The Audio Evolution

The Audio Evolution

I see that audio books are becoming quite in vogue these days. I myself get though at least one audio book a month using Amazon’s Audible App. And I can get thoroughly lost with both a great story and, equally as important, an excellent narrator. 

I recently listened to: La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman. I liked this book and would be interested in the next instalment, and The David Ash trilogy from James Herbert. The research and secret knowledge made known in these books is astonishing!

Nothing spoils a great story like having a naff voiceover artist whining their way through a carefully constructed narrative. So, I have taken that on board for a project I have bubbling in the background!

Talking of audio books, some of you may know you have access to a FREE audio version of the short ghost story, ’The Figure in the Mist’ once you sign up to my newsletters. But did you also know that it was played on Meridian FM, (in Sussex, England) about two years ago? That was a buzz, I can tell you — we had great fun that night. The DJ at the time, Chris Lomas, was kind enough to play the entire ghostly tale one evening to great feedback. We also discussed the other book I had out at the time, which was the thriller ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolfdog?’, I was able to answer various questions about both the book and writing in general. Hopefully I will be invited back again, when I announce my next twin book launch for The Christopher Daring Adventures. 

And, as I hinted at earlier, I hope to be back in the recording studio later this year with a very talented actress and voiceover artist, who is keen to narrate another of the books. I can’t tell you more yet as it is still a secret, but I will certainly keep you posted! 

The studio I use is Garage Studios in Sussex. Martin Smith there is a brilliant producer and has worked with many famous artists such as; Girls Aloud — pop band, Hossam Ramzy — Egyptian percussionist, composer and producer who has worked with incredible artists like the Gipsy Kings, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and drummer Woody Woodmansey who used to work with David Bowie. Martin is also famous in his own right as he was in the legendary band ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). They were quite the musical ensemble in their heyday. 

So if you are looking for a sensibly priced and professional recording, look Martin up.

Until next month, happy hunting — or should I say happy listening…


Why and How I Research

Why and How I Research

I have often been asked where I get all my ideas from, how I manage to compile the research or even where I look? I guess like any writer, I have a basic plan or story in mind to begin with. Then I allow the environments and characters to blossom on their own to some degree.

I start with a character interested in something and to that degree I need to learn about the subject for myself, that way I can better help that character communicate about the subject when he needs to. It may seem odd, but my characters have their own personalities, it does not depend on whether I have a high personal interest in the subject myself… though of course I wouldn’t pick something that I find boring!

At that point I begin researching. I don’t go crazy, but I get enough data for that character to have a certain amount of knowledge or experience within the arena, that would affect his outlook on life.

First I go for the basics of a new subject I need to know about. Then, if needs be, I will dig deeper into it, usually looking at certain specified parts of that subject. I will look for what parts of this new subject will enhance the story telling and naturally discard that which would either slow or confuse the flow or feel of the story.

Sometimes, if I feel that a certain subject has been done to death, I will look for new ways of telling it, or maybe even put my own spin or twist upon it, so that it is kept fresh and entertaining for the reader.

But whatever I research, I do try hard to keep the knowledge of that subject tailor-made to the person that knows most about it. I believe this keeps the story and characters more believable.

I use both books and the internet to look for interesting elements about a subject. I read and listen to books and watch films and TV programmes that are fairly varied in genre and age group. This way I believe all these various and colourful stories become soaked-up in the back of my mind, ready to come out later and help to colour my own adventurous stories.

I am sure you can see within my stories that the research plays a strong and central theme throughout. I do hope you enjoy the fruits of my research labour!

Starting my blog

Starting my blog

I have finally decided to start a blog!

I have wondered if I should for a while, and I have now taken the plunge. My name is Stephen J Willis and I am an author of short stories, novellas and novels covering a range of genres. 

I sat and thought and pondered, what are the interests, areas of expertise and curiosities that fill my books and suddenly it came to me! I love researching the unusual, the intriguing and the out of this world. My books are filled with what are now known as Easter eggs, they probably get missed by most people but I put them in as whether or not they are spotted I have fun in the research, discovery and placing of them! 

I therefore, came to the logical conclusion that my blog should take you on my journey of curiosity and research to find out the unusual and interesting phenomena that goes on around us. I don’t claim it all to be true, as my musings take us through the biblical, the mythological, the historical and the fantastical, wondering really what is true and what is not is all part of the fun though. 

You can keep an eye out in the following blogs for such things as: deep meaningful quotes from the various famous philosophers and the Bible, hidden alien symbols with Egyptian tombs and chambers, hybrid-animals with genetically modified DNA, dark underground places mentioned within sacred mythological texts and much more!

For now the blog will be monthly, and I invite you to join me on this research journey. My hope is that it may make you look at the world that bit differently, maybe believe a little more in the unusual and out of this world and of course help you to find those Easter eggs in my books! You are also welcome to share with me anything strange but true that you come across – I am also curious to hear it!

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