Official Podcast 5
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Paul Herlinger takes us back to his early days in TV and radio. Plus, author Paul McCusker reveals why fans won’t want to miss the Adventures in Odyssey Novels.
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JF: Our news item takes us back to 1992. Imagine you were a big Odyssey fan back then. After five years of the show a series of fiction books was published with your favorite characters. The novels revealed how everything got started in Odyssey. Think of them as a prequel. Like Star Wars: Episode One, only Jar Jar is not in the Odyssey novels and the dialogue is a whole lot better. Well, anyway the series turned out to be twelve books but sadly these books went out of print. Now, the big new is the Adventures in Odyssey novels are now available again. The stories have been updated and instead of twelve books, all the stories fit in three megabooks. Now you can impress your friends by reading a big hefty book. We've got Paul McCusker, writer of all three megabooks, standing by to talk about the series. Josh what did you find out about them.
Josh: Thanks, Jesse. I am here with Paul McCusker, author of the Adventures in Odyssey novels. Paul, how did the idea of Adventures in Odyssey novels get started?
Paul McCusker: Well, I-I think early in the show, after we, uh, hit our stride with the audio program, we began to talk about other things we could do with the town of Odyssey and all the characters. And, uh, I think it was around that time that the idea came up for the animated videos and-and that sort of thing. So, um, it was sort of a given. Novels made sense to us and so I-I got tagged to do them.
Josh: Now you have written nearly hundred episodes of the radio show, when the first novel released in 1992. What's differently about writing novels and writing for the radio show.
Paul: Well, with novels of course you have to explain a lot more. I mean when you are doing a script for whether it's radio or doing it for a film or television or whatever, so much of what happens is done through the dialogue, through character...(and certainly...)
Josh: ...sound effects...
Paul: ...and yes sound effects, the visuals, if its going to be for, um, screen. Whereas of course, the first thing that, uh, I came up against the realization that I had to describe these characters. I had to describe what this shop called Whit's End looked like and, uh, it was tougher than I thought it would be. Even down to little things, like he said; she said. You know there is a point where you can get carried away saying things like, "he said," effusively or-or things you take for granted because the actors are going to do that job. So, that was my first lesson in writing, um, that kind of prose was, uh, you can't leave anything assumed.
Paul: Well, - uh, yeah, um, we wanted to do original stories, so that kids would have a greater motivation to read them because if they have been listening to them then why would they want to read? Um, But as time went on, and I finished up the Mark Prescott section of those-those novels. I then thought, "well I can turn my attention to some of these characters who were popular around that time on the radio program." And I, uh, could use them as long as I used them in a way that wouldn't encroach on whatever we were doing with them on the radio. So, that's why it was set before the radio program begins but I could still gentle move into some things we had not dealt with. For example, one of the books deals with Jimmy Barclay becoming a Christian. Well, we hadn't really, we've eluded to it, but never actually unpacked that story for the listening audience and well I thought here is actually my chance to actually tell that story in the context of the books.
Josh: And did you end up using things from the books in the radio show?
Paul: Well, we did ultimately, um, the Israelites...there were a number of things that I created for the books that years later as we were doing the radio program, um, we thought well this is part of the show's mythology. Uh, why not use them now and so every now and again you will find an interaction between the two.
Josh: Well, you can check out all of the Adventures in Odyssey novels at WhitsEnd.org/podcast. Thanks so much for being with us, Paul?
Paul: My pleasure.
Josh: You can check out Strange Journey Back and the other books at WhitsEnd.org/podcast. There you can read a few sample chapters from the novels and get your very own copy of these megabooks. Next up, Nathan talks with Paul Herlinger, the voice of John Avery Whittaker (most folks call him Whit), I call him Paul but you know we are pretty close.
Nathan: Alright, I am here with Paul Herlinger. He plays the voice of Mr. Whittaker and he has played this part for actually over 10 years now. It's been quite awhile now, so uh...Welcome to the show here, Paul.