Pugliaindifesa Culture Interview: Audiobook Narrator Joshua Tatum on his fan-made adaptation of ‘Heir To The Empire’.

Interview: Audiobook Narrator Joshua Tatum on his fan-made adaptation of ‘Heir To The Empire’.

Interview: Audiobook Narrator Joshua Tatum on his fan-made adaptation of ‘Heir To The Empire’.

In recent months I unpacked two boxes of books and discovered I had put away for safekeeping a trilogy of novels set in the Star Wars universe published way back in the early 1990s under license and with the blessing of George Lucas. The novels I allude to are Timothy Zahn’s The Thrawn Trilogy. They consists of Heir To The Empire (1991), Dark Force Rising (1992) and The Last Command (1993). Still to this day, Zahn’s novels are the best Star Wars books I’ve read. And while I would dearly love to read them again, I just don’t have the time. I decided to go online and see if an audiobook version would quench my thirst for adventure. More specifically the further adventures of Luke Skywalker and friends.

Anyway audiobooks can be a whole lot of things. But more than anything audiobooks are often immersive and entertaining. They are a great way to make a book or story come to life. The challenge of course is to see what audiobooks are available and if they are worth sitting through. Often it comes down to one factor for me and that is the narrator. Are they going to make it unbelievably fun? Will they bring drama and tension to the story? Will I hang on their every word? In regards to The Thrawn Trilogy and book one – Heir To The Empire, I am actually spoilt for choice with professional undertakings to fan-made adaptations. 

Talking of fan-made adaptations, I discovered a great new narrator on YouTube, who ticks all of my boxes when it comes to audiobooks. In short, Joshua Tatum aka JTcrusader is a big fan of books. More importantly he loves to read them out loud! He is also a Star Wars fan, so you can imagine he has absolutely every reason to get it right. No pressure Joshua. But seriously, Joshua is a breath of fresh air. When I began listening to his audio adaptation of Heir To The Empire, I couldn’t switch it off. He was engaging but more than anything he was able to narrate the action and perform all the dialogue in different character voices to a tee. It’s fair to say after thirty-two mesmerising chapters, I had some fan questions of my own, so I decided to reach out to Joshua. Here is some of what we talked about.

Joshua tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to become an audio book narrator?

Before we begin, I want to thank you for reaching out to me. I honestly didn’t expect anyone to request an interview regarding the production behind this audiobook, much less writing an entire article about it, but I’m very humbled that you decided to do so! So a little about myself. My name is Joshua Tatum, and I’m the narrator for the fan-made audiobook adaptation of Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. This is the first audiobook I’ve ever produced, and it’s been quite the journey leading up to this point. I’d say that my story as a narrator began when I was in middle school and my father sat me down to watch Rankin Bass’s animated adaptation of The Hobbit from 1977. John Huston’s vocal performance as both the narrator and the voice of Gandalf in that film completely immersed me into the story, and was my first introduction to Tolkien’s books. That movie greatly inspired me to dive into the world of narration and voice-over. My journey as a narrator began with reading to my younger brothers when they were too young to read themselves. As stated before, I loved the Hobbit, and many of the actors both read lines from the book and voiced the characters in that movie. So, I decided to read to my brothers in a similar style, crafting voices that suited all the characters and then integrated them along with the narration. I read Tolkien and Star Wars books to them for a good portion of their childhood. They often told me that my narration and voices made the books extremely enjoyable to listen to, and they still encourage me to this day. I took a break from book narration when my brothers entered high-school, but I trained my voice in other ways. I’ve been a singer for many years, serving in my church’s worship band and in my local community choir. After graduating from college I did some narration for employee training videos and product demos at my job. However, I still had the desire to make audiobooks, but I could never find the time. Then the year 2021 came around, and suddenly, I was working remotely from my house. I finally had the time that I needed to begin my first audiobook project, and after several months of hard work, Heir to the Empire has finally been completed!

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