumed” because he reads books the way I eat potato chips. Most of them are murder mysteries and detective novels with the odd piece of historical fiction tossed in for good measure. Some of the books are dark with troubled protagonists, and others light and breezy and seemingly without much depth. Each book, however, is eminently readable in no more than a day or two and that, I have come to realize, is the single most important factor in what I choose to read. It feels, I’ll admit, very shallow and brainless, and yet I’d argue that it takes genius to write a novel that clips along like a racehorse warming up for the derby. Lee Goldberg is most certainly one of my favorite authors, and all his books fit that criterion. They’re funny, thrilling, and the dialogue never makes me wonder just who the hell would possibly talk like that. Emily Organ is another of my favorites, especially her Churchill and Pemberley mysteries. For me, that series epitomizes the idea of “settling in for a nice comfy read.” Two elderly detectives, one as focused on jam tarts and cherry buns as she is on finding the killer, in a bucolic country village inhabited by eccentrics. I’m in love with India and have some absolute favorite Indian authors, although it seems none of them actually lives in India. Vaseem Kahn (British) has a wonderfully entertaining series that features retired Mumbai police inspector Ashwin Chopra and a baby elephant named Ganesha. Balli Karr Jaswal (Singaporean) manages to be both funny and extremely poignant, which I think must be extremely hard to do, and yet she does it so amazingly well. The first Sujata Massey (American) novel I read was The Widows of Malabar Hill, and I couldn’t wait to read the follow up stories of Parveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer. I grew up reading H. Rider Haggard, whose most famous book – and rightfully so – is King Solomon’s Mines. I read the entire swashbuckling series in a week and repeat the process every few years. They ooze with adventure and intrigue, and though the bigotry that creeps in every so often is sad, it at least gives you an understanding of the nature of colonialism. I wish I had the attention span to attempt the books my wife reads: the best-selling, brilliantly reviewed tomes of our times. I always make the excuse that I’m living them, so why depress myself even further. It’s a weak and inane excuse as she points out, but I’m sticking to it. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jonathan Harries. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.