Interview with Sunny Patel

When my publisher, Next Chapter, contacted me to say a voice actor had been found for the audiobook version of The Phoenix Project, I was apprehensive. After all, how could anybody do justice to the book I had cried and sweated over for 10 years?

The Phoenix Project audiobook

But all of that anxiety drifted away as soon as I heard the voice of Sunny Patel. He could not have been more perfect for the role.

So here is an interview with this talented voice actor. I give you Sunny Patel:

Interview with Sunny Patel – Voice Actor for The Phoenix Project Audiobook

  • What is a day in the life of a voice actor?

It’s still a pretty normal life. The great thing about voice acting is that you are your own boss and I have my own schedule, and I try to be flexible with it. So for example, if I do discipline myself to do voice work between 9-3 everyday, and decide one day I want to meet my friends or play tennis etc that I give it a break and do voice work later in the evening. I don’t take my work too seriously that it takes over my life. Voice acting is meant to be fun and for me it is, so I try to stay relaxed and not ruin my voice by overdoing it. Of course you have to do the things like vocal warm ups and stay hydrated and watch what you eat, but again, I don’t let it suck the fun out of my life and I give myself a bit of a break at times. 

  • What, beyond talent, do you feel one needs to book work and keep working as a voice actor?

Self-belief, persistence and discipline. But I think self belief comes from persistence and discipline, especially for those who aren’t very confident about their abilities. I was sort of like that. It’s important first of all that you find the connections just so you can audition for work. E.g, join ACX, Backstage, Casting Call, voices.com (if you have the money), upwork, or even voice acting facebook groups (where you will occasionally get somebody posting a job).

It’s not getting the jobs that’s important, it’s about getting the chance to audition. Bryan Cranston said in his biography that as an actor the work does not start when you get the part. Your auditions are your job and you should treat it as such. So audition, audition, audition! And don’t worry if you don’t get jobs straightaway. You have to be persistent and keep doing it, and discipline yourself to keep going.  My first paid gig took months of auditioning and it’s only now after 5 years of voice acting that I am getting more regular work. My self-belief grew, and I now know I will get paid work. It may not be every week but I know it will come as long as I persist.

  • What in your life experience was most helpful to you in becoming a voice actor?

Well, I have to be honest, having a deep voice does help a lot. But sometimes having a baritone is not enough. You need skill to be able to voice many characters in an audiobook. To be able to understand what they sound like based on what the author has written about each character is important and it takes skill to execute that. For that you need life experience and to meet people. I have travelled the world, and have had different jobs, and grew up in a multi-cultural place where I heard many languages and people speaking English in different accents.

I was always a people-watcher, so naturally I liked to get to know people. For fun I always mimicked people (I still do), and tried to imitate their body language and their accents. I also used to watch a lot of movies as a kid. When I am voicing characters in audiobook or doing a voice-over commercial, I will just try to sound like a person, whom I know is exactly like the character in the book, or close enough. So travelling and being a people-person has been helpful, but the best part about it was that I wasn’t trying to be a people-person. I just was. Just put your phone down, and go out there and talk to people, or maybe let them talk, and just listen. 

  • Any classes, books or programs you recommend?

In all honesty, I did not read any books about voice acting, but I watched a lot of YouTube videos and I communicate with other voice actors on Facebook. I also have read a lot of articles on it and do listen to other voice actors’ work. So there’s a lot of books that people will recommend, but I choose not to confine myself to the opinions of one or two authors. I like listening to the experiences of a wide variety of seasoned and even amateur voice actors, and it has gotten me far. Social networking has helped but I don’t overdo it. I also try to give my own advice to other struggling voice actors where I can. One thing I would DEFINITELY recommend is taking acting classes. I started doing acting to help with my voice acting, and not only am I better voice actor but I loved my time on the stage, and being an actor is my main goal in life. 

  • How do you handle stress and pressure?

For work stress and pressure, I don’t feel it that much. The voice acting world is a lot friendlier than most professions. Clients can be flexible if you don’t deliver work within a certain amount of time, if you have good reason. So to be honest I have never had much to stress in that department. In terms of dealing with other life stresses, I find sometimes doing my work helps relieve some of the stress and pressure or I just go play tennis, or better yet talk to a friend. 

  • Why did you want a career as a voice over artist?

Voice acting is fun for me, and I was tired of doing work which I found non-creative. So I chose this route. I never thought about being a voice actor. Most people said I had a nice voice, so I thought I would give it a go. I did, and it’s fun. Voice acting for me is creative and storytelling specifically is a tough art. Every voice acting gig you do is you telling a message, and getting people to listen is a tough challenge to master, and I enjoy the challenge.

  • Is it your only job?

I have another side-hustle. I work in a call centre as market research interviewer, where I now have the luxury of working from home due to Covid lockdowns. Saves me the journey to work, and it also means I can do both my jobs at the same time. Which is incredibly convenient. I also am an actor, so if I get an acting gig, that’s a bonus.

  • What type of character/genre do you prefer working with?

I have no genre preference. I have done sci-fi, fantasy, spy thrillers, action, memoirs and I am currently working on a book that is an epic fantasy, reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. I prefer to stay open with my genre preferences because I know I am versatile. I would however like to do some children’s stories. As for favoured characters, alpha characters suit me, but I prefer the challenge of being a beta. Or even being a comic sidekick. 

  • How do you feel about doing accents/genders etc?

I was always pretty good with accents, but I have improved in that department. The fact that I have booked work including audiobooks with US, Caribbean, Indian and Middle Eastern, and Scottish has helped. But there is still room for improvement. Genders has been the challenge for me since I have a deep voice. Doing a child’s voice too. I can’t remove the baritone voice for their parts, but there are some tricks that I have seen from my youtube videos or just listening intently to women (and even mimicking them), that has helped me to alter my voice when doing female characters, and I have improved drastically.  

  • Have you ever been asked to voice a character you have truly despised?

Not yet. But that time will come. 

  • What about one you’ve completely fallen in love with?

I wouldn’t say fallen in love with. But I have felt a deep connection to some. My favourite was Mehran in True Lover’s Knot. A very realistic portrayal of an Iranian man, who fled to America after the revolution in his teens, whose hardships and losses were difficult to fathom. But he still remained a kind and caring person after all that. There are people who I have met like that and have read about who really leave you dumbstruck, considering the vast majority people who face such trials end up embittered and angry. They really remind you of how powerfully complex the human spirit is. The body can die, but the ability to be so forgiving and kind despite the incredible cruelty they face is just beyond impossibility. I don’t get inspired easily, but Mehran’s compassion really left me thinking. Mehran’s character was so well written and his adversities and how he overcame them was utterly believable. And I have used his ethos and principles in my own everyday life. 

  • Where do you see your career heading in the next five years?

I don’t focus on a specific vision on the future of my career. Whether that’s five years, or ten or twenty years. Like I wouldn’t say I see my self doing voice overs in a Hollywood Studio, replacing Morgan Freeman as the voice of “Through the Wormhole”, or playing a Pixar character. All I know is that in five years, I will be in a much better position than I am now. If I end up in Hollywood then awesome, if I don’t, then I won’t be disappointed because considering the trajectory of my career in the last 5 years from where I started, I am doing tremendously well, and I can only see myself getting better in the next five years, and most importantly I will be happy and really enjoying my work. And hopefully other people will be enjoying listening to it. I will only keep getting better and one day, I will get a job that I never even imagined I would get. It’s going to happen, and I can feel it. All I have to do is be persistent. 

  • What would be your ideal booking?

Narrating a wildlife doc for the BBC. 

  • If you could narrate any famous classic, which would it be?

Maybe Lord of the Rings I guess. It’s not just an action-packed fantasy, there’s a lot of things going in there that takes you on a journey through the human emotional spectrum. A story of friendship, love, struggle, sacrifice, determination, betrayal, the power struggle between good and evil. Depending on how you look at it, it’s an allegory of tiny little allegories that maybe we can draw some value from to change modern life for the better. It’s a great story, and I would love to give it a go. Plus it has a lot of incredible diverse characters, so I imagine I would have a lot of fun doing it. 

  • Can you share with us what you are currently working on?

I am currently working on a book called “Legends of Agenor”. Some of the characters in there really remind me of Lord of the Rings, but the storyline is of course different, and it’s brilliant. Every character has depth and enough detail for you to feel them around you. The great thing about it is that, unlike Lord of the Rings, this epic fantasy crosses over to the Eastern world, so there are Indian, Persian / Middle Eastern characters, even Caribbean pirates. A truly diverse novel. Which is refreshing as epic fantasies tend to be western-centric. 


Interested in booking Sunny Patel for voice over or acting work? You can find out more about his work, and contact him on his website HERE.


RELATED LINKS:

The Phoenix Project audiobook

Inspiration for The Phoenix Project

How was The Phoenix Project inspired by D.M. Cain’s love of geek culture?

The Phoenix Project review

The Phoenix Project second edition

Other books by D.M. Cain

About D.M. Cain

How to Write Believable Sci-Fi Characters

A fantastic guide on writing believable characters, and lots of handy tips for improving your protagonists or antagonists.

How to Write Believable Sci-Fi Characters

https://andrewtpostwriter.com/2019/02/03/how-to-write-believable-sci-fi-characters/
— Read on andrewtpostwriter.com/2019/02/03/how-to-write-believable-sci-fi-characters/

5 Ways to Worldbuild Without the Infodump

5 Ways to Worldbuild Without the Infodump

https://plottingblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/5-ways-to-worldbuild-without-the-infodump/
— Read on plottingblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/5-ways-to-worldbuild-without-the-infodump/

A fantastic post on worldbuilding and how to avoid the infamous ‘info dump’

Genesis of Light by D.M. Cain banner

It’s here – the new cover for Genesis of Light!

Cover Reveal for Genesis of Light by D.M. Cain

I’m so excited to share with you the cover for my upcoming release, Genesis of Light! This novella is part of my epic, immersive fantasy series The Light and Shadow Chronicles. The series is centered upon a centuries-long war between two armies. Each book focuses upon a character within the timeline. This novella gives the origin story of one of the armies – The Children of Light. A complementary novella entitled Origin of Shadow will be released towards the end of 2018.

There is no official release date for the book yet but I am hoping it will be towards the end of July 2018. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the others in the series yet you can get them here (though reading these first isn’t required to understand Genesis of Light):

A Chronicle of Chaos –  http://mybook.to/ChronicleofChaos

The Shield of Soren – http://mybook.to/ShieldofSoren

Genesis of Light by D.M. Cain - a novella in the Light and Shadow Chronicles

Genesis of Light BLURB

Warring countries, fantastical creatures, beings of terrible power and journeys of epic scale. The legendary Book of Alcherys tells wild and unimaginable stories. But they are not mere fairy tales. They are true, every word.

Callista Nienna is strong and independent, but nothing could have prepared her for civilisation being brought to a violent end. Now, she is forced to stay alive in a desolate wilderness with only her closest friend for support.

She has two choices: give up and die with the wilting world around her or seize her destiny and make it to the only sanctuary left unscathed. At the end of her journey, something awaits Callista, something both terrifying and unbelievable.

Genesis-of-Light-Immersive-fantasy-fiction

Genesis of Light EXCERPT

Everything happened in an instant. The sky tore open with a deafening crack and the ground beneath their feet shuddered. A deep boom and then fireballs were shooting through the air and plummeting down to the city. Callista gasped and jumped to her feet. Even from this distance, she swore she could hear the screams of terrified people as the city was obliterated. Buildings were flattened, reduced to smouldering rubble within seconds. It was as if the gods themselves were hurling rocks from the sky, decimating everywhere and everyone she loved. Tears welled in her eyes, her mouth wide with horror.

Between the crumbling buildings and blazing infernos, Callista caught a glimpse of something impossible and unimaginable. She shook her head but when she looked back again it was still there. An enormous creature of towering height, unlike anything she had ever seen before. Engulfed with dripping lava and leaving wafts of sulphuric smoke in its wake, it skulked through the burning city. It swiped indiscriminately with gigantic burning fists, smashing aside buildings and trees, and crushing the bones of any living thing in its path.

Slowly, as if recognising Callista’s presence, it turned to look at her. Sizzling eyes of such intense evil focused upon her petrified form. It held her gaze for a moment, then turned away. As quickly as it had emerged, it disappeared behind the remaining buildings and out of sight.

Genesis of Light full cover

D.M. CAIN BIOGRAPHY

epic-immersive-fantasy-fiction-author-D.M. Cain

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for Creativia Publishing. The Light and Shadow Chronicles series features a range of books which can be read in any order. The series instalments to date include A Chronicle of Chaos and The Shield of Soren.

Cain has released one stand-alone novel: The Phoenix Project, a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future. The Phoenix Project was the winner of the 2016 Kindle Book Review Sci-Fi novel Award.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her two young children, and spends her time reading, writing, reviewing and indulging in geek culture (Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Final Fantasy).

LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/dmcain

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Website: www.dmcain84.com

The Light and Shadow Chronicles - an epic immersive fantasy series by D.M. Cain


RELATED LINKS:

The Light and Shadow Chronicles – a unique immersive fantasy world

The Light and Shadow Chronicles

Wondering What The Shield On My Book Covers Means? Find Out!

Inspiration for The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project is a story that is very close to my heart. I had the original idea in 2002 and it has slowly grown with the input of a variety of influences and inspiration.

Inspiration #1: Raven Kennedy:

Raven began as the villain, Vincent, in my first novel “Dead End” (an idea which never came to fruition). The plot didn’t work, but I adored his character so I kept him and developed him as the antagonist in the fantasy world of ‘The Light and Shadow Chronicles’ (You may have met him in A Chronicle of Chaos or The Shield of Soren).

I loved the character so much that I took the idea of him and developed it in another direction—into the dark and depressed Raven in my next novel, The Phoenix Project.

Having worked with Raven for so long, I am very emotionally attached to him. Even though he is fictional, I feel that he is a part of my heart and soul. Hence this tattoo:

D.M. Cain profile picture - Raven tattoo

Raven also features as a major character in The Light and Shadow Chronicles. I don’t think I will ever write a book that doesn’t have Raven in it in some way. He is my muse and my access to my creativity.

Continue reading “Inspiration for The Phoenix Project”

New fantasy titles coming this year!

So, I’ve been out of the loop for a while now (thanks to my gorgeous new arrival <3) but I am pleased to say that this year I am back with two new titles in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series!

Two novellas – ‘Genesis of Light’ and ‘Origin of Shadow’ will be released in 2018 and I will begin edits on the recently completed full length novel ‘The Sins of Silas’. How exciting!

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The Black River Chronicles

Today I am delighted to hand my blog over to the wonderful L.G. Surgeson who has just relaunched her stunning Black River Chronicles series. She’s here to tell us a bit about it:

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About the Chronicles

The Black River Chronicles is a series of the tales that follows the exploits of The Aberddu Guild of Adventurers – a rag-gag collection of mercenaries, thieves, priests and misguided hero-types that seem to wonder into the path of fate with worrying frequency. It’s an odd life as an adventurer,  particularly when you joined up for fame and fortune but find yourself up to your knees in the middens of history.  In the first three stories, the adventurers take on ancient evils,  wicked demon-worshippers and a maniacal God in the full knowledge that unless they rob someone on the way home they won’t get paid.  Some of them will live, some will die and some will last forever. Join the adventure and follow the Black River to see where it leads.

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Praise for the Chronicles

The Summer of Fire:

“… the characters carry the day. I loved the characters and there are plenty of them.”

“This was a good book, very captivating”

The Winter That Follows:

“The characters are rich and deep, and give the feeling of having lived. I look forward to the next in the series.”

The Freetown Bridge:

“The story moves on quickly and brought me to genuine laughter and even a heartfelt tear. I am surprised that this is the first book by Surgeson; with a start like this I expect great things to come!!”

“An excellent first edition of a novel to rival the current fantasy fiction favourites.”

About the Author

author profile 3LG Surgeson is a writer and teacher who lives in a cottage by a river in a little Welsh village with her long-suffering partner and their two cats. She writes novels and articles in the spare time she creates by avoiding the housework and pretending to be a hermit. She likes to write fantasy adventure stories and quasi-autobiographical tales about teaching, which are equally fantastical and no less adventurous but have fewer elves. She also writes articles and blog posts about subjects close to her heart, normally education and mental health. When she’s not writing, she likes to poke about in her garden, pretending to grow things and disturbing the fairies. Her cats like to help. They aren’t good at it.

 

Social Media Links

Blog

https://aberdduadventures.wordpress.com/

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/LGSurgeson/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/LGSurgeson

Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/lgsurgeson/

Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LG-Surgeson/e/B006K18OTM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6093663.L_G_Surgeson

Brand new fast-paced fantasy

My brand new epic fantasy novel The Shield of Soren has just gone live on Amazon!

Grab your copy here

What an amazing journey the author leads you on! With remarkable characters, a sensational and catchy story line, and a captivating ending, you won’t want the story to end.  Amazon reader

The characters are superbly written. Amazon reader.

This is a great fast-paced fantasy with very memorable characters. Amazon reader.

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