An Interview With Nikki Monroe - Romantic Fiction Voice Actor.
It's every writer's ambition to provide their readers with fictional friends who make you cross, nervous and sometimes even cry, in other words, characters who are engaging. So what if your job was to take it a stage further and actually become the voice of that character, personifying their troubles and successes along with them?
Nikki Monroe is an audio book narrator of romantic fiction. To put it plainly, she gets to bring characters to life in a way that writers strive to do. That sounds like a seriously awesome job to me so I was keen to learn more.
Nikki, what made you decide to become a romantic fiction narrator? Do you have an acting background?
I do not have any acting background, but I am looking into acting coaches right now to help me hone my skills.
I have always loved reading out loud, ever since I was little. I was the kid in class who could NOT wait for their turn to read a paragraph and I always hoped mine would be a long one. I continued that love of reading out loud when I had kids, and my oldest daughter is as much a bookworm as I am. I read to her every night. I do the voices and everything. Well, she loves audiobooks too- and she listened to the same books as what I was reading to her, and she kept telling me how much better I was than the narrator. So, I looked into how to get started.
I personally read mystery and paranormal fiction mostly, so the romance aspect was kind of an accident honestly. I got one romance through an audition, and I have done several erotica books offered to me based on the samples authors have heard on my narrator profile in ACX (the production platform for audible).
What are the best perks of your job?
Absolutely the flexibility! I work from home, and it's been a godsend with three kids, especially in our current circumstances with all the kids being home due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Granted, I have less time to work now that they are all home ALL THE TIME, but being able to work around whatever activities, lessons, doctors appointments, etc is invaluable to me.
Also, I get to read a ton of books and get paid for it!
Do you believe Audio books are gaining popularity in recent years and if so, why do you think that is?
Audiobooks are absolutely growing by leaps and bounds. And it's not just what I believe, it's true! In July 2019, Forbes wrote:
"US publishers reported audiobook sales in 2018 that totaled $940 million, a revenue figure that has grown a full 24.5% year-over-year since 2017".
That's incredible growth! I attribute that to everyone being so busy all the time. People barely have time to sit still, let alone open a book and sit with it. Audiobooks are a way to get that knowledge, or escape while you are driving, or cleaning, or exercising. It's helping people make the most of their time.
What is the strangest novel you have narrated and why?
Probably my most recent one, but it's also been my favorite - Virgin Tribute, by Delta James. It's a dark paranormal erotica book. It's got a sassy, sarcastic heroine, a mutated alpha male, and some very steamy scenes. The mutation part was really strange to start with (considering the sex scenes). But I got into it, because I'm very open minded and I really like sci-fi and paranormal stuff to begin with.
If an Author was considering getting a novel narrated, where would you suggest they start?
Check out ACX.com. They are easy to work with and have a step by step process to follow. You can listen to so many different samples from potential narrator/producers and select one and make an offer, or you can put your book and an audition script up and wait for the auditions to come in for you to review them in your own material.
Do you get to keep copies of the books you narrate?
Each book that is completed has a number of free promotional codes that can be redeemed for free copies. I could always use one for myself and have the official copy on my Audible app (or similar). But really, by the time I have completed a book for release, I have read it or listened to it at least 4 times. I also have the sound files in my archives, so I could compile them to listen to any time.
Which sub-genres of romance do you prefer to read in your leisure time?
If I had leisure time, you mean 😂 I like the paranormal stuff. I'm a sucker for a vampire romance.
Which sub-genres of romance do you prefer to narrate?
I mostly get erotic books to read, and they are a lot of fun!
Have there ever been any books you’ve refused to narrate and if so, why?
Yes. There was one fiction book that was offered to me that I just couldn't do. It was about a woman who left her husband because he molested their daughter. That part I can get behind. The part that bothered me, was that a lot of the character's inner monologue consisted of her doubting her choice and thinking things about still loving him.
I could never narrate that and sound convincing because it's detestable.
When narrating erotica, do you ever receive any unwelcome responses in your personal circles and if so, what do you say to those people?
I have been careful to share that only with those that are open minded. I haven't received any unwelcome response because I've been very careful to keep that part of my work separate. I narrate any erotica under a pseudonym - which is the name you are interviewing me under ;)
What’s your favourite:
-romantic fiction series? Umm, I don't have one that's specifically romance. I think the closest I could come would be the All Souls Trilogy, which I think I have listened to maybe 5 times!
-author? Jean M. Auel - maybe this is considered SUPER historical romance as her Earth's Children Series is set in caveman times.
-standalone novel? I don't read a whole lot of standalone novels, I always want MORE MORE MORE. But I recently enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing.
Finally, if someone were considering becoming a fiction narrator, what words of wisdom would you share?
Be prepared to have several different voices you can use and switch easily on command. I have narrated chapters that had seven or more people talking. Brutal.
Also, when you start, and likely well into your career, be ready to edit, edit, edit. 3-5 hours of editing for every hour of finished recording is a lot more work than most people think goes into a recording. The only time you won't need to do this, will be if a big publishing house hires you and you go into their studios. That is not the reality for the majority of narrators.
I'd like to give my thanks to Nikki for taking the time to share with us her experience of the romantic fiction industry from a different perspective.
Nikki is from Virginia, USA. To learn more about Nikki, you can visit her page on Facebook:
Oh, and by the way, some of the novels she has worked on look fabulous if you like dark paranormal romance so check them out! Such as Bought By The Beast - a steamy paranormal romance written by Lexi Heart and dual narrated with Gregory Russell.