Romance Awareness Month is coming to an end and we’re wrapping it up with the pros. We asked some of the narrators of our latest romance titles what they loved most about their audiobook roles. Find out how they got into romance audiobooks, what they love about it, and what they think you should be listening to!
Erin Mallon (EM) is an actor and romance narrator who records in New York and New Jersey. Click here for a clip of the number one audiobook on Erin’s listen list, The Real Deal!
Rose Dioro’s (RD) loves lending her voice to YA, thriller, and sci-fi audiobooks, but narrating romance titles really make her heart swoon. She records in Massachusetts. Click here for the number one audiobook on Rose’s listen list, I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting!
Andi Arndt (AA) is a romance audiobook veteran who just finished recording Kylie Scott’s new standalone, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. While Andi is not a huge fan of listening to her own narration, you can listen to a clip here. 😉
What made you want to narrate romance audiobooks?
EM: I had been a stage actor for many years and loved the intimacy of connecting with audiences in small theaters in NYC. So the idea of telling a story into a single person’s ears through audio? That sounded dreamy. I love narrating romance in particular because of the connection between characters. In romance it’s all about human connection and there isn’t anything better than that!
RD: Many romance novelists release new books frequently and often include their books in a series. I always liked the idea of really getting to know the ins and outs of a writer’s style and the characters they create.
What are the best and most challenging parts of narrating romance?
EM: The best part has to be the listeners! Romance listeners are incredibly passionate about the authors and narrators they enjoy…half the time they tell me I have a new release before I realize it myself!
RD: The love scenes were challenging to narrate when I first started. These are such intimate moments; private encounters of two people you get to know very well through the writing. But when you know that the scene has gone well- that you’ve been able to portray it in an authentic way without hamming it up- it’s exciting to know that you’ve created something that so many people will enjoy listening to and experiencing.
It’s exciting to know that you’ve created something that so many people will enjoy listening to and experiencing.
AA: The best part is being along for the ride as two characters enjoy the rush of a new love, the endorphins, the discoveries and revelations. The most challenging part is probably making each story completely its own and making sure that the characters come across as unique.
Have you ever had a hard time trying to get through a romance narration?
EM: Sure! I was narrating a scene just yesterday where the main character loses her fiancé after a car accident. She’s in his hospital room saying goodbye before the doctors take him off life support… yeesh. In those moments as a narrator, you want to take the honest emotional ride alongside the character, but not take it so far that you are blubbering and blowing your nose in the listeners’ ears. It’s a balance.
AA: Luckily for me, I’ve had the privilege of working on really great material, but I think there have been times when I’ve found a scenario challenging because there is maybe a transgressive aspect to it that is new to me. I try to remember that very often that transgression is a test of a couple’s trust and intimacy, and follow that thread through the story. I will say though that all of this assumes that the situation is consensual. If there’s no consent or it’s at all unclear, I turn down the project.
Do you listen back to the titles that you narrate?
RD: When I record a dual or multi-narration project, it’s always fun to hear the finished project with the other voices. I record my chapters from my home studio, and usually don’t hear any of the other narrator’s work unless I listen to the finished project.
AA: Oh goodness no!
What do you think is so great about listening to romance?
AA: I heard from a hospice nurse in Australia once, who listens to my romance narrations as a way to rest and recharge during breaks from her very important but very intense work. Hearing from that listener changed the way I feel about my work; that maybe what I do, which could seem sort of fluffy to some, can help other people to do much more critical / crucial jobs. Love can heal. Love is important.
Love can heal. Love is important.
Any tips for aspiring romance narrators?
AA: Don’t worry about “sounding sexy.” Let the story lead you, honor the characters, and let the author’s voice come through you.
It’s not too late to celebrate Romance Awareness Month—start listening to some of Macmillan Audio’s romance titles today!