Skip to main content


June 19, 2013

David Niall Wilson on Horror Audiobooks and Addictive Narrators

Posted by tom

For all you horror lovers out there, David Niall Wilson shares his well-honed expertise about the genre when it comes to audiobooks. His genre cred includes having been once President of the Horror Writers Association and a multiple recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, as well as having been writing and publishing horror, dark fantasy and science fiction since the mid-1980s. In this interview, David talks about why Neil Gaiman’s books are fun to listen to, the narrators he finds the most compelling, and why sometimes even a narrator’s voice can be addictive. His most recent book, NEVERMORE, was published in April.

Question: What does a great narrator add to an audiobook?

David Niall Wilson: As an author, I have a certain vision --- clouded by what I know and no one else does --- about my story, characters and plot. A great narrator brings the story to life in ways that I never imagined. I have been able to enjoy my own work in ways I never expected listening to them through the voice of my narrators.

Q: What types of books do you like to listen to on audio?

DNW: I listen to a lot of mystery, thriller, some horror and dark fantasy. I particularly like Neil Gaiman’s works, as they seem almost to have been written as scripts. I listen to a wide variety, though, using audio to expand my sphere of reading knowledge.

Q: What do you do while you listen?

DNW: I usually listen to audio while driving, or while running.

Q: What is the first audiobook you ever listened to? What prompted you to choose that title and to listen vs. read it?

DNW: It was THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King. I had a long, long commute, and had always wanted to get through that series. It launched me into literally thousands of hours of listening.

Q: If you are listening to any audiobooks now, tell us about it.

DNW: I just finished listening to LOST THINGS by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham, narrated by John Lee. It’s historical fantasy --- first in a series --- and John Lee is magnificent. This takes place in the US, but back in a time when many of our actors were Europeans with distinct American accents, and that is the feel John brings to it. It has adventure, magic, some steampunk and an airship...not to mention ancient rites and a bit of romance.

Q: What is your all-time favorite audiobook and why?

DNW: THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman. I think his voice is the best-suited to storytelling I’ve ever encountered, and that was a powerfully performed book. I’d be hard pressed though --- if someone asked --- not to be swayed to Frank Muller's portayal of Roland in THE GUNSLINGER, or Jim Dales narration of the Harry Potter books that is majestic, cinematic and addictive.

Q: Do you have a favorite narrator? Tell us what makes his/her work so enjoyable for you.

DNW: I have several, depending on the subject. Neil Gaiman and Stephen King top my authors-who-narrate list, and Neil is probably my overall favorite. I love John Lee, Dick Hill, Karen White, Gigi Shane, Jeffrey Kafer and Nick Sullivan in proper role. I have to say, though, that the only two narrators I have ever bought an audiobook because they were the voice would be George Guidall and the late Frank Muller.

Q: Have you ever narrated your own audiobooks? If so, tell us about your experience.

DNW: No. I’ve done some stories. I have no access to a pro-level studio setup, and I’m aware that there is a flair for acting necessary in narration. I’m untested in that area, and prefer the voices of professionals.