Behind the Audio: Deceptions
Anna Porter’s feisty art fraud heroine Helena Marsh returns in Deceptions, chasing down a long-lost Artemisia painting while staying one step ahead of the eastern European mobsters and art thieves who covet it and will do anything — even kill — to make it theirs.
As the author, what was the most interesting part of having your book turned into an audiobook?
It was fascinating to hear my characters’ voices.
Had you ever listened to an audiobook before this experience? Do you have any favourites?
The Appraisal (the first Helena Marsh novel, narrated by Tandy Cronyn) and Oryx and Crake (written by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Campbell Scott).
What was it like working with the narrator and/or director on this project?
I loved the narrator’s voice and the way places I had imagined came alive.
Where is the perfect place to listen to an audiobook?
I think a road trip, though sometimes it’s difficult to keep your eyes on the road when the story becomes too engaging, or too real.
What was it like hearing your book in audiobook form for the first time?
A little scary. While it continues to be my book, it is somewhat distanced and I found the people I had imagined were now speaking to me directly.
Who do you think this book will appeal to?
Anyone who likes a fast-moving story with credible characters in fascinating settings. It might also have a special appeal for people interested in the art world.
What is the most challenging part of recording an audiobook? Conversely, what is the most enjoyable part?
I think the most challenging part of recording an audiobook is keeping it consistent. You do the recording over a number of days and trying to maintain consistency in your voice as well as within the characters’ various voices can be very challenging. The most enjoyable part is telling a story! It’s so fun to dive into all the roles and play with the telling of a wonderful tale.
How did you prepare to record this audiobook?
First, I read the book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then, I met with the author and director to discuss characters, tone, pronunciations, etc. Finally, I read the book again and highlighted all the lines in different colours so I could always tell which character was speaking. It was a very colourful copy.
What was your favourite part of this book?
Definitely the character Helena. She is such a confident, smart, multi-talented, crafty and noble woman; I’d love to play her on screen some day! I also loved learning the personal history of Artemisia Gentileschi.
What did you learn while reading or recording this book?
I learned a lot about art history, certain historical artists, and money laundering through art/art theft. It’s so fascinating. I had no idea about the difference between a copy and a forgery, nor about how paintings are authenticated.
What advice would you give a new audiobook narrator?
Preparation is key. It was immensely helpful to me to have read the book not once but twice, and to have had conversations with the author and director in advance of recording. I was nervous about doing the story justice, but having a solid groundwork helped me. After that, my best advice is to try and remember to breathe and take your time!
Tell us a fun fact or anecdote about your experience recording this.
I speak Hungarian, English, and French, all languages which appear in the book. Adding to that, there is some Italian, German, Russian and I think Polish. There were a couple of occasions when jumping between pronouncing the different languages sometimes twisted my brain so intensely that I stopped being able to pronounce anything at all. I started pronouncing words in the wrong language.
What made you want to become an actor/voice actor?
I love consuming and telling stories and have wanted to be a storyteller of some kind since I was small. Acting, narrating, and writing all afford me this, and I am lucky to have been offered the opportunity to narrate this book. When I was young, being called upon in class to read out loud was my very favourite thing, so this was a dream come true.
Who do you think this audiobook would appeal to?
I think it has a really wide appeal. The story is well written, the characters are compelling, the locations are fantastic, and the intrigue turns the pages. Whether you miss travelling, love art and history, or simply want to get swept up in a mystery as the threads are unraveled, this is the book for you.
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