Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

It’s An Audio World With Daniel Vimont

mic373751_412242828795717_498698168_nIt is my great pleasure to introduce something new to you: Daniel Vimont. Now that Plum Tree Books is literally becoming a publisher, I thought it might be good to give different corners of it to some of our writers who are able to help us with various aspects of the industry. Today, I give the stage to Daniel. He is an audiobook narrator (he is also one of our star proofreaders ~ a behind-the-scenes necessity for any publishing venture. Daniel recently proofread Marta’s Pelrine Bacon’s book The Blue Jar before we re-publish in paperback!) Daniel has one of those, read-to-me-voices that loses you in the story. When his recitation ends, you feel a little bereft, as though you have lost a friend.

Listen to his beautiful recording of a fantastic poem: 2,000 Deciduous Trees by Nath Jones.

A Principal Challenge of Modern Story-telling

by Daniel Vimont

I’m very grateful to Niamh for the invitation to take part in these wonderful Plum Tree conversations, which seem to me to be something of a 21st century version of the stimulating and enlightening French salons of centuries past.

Since Niamh’s invitation was in the context of my work (and works) as an audiobook narrator, I’d better begin my part of the conversation at least somewhere in the neighborhood of that topic. (Who knows where things might veer from there? But that’s where I’ll start.)

Let’s talk first about challenges. (That’s like skipping the pleasantries and getting straight to the car chase.) It may be a bit masochistic of me, but I love the fact that as an audiobook narrator/producer, I face a broad array of challenges every day: artistic and technical challenges, as well as marketing and financial challenges. And all of these challenges are overhung by the fairly relentless meta-challenge of not losing faith in my ability to effectively take on any of these challenges. (That last one probably sounds very familiar to you, even if you’re not an audiobook narrator.)

In adhering to what I perceive to be the belles-lettres nature of these Plum Tree conversations, I’ll take on the artistic issues here and leave discussion of the others to some other blog.

It will come as no surprise to you if I say that during every moment that I am recording an audiobook, I am reading words off of a page. However, at any moment in which you are listening to an audiobook of mine, if it ever sounds like I am reading to you then I have failed (and failed rather abysmally), to meet one of the fundamental challenges that I set for myself. It must never ever sound like I am “reading to you”.

When your favorite musician plays or sings for you, does it sound like they are reading notes off of a page? Hell no!! They are just making beautiful music for you to enjoy, and any notation that may or may not be in front of them while they are doing it does not in any way come into your conscious experience as a listener.

Likewise, if I come across sounding as if I have printed words in front of me that I am reading to you, then the magic (that I feel must be there) has been lost. Even though my voice is physically coming through your earbuds or emanating from your car or living room speakers, it must feel as if I am having a very intimate conversation with you (just you), with a spontaneity that distinguishes a natural conversation from a recitation.

Do I succeed at this? Do I come across as someone who is simply reading something aloud to you, or do I come across as someone who is telling you a story? That is for you to decide. It is up to you to be the judge and jury (and, if necessary, the executioner — let’s hope it doesn’t come to that).

Do I think other audiobook narrators succeed at this? Honestly, very few. But it also seems that not many of them are even trying to get beyond sounding like they’re “reading”. Which leads me to tentatively conclude that audiobook narration as an art form is in its very early stages of development.

So if each of us is on our own Joseph Campbell “hero’s journey”, then this is mine:  hacking through  the underbrush in unexplored, unmapped territory, working to give birth to a new art form.

Daniel can be found on Facebook @

And please enjoy this beautiful recording of Nath Jones.

About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

One comment on “It’s An Audio World With Daniel Vimont

  1. thiskidreviewsbooks
    December 8, 2013

    Great points, Mr. Vimont! I will keep the realistic reading in mind. 🙂


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This entry was posted on December 7, 2013 by in Guest Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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