7 TIPS from two Pros for Narrating Romance Novels

by | Audio Books, performance skills, Voice Acting, Voiceover

A huge thank you to guest bloggers, voice over pros and Audie finalists, Carrington MacDuffie  and  Ilyana Kadushin,  who have graciously shared their experiences here with Bobbin’s Blog readers today. They have narrated over a massive 250 audiobooks between them.

I myself am in the midst of recording a historical romance, War of Hearts by Lynn Hubbard, so the timing of this post is especially timely for me. Enjoy!

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When you are getting ready to add your voice to a romance novel the thing to keep at the top of mind is this: The lovers’ relationship will be very personal, confused at times, conflicted with trust issues, romantic, of course, and erotic for sure (though there are degrees of intensity and explicitness).  You can depend on these dynamics always being at the core of the drama, regardless of period or setting, whether it’s Suspense, Regency, Paranormal etc. But you have to really relate to both the hero and the heroine.

You’ll be voicing them at their strongest and most vulnerable, and they need to feel emotionally authentic. So, it helps to open up to the emotionality and the personal adventure of romance when you’re prepping your story.  Here are our 7 Tips to help guide you along.


TIP #1 When Selecting Overall Vocal Nuances – Go With Emotionality.

Some heroines will sound more naive perhaps, and some heroes more gruff, for instance – but it’s a matter of being real with their reactions to each other. None of them will have a whiny voice! Maybe there will be dialect.  But it’s really about the dynamics in how they relate to each other. – C.M.

TIP #2 Get Ready to “Step up”

Some romances are fun to narrate and some are challenging when the leading women are written in a way that you may not respect or relate to. But like any acting performance, you step inside someone’s story and let them guide you.  – I.K.


TIP #3 Contemplate Real Sexual Realities, Fantasies & Issues

 Every woman has a different relationship to her body, her sexuality, and her desires. So how can an author possibly speak to all of us? She can’t! Each author is speaking through their own understanding (or lack of understanding) of a woman’s sexuality, so this is important to keep in mind when reading.  Authors also know that romance and sex scenes are providing an “escape” and it’s up to you as the voice to need to make it tantalizing, but  when I read, I always want to ask the women listening, does this help you get to know what you like in your sex life? – I.K.

TIP #4 Get Comfortable with “Explicit” & Paranormal

The Romance genre has changed over the time I have been narrating. Not only

have the subgenres of romance increased and expanded, there are more paranormal romances than ever.  The sex scenes in some of them have become more explicit. So be prepared for this is a reality when you go to the studio. – C.M

 TIP #5 Have a Deep Vocal Range

There is a certain skill in narrating Romance, specifically you need to be able to convincingly voice a male.  This is essential for these stories.  Be prepared to make the male hero sound sexy and masculine. – C.M.

TIP # 6 When Prepping a Character Understand The Arc

 Although preparing for romance titles is not very different than other titles, something very important for romance titles is the emotional arc that the lead character goes through and it should be noted, explored and when recorded; allow that arc to build organically. Also for the lead character, focus on making their desires, their ups and downs as clear as possible. – I.K.


TIP #7 Keep Dialogue Clear and Impactful

 Making vocal choices for characters in audio book narration comes from clues in script, direction you may get from producer and author, and then your own instinct for where a character should sit in your voice. If a book has many many characters, you may also be making more distinct choices in order to keep dialog clear and impactful. – I.K.



 Carrington MacDuffie is a recording artist, writer, and voice actor who has narrated over 200 audiobooks and received numerous AudioFile Earphones awards and 8 Audie finalists. She has narrated everything from Words Will Break Cement:The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen to Conquered by a Highlander  by Paula Quinn. Her original audiobook of poetry and music, Many Things Invisible, was published by Blackstone Audio, and was a finalist for an Audie in two categories. Her recent release of Only an Angel, which has been in the top 25 on the Americana charts for the past couple of months. Carrington


Find her at: http://lunacydewpoint.com/audiographycarringtonmacduffie.com


Ilyana Kadushin is a recording artist in the band Lythion and she is the voice of over 60 audio books for various publishers including the entire Twilight series (which has brought her cult-like fame in certain circles). She was a finalist for a 2014 Audie Award, for multicast audio book of short stories called “Rip Off,” and a winner  for “Dune” by Frank Herbert, which won best Sci-fi Multi-cast audio.  She co-produced and scored 2011 HBO Documentary “Separate, But Equal”.

Find her at: http://www.ilyanakadushin.comIlyana



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