Charlie David on narrating Mpreg books with Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast
Mpreg is a popular subgenre in gay romance books. Charlie David discusses narrating the popular Mpreg Omega Celibacy Club series by Angel Knots.
Will: Well, right now I am sitting across from multihyphenate, Charlie David. He does absolutely everything – writes, produces, directs. He’s an amazing narrator. And I wanted to quickly talk about one of his recent projects. Charlie, you have lent your voice to an amazing series by Angel Knots, the “Omega Celibacy Club.”
What did you think when the manuscript for that first book came across your desk?
Charlie: I was excited, nervous. A little bit shocked. A little bit taken aback because I mean, that whole universe building that’s going on around Mpreg, I didn’t know a lot about and I hadn’t narrated, you know, other work like that before.
I think learning the rules, the expectations around the sub genre were, were definitely important for me, but I was excited. I was excited because it’s so whimsical and wonderful and silly and ridiculous, but, you know, at the same time, the characters themselves, everybody they’re living their life. And what they care about and their motivations, they take very, very seriously, which is, I think, you know, imperative to a good story at the same time. So, it’s fun. Like you, like you mentioned, there are a lot of characters, and I never claimed to be a voice actor, you know, a person who can do a bunch of very nuanced, specific voices. I kind of say, I can kind of do a Southern, I can kind of do a British, I can kind of do, you know, an alpha and omega, you know, in timbre for you. But that is the challenging thing in doing voice work is how do I take this story that’s not always written with it becoming an audio book in mind, right?
Like often the writer is there, they’re just writing. Right? And then that’s our job to come in and try and make sure that there’s correct pauses, breaks, inflection, speed, timbre differences. That can be little clues to the, to the listener.
Will: Because the author is primarily thinking of the reader. But you as the narrator need to think about the listener in that particular aspect.
Charlie: And it’s not always as simple as, you know, Jake said, and then Simon replied to flag to the listener. Okay, this is who this is, who’s speaking now. Often, especially as, as you get into an exciting or dynamic scene, people are going back, you know, very quickly without those qualifiers in place.
But it’s super sexy. Like I love, I mean, all these ideas of kind of the, you know, anamorphism that goes on too, with the swelling of a penis inside, and then it stays in there and Oh my God, I need your seed and it’s going to do this and that. And then, you know, all the pregnancy stuff that, you know, these young guys are going through. It’s hilarious and wonderful. And I think it’s a fun exploration as a dude, to go through to read about and to imagine as well, because, I think we all tried to be empathetic with the women in our lives. But reading something like this just kind of helps take it to that next level where you go, Oh my gosh. Like what you do is amazing.
Will: Exactly. Well, from what you’ve just said, I think you seem to be pretty open about the experience. I mean, before, you read Angel Knots’s work had you ever even come across any Mpreg before or was it a completely brand new concept?
Charlie: It wasn’t brand new because let’s see. I think it was about 2015 I did a film. I acted as in a film, a titled “Paternity Leave,” and it’s a comedy by Matt Riddlehoover’s the director and screenwriter of that, and in it, my boyfriend on the one night, we switched sexual positions. A drunken night and he ends up pregnant, and then it’s happening everywhere.
Then suddenly men all over the planet are getting pregnant and we’re trying to figure out what’s going on. So that was really fun and ridiculous as well. I use ridiculous in like the very highest praise, best, best context in both Angel Knots work and, and Matt Riddlehoover, because I think it’s fun. Why not go to these places that are outside the norm.
Will: Exactly. I think specifically when it came to the books and the characters in the “Omega Celibacy Club,” I have the hardest time saying celibacy.
Charlie: I can’t do it either. I tried really hard to try to live it. I tried to say it. I can’t do it.
Will: Exactly. I think what that particular, series has that makes it kind of special is that it has a lighthearted whimsy, but, also there is a kind of an authenticity to the way these young men are trying to make it in the world and live their lives. And, also it’s like a crazy smoking hot.
When it comes to work that has so many different elements to it, how do you tackle something like that? Do you just take it page by page?
Charlie: Yeah, I mean, definitely as I get into the subsequent books, it’s easier to do that because we have a lot of recurring characters and a lot of, you know, I kind of understand the world that’s been built, right?
But at the beginning, I definitely need to do some reading ahead and really like understand what is going on, who are these people. Even the power dynamics, right? Because a lot of gay romance is written in a much more kind of equal partner – we come to either side of the table and decide to get into this.
Not, not everything, right? I don’t want to generalize, but a lot of it is done in that way and in this alpha/Omegaverse there really is, you know, there’s, there’s the alpha, right? And what does that mean? And that it’s, it’s desired and wanted. And it can still be, you know, there can still be equality in a relationship there, but, I think it explores different nuance, in a way that, that maybe isn’t always touched on in, in other gay romance.
Will: Well, Charlie, thank you for sitting down and talking to us about this. I’m so glad that you are here at GRL and experiencing all the wonders that our wacky literary community has to offer.
Charlie: Well, thank you. Thanks for having me again. Really appreciate it. Now, I’ve got to go do my job and make sure the guys in this club are all Mpreg. 😉