Hello from sunny Bristol,
We seem to be having a late burst of summer here, I hope the weather is nice where you are.
Now the greetings are out of the way, a quick up date for you, it’s all go here I should have steam coming out of my ears. First, I have a confession, and no – you won’t like it. In an effort to get more momentum into the latest Meredith & Hodge – Not If You Paid Me – I’ve read it through (again), and ignoring typos etc., I know what was wrong . . . I didn’t like it! The basic premise was okay, but the whole thing needed a shakeup, a different character, and a slight change of direction. I’ve made the amendments, and I am now off and running again. I added a further 5k words to it over the weekend. With a fair wind I should have it done in a couple of months.
The audio version of Ill Conceived is almost complete, and I’ve now completed the interview with narrator Lee Beddow. The photo below is of Lee in the studio where it all happens. He’s a very busy man. No boring nine – five for him!
Everyone has favourite characters in the Meredith & Hodge series – those they love, or sometimes love to hate. To date my favourite characters have been Meredith (of course), Nancy Bailey from The Wrong Shoes, and Peggy Greene who first appears in Tin Soldiers, and pops in and out to annoy Meredith throughout the rest of the series. However, listening to the production of Ill Conceived, Lee has given me another to add to my list. The villain, Michael Brent. Lee really has brought him to life for me. Have a listen to the following clips and let me know what you think.
In this clip, Brent is ‘convincing’ Derek Christie to work for him.
Here, his long-suffering wife, Liz, believes her days are numbered.
Amazon have provided another batch of FREE promo codes for Misplaced Loyalty in both the US and UK. If you would like a free listen please let me know and I’ll get a code off to you. Producing the audio books has been an eye opener in many ways. For instance I’m now led to understand that you may have to sign up for audible to download the book even with the free promo code, but please be aware you can cancel membership at any time and still keep the books you have chosen. I’ve also discovered you can actually amend the speed at which you listen to the book- who knew? Not I. If you want to know more about Audible, click the icon on the right. I’ll let you know when I have codes for Ill Conceived. Now it’s over to Lee.
Interview with Lee Beddow
Q: Being a musician and teacher, how did you come find yourself narrating novels?
A: I’ve always done little bits of voice over work including everything from radio ads to telephone systems, even competitions on the phone. Narrating books seemed a logical step and I’d always read to both my children when they were young, particularly enjoying characterising different people with different voices.
Q: You have a very busy life, teaching one day, narrating the next, and then on to a music session. Do you enjoy the variation, or would you prefer to have things fall into blocks of work?
A: Having a variety of work keeps things interesting. I love narrating & doing the voiceover work, teaching can be really rewarding and music production is where I started my recording career, as I started my own studio at 18!
Q: Do you yourself listen to audio books or are you a reading man?
A: Actually, I love audio books, especially for long car journeys. Those and a good podcast too – depends on the length of journey as to which I listen to. That said, I LOVE reading and often have a couple of books on the go at the same time – usually one on Kindle and one in the traditional format.
Q: When choosing a book, what’s your preferred genre?
A: I like reading a mixture of genres. I like detective books, such as Ian Rankin’s Rebus and Michael Connelly’s Bosch. I’ll then mix it up with some biographies or real-life stories and maybe something humorous too.
Q: If you had to choose, which novels would be in your top three?
A: Top 3 novels? Gosh that’s tough!! My all-time favourite book is definitely “To Kill A Mocking Bird”, which I’ve read countless times since I was about 15. It was a school exam text and I remember thinking it wouldn’t be for me but then couldn’t put it down. On a completely different vein, I’ve also read a slightly obscure Beatles novel called “Paperback Writer” by Mark Shipper many, many times. It’s a funny book giving a fictionalised account of The Beatles’ story, right up to them reforming the band in 1980 and doing a concert supported by The Sex Pistols and Peter Frampton – hilarious!!!
Q: You’ve narrated books from a wide selection of genres, Crime, Children’s stories, Sci-Fi, do you have a favourite?
A: Each different type of audio book brings its own rewards so there’s no favourite genre really. That said, I do love doing different types of voices, whether it’s a serious bad guy or strange alien.
Q: With the Meredith & Hodge novels, did you guess ‘whodunnit’ before the reveal, and if so, did that effect the way you portrayed the character?
A: So far, I’ve never guessed whodunit in the M&H series, although I have to admit to reading ahead to find out the conclusion in the latest one before I narrated it, but that was more because I wanted to know, rather than influence how I delivered it.
Q: Because I’ve had the character’s voices in my head for so long, it took me a while with some of them to recognise your ‘version’ of them, but as we come to the end of the second novel I can pick who’s speaking without the narrator letting me know, and by far my favourite is Michael Brent, the villain in Ill Conceived. Where did your inspiration for Brent come from?
A: Would you believe it if I said Brent was originally a giant white tiger?! I have done a children’s book where a little girl’s best friend is a white tiger and I wanted to give him a low, slow and thoughtful voice. With a few tweaks, I realised a similar delivery would fit Michael Brent and I really looked forward to doing his lines in Ill Conceived.
Q: Who’s your favourite character in the Meredith & Hodge novels so far. (I’m conscious you’ve yet to come across Peggy Greene – but that’s a conversation for another day.
A: My favourite character in the M&H series is easily Loopy Linda! The lines she has instantly put her voice in my head and she’s definitely someone I see inside my head as a narrate her.
Q: Has any particular character given you any trouble?
A: I don’t think characters give me trouble so much as making sure I’m consistent with delivery. For example, I can do a reasonable Irish accent but then trying to do the accent whilst delivering the written lines becomes a lot for tricky. Adding more accents and variations of voice is something I look at constantly – If I hear an interesting voice anywhere, I find myself shaping my face and imagining how I’d do that voice. I often ‘see’ character’s faces in my head as I’m reading them in order to maintain them as much as possible.
Q: If readers are interested in hearing more of your work, where can they find this?
A: People can hear me in all sorts of places – I might turn up in a training film or on a TV / Radio ad at any time! In terms of audiobooks, the most recent include Patrick G. Cox’s “Harry Heron – Into The Unknown”, where 3 18th century sailors are transported from a sailing ship accidentally to the 23rd century onto a space ship, so a real mix of historical and sci-fi genres. Also available very soon is “The Bag” by D.J. Cattrell, a teenage fiction novel set between Earth & a mystical land inhabited by dwarves and other odd creatures as well as a very horrible and powerful witch. Both available on Amazon / Audible.
Q: Finally, when the recording equipment has been switched off, and the school books put away, how do you relax?
A: How do I relax? Well, I love my music, playing, writing and listening. I play a number of instruments but guitar is what I’m most likely to pick up – I used to have over 30 guitars but have slimmed it down to probably around 17 or 18 now. I’m a self-confessed Beatles anorak and in fact I have a Master degree in The Beatles and Popular Music, which I studied for in Liverpool (naturally!). I love spending time with my family and walking the dog, but the end of a good day is always with the company of my wife & either a glass of red or a large whisky – cheers!
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That’s it for now. I’m off to sit in the sun for an hour with my kindle. Don’t forget to follow me on BookBub and claim your free ebook (see below)
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