A conversation with Thomas Cardwell, Narrator of The Red Flag
By Julia Maiola
Captain Stephen Boswell sails under the red flag, a symbol of no mercy. It’s the only reason he has lived this long. The only reason the Navy has not found him yet. But they are closing in. And if they catch him, they will execute him for piracy.
Ten-year-old Alice Bradford doesn’t know why she is alive. When Captain Boswell found her hiding on his ship, she expected him to kill her, and it seemed his own crew had expected likewise. But now she is his prisoner and she fears that she will be forever. Somehow, though, it seems that the captain might be more afraid of the Navy than she is of him. Something from his past has him ill at ease, Alice realizes. Even if the Navy cannot bring him to his knees, his own paranoia will. A gripping, fast-paced story about one of the last pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy and his fight for survival.
Hi Thomas, welcome to Myths, Legends, books and Coffee Pots… It is so wonderful to have you on the blog. How did you get into Audiobook Narration?
Well, it probably started when I was little. My Dad would read stories to me. He would always give all the characters their own individual voices and bring the story to life. Since then I’ve primarily worked in Theatre, often musicals, Shakespeare, or Children’s theatre - I always enjoy the challenge of playing multiple characters in the same show, finding ways to make them into different, believable people. I’ve also previously done a little announcing type voice work, and then really started audiobook narrating at the end of 2018.
How is audiobook narration different from other acting?
I’d say the biggest two differences are: First, the number of different characters you play. I think the most different people I’ve played in one show was about seven, in ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’. In most plays though, I’ll only play one person, or at most two or three. Compare that with at least 35 different characters in ‘The Red Flag’! Secondly, you get to play a wider range of characters, because you portray all of them, including ones you have no physical resemblance to - for example Alice Bradford. And then, of course, you’re using your voice to create not just those characters, but also the world of the story for the listener too, which is a fun challenge.
What attracted you to working on this project?
I’ve always had an interest in Pirates – Muppet Treasure Island was one of favorite films as a kid. I’ve played a pirate before in a stage adaption of the book, ‘How I Became a Pirate’ (and also the holiday themed sequel, ‘Jingle Argh the way!’) Julia’s approach to the historical accuracies of the time period drew me in too. I also really enjoyed the way the story is essentially told through the eyes of both Boswell and Alice.
Do you have any other experiences with Historical fiction?
I’ve performed and directed quite a few plays by Shakespeare, if they count as historical fiction? I’ve adapted Dracula into a Family Friendly Musical Comedy and have also adapted one and a half Sherlock Holmes stories into plays. (One of those has been produced, the other one I’m still working on… hence one and a half.) In terms of narrating work, that leads into the last question…
What’s next for you?
I’m looking forward to the release of my latest audiobook ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ which I’ve just completed my narration work for. Hercule Poirot was a fun character to take on!
Pick up your audio copy of
The Red Flag
About the Narrator
Thomas Cardwell is a fearlessly silly actor with a giggle that could turn lead to gold. With an almost accidental charm, he’s the Favorite Uncle, or the Goofball Best Friend. An International Man of Mystery, a part-time Pirate, and an occasional mustache-twirling villain. Also a Director and Writer, he co-founded EclecticPond Theatre Company in Indianapolis, and served as its Artistic Director for six years. Uncle to six incredible humans, Dog Dad to two fantastic pups, and Husband to one amazing lady.