For those of you who follow my blog, you may have noticed I’m starting to release a few audiobooks. The fabulous Miranda Mendius has agreed to narrate my Claiming the Virgin series. Book 1, Sheriff’s Wanton Virgin, is available now at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Check out my audiobook page for more details!
I asked Miranda if she’d answer a few questions about what it’s like to be a narrator and she graciously agreed.
What do you love most about narrating audiobooks?
I love getting to be a part of that universe. I get to meet the characters, explore their world, and be the voice in your head, telling you about all these crazy/scary/wonderful/sexy things. The words, the feeling, the intention… I get to experience it while I translate it for your ears.
How do you select the books you narrate?
I look for things that interest me, books I’d read anyway. If I’m interested or entertained it doesn’t feel so much like work and that comes through in the finished audio. I may be biased, but I also feel like, if that book drew me in, it will draw in others, too. Of course, I have had to remind myself to read out loud once or twice.
How do you decide on a specific voice and tone for each character?
I take in the whole story first and see who each character is, both as part of the whole and as their independent existence. Then I put myself in the “headspace” of that character. Complex, well-developed characters with a back story always bring more to the performance. It’s not just the words they say, the accent they use; it’s how they’d feel in the moment and why they need to say that. Then, past the generic male/female and regional differentiations, I try to make the sound of the character become in some way an expression of all the major facets of their life.
Have you ever had a scene that was particularly difficult to narrate? Or one you loved more than others?
I love firsts. First sight, first kiss, first… you get the idea. I also probably make them the most difficult scenes – because I want to do it right! That first sets the tone, foundation, and expectation for all the ones that follow. I want to make sure it’s good, every time, but absolutely amazing the first. If your frog didn’t turn into a prince, you wouldn’t keep kissing him, right?
Is your studio in your home? Can you tell us a little about your workspace?
My “booth” is in a constant state of improvement, but right now is a little cubby surrounded by acoustic foam and heavy blankets which my friends lovingly refer to as my igloo. Inside, I have my “fancy” microphone, interface, and a touch-screen monitor (a fabulous upgrade from my clicky keyboard. My computer, with this ridiculous need to not be the temperature of the sun, has been banished to run its fans outside my recording zone.
I love going in there because everything is soft, even the sound, and the lighting is dim, but warm. It feels a little like a day spa until I turn on the bright screen and start reading.
What is the longest day you’ve had when narrating a book? Do you try to limit yourself so you won’t damage your voice?
If I’m on a roll, I keep going. I’ll spend all my waking hours on a book if I don’t have other obligations that day. If I feel like I’m getting scratchy or clicky, I’ll take a break, have lots of water, and talk myself out of a yogurt (no dairy on recording days!). I don’t set hard limits, I just go with how it feels; if I feel like I’m straining, it’s time for that yogurt and more research, prep, or editing. So far, it works for me.
Can you tell us a little about your current project?
I’m working on another erotica novel by Paige Warren right now and… damn, but I loved this research. Is there anyone who doesn’t love a sexy accent? I’ll be honest, it has had me squirming in my seat more than once… for all the best reasons. Paige does a wonderful job of building a story that gets all those warm, fuzzy feelings rolling while spiking deliciously into hot and bothered. His Virgin Babysitter is a shorter book that would make a great afternoon warm-up to a steamy evening.
Do you remember the first book you narrated? What was that experience like?
Oh geez. Both wonderful and rough… I had no idea that mouth sounds were such a big thing (hydrate!) and had to re-record huge chunks of it. Since I did the editing and mastering myself, it probably took me 12-15 hours of work per hour of finished audio and a lot of Google searches happened. Thank goodness I had a generous deadline!
I loved it, though. Every damnable second of it.
What is the best advice you received about being a narrator? Do you have advice for others who might be interested in narrating?
- Don’t count on editing. The best finished product comes from a high quality raw product.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
- Seek help – coaching, reviews, and direction will improve what you do. Bonus: finding your narration community is insta-networking!
Are there certain narrators who inspire you?
Andi Arndt is probably the entire reason I wanted to become a narrator in the first place. I think the first 10+ audiobooks I ever listened to were all narrated by her because I loved both the sound of her voice and the way she could take me out of my head and into the story.
She also had great information on how to develop narration talents on her blog – it pointed me to librivox, which was a great way to start building a foundation
Honorable mentions (in no particular order): Sebastian York, Angela Dawe, Erin Mallon, Will M. Watt, Chalotte Cole, Stephen Dexter, and Shane East
Do you prefer reading books in print or listening to audiobooks?
I love both, but the scale probably tips toward audiobooks just because they let me multitask. I never had much success listening to music at the gym, but a good audiobook pulls me in and lets me forget that hard exercise feels like volunteering for torture.
When you aren’t narrating, what do you like to do?
Well, clearly, I read a lot and listen to (too many?) audiobooks, but we’ll classify that as “research” and call it work, right? I love to create and I’m a bit of a techie. My friends say that I have too many hobbies, but learning something new is always high on my list! I paint, make wine, play music, and tinker with my 3D printer, to name a few.
Bio for Miranda Mendius:
Miranda Mendius is a voice actress/narrator specializing in romance and erotica. When she’s not falling in love with yet another leading man in her latest read, she can often be found
browsing naughty posts on Twitter scouting the gym for the hottest ass practicing yoga or upgrading her 3D printer.
Find Miranda @MMendius on Facebook and Twitter.
Be sure to check out the Sample for Sheriff’s Wanton Virgin, narrated by Miranda Mendius!