Author: William Todd
Narrator: Ben Werling
Length: 4 hours
Publisher: William Todd
Released: May 18, 2018
Dead of Night is a compilation of turn-of-the-century-era horror stories with a Victorian flair and traditional horror story plots with unexpected endings. If you like ghosts and ghouls and demons and werewolves, these stories are for you.
I have been writing online since the early 2000’s, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. I was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on. I had my first book, a Victorian era horror compilation called Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week before they closed their website and never saw my hard work pay off. Afterwards I took publishing into my own hands, became an Indie author and haven’t looked back. My first self-published book was Dead of Night, another compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016 by Createspace and on Kindle by KDP. After its publication I left my comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle style. I loved it so much I then did a longer story A Reflection of Evil, both published in 2017 through Createspace and KDP. I have just release Beyond the Gossamer Veil, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories and am in the beginning stages of my third Sherlock Holmes installment.
Ben is an award winning actor and voice over professional, who has performed all across the United States. From Shakespeare to Neil Simon, he has displayed a versatility and diversity in the characters and dialects he has portrayed. Ben received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Leading Actor as abusive talk show host Barry Champlain in Eric Bogosian’s TALK RADIO, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Prosecutor Villeforte in Alexander Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, also in Chicago. He has worked with an extensive list of theaters in Chicago over the last three decades: Steppenwolf, Bailiwick, Famous Door, Next, A Red Orchid, Raven Theater, First Folio, Writer’s Theater, Buffalo Theater Ensemble, as well as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory, Madison Repertory, and Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. He is an Ensemble member of Shattered Globe Theater in Chicago. For almost a decade he was the voice of the Adler Planetarium, hosting live shows and pointing out the stars, planets and constellations on the big dome. Ben has an eponymous weekly vlog on YouTube, that he films, produces, edits and narrates. He lives in Chicago with his wife Amy, two dogs and three cats.
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- It was a fun process. This is the third book that I have turned into an audiobook. This one was a bit more daunting because it’s a compilation of 6 horror stories, so the narrator had to wear many more hats on this one than with my previous books. The settings are varied and the characters even more so. I go from American to British to Irish. From man to monster to little girl with Down Syndrome. But my narrator Ben Werling was up to the task.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- Not at first, no. And this book certainly not. Most of these stories I wrote before audiobooks took off and certainly well before I thought I could get my books on audiobook. My most recent stories, however, I am rather cognizant of how I write, if only a little, thinking, “how would this sound on audiobook?”
- How did you select your narrator?
- Honestly, Ben Werling is my Sherlock Holmes and Watson story narrator. He’s been a great narrator with a wide range of styles and voices which is needed for the types of stories I write–late Victorian/ gothic horror. His voice is perfect for what I write so I have Ben do all my books.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? Answer: I do a little bit for anything that needs to be specific–a specific character’s voice or a funky word I use. Other than that I let Ben’s creativity do the rest.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Bumps in the Night was a story with my daughter in mind. She was born with Down Syndrome, and I thought it would be neat to tell a story through her eyes.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- I lead a pretty active life with my family, two teens–one gearing up for college and the other in integrated track (for special needs kids), and a full time job that has me travelling 80 miles a day in commute. You would think I’d get burned out quickly trying to fit writing in between all that but I really don’t. At least it hasn’t happened yet. I’m not sure where I find my writing time but I do find it. I manage one or two books a year and that seems to be my sweet spot. Anything more than that then, yeah, I’d probably burn out rather quickly.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I have only recently come into audiobooks but I love it. My son makes fun of me because I have come kicking and screaming into the technology age (I have only owned a smartphone for about 5 years). As an old man of 50 I had heard of audiobooks but never really gave it much thought. Since becoming a writer and wanting to get my stories out in as many formats as possible I finally gave audiobooks a try and loved it. In today’s hustle world where there’s no time for anything, you can listen to an audiobook just about anywhere. You can’t say that for a paperback.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- I think with the way Ben does his audio he does sound effects in the background that harkens back to radio shows of old. I think the type of horror story I write lends itself very well to audiobook with those little sound effects giving you a little something different that you won’t get in book format. I think that helps heighten the experience of listening to a story rather than reading it.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- In today’s hustle and bustle world we sometimes don’t have the time to “sit and read” a book. But hey, we all need our escape to other worlds, other times, other places, other people, and audiobook gives you that escape. You are able to listen while driving, exercising, or being otherwise predisposed where reading a book would be an impossibility. That will always be the ace in the hole for audiobooks.
- What’s next for you?
- I just finished my third Sherlock Holmes story, Murder in Keswick. I’ll market it over the summer then hit the keyboard again. I don’t have anything in the works at the moment, but inspiration is only one nightmare away!
This was an interesting collection of gothic horror stories. William Todd sets the scene beautifully with each one. This reminded me of a Victorian men’s club on Halloween where each tell a tale of horror riddled supernatural entities. This is a collection of six stories, they are not long, but the scene is set so well you are there with each of the poor souls in danger.
This audiobook is only 4 hours long, and Ben Werling’s narration is superb, with the different voices executed so well. It was like listening to a cast of many, and my attention never wavered all through the six stories. This is one to keep for Halloween so you can share with your friends.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by William Todd. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.