When Mr. Lucy and I decided to turn Pretend You’re Mine into an audiobook, we had a very strict list of must-haves:

  • The narrator needed to make Luke and Harper so real, you’d forget you were listening to an audiobook.
  • She needed to deliver the story with energy.
  • She had to be the perfect Mrs. Moretta.

We found all that and more with voice talent Melissa Moran. Melissa was kind enough to chat with me about her experiences in the world of audiobooks in general and what it was like recording Pretend You’re Mine.

Me: How did you get involved with narrating audiobooks? 

MM: A colleague of mine had just started doing audiobooks on the side and suggested I give it a shot. He knew that I had a love of acting and had access to the equipment and technical know how to produce an audiobook through the radio station I work at. I thought, “What the heck!” and gave it a shot. Over 70 books later and I now have a home studio and another career path! Thanks, Dave :)

Me: Do you do other voice work/acting/etc.?

MM: For my day job, I’m a morning radio personality for a country station, so my obnoxious voice is all over Central Florida! I’ve also done some voice work for CNN, Six Flags, and businesses on the local TV news outlet. As far as acting goes, you’ll spot me every now and then on Home Shopping Network. Want some fancy towels? Rice cooker? Decorative fragrance products for your home? I’ve sold them all! I’m also a huge fan of improv comedy and was in an Atlanta troupe for a while. SO much fun.

Me: You did a great job differentiating between the characters in Pretend You’re Mine. How do you choose who gets what voice?

MM: I usually let the text guide me on that. As a narrator, it’s so important to pick up on the words used to describe the character and allow the personality to form the voice. I have some ‘go-to’ voices for non-specific characters, but I can usually start hearing their voices come through in my imagination as I read. Oh- and you HAVE TO read the whole book before you start actually narrating it. For example, I’ve heard of some horror stories where it’ll say on page 297 of a 300 page book, “she whispered in her thick Scottish accent”…and the narrator was American the whole way through! Ouch. Tough lesson to learn.

Me: Are you a reader when you’re not working? Have any favorite books?

MM: I’m always working, BUT I make sure to only sign on to projects that I’ll truly enjoy and I really did love ‘Pretend You’re Mine’. I’ll listen to audiobooks while driving and I tend to go for stuff that makes me laugh. So, some of my recent purchases have included Martin Short, Jessie Klein, Jenny Lawson, David Spade, and Kathy Griffin. One of my favorites, though, is ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd. I was crying like a freaking baby!

Me: Did you have a favorite character to voice in Pretend You’re Mine?

MM: Of course I love Luke and Harper, but I really liked the scenes with Aldo! He’s funny, sexy, strong, and inspiring- plus I had a lot of fun with him and Mrs. Moretta!

Me: Were there any scenes in Pretend You’re Mine that were particularly challenging or entertaining to voice?

MM: This is an easy one. The show at Remo’s toward the end had me laughing and crying at the same time. There was so much love in that scene. And when Luke stepped out? Oh. My. Word. It was like I was there…and it was epic. As classic as the famous “Time of my Life” scene in Dirty Dancing. Seriously.

Me: What’s the best part of your job?

MM: Getting paid to read amazing stories! Is there anything better than that?!

Rapid Fire Round

Favorite food:

Anything Mexican

Binge-worthy TV show:

I have a 4-year-old. The only thing I binge on are cookies while hiding in a closet.

Dogs or cats:

Woof

Staying in or going out:

I would love to go out more, but I’m usually pretty sleepy after a long day of work and wrangling a toddler. Watching a rented movie curled up on the couch is more my jam.

Night owl or morning person:

I’m a night owl with an early morning day job. I’m a peach at 4am *eye-roll*

Best advice on achieving world peace:

Raising our children to live with love and not with fear is a good start. Talking about and celebrating the differences of each culture. Education is the best weapon against ignorance and intolerance.

What’s the key to success:

Never stop learning! Even professionals at the top of their game take workshops, hire private coaches, and attend seminars. I make it a point to save a percentage of my pay to go toward education in my field. Keep learning = stay working! Also, LOVE what you do!

Note from Lucy: Listen to Melissa take on the voices of Benevolence in the Pretend You’re Mine audiobook, available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.