Celebrity Werewolf‘s publisher, NewCon Press, had wanted to get into the expanding audiobooks market for a while, so it made sense to use my short novel as a calling card.
But what was the best way to produce the audiobook – buy my own kit and record it myself or invest the money in a professional production? I decided on the latter. Audible quite rightly won’t let you upload anything sub-standard onto their site, and I would have struggled with building works noise, birdsong, and the fan in the small laptop I work on, which wouldn’t have had sufficient memory anyway. I also love professional studios; from working at the BBC to more recent voiceover work for Prime8, anything with good engineers, facilities and kit has a magic that easily translates into quality performance.
I chose a local studio called Lana Banana in Kent. The name is taken from a science fiction show, which seemed fortuitous, plus they’re only up the road in Sevenoaks. The studio has a purpose-built silent room, built within another building, as well as state-of-the art computers and £2K mics – much better quality than I could have cobbled together. Then there’s the editing, which is a specialist job in itself and would have required more time than I could give it. All I had to do was turn up and be a werewolf.
Recording took place over two days in July 2019; a total of eight studio hours that was edited down to 6.5. I also needed to go back and re-record about twenty pieces, mainly because I’d overdone some plosive ‘p’ sounds, had got a couple of the voices mixed up, and got hungry. That’s the problem with excellent kit – it picks up everything including tummy rumbling.
I loved this process; from the rehearsal, which took a week of carefully reading the book aloud to get the rhythms and the character voices right, to the recording process itself, which was almost nine solid studio hours of constant narrating. My acting training came in handy here; I can perform for hours with no diminution of quality, although I found that after five hours I began to lose range. It was also wonderful to express my characters in a different way. The book was finished last year, so I’ve got enough distance for it to be an entity of its own. I was glad to get the recording finished, while at the same time was gutted it was over.
Many thanks to Ian Whates of NewCon Press for having the faith in me to do this, and to Henry and Dave at Lana Banana for being such great colleagues.