I was so excited when I signed with Ruby Fiction and I learned that all my books would be also be in AUDIO! The characters that I had spent ages creating and day dreamed about would be brought to life! I almost cried happy tears when I heard James’ first line being read in Perfect Lie! Along with lots of the other PC Nikki Haywood, Adam Coulthards and Hannah immediately come to mind.
So when A Silent Child went through the process and I got a date from Ruby Fiction I contacted the audio team at Isis Audio asking for Helen Keeley again! Due to the amazing work she did with Perfect Lie!
To celebrate the release of A Silent Child audio I got the chance to send Helen some questions about her work, her favorite character and Eastenders!
I loved what you did with Perfect Lie, where do you start when you’ve got a new audio book to narrate?
Well thank you very much! It was really fun to narrate and when I was prepping, it kept me guessing all the way through.
When I get a new book, I prep by simply reading, and as I go I highlight all the characters in different colours and keep a few notes if the author gives hints about their voice or demeanour, anything that will cause an impact or a distinction for the listener. It’s always important to look out for accent mentions as well, as you might have to polish up before you start recording.
Having just narrated A Silent Child how did you prepare to narrate the book having already narrated the first in the series.
It’s always great getting to do a series because you’re revisiting old friends. For A Silent Child, I got the studio to send me Perfect Lie and went through the recording rechecking and creating voice notes for each character so I could refer back to them if I needed whilst recording the new book.
Who has been your favourite character in the Lisa Carter Series to narrate, why?
You know what, I think DI Chris Jaokson is so great. He’s just a decent guy but fallible and seems to always get left in the dark a bit, as the reader we always know a bit more than the characters in this series, but he just keeps going until justice is served!
You have narrated books by some of my favourite authors Stolen Sisters and The family by Louise Jensen, Safe House by Jo Jackman and now A Silent Child. Out of all the books you have narrated which ones have been your favourite.
I really love narrating audiobooks and each one brings new characters and new challenges. I’m going to have to be very diplomatic and say I can’t choose! My leisure reading is normally fantasy books so the fact that I get to narrate across all genres is a real treat.
Do you have a favourite genre to narrate.
A lovely segue, you must be a writer! Haha! I think it might be fantasy and science fiction because I get to do so many weird and wonderful voices and that’s what I enjoy reading outside of work. Although, saying that, those character choices can be quite hard on the voice so variety is key!
I noticed you have your own home audio studio, how have you found having to work from home for the past year.
I’ve been very lucky, that I had my home studio ready to go and that there has been work to put in it over the past year. When you record from home, you have to be narrator and audio engineer, even though it gets proofed and edited by the studio when you send it, you have to keep an ear out for bumps and clicks, neighbours mowing their lawns! It is very handy but I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be back in studios now, there are some very talented and efficient engineers out there and I am more than happy to concentrate on the narration. You can get a little stir-crazy in the booth for full days just listening to yourself for 8 hours!
How long does it take for you to narrate an average novel.
Different studios have different ways of recording but I would say it takes around 3 days to record an average novel.
You have an impressive stage and screen career where do you prefer to be on stage, on the television or narrating an audiobook.
It’s a bit trite to say I love it all isn’t it? They feel quite different. I will always love being on a stage, who else gets to end their working day with people applauding them?! Screen always feels very cool, although you wait around for ages and you don’t get to see your final performance for ages. And with voice-work, you get to play characters you never would in vision, like DI Chris Jackson, he’s a man for a start, so not really my casting. I think stage might just edge it, but by the smallest of margins.
What was it like being on EastEnders.
It was really fun, I used to watch it when I was younger so going into the Queen Vic and meeting the cast was a real buzz. They work so quickly there, it’s a well oiled machine; they have four shows to get out a week so they have multiple scenes running on multiple lots and use multiple cameras on one scene so they can get all the angles they need. On other screen work, it’s slower and shots have to be set-up individually.
Do you ever get the time to read for enjoyment and if so what are you reading at the moment?
Not at the moment! The pandemic has meant that voice work has been in high demand so if I’m not recording, I’m prepping the next book. But I’m a true book lover and have piles and piles to get through. I recently finished ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernadine Evaristo which I loved profoundly and has stayed with me. I’ve recently been recommended and bought ‘Girl A’ by Abigail Dean and ‘The Confession’ by Jessie Burton and I’m also reading the new ‘Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth’ by Philip Pullman. Phew…maybe I should take a break.
Thank you Helen, this has been a really interesting interview 🙂
The books she has narrated all equally amazing (especially mine) can be found on Audible
Helen can also be found on twittter @KeeleyHelen
Available from Audible
Pictures acquired via McLean-William and Eastenders fandom