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Talking with William P. Young

William Paul Young admits he hears voices. As he wrote THE SHACK, as a gift to his family, he heard the voices of Papa, Sarayu, and Jesus. When it came to creating the audiobook, he and his partners again heard voices. Veteran audiobook narrator Roger Mueller was not the first, but he was certainly the last. “Roger has an excellent ability to create multiple characters and differentiate the voices,” comments Young.

And how did “Papa” sound? How did Roger Mueller take on God as channeled through an African-American woman? Young explains that only a hint of an accent was required or needed. Mueller’s voice for Papa was scaled back, so it never became a caricature, and Papa’s deep yearning for relationship rings true.

Perhaps this appreciation of oral tradition grew out of Young’s missionary childhood, which was spent among a stone-age tribe. But his experience as an adult may play a part as well. “It’s always fun to be behind a microphone,” he says. He shares his own “Story Behind THE SHACK” as part of the audio production. “I was a disc jockey for four years, doing country and western, rock and roll, even the newscasts,” he recalls. He is also an audiobook fan, enjoying everything from science fiction and mysteries to physics and cosmology.

THE SHACK may especially resonate as an audiobook. “Some people are auditory learners,” notes Young. For those, Roger Mueller’s evocative performance will be the gateway to the phenomenon that has already enthralled and enlightened millions.--Ellen Myrick

© AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine

Photo © Globe TV

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