I’m excited to be able to share my Cover Model Corner interview with J.D. Hart with you today. Many of you may know J.D. as the narrator of Sharon Hamilton’s books. He has the most amazing voice. I was fortunate to meet him and Sharon at the A Day With the Authors event in Nashville back in May and when he agreed to do an interview I was thrilled. So let’s step away from covers for a change and take a look at the man behind the narration of some of the best romance stories available today. I’m excited about our peek behind the scenes, so let’s get going.
Debra: J.D., How did you get into voice acting?
J.D.: I started in radio when I was 18 at WABZ in Albemarle, N.C. Later in life, Chevrolet’s advertising agency hired me to be their TV spokesperson. That gave me the opportunity not only to be on-camera but voice-over many of the commercials that we shot.
Debra: Why are you referred to as the Pirate Narrator?
J.D.: Pirates have more fun! They live spontaneously and improvise a lot. Actually, someone once told me that I looked like Errol Flynn. I didn’t know who he was because he passed away before I was born. When I looked him up and saw that he was a swashbuckler in films and lived an adventurous lifestyle, I liked him immediately. The nickname Pirate Narrator is actually a tribute to Errol, whom left this world much to soon.
Debra: Beyond producing and narrating audio books, what other projects keep you busy?
J.D.: I just finished shooting a TV pilot, The Discarded. I play a psychiatrist in a 1950’s insane asylum. I continue to be the on-camera spokesperson for Dick Smith Automotive in S.C. My life is never boring and I do wing it a lot. I wear a lot of different hats and that takes me to a lot of different places. Still dreaming of that home in Maui!
Debra: What’s one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
J.D.: What makes me happy?
Debra: So, J.D., what makes you happy?
J.D.: What makes me happy? Happiness is a little tricky. Sometimes we pretend we are happy when we’re really not. Other times we may be having a happy moment but not realize it until months or even years later. Happiness comes from a place deep within. When I’m in unity consciousness and at peace with myself and others I find that I am truly happy. I am completely happy when I am surrounded by other happy people who realize how fortunate we are to exist on this planet that provides our every need. Simple things like sunny days, bike rides, sitting around a bonfire, a walk on the beach or listening to great music always make me happy.
Debra: That’s a beautiful answer J.D. with so much truth in it. Happiness is a little tricky. Those moments are all the more soul fulfilling when we’re aware. You’ve expressed this so well. I could see you writing a book.
If you wrote a book what would it be about?
J.D.: It would be an autobiography. Mine is quite a story believe it or not. It wouldn’t be a look- at- me, I’m so great kind of book. It would be more about life’s disappointments and struggles and how one hopeful romantic can survive in this world and find balance with life, love and loss.
Debra: I would be in line to buy that book, for sure. I certainly enjoy listening to you narrate a book.
Is there any special training for becoming a narrator?
J.D.: There are many classes you can take for voice acting. You need computer and audio software skills in order to do your own editing. For me, the best way is to just do it. If you’re good, people will notice and you’ll stay busy. If not, you can move on and try something else. Years of acting in film, TV and commercials has been the biggest asset for me.
Debra: Who is your favorite storyteller?
J.D.: Vincent Price had me at “It’s as much fun to scare as be scared”.
Debra: Oh I met him once! I was a preteen and very shy. He came to Springfield, Ohio and it might have been a fundraiser, I’m not sure. My father had tickets for us to go hear him live and his show was wonderful. Afterward, we got to meet him. I’m never forget it. My face was hot and red and I was all tongue tied and hiding beneath my hair as shy young girls do. He put his fingers beneath my chin and tipped it up, looking me in the eyes with a kind smile and said, “You have lovely cheekbones, my dear and a sweet smile. You mustn’t hide them. Your smile could light up the room.” Well I was floating at that point and have forgotten whatever else he said, but I have never forgotten those words. He was such a gentleman and that voice…. simply unforgetable.
It’s clear that you enjoy narrating the books and must be loads of fun! Do you work closely with the author when you narrate their book?
J.D.: Yes, unless the author wants to remain out of it. I’ve recorded many audio books without ever communicating directly with the author. The best work comes from a close relationship with the author. The more honest you can be with each other, the better the final product. The same applies to directors and actors whom choose to work together because they know their combined efforts will create a better experience for their audience.
Debra: What is your favorite genre to narrate?
J.D.: I’ve narrated corporate, self-help, science fiction. I’ve even narrated anatomy, biology and military text- books and manuals. After Sharon Hamilton and I discovered each other, I would have to say that romance is my favorite genre. It was love at first write! I’m a sucker for a great love story and the action and adventures of a great romance novel really give my acting chops a nice work out plus I enjoy the ride.
Debra: Please describe the perfect romantic evening.
J.D.: Dressed to the nines, I walk into a crowded bar, scanning the room. I approach the bar where sits the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She gives me that look that tells all the wannabes within her perimeter that they don’t stand a chance. I offer to buy her a glass of wine, she accepts. We have light casual conversation while we study each other carefully. We finish the glass of wine and I ask her would she care to dance, although there is no dance floor and no music in the background. I escort her to my BMW convertible. With top down we sail off to a private lake where the moon is glistening on the water. I turn the stereo up with a special CD of love songs that I have created just for this night. We exit the car and move toward the lake of enchantment while holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. Ah, the perfect song begins playing from my car stereo. The dance begins. As we hold each other, knowing that this is going to be a night we shall never forget for as long as we live, I slowly reach down and touch her wedding band. Then, I thank her for 21 of the best years of my life.
Debra: Now that is romance and a true love story. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Okay now, Eight Quickie questions:
1.) Watching the sunrise or watching the sunset and the stars?
Sunset and stars.
2.) The beach or the mountains?
3.) Primitive camping or luxury hotel?
4.) Snow skiing or water skiing?
5.) Favorite movie:
6.) Best book you ever read:
The Science of Mind (because it changed my life forever
7.) Favorite singer
8.) Favorite actor
J.D. thank you for visiting with me today and sharing a behind the scenes look at your narration.
Readers, for more about J.D. and his acting and voiceover work you can find him at
I enjoy listening to his narration and I’ll bet you will too.