Helen is a British actor, audiobook narrator and audiobook producer. She recorded her first VO at the age of fourteen and was instantly hooked! Since then, she has
spent much of her life interpreting other people’s words and bringing characters to life – or helping others to do so. A classically trained actor, (GSM&D) she has trodden the boards of many
of Britain’s leading Repertory Theatres as well as at The Old Vic, The National Theatre, at The Edinburgh Festival, The Roundhouse Theatre and in the West End, where she was the leading lady,
Mollie, in Year 29 of the World’s longest running play ever, ‘The Mousetrap’; which has run, non-stop since 1953!.
In the early 1980s Helen moved into television, initially as a presenter and continuity announcer for Central, the ITV franchise for the Midland region; this led to lots of freelance voice work for corporate and commercial clients and she became one of the most recognised voices on ITV midlands, narrating over fifty broadcast television documentaries. Eventually, she moved behind the cameras and into television production as a staff producer of factual programmes in ITV’s regional programme department. (where she worked with Stephanie Wessell, one of the Twisted 50 Writers).
In 1988 Helen was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship and spent three months in Australia, looking at the role of Social Action Broadcasting, and on her return to the UK, she was instrumental in the founding of The Community Media Association, which provided television and media skills training to Charitable organisations and to the Voluntary and Statutory sectors, to assist them in their interaction with the press, radio and television. Helen has also worked extensively as a voice and television acting tutor working with students at Nottingham’s Trent College, Derby Playhouse Youth Theatre and at Lichfield Youth Theatre.
Helen is a member of the World Voices Organisation and has a WoVO approved home recording studio in her own home, she is a narrator member of APA, the Audio Publishers Association.
Helen has now returned to her roots, making occasional forays into acting, but mainly, her life now revolves around audiobooks and she remotely records for many major audiobook producers and publishers in the UK, the United States and even in Australia. She is an ACX audiobook producer and also produces author commissions.
Helen is thrilled to be working on the Audiobook version of Twisted 50. Finding fifty individual voices for fifty separate short stories written by fifty different authors is certainly a challenge … but one that she is looking forward to enormously … despite the nightmares from all that horror!
Well, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read one of the Twisted 50 stories myself could I? And Gooseberry Pie had my name on it – because not only do I read stories … I also bake!
I avoid watching horror films … partly because I tend to scream loudly when anything unexpected happens – Carrie is probably the last horror film I saw in the Cinema … I jumped clear of my seat and let out a yell that was even louder than the soundtrack when ‘that moment’ happened at the end.
Reading horror is easier … though I have had quite a few nightmares over the past few weeks.
Now back to the kitchen … I think I’ll do apple pie for tonight (home grown apples of course) not sure I could face gooseberry pie again just yet!
I was so thrilled to be part of Twisted 50 creative collaboration and the Audiobook that brought together 50 stories, 50 writers and 50 narrators ... and the launch event at the wonderful Cinema
Museum was unlike any other party I have ever been to!
It was great to put faces to all the names I have become so familiar with ... and to meet some of the 50 narrators who narrated the stories for the Audiobook. You may be surprised to know that though I know the work of all of the voices and have worked with all of the narrators involved in some capacity in the past, I haven't actually met many of them face to face.
Author John Ashbrook was the only author in Twisted50 volume one who chose to narrate their own story – and what a great job he did too with ‘The Spider Taketh Hold’.
He recently did a radio interview for BBC Radio Humberside and you can listen to it here… We hope you enjoy!
The Twisted50 Audiobook (along with selected stories from Evil Little Sister) is now on Audible. This means you can buy it or get it as part of your Audibile subscription online. How cool is that?
Other Audiobook platforms will follow soon. And of course you can still get physical CD copies from us HERE and will send them out after the weekend when they are signed by the Audio narrators.
Our very own one woman marketing machine Steph Wessell has been spreading the good news about Twisted50 again by getting herself on the radio and slaying it like a pro.
It’s a terrific interview, and listen to how it sounds when the host refers to knocking Stephen King off the top spot.
Twisted50 writers… That’s YOUR book they are talking about. Get sharing and promoting now ahead of the party… Listen below…
The ‘Five Days’ story in Twisted 50 superbly read by the inestimable Fenella Fudge really got me thinking. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to it (or read it), it is about a woman in her late 40s, who is concerned about how she looks, the increasing wrinkles, the eye bags and the general sagging that happens when gravity takes its toll … I know the feeling all too well … and who buys a miracle remedy.
However, why it particularly exercised my brain is not to do with vanity or ageing … it’s to do with how a voice and a face sometimes don’t match … and what voice actors can do to negate those comparisons.
My sons read all the Harry Potter books but they also wanted the audio version read by Stephen Fry.
They would listen to life in Hogwarts while I listened to the radio. Now, having listened to the excerpt of 'Killing Her Little Darling' I understand why.
As much as we all love movies there is a reason why people continue to relish The Archers, radio plays and audio books.
The pleasure of being read to whilst washing up, driving a car, jogging along dull roads is immense. In fact, there is enormous pleasure to be had listening to audio books when just sitting in an armchair with the TV turned off.
When I was first contacted by Helen Lloyd to audition for the short story 'doG liveD' written by Troll Dahl I was over the moon for three
First, I was honoured to be asked to participate in anything with Helen Lloyd (who I’m in slight awe of). Second, I’ve been wanting to narrate a truly scary story since I started this narration gig. Finally, I am so happy to be included in a volume of work alongside some of the narrators that I’ve loved listening to for years.
I immediately bought the book and proceeded to read it on the train on the way to a voice over job. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement.
If success lies at the crossroads between experience and opportunity, then the simple act of creative collaboration is by far the best strategy to increase your experience and
When we create, be it writing, making movies, marketing our stuff, we more often than not work in partnership with others, sometimes even a bigger team. Relationships are made, debts and favours exchanged, experience gained…
It’s like each major act of creativity is like throwing a stone in a pond. The ripples spread out and often, keep going, sometimes even for decades. That same pond has others creating too, and their ripples are bound to interact with yours too, creating yet more crossroads and opportunities.
I love making audiobooks ... not only the reading, but also the editing and pulling everything together.
When I was a television producer (I used to produce factual programmes for ITV in the Midlands many years ago) when working with an editor, I tended not to watch the pictures … because I knew that if I got the story through listening alone, then it would work.
I don’t think television programmes these days pay enough attention to audio … so often the sound quality is poor, the commentaries are boring and repetitive … and what is being said (and how it is being said) doesn’t enhance the story.
From the moment I heard the discordant, harsh, and apt introductory music of this clip, I was hooked like an albatross on a tuna line.
As though having the opportunity to have ‘The Cyclist’ published in a book was not (for me) a victory in itself, hearing my words narrated in such a professional and compelling manner by Pearl Hewitt is an entirely new experience. I have only ever heard my stories in my own voice – out-loud, or in my head – so to have such a striking, third-party interpretation is a revelation. I realise now what an appalling lack of imagination I have when it comes to interpreting my own material.
Winning Twisted50 was my first writing success and so the opportunity to listen to the audio interpretation would be another new experience.
Inevitably I have a clear image in my head of the characters in my story; particularly “Miss Smith” who is the main protagonist. But would she be as I imagine her? Would the whole tone of the audio interpretation be in line with my thoughts? If it was different, would I be disappointed? But then would that different interpretation necessarily be a bad thing?
So, with fingers crossed, I listened to the extract.
I’m sitting with my dad in his kitchen in Glasgow having just listened to the audiobook excerpt of my story. It was awesome!
When I wrote “The Audition Altar” I was thinking of John Waters films, and Anna Parker Naples, the voice actor, nailed the lascivious and sometimes hyperbolic tone of the text. I didn’t expect Ms Naples to do both the male and female voices, so it was a joy to hear her capture the gormless and naive Geoff as easily as the creepy and presumptuous Zoe Trope, and yet she made them her own. Even although I wrote the story, I was excited to hear what happened next!
As the Audiobook project for Twisted50 evolves (produced by the amazing Helen Lloyd), I am publishing short excerpts to share just how extraordinary the voice artists are, and how the stories truly come to life when read aloud, with a little music for mood.
You can see all the voice artists on their page HERE (we will add them as each story locks in).
As I get new tracks I will add them to this playlist here as it’s a great way to hear everything in one place.
Post by Stephanie Wessell
It’s with some trepidation that I sit down to listen to this extract of my story in its new audio form. My narrator, Hannah, has lived in my head for over a year but, perhaps weirdly, I have no
set ideas about where she comes from, her ethnicity or what class she is.
I am, however, definite about Hannah’s age, so I’m slightly worried that an adult voice actor might sound too old for my fictional teenager-veering-on-womanhood. I obviously know Hannah well and feel very protective of her. Will another artist’s interpretation of her voice damage my own slightly nebulous, imagined version?
Some of the stories in Twisted50 are demented, disturbing and downright, well yes, Twisted. Then there are some that are melancholic, beautiful and lyrical. Sum Of My Memories by EJ Hughes is one
Originally written from a male perspective, Helen Lloyd our Audiobook producer asked the author if we could go with a female voice as Susie Riddell seemed perfect for it. EJ Hughes agreed and so we have a tonal shift in the reading.
This ability to re-interpret and discover new layers in our collective work is one of the aspects of Create50 that I love. Art and craft in motion, as a collective / team / community. Discovering, reinventing and recreating.
A comment from Richie Brown (one of the Twisted 50 Authors) on the Twisted 50 Audiobook Blog got me thinking.
Richie asked “Are some stories better suited to reading aloud than others because of the way they are written? If so, what lends a story to an audio performance? Or is it the case that an experienced narrator with an engrossing manner is able to read any story to good effect?
Some of the tales in Twisted are just a little bit more Twisted than others. Do Blastocysts Dream Of Foetal Sheep? by Alex Thompson is one such story. Read it if you dare.
I cannot wait to get the whole book completed and share it with the world! As ever thanks to Helen Lloyd for doing such a great job! You can listen to the clip below…
WHAT ON EARTH AM I THINKING!!!! A daily audiobook diary? I must be mad!
Not only do I not have the time to do a daily diary, but you’d be bored stupid. So … I think a diary entry per week is more realistic!
You see, everyone thinks that we lead very glamorous lives. We work in the entertainment industry right? We’re actors, narrators, producers – we work as creatives … we read aloud and we get paid for it – it is a darn sight nicer than a lot of jobs I’ve done in the past, but glamorous? No … not really.
You may have heard that we are making an Audiobook of Twisted50 volume 1, aided and abetted by ace producer
Helen Lloyd. We asked all the authors in the book to make a small contribution to help pay for this (anyone can make a contribution
HERE) and we will be selling both physical and downloadable copies too.
You can pre-order yours in the store HERE (and please do so as we have to find a way to break even on the recordings). Helen wrote an article about the process HERE…
Twisted50 volume 1 will have an audiobook. How cool is that! You can pre-order your copy now (and please do as we need to sell 50 copies to cover the cost of making it). You can pre order a
digital download OR a disk version. You can get it on the Twisted50 store HERE.
Heading it up is experienced Audiobook producer and seasoned voice over artist Helen Lloyd, whose voice sounds like what a bottle of Baileys would if it could talk. Rather delicious. So we are in very good hands. Helen has agreed to write an Audiobook Diary as we go… Here is part one.