Thursday, 4 October 2018
Series: The Crompton Chronicles
Release Date: audio - 27th August 2018
Publisher: The Bartram Partnership
Publisher: The Bartram Partnership
I absolutely adore audio books. As someone who spends a lot of time in her car, I find audio books essential to help make those car journey's more pleasurable. And, who doesn't find a good audiobook helps make boring housework chores less boring if there's a good audiobook on in the background. I'm absolutely thrilled to welcome Peter Bartram to the blog to talk about his books entering into the world of audio. Take it away Peter!
AUTHOR GUEST POST
HOW AN AUTHOR FOUND AN ACTOR TO READ AN AUDIOBOOK
By Peter Bartram
I'm not surprised audiobooks are becoming so popular. They're easy to download and you can listen to them anywhere on a whole range of devices, including mobile phones. My wife Jackie and I are avid listeners when we're on long car journeys. When you're stuck in traffic, it doesn't seem so bad when you're enthralled by, say, Martin Jarvis reading a Wodehouse Jeeves book or David Monteath telling us about Hamish Macbeth's latest adventure.
So with this personal enthusiasm for audiobooks, I was delighted when I heard that three of my Crampton of the Chronicle comic crime mysteries - Murder in the Morning Edition, Murder in the Afternoon Extra, and Murder in the Night Final - were being turned into audiobooks. The books are narrated in the first person - by Colin Crampton, the central character - so I knew the success of the audiobooks would rest on whether we could find a reader who could capture Colin's distinctive voice.
Colin is a shrewd character. He can be tough when he needs to be but he also has a perky humour which keeps on breaking through. He's a master of the one-liner. So the actor needed to know how to talk tough but also how to deliver a line to raise a laugh.
So where did we start in our search? Well, it was with a giant database of 56,000 actors who read audiobooks. The database contains actors from all over the world, but most of them are based in the UK and United States. We had to find a way to whittle those 56,000 to the one who would be right for the Crampton books. We did this by applying a number of filters to the database. There were obvious ones like gender, nationality and language. Those alone cut the numbers to a few thousand - but still too many to review one by one.
So then we applied some more subtle filters to the selection. One of these was voice age - how old the actor sounds when he speaks. Colin is twenty going on thirty in the Crampton books, so that reduced the possible choices further.
Then we looked at the question of accent. The database filters offered us 17 different British accents to choose - from "BBC English" to Cockney. We chose the "general British" accent. And then we had to decide on "voice style" - what the actor's voice sounds like. We had to choose from 62 different styles ranging from "authoritative" to "intimidating", from "sarcastic" to "sophisticated". We thought Colin had an "engaging" voice.
So after we'd applied all those filters, the 56,000 actors had reduced to just 19. We listened to samples from books the 19 had already read and drew up a short-list of three which we reviewed in more depth. And from that, one candidate stood out above all others - Matt Jamie. Matt already had experience of audio work. He'd worked on a crime-based radio drama called Strawberries and Scream and recorded a series of crime stories with a water theme called Blood Waters. He'd also recorded Phantom: Edge of the Flame, a spin-off from Phantom of the Opera. And he'd appeared in popular British TV soaps such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
Personally, I'm delighted with the way Matt has read the books. He has an amazing ability to change his voice so that he not only reads like Colin Crampton, but actually creates different voices for the 67 other characters that appear in the three books. When Jackie and I go on car journeys in future, we'll still listen to our old favourites, but Matt Jamie will become a new one.
If you'd like to know more about the audiobooks, follow one of the links below: