Happy Sunday everybody!
Today we have an extra special treat for you all; an amazing interview that my lovely blog partner Vicci did with one of our absolute favorite female audiobook narrators Andi Arndt😍
*About Andi Arndt
Andi Arndt’s voice has been described as “welcoming,” “calm,” “clear,” and “sublime”, and listeners are known to rave that she “makes you feel all the feels”—which is exactly what you want from one of the most popular and beloved romance narrators working today. While Arndt is not exclusively wedded to the romance genre (more on that later), her work in it has certainly garnered her an immense and enthusiastic fan base.
While she had been performing romance for some time, it was Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series that served as her first foray into what Arndt calls “blockbustery-feeling” romance; this is where her fan base latched on, and she quickly became the go-to for the erotic contemporary genre. She is the voice behind such huge hits as Emma Chase’s The Royals series, and her performance of Broken Juliet earned her a spot in AudioFile Magazine’s “Best Voices of 2015” in romance. Beyond romance Arndt has had hits in psychological thrillers, YA, and nonfiction (she voiced Notorious RBG!), but perhaps her favorite non-romance genre is memoirs.
And Andi Arndt isn’t just an amazing narrator—she’s also given back to the industry a great deal. She taught acting and Voice for the Stage at James Madison University in Virginia for 12 years and has been an actor, producer, director, and vocal coach for stage productions and live readings. She is also trained to teach Kristin Linklater’s method of voice.
Andi Arndt lives in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia with her family. And whenever she overhears her two teenage daughters whispering and shushing each other in her proximity, she is happy to chime in, “You know, whatever it is, I probably have said it out loud multiple times, so just go for it. We can talk about it.”*Audible.com
AKTBM: Audio Killed the Bookmark
AA: Andi Arndt
AKTBM: How did you become an audio book narrator?
AA: I have a background in both radio and theatre, and realized I could combine what I loved about both and be an audiobook narrator. It’s a very competitive market though, so it took me a few years to get a foot in the door.
AKTBM: What might be a typical routine for you, before sitting down to record?
AA: It varies. I try to get a nice morning walk in if I can, make sure I brush my teeth and use my Navage machine to clear my sinuses.Then I log into my computer, open my recording software, open my script, maybe listen back to where I left off the day before to get my head back in the game, look at how many pages I need to get done that day, and I get going.
AKTBM: You narrate quite a lot of dual audio books. Do you have a favorite person to work with?
AA: Well as much as I love to work with the gentlemen, there’s something equally special about having a chance to work with some of my female colleagues. Xe Sands, Carol Monda, Donna Postel…and I am co-narrating with Ava Erickson coming up later this fall too. I’m so lucky to have fantastic, supportive co-narrators.
AKTBM: Do you have a recording studio in your home, or do you go into a studio to record?
AA: Usually my home studio, but I’ve recorded in some pretty cool studios too. I get unreasonably giddy whenever I get to tour or work in a new studio. They’re such interesting and often beautifully designed spaces. Acoustic engineering is a pretty fascinating field, all the different things they can do to make sound waves behave.
AKTBM: Are you an audio book listener, do you prefer print, or are you *gasp* a non reader?
AA: I read and listen, though these days I’m more likely to listen to performances by other narrators, both because it’s a rest for my eyes, but also because I always learn something from listening to other actors working. I’m reminded of the things I have “permission” to do in my own work. I tried some graphic novels last winter, did Boxers / Saints by Gene Luen Yang, and that was fun too, as well as being easy on the eyes.
AKTBM: If you are a listener / reader, what genres do you prefer?
AA: I go on jags. I’ll eat up a bunch of a particular author, like Edith Wharton or Annie Proulx or Stephen King or Joan Didion or Dave Eggers. Or things will sort of daisy-chain, like I picked up a Ken Follett novel on vacation once (was free in the little town’s book exchange), which led to Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, then of course I had to read World Without End. That book has to do with the plague at one point, and when I mentioned my fascination with the topic to my neighbor, she suggested Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, which was also excellent.
I like biographies and memoirs of actors and musicians—Lauren Bacall’s By Myself is a great one. In audio, Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please are great as a set. And of course I’m lucky that in my 9 to 5, I read some of the best romance being written today.
AKTBM: What do your friends / family think of your job? Do they listen to your books or do they tease you because of some of the content?
AA: When my mom’s friends say they’d like to hear something I’ve narrated, she’ll say “well, she reads a lot of romance,” and sometimes her friends are like “yeah, awesome, so do I!” And sometimes they say “oh, well I‘ll find something else maybe.” People should read what they enjoy. Nobody really teases me about my job. My husband is proud of me, and my daughters have seen me build my business from scratch, which is something I’m very proud of. The hard thing sometimes is that I look like I’m home, but I’m not actually available because I’m still working. I’m sure anyone who works from home can relate. My dog will just flat-out stare at me if he thinks it’s time for me to stop for the day.
AKTBM: Because you are such a hit in the audio world, are you surprised about the fan base you have, and has anyone recognized you because of your voice?
AA: I am constantly surprised! My day to day life is very solitary, so when I have gone to author events in the last couple of years, it’s been fun to meet the people on the other end of the audio signal and talk with them about what they like. I’m grateful for the response, and romance fans are a great community.
Nobody has really recognized me because of my voice though. The only time that’s ever happened was when I worked in public radio.
AKTBM: What would be the best way for fans of yours to follow you?
AA: I’m most active on facebook at my narrator page (facebook.com/voandi) and I also check in on twitter at @andi_arndt and instagram @offmicandi from time to time. Every once in a while I’ll go live on Instgram and just read a little of whatever I’m reading that day.
AKTBM: You are a 1 click narrator for me, regardless of the author. Because of this, I have discovered some new fabulous writers. Is there a certain book you have narrated that you are particularly proud of?
AA: Well, at the time of this writing, the book I most want to talk about is still “embargoed” (I can’t say anything about it yet), but was completely absorbing and I’m still thinking about some of the themes it deals with. I would love to point people in the direction of Weightless by Sarah Bannan and Hold Still by Lynn Steger Strong.
Romance-wise, it’s impossible to list all the writers I want to shine the spotlight on, and I have loved having a front seat to the growth of some pretty great writers, seeing how their art and craft evolve over time, how their interests lead them in different directions. That’s really cool.
AKTBM: Last question: How would you recommend starting, to anyone interested in becoming an audio book narrator?
AA: Take my intro class! I do it once a year, and just opened the application process for this year’s group. I teach it online to a very small group. We cover the basics of the art, tech, and business of audiobook narration. You can find more info at andiarndt.com/coaching
Thank you so much Andi for taking the time to answer these questions for our little blog, it is very much appreciated, and our Fangirl Flags are flying high.
Check out Andi’s back catalog here: