Feel The Love With Narrator Andi Arndt, A Romance Fan Favorite
Audible editor Katie O'Connor gives fellow romance aficionados a chance to get to know the person behind one of the genre's most beloved voices.
September 6, 2017
It's not uncommon to see listeners call out narrator Andi Arndt's clear, welcoming, and passionate voice as "sublime," or rave about how she "makes you feel all the feels." Arndt has been an actor, producer, director, and vocal coach, all of which has clearly come into play in her work on the Stage Dive, The Royals, Beneath series, and others.
Note: Text has been edited and may not match audio exactly.
Katie O'Connor: So you're obviously a very prolific narrator, and your work spans multiple genres. But you really emerged as one of the queens of romance. What draws you to this genre?
Andi Arndt: Well, I was offered the opportunity to do the very first Kylie Scott Stage Dive title by Macmillan Audio, and that was several years ago. That was not my first romance, but it was the first kind of blockbustery-feeling romance that I had done. So it wasn't so much that I was trying to get into it and do more of it, it was more like I got this invitation and I decided to go to the party, and then I found out it was a pretty fun party.
KO: And yeah, after that Stage Dive series took off, you really developed a cult following of your own.
AA: It felt that way, too. It was really an amazing thing as it unfolded. As the titles kept coming out and people started awaiting the next title in the series, and I started wondering what's the next one gonna be and what's it gonna be like ... I got caught up in it myself. So it was fun.
KO: Speaking of Stage Dive, you've lent your voice to rockstar romance, obviously, and also royal romance. Do you have a favorite micro-genre or trope?
AA: Well, there's something I like about all the different worlds within romance. I guess what I really like is variety. I would never want to do all of one kind of romance. But having said that, one of my favorite types of characters is I guess what you might call the regular girl, who finds herself either having access to someone she thought was out of her league or finds herself in a situation she never thought she would be in. I think those are a lot of fun.
"[While recording Marriage Games, Sebastian York and I] would go to lunch together every day across the street from the studio and just really have some deep conversations..."
KO: Almost like reiterations of the Cinderella story.
AA: Yeah. But that goes for the rockstar romance. That goes for situations where a woman is in a ... like Take Me Back, by Meghan March. It starts with a woman who is going on a trip with her husband, hoping to save her marriage, and it twists and turns into a romantic-suspense direction, and she finds herself needing to, sort of ... fight some crime!
KO: Be the hero, yeah.
KO: Are there any books that have made you blush when performing? Or have you really seen it all at this point?
AA: Well, when I first was asked to do things that are more in the romantica [genre] and more explicit than that direction, at first there were definitely some moments where I encountered some things that were new to me or that were ... I was glad I was alone in my booth. [Laughs] And I won't say that I've read it all, but it's funny sometimes. I have two teenage daughters and they'll say something that they don't think a mom is supposed to know about, and then they'll sort of like shush each other. And I just go, "You know, whatever it is, I probably have said it out loud multiple times, so just go for it. We can talk about it."
KO: No boundaries here.
"Credit really goes to the authors for writing these kind of very modern women with very strong sensibilities. I appreciate their stories."
AA: Yeah. Then they get weirded out and they go away.
KO: You're like, "You can maybe listen to these in a couple of years."
AA: There's really nothing that I've narrated that I, at this point, would not allow my daughters to listen to, because today's romance has a lot of very good messages, in the big-picture sense of the word, about what women should expect in their relationships and even what men can expect in relationships, in terms of an equal say in how things unfold in and out of the bedroom.
KO: I've listened to my fair share of romance audiobooks that you've narrated, and I think you are drawn to these sort of strong women in these books, which is one thing that I also really appreciate about the narratives themselves.
AA: Oh, I'm glad that that's coming across. If it's not on the page, I can't convey it. So credit really goes to the authors for writing these kind of very modern women with very strong sensibilities. I appreciate their stories, first of all.
KO: Absolutely. So who would you say is your ultimate book boyfriend?
AA: Well, I do like the Royally series for sure because, you know --
KO: It's one of my favorites.
AA: I'm one of those cliché American women who falls for a British accent. [Laughs]
KO: And Shane East delivers in that department.
AA: Yeah. And so when we talk on the phone to coordinate what we're gonna do, there's part of my narrator brain that's also just enjoying the fact that I get to talk on the phone with my co-narrator: This is great.
KO: So that was also one of my questions: If you've met or spoken with any of your male counterparts. So Shane East is a yes. But Sebastian York? Zachary Webber? Do you have relationships with these men?
AA: Yeah. Oh, yeah. I talk with Shane more, like when it's time to work, we'll correspond, we'll sometimes get on the phone. We send each other samples back and forth to make sure that we're doing similar things with the same characters. I've been talking with Zachary Webber quite a lot in the last week or so because we've got just, rapid fire, like four projects in a row that we're doing together between now and I guess the 10th of September. It's just like boom, boom, boom, boom. And then probably the one that I know the best is Sebastian York because we've met in person a couple times. And we worked in the studio at the same time on Marriage Games, which I did under my pseudonym [Elena Wolfe], and which we won an Audie for this year.
KO: That's amazing. I'm having such a fangirl moment right now. I think our listeners are going to love the fact that you two know each other.
AA: Oh, when we were in the studio together working on that, we would work and then it would be time for lunch, and you would think that we would want a break from each other, but we really get along well and have a lot to talk about. And so we would go to lunch together every day across the street from the studio and just really have some deep conversations about some of the topics that the book brought up. It's really gratifying to have such cool colleagues.
KO: Do you have a favorite among your non-romance books?
AA: Well, I've really had some great memoirs come to me, biographies and memoirs. There's two in particular from the last year or so that I can think of that were just unique lives that ... things that you would never think of experiencing. So one was a memoir by a woman who grew up in Fairfield, Iowa. Her mom was into transcendental meditation. And the Maharishi bought a defunct college in Fairfield and turned it into this like Maharishi university.
KO: Oh, wow.
AA: So talk about "town and gown." You have like these Maharishi university students living and dressing their way, and then you had this Iowa farm community living and dressing its way. So it was kind of like what it's like to grow up in that. That was pretty amazing. And the other one, [which] I did last January, was a memoir by a woman who skied on every continent on the planet. She took a year to do it, and she skied four million vertical feet in a year. That was amazing, too, because I'm not really a skier, but because of the book, I got to go along with her on that journey.
KO: Yeah, live vicariously.
AA: So I love, love memoirs.
KO: That's great. You mentioned that you have a lot of projects going on with Zachary Webber right now. So what are you working on that you're really excited about that's coming up?
AA: Well, today I just finished Corinne Michaels' new book, which is called We Own Tonight.
AA: And that's actually a rockstar romance. So people who are into rockstar romances don't have long to wait for that one. That comes out on the 12th of September. And then today I'm doing Dear Bridget, by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, and that's coming out on the 18th of September. Then after that, I'm working on part two of a two-part -- I guess -- duet by Laurelin Paige. Because I already did Dirty Filthy Rich Men, and so this one is Dirty Filthy Rich Love, and that one comes out also in September. So I'm busy.
KO: You're super busy. And fans will be excited to know that there's a lot more coming from you through the end of this year.
AA: And I should also say, I just finished a suspense thriller with some romance elements to it, by Christina Dodd. And that's my second one for her through Macmillan. I'm hoping to do more of hers. It's a great ride, the whole suspense thing.
KO: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I really appreciate it.
AA: Yeah, thank you! It's wonderful to talk romance.
KO: One of my favorite topics.