It is my pleasure to announce that the Vengeance of Hope audiobook, narrated by the wonderful Christopher Dukes, is now complete and will be available to download from Audible, iTunes and Amazon in a matter of weeks!
In the meantime, let's take a moment to get to know Chris, the man whose voice will be bringing Silrith Alfwyn and many of the Bennvikan world's other inhabitants to life.
PB: Hello Chris. I have to say, it's been fantastic working with you over these past few weeks. I'd like to start the interview by asking, what made you decide to become an actor?
CD: I began acting at the young age of seven actually in a local pantomime playing the Buttons-style character! But I think the moment when it clicked into ‘this is what I want to do’ was watching the special features to both Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lord of the Rings. Seeing the interviews with the cast and the passion behind what they were doing was beautiful.
PB: Tell us a bit about your background and your hometown.
CD: I was brought up in the town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, right in the heart of England. I come from a theatrical family, my Mother and Father met at a village drama school that my Father taught at. Nowadays, my brother Robert Dukes and I are both working actors! As supportive as my parents always are, the best piece of advice my Dad ever gave me was when I told him I wanted to be an actor. He said “Okay. You might never get hired though. It’s a tough world and you have to work extremely hard but if you want it, go get it.”
PB: What was your first acting job?
CD: My first professional acting job was actually a site-specific theatre piece, celebrating the work of the railways in the North of England.
PB: What is your favourite fiction genre and why?
CD: I have always been a huge fan of fantasy, most definitely due to my Dad. Growing up he would read me masses of books: Famous Five, Swallows and Amazons, Chronicles of Narnia, Treasure Island, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings. He would put on these incredible voices, which I always loved, and they immersed me into the stories completely.I guess he inspired me to get into audiobooks!
PB: Tell us a bit about the creation process that went into converting Vengeance of Hope into an audiobook>
CD: Turning Vengeance of Hope into an audiobook has been a mammoth challenge; understanding your vision and bringing it to life through audio. As the readers and listeners will come to know, the world your has created has its own lore, expansive Kingdoms and diverse cultures. When I was in training at drama school, I had a fantastic voice coach who impressed on me how accents have developed the way they have due to landscape and terrain. I hoped to have brought an element of this into the world of the novel, by bringing a handful of accents and qualities that can help to embody your characters!
PB: Well, you've certainly done an incredible job! What are your long term ambitions career-wise?
CD: As an actor my ambition has always been the same; to make a living at this acting malarkey.
I love what I do and I do what I love! Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be Captain Britain one day for Marvel, there’s actually a friend of mine in Manchester who placed a bet on me to one day play the part of Captain Britain... Apparently I’m his retirement fund... no pressure...Marvel?
PB: If you weren't an actor, what career would you be in?
CD: If I wasn’t an actor...In another life, wouldn’t mind have running a ranch, but y’know, out West in the late 1800s.. so a cowboy basically..
In this lifetime? Probably something still within the arts, perhaps a director.
PB: What do you do in your free time when you're not acting?
CD: When I’m not acting I’m a huge fan of video games. It’s certainly how I unwind, diving into a fictional, historical, futuristic world etc.
PB: What's next for you?
CD: After Vengeance of Hope is completed, the next step for me is picking back up my personal projects. I’ve been writing a web series based on the Grim Reaper... but that’s all I’m saying for now.
PB: And finally, tell us a random fact about yourself!
CD: Well, my Father is huge train fan, and many years ago, we bought a rail for the Welsh Highland railway, so technically I own about a yard of railway somewhere along the tracks!
Well, thank you so much Chris for taking the time to talk to us today, and thank you for doing such a wonderful job creating the Vengeance of Hope audiobook!
Photos of Chris Dukes courtesy of Robert Dukes.