Tell us about your job? xesands
I have the best job in the world – I truly do. I get to read amazing stories and then embody the author’s intent with my voice, bringing a deeper level of intimacy and connection to the reader’s experience. It’s heaven.
What background does one need to become a narrator?
First and foremost, you must both love to tell stories and be a natural storyteller (they don’t always go hand in hand). You need to have that drive to entertain, to truly bring your audience along on a experiential journey via the retelling. I feel very fortunate that my father is a natural storyteller who turns every interpersonal interaction into entertainment upon the retelling; his enthusiasm and really obsession with storytelling infected me at a young age.
On the technical side, you need to have a sense of timing and where to place emphasis so that your performance carries the intent of the author as authentically as possible. A background in acting or other performing arts is extremely useful and applicable. You also need to be able to truly inhabit each character (including the narrator) and carry their individual intent through only the use of your voice. And specific to the romance genre with its heroes and their “impossibly deep baritone voices flowing like honey” over the heroine, you need to be able to credibly voice both genders (even if you only do it via a shift in tone or inflection).
Do you like to read?
YES! I adore reading and always have. It is one of my favorite things to do. I have been getting lost in stories for as long as I can remember. Now my job is to help others lose themselves too.
Who are some of your favorite Romance Authors?
Of course I adore the romance authors I’ve been privileged to work with on audio versions of their books – so no picking favorites among them!
But I will throw out a name that I doubt most would consider a romance author, although I consider her to be: Audrey Niffenegger. Romantic relationships – how they develop, their ramifications in the lives of characters – figure prominently in both Her Fearful Symmetry and The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have to confess that I love when authors surprise me – when there isn’t necessarily a happy ending or a tidy wrap-up to the story – this is what I often enjoy most (after I stop cursing and crying, that is). What can I say? I’m a bit twisted that way. And both of Niffenegger’s books are poignant, messy, brutal yet gorgeously told stories, centered around deep, romantic relationships.
What have you read recently that you’ve really enjoyed?
The only thing I don’t like about my job is that it leaves me almost no time for recreational reading, so it’s actually been quite a while since I’ve read a book that wasn’t also for recording. The last personal romance read I had time for was The Time Traveler’s Wife. It completely blew my mind – what a love story! I was an emotional wreck for about 3 weeks. But it might have a run on my favorite recent read, as I’ve just started reading The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudcyz Lupescu, in prep for recording and am already swooning. Oh, and don’t even get me started on poetry!
What do you like about genres other than romance & wish the romance genre had more of?
What I really love are stories that are complex and unpredictable, when I can’t see where the story will end up (specifically with respect to the romantic relationships), which usually typifies much of what I enjoy about literary fiction, so I suppose I would like to see less of a guaranteed happy ending (I know, let the flogging begin, right?). I confess that I do adore the bad boys, the dangerous heroes (Anne Stuart excels at these) – so no complaints there. But I would love to see more heroines who can hold their own from the beginning, who are more experienced and savvy (not cold-hearted and in need of breaking, mind you), and who don’t necessarily give in immediately or believe everything the hero is trying to sell them from the get-go.
Of course, I’m laughing at myself because I’m realizing that perhaps I’m craving more “mature” heroines because I’ve recently hit my forties!
One last comment I would make is actually something I’d like to see less of: the virgin trope.
As for what I enjoy most about other genres, I think it is the realism and poignancy present – what a friend recently deemed, “messy fiction” that I thrive on. I think that I would love a bit more realism in my romance reads, but I know that I’m likely alone there.
Do you like reading on an e-reader? What do you miss about paper books?
Honestly, no, I don’t. I know some love them, but I really love the feel of a book in my hands, the feel of the pages. Bit old-fashioned that way…but I do understand the appeal of e-readers. Being able to carry so many books with you is certainly an enticement, as is being able to easily search for names, phrases, etc.
What are some of your favorite movies?
The Matrix, The Two Towers…and yes, I’ll confess it, Dirty Dancing (there may or may not have been some scene reenactment with a high school boyfriend back in the day. Ahem). At their core, all three have a love story that drives their characters. I don’t necessarily need a romance to enjoy a flick, but when one is offered and done well, I certainly appreciate it.
To turn the tables a bit, I would love to hear from readers what you would like to see less of in romance – you know, what tropes make you roll your eyes?
For me, what I need/want from a romance has changed over the years – has that been true for you? If so, how have your needs/tastes/desires changed as a reader?
What do you think of the “bad boy” alphas? If you’re a fan (I confess I am!), do you have a secret “line they better not cross” in order for them to appeal to you? What is that line?
I often see an age disparity in romance – what do you think of that? Does an age disparity matter in terms of your enjoyment of the relationship?
For the audiobook listeners/readers: how do you prefer your love scenes narrated? This is a tricky area for narrators, and I am always interested in what listeners are looking for.