The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

Narrated by Derek Perkins

Kerrigan Byrne’s brand of slightly darker, high-stakes romances featuring larger-than-life, dangerously sexy heroes and the women who love them has proved to be a hit with readers and listeners alike. Her Victorian Rebels books comprise one of the strongest historical romance series to have appeared in recent years, and I’ve enjoyed them all to varying degrees. The audiobook versions have the added attraction of excellent narration by Derek Perkins; and I freely admit that in The Duke, the strength of his performance goes a long way towards papering over the cracks in the characterisation and storytelling that make this particular story the weakest of the set so far. Read the rest of this entry »

An Interview with Narrator Derek Perkins

Over the past few years, Derek Perkins (website and Facebook) has become one of my (fairly small list of) go-to narrators for romance. I frequently bemoan the scarcity of good, male narrators of historical romance –the dearth doesn’t seem quite so great in other sub-genres – so I’m eternally grateful that he’s joined that small, but select club of men who are as happy at Almack’s as they are on the battlefield of some distant planet or among the pages of a weighty biography. When I heard he was to be one of the panellists taking part in Andi Arndt’s Men of Romance Audiobooks discussion at the Virginia Festival of the Book March 25, I leapt at the chance to chat to him about his career, his future projects… and how he came to be involved in the weird and wonderful world that is Romancelandia.


Welcome to AudioGals, Derek.



Thanks Caz. I had the pleasure of meeting Lea Hensley at the Audio Publishers Association conference a few years back and have always appreciated the reviews I’ve received at AudioGals for their thoroughness in reviewing not just the book, but the narrator’s performance.


Now you mention it, I do remember her talking about having met you there, when you were just starting out narrating romance, I think. Since then, you’ve obviously been busy! – you’ve narrated around 250 audiobooks (and may well have done a few more by the time this interview appears!) in various genres – non-fiction, science-fiction, fantasy (to name but a few) as well as romance – which is a pretty impressive number. Tell us a bit about your background and how you got started as an audiobook narrator.


Yes, I’ve narrated over 260 books now – and I’m glad to say, that number keeps going up! I have an unusual background for this work: basically I spent 30 or so years in business development and operations in the private and public sectors in the UK and US before, in 2010, I found my way into the world of audiobooks as a volunteer narrator at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, near where I live. I heard about ACX in a video I was watching about voiceover work, found the site, signed up and have not looked back since. I completed my first title for ACX in 2012, began to work with a couple of publishers after that and switched to audiobook narration and voiceover work full-time in 2015.


Do you work from a home studio, or in a more formal set-up? Given you’re a very established narrator, do projects generally find their way to you, or is there an audition process?


Yes, I have a professional-grade home studio. The WhisperRoom booth is my equivalent of Doctor Who’s TARDIS – I go in there and it takes me to the most wonderful worlds far and near! I receive requests from publishers to narrate titles and often am submitted for consideration on titles along with other narrators. Usually, no audition is required; the publisher will submit a sample of work I’ve already done for them, but occasionally I’ll need to do a read from the book itself.


First – kudos for the Doctor Who reference; I’m a big fan ;) But more seriously, how, typically, do you prepare for a narration?


For fiction, by reading the book, noting the overall plot, the period, taking care to understand the characteristics of the characters involved and the general tone of the book. For non-fiction, I concentrate on understanding the point of view of the author and then identifying words (usually place and proper names) that I need to research. My record is a recent book on China that required 803 words to be transliterated! A number of romance books have phrases and sentences in Irish or Scots Gaelic, so I’m developing a useful glossary of those terms, too!


I can see you might need the Gaelic a fair bit – you’ve narrated quite a few books featuring Scottish and/or Irish characters – and, thankfully, get the accents right! (They’re a pet topic of mine, as anyone here will know.)

There’s a proliferation of series books in certain genres – romance, fantasy and sci-fi among them. When you’re narrating books in a series, how easy do you find it to “rediscover” the voices of characters who have appeared previously? Do you go back and listen to previous recordings to keep yourself on track?


I keep track of all the characters in series books by creating brief clips of the voices and putting them into a file that I add to as the series progresses. Romance books tend to have relatively few characters; the most I have ever had to deal with is a fantasy series, which ended up with over 600 characters!


Wow – that’s a LOT! I must say though, that I love the idea of the clips library. It obviously works, as I’ve never noticed any continuity issues when I’ve listened to you. Which brings me to say – at the risk of making you blush – that your name on an audiobook is guaranteed to make me give it at least a second look. I listen to a great deal of historical romance in particular, so I’m wondering how you got into narrating romance audiobooks specifically, and if you find yourself doing anything differently in terms of your preparation for or performance of romance than for other genres?


Can you see a blush via email?! Narrating romance audiobooks was not something, in all honesty, that I consciously set out to do. In the early days, I was happy to try any genre my clients suggested, but obviously my performances of romances have hit a spot, so to speak, and I continue (happily) to be offered these titles on a regular basis. I don’t prepare for romance audiobooks substantially differently, but the performance does take some adjustment because of the dominant role played by women in them. For a male narrator, there is always the challenge of avoiding the traps of cliché portrayals of women, voicing in an unnatural falsetto etc. I also try to bear in mind advice I read a while back about concentrating on reflecting the different cadences and nuances of speech of women characters, rather than worrying over much about making them sound ‘feminine’. As a result, in some cases, I have voiced characters in a fairly low register and it seems to have worked.


That’s so true about the female voices, and it’s something that frequently comes up when all of us Gals are chatting about what we’re listening to. The idea that you’re concentrating more on cadence than pitch makes a lot of sense – there are some female narrators for whom that seems to work in reverse; they don’t try to “butch up” their voices because they can’t, but they do have a way of making the heroes sound suitably masculine without trying to push their voices down into their boots. It’s clearly an approach that works. Other than that, though, is there anything you find particularly challenging about narrating romances?


The only thing I’d add here is that as many romance novels tend to follow a fairly consistent pattern, it means that – often earlier than later – the main plot lines become apparent, so I always try to keep the narration fresh and involved; I try hard not to let the tone and pacing of my recordings develop a sense of inevitability.


What do you like to do when you’re not prepping or working?


Well, as we say in Britain, it’s a bit like a busman’s holiday – I like to read! I don’t read as much for pleasure now as I used to, unfortunately, because there isn’t the time and I find that by the end of the day my brain is too tired to read much. A nice problem to have, though, given what I am doing through the rest of the day! Other than that, I like to keep fit by running, doing weights and in the warmer weather hiking and kayaking. Oh, and traveling – last year was Italy and the UK; this year will be the UK then Japan and on to New Zealand singing in a choir following a rugby tour!


You sing, too? I’m impressed! Can you tell us about what you’ve got coming up in the next few months?


I’ll be working on The Ends of the Earth, another book in the wonderful James Maxted thriller series by Robert Goddard; Berlin at War by Roger Moorhouse, a look at how Berlin suffered during the Second World War; Society of the Sword, a fantasy trilogy; Powers of Darkness, a recently unearthed translation of an Icelandic version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and finally, From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Mishra (I had the pleasure of narrating his recent best-selling Age of Anger: A History of the Present). Which is as good an illustration as any as to why I love the work I do so much!


I can certainly see the attraction – no week is ever the same. And yes, from what you said at the outset, I imagine that by the time this interview appears, you’ll be well on the way to hitting 300 available titles!

Derek, it’s been a real pleasure to meet you (virtually, at least) and thank you so much for taking the time out from what is obviously a manically busy schedule to give such interesting, detailed answers to my questions. I hope you have fun at the book festival – and let me know when you’ve narrated your 500th title (which will probably be next year sometime at this rate!) so we can celebrate!


It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Caz. I’m really looking forward to the Men of Romance Audiobooks Narrator Panel event at the Virginia Festival of the Book March 25 – my fellow panellists and I appreciate AudioGals’ support of that!

Below is the list of reviews on AudioGals of Derek Perkins’ narrations. Let us know in the comments if you are attending the event this week!


Audiobooks reviewed here at AudioGals, with Derek Perkins narrating:

Our March 2017 Picks

Another month, another list of the audiobooks the Gals are most looking forward to listening to over the coming weeks. Some of these titles are already available, some are coming out later in the month, but in each case, our choices are based on a variety of factors; author, narrator, story… or just gut instinct. Are any of these on your wish list? Have you listened to any of them and if so, what did you think? Have we missed out anything you’re looking forward to? Join in the discussion in the comments.


Silence Fallen by Patricia BriggsSilence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Narrated by Lorelei King

Book Ten in the Mercy Thompson series comes out in March, featuring one of my all-time favorite PNR/UF writer/narrator teams. I read an ARC of the book already, as my curiosity was killing me, but the full production with the very talented Lorelei King narrating will no doubt be even better. – BJ

I’m a long-time fan of the Mercy Thompson series, and I can’t wait to see where the author takes things in this latest installment. Lorelei King has become the voice of Mercy, so I’m elated to see her back at the helm. – Shannon


The Deep End by Kristen AshleyThe Deep End by Kristen Ashley

Narrated by Lizbeth Gwynn

Kristen Ashley’s latest book comes out in March and she’s trying on a whole new sub-genre of romance which takes place in the BDSM world. If there is any writer that could pull it off, and pull it off well, it’s Kristen Ashley as she has already proven herself talented enough to write anything from straight contemporary romance to MC romance and PNR/fantasy romance. So though I have never heard of the narrator (and this is her only title in Audible), I’m putting The Deep End on my TBL for March. – BJ


Slightly Tempted by Mary BaloghSlightly Sinful by Mary Balogh

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

The fifth book in the Bedwyn series is Alleyne’s story.  He comes across as a carefree, lighthearted fellow in the previous books, so this story of how he comes to be cut off from his past and how he finds his future sounds like I’m in for a nice, angsty listen.  – Caz



You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa BerneYou May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne

Narrated by Carolyn Morris

I admit I’ve picked this purely because Carolyn Morris is the narrator, and I’m pleased to see her narrating historical romance again.  This is Lisa Berne’s début novel, and I admit that the premise is nothing new, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try. – Caz



The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy CambronThe Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

Narrated by Amy Rubinate

Kristy Cambron is an author I’m not familiar with, but I love books set in the Vaudeville era. The Illusionist’s Apprentice looks like it’s going to be right up my alley. Plus, Amy Rubinate is an accomplished narrator, so I’m assured of a positive listening experience. – Shannon



An Unseen Attraction by K.J CharlesAn Unseen Attraction by K.J Charles

Narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies

This actually came out at the end of February, but I couldn’t not list it, as K.J Charles is one of my favourite authors and anything new from her is worthy of mention!  This is the first in her new Sins of the Cities series set in Victorian London and which takes inspiration from the popular Sensation fiction of the day.  I’ve read the book and enjoyed it very much; there’s a well-plotted mystery to be solved and a lovely developing romance between an Anglo-Indian lodging house keeper and his next door neighbour, a preserver or taxidermist.  This is almost certainly the only book I’ve ever read in which the romantic interest is engaged in such an odd profession!  I enjoyed Matthew Lloyd Davies’ performances in the author’s Society of Gentlemen series and am glad he’s back on board for this new one. – Caz

Over the Line by Cindy GerardOver the Line by Cindy Gerard

Narrated by Alastair Haynesbridge

I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about a whole pile of Cindy Gerard titles being released on audio this month. I have HIGH HOPES!! – Kaetrin




Blush for Me by Kristen ProbyBlush for Me by Kristen Proby

Narrated by Sebastian York & Abby Craden

I loved Listen to Me and the blurb for Blush for Me sounds a bit like my catnip. – Kaetrin





The Night Mark by Tiffany ReiszThe Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt

I’m a huge fan of anything Tiffany Reisz creates, so her latest novel is an autobuy for me. I’ve listened to and enjoyed Teri Schnaubelt in the past, so I’m pretty sure this will be excellent on all fronts. – Shannon




Infini by Krista and Becca RitchieInfini by Becca and Krista Ritchie

Narrated by Bahni Turpin and Johnathan McClain

Amour Amour, the first book in the Aerial Ethereal series was one of my favorite stories of 2016, though I didn’t particularly like the narration.  For book two of this acrobatic circus-based romance series we have new narrators, so although I’m not familiar with them, I’m looking forward to listening to this. – BJ



Twist by Kylie ScottTwist by Kylie Scott

Narrated by Andi Arndt

I really enjoyed Dirty so I’m definitely looking forward to Twist. – Kaetrin





Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons

Tatiana and Alexander & The Summer Garden
The Summer Gardenby Paulina Simons

Narrated by James Langton

I’m so glad books two and three in The Bronze Horseman trilogy are being released in audio format. I’ve heard such great things about this series, and, now that the entire trilogy is available and narrated by the fabulous James Langton, I’m getting ready to set aside a large chunk of time to dive right in. – Shannon

Bedchamber Games by Tracy Anne WarrenBedchamber Games by Tracy Anne Warren

Narrated by Beverly A. Crick

This final book in the Rakes of Cavendish Square trilogy focuses on Lord Lawrence Byron, a respected barrister, who meets his match in the form of a formidable young woman who is forced to pose as a man in order to finish her late father’s caseloadAfter the disaster that was Happily Bedded Bliss, Tantor has very sensibly utilised the narrating talent of the always enjoyable Ms. Crick. – Caz



What are YOU looking forward to listening to over the next few weeks? Let us know in the comments!


Currently Playing for the Gals, 17th March 2017

Woman listening

It’s that time of the week when the Gals get together to natter about what we’re listening to, and get ideas from each other as to what we might be listening to next! Being nosey, we like to know what you’re all listening to as well, so stop by and tell us in the comments :)


Before Midnight by Jennifer Blackstream

Narrated by Matt Addis



Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

Narrated by Beverley A. Crick



Wild Kisses by Skye Jordan

Narrated by Tatiana Sokolov



Park Avenue Prince by Louise Bay

Narrated by Andi Arndt and Sebastian York



The Girl Before by J.P Delaney

Narrated by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams, and Lise Aagaard Knudsen

AudioGals earns commissions on purchases made through links to in this post.

Tell us in the comments what’s in YOUR ears this week!

An Unseen Attraction by K.J Charles

An Unseen Attraction by K.J CharlesNarrated by Matthew Lloyd-Davies

An Unseen Attraction is the first in K.J Charles’ new Sins of the Cities trilogy of historical romantic mysteries set in the late Victorian era. She has taken as her inspiration the pulp fiction of the day; the Victorian sensation novel as penned by authors such as Wilkie Collins, Sheridan le Fanu and Mary E. Braddon. As a big fan of that particular genre, I was rubbing my hands with glee whilst awaiting this first instalment, and am happy to report that the wait was well worth it.

English born, Anglo-Indian Clem Tallyfer keeps a respectable lodging house for skilled artisans in Clerkenwell, which was, even in Victorian times, an area of London where multiculturalism flourished. Read the rest of this entry »

Ruthless by Lexi Blake

Ruthless by Lexi BlakeNarration by Alexandra Shawnee

I had high hopes for Ruthless. The blurb had me enraptured. Being a big fan of twisty, romantic suspense titles, this revenge-based plot turned into love held much appeal for me. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed the underlying story of corporate espionage, the “ruthless” tactics for both taking over and taking back a company, and the suspense around a mysterious fourth person involved in the murder plot, I just didn’t feel the romance. In particular, I felt like it held too much of an insta-love feel for me. How a man, and later his brothers, who had lived their whole lives to seek their revenge for their parents’ death (and the takeover of their business), could do a 180 so quickly, and actually become the champions and protectors of their parents’ killers’ daughter, just didn’t convince me. Read the rest of this entry »

Tru Blue by Melissa Foster

Tru Blue by Melissa FosterNarrated by Paul Woodson

I decided I needed to listen to more male narrators than Alex Wyndham and Sebastian York so I deliberately looked for other narrators to try. I’d heard good things about Melissa Foster’s books so I thought I’d take Tru Blue out for a spin.

Truman Grit (yes, really) is a 28-year-old ex-con who’s been out of jail for six months. He’s a mechanic for the Whiskey family in Peaceful Harbor. His mother is a crack addict and he doesn’t know who his dad is. He’d been trying hard to take care of his younger brother, Quincy (his mum has a thing about US Presidents) who is nine years his junior. Read the rest of this entry »

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