The DCI Will Blake series was, in part at least, a child of the Lockdown. I had been working on book 1, A Poison Tree for some time before Covid 19 hit the UK but it came out almost at the same time as we all stayed in.
When my wife and I started this venture (Mrs M manages much of the business side of the erm… business) we really wanted A Poison Tree to be available in audio format, too.
The challenge then was to find the right voice to tell the story. The series is set on the Wirral and the Merseyside accents are so easy to mangle. Anyone with a regional accent will tell you what’s wrong with an actor’s rendition of it if they aren’t local. A number of authors had told us horror stories of how actors had narrated their stories in accents that sounded like parodies.
We were aware how devastating the Lockdown was to the performing arts. So it struck us that this was a perfect opportunity to find a local actor and maybe put some work their way during these difficult times. When we found young, Liverpool actor, Owen Welsh, he was a perfect fit.
Owen has been a member of Liverpool Everyman Youth Theatre, attended Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts sixth form college as well as Preliminary Acting at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is a versatile voice artist and captured the characters brilliantly.
Funnily enough, Owen remembered the day I visited his school and has a signed copy of one of my books. We loved hearing the story develop as he sent it through chapter-by-chapter. Apparently, he’s based a number of characters on people he knows. Blake is based on his dad, his voice just a little bit grumpier and deeper.
We’re hoping to work with Owen again on future publications!
You can get A Poison Tree on audio here