Interview with Eklund Gray, narrator for Hunters of the Feather

Interview with Eklund Gray, narrator for Hunters of the Feather

Hunters of the Feather is available on Audible, and wherever you usually get your stories. But I (Victoria Grossack) did not do the narration. Instead I teamed up with Eklund Gray, a man with a wonderful voice. Here are his answers to the questions I posed on the narration.

Eklund Gray, in tones of gray…

Tell us about yourself and your experience outside of narrating stories. Eklund Gray: I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and really began getting into audiobooks about 10 years ago. I was a “theater geek” in my younger days, performing in plays, skits, children’s shows, and even pursuing some professional acting gigs after high school, but Life took me in another direction. My other interests (in Art and Computers) led me to become a designer, and eventually, a web designer starting in the early 2000s. I’ve been happily working in that field for almost 20 years now.

How long have you been narrating stories? Eklund Gray: Not long! I would be fascinated to know how many folks began investigating audiobook narration as a result of the COVID quarantine, which is how I decided to give it a try myself.  (Note from the editor: given the backlog at Audible for getting this approved, we know that a lot of folks tried it out.)

What made you apply to narrate Hunters of the Feather? Eklund Gray: Interesting question; anyone who is familiar with the ACX website knows that there is a vast repository of content waiting for narration — so what is the mysterious chemistry that brings together a specific work and a narrator? I think the cover art caught my design eye first off but the story concept itself just seemed really fascinating. The idea of a story told from a non-human point-of-view sounded like an exciting challenge.

This fabulous cover was designed by Alice Underwood, with whom I have collaborated on Greek mythology based novels. Thank the gods she has artistic talent, because I do not

Is there a section of Hunters of the Feather that you especially enjoyed? Eklund Gray: I certainly don’t want to divulge any spoilers, but I have to say the climax of the book was a powerful one-two punch, for me. Two aspects come to a head in different but powerful ways: Sol achieves a significant thinker-linker achievement, but then has to face the consequences of his actions and idealism in his “everyday” life (as do we all). As with the best stories of any kind, I found myself getting emotionally swept up as it all unfolded!

Are you a bird lover? Do you have any special stories about you and birds? Eklund Gray: I take early morning walks and have seen a variety of birds, including an owl — which was especially thrilling, as it swooped noiselessly over my head! — and I enjoy animals of all kinds, but I’m not sure if that qualifies me as a “lover”… ha! I think this book will get me to begin putting out bird feeders on my property again, a habit I stopped a few years ago when I moved from a different part of the country. The book has definitely made me more curious about corvids, and I will no doubt do more reading about them.

Had to post a picture of a crow! This photo was taken by David Kaplan.

Is there anything special you do to help the environment? Eklund Gray: My current employer is a certified B Corporation, and provides support and incentives for environmental initiatives and sustainability of all kinds. Each month we have a “sustainability challenge” with tasks, both big and small, that can help minimize our human impact on the natural world. It has been both fun and rewarding, and I consider myself lucky to be able to participate in these activities in a meaningful way.

Thanks so much, Eklund, for contributing to the Crow Nickels!

“To answer that question, we need to start at the beginning, with the Urvogel – the world’s very first bird. The Urvogel was not a crow, mind you, but the bird from which all other birds are descended. She lived on a beautiful island – the biggest island the world has ever known – the only land the world had at the time. … the Urvogel was the origin of flight, of feathers,and of wisdom; she was the Great Mother Bird of all of us.” Hunters of the Feather

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