Talking with Tantor Audio

The Forbidden RoseJoanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady narrated by Kirsten Potter, the second entry to the Spymasters series, has been a romance audio favorite since its release by Penguin in 2010. In fact, it is such a favorite that Joanna Bourne was chosen as one of the winners of the Author’s Romance Backlist You Most Want to See in Audio category in the 2012 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll category over at AAR.

Now Tantor Audio is releasing the other three full-length books in the Spymasters series in audio format starting with Ms. Bourne’s The Forbidden Rose in April (today, April 30th), followed by My Lord and Spymaster in May and The Black Hawk in June.

We’re talking with Tantor about their commitment to romance audio. And to finish it all off, we’re tempting you with a sound clip of The Forbidden Rose. It’s not a sample you will hear elsewhere as we have chosen it specifically for today.

Talking with Tantor Audio – A Friend to the Romance Genre

My Lord and Spymaster lgWhen I think of Tantor, I’m filled with a sense of gratefulness for their dedication to the romance market. Tantor not only offers a large selection of quality romance releases each month but they are also open to requests from romance listeners. Time and time again, we have seen a wished-for title appear on Tantor’s Coming Soon list. Tantor is serious about romance audio and their large backlist of listeners’ favorites is proof of their commitment.

Lea: Can you give us a look into Tantor’s decision to produce these three entries to the Spymasters series in audio format? Did you all have a sense that these were books romance listeners were eager to see in audio format?

Tantor: In general, Romance is a genre that has been growing nicely on audio over the past few years, and since the first book in the series was published a few years back, we felt we could build on the popularity of that first book by publishing the next 4 books, including the frontlist ROGUE SPY coming in November.

Lea: We always wonder about the process of choosing the books you publish. Generally, how are the decisions made day in and day out?

Tantor: Without tipping our hand too much, I can say we use many factors in deciding which titles to acquire. Some factors may work for one genre but not necessarily another. The merits of each author and/or title are looked at very closely. The obvious things to look at are sales and writing quality. But, there is much more that goes into it.

Lea: Tantor has gained a reputation as being a publisher that pays attention to romance. We can always rely on a significant selection of quality romance titles each month. Can you tell us about your dedication to the romance market?

Tantor: Thanks to the many ardent listeners out there, Romance continues to be one of our strongest genres. We’ve been increasing the number of titles published – in paranormal, historical, contemporary, and other subcategories – and this growth will continue. We’re also dedicated to making sure fans can find the titles they are looking for in the formats they prefer.

Lea: You all pay attention to the narrators as well. Kirsten Potter narrated The Spymaster’s Lady and she is now narrating these three additional Bourne titles. Romance audio enthusiasts love seeing their favorite narrators performing even more romance titles. It’s like guaranteeing us a good listen. Who at Tantor makes the decision for narrators and what goes into their decision? Do they audition?

Tantor: Tantor employs a dedicated production/casting team. Their sole purpose is to match narration talent and titles, as well as produce audiobooks. Tantor works with over 130 narrators, many of whom are the top rated in the industry. Romance continues to be an important genre for us. We know listeners are passionate and we work hard to ensure each narration connects with the listener by conveying the sentiment, feeling and passion of the title. It’s also important to keep a narrator on a series wherever possible for continuity, familiarity with characterizations. We know it’s very important to listeners.

Lea: What about the new narrators? We discovered a good number of those narrators we now rely on for that all-important “good” listen (even a number of our favorites) through Tantor. How do you all choose this new talent?

The Black HawkTantor : Tantor has always been committed to developing new narration talent, which happens through an extensive search and audition process.  We are proactive in seeking out new talent locally and nationally. Tantor’s screening process requires a demo to determine narrator’s ability to characterize voices, i.e. male, female, old, and young characters, and various dialects. A celebrity, author or voice over artist doesn’t necessarily make a talented narrator. Our process ensures we find the talent we are looking for and what we think best reflects the authors’ voice. Our listeners judge our success and we’re proud of our track record.    

Lea: Is Tantor open to suggestions from romance audio enthusiasts for narrators of a particular book or series? And how is the best way to request a particular title from Tantor in the future?

Tantor: Tantor is always open to title and/or narrator suggestions. Simply put we want to license the best books and work with the best narrators. Suggestions for licensing can be sent to and for narration at

Lea: Does Tantor have any special plans or releases in the works you want to share with our listeners today?

Tantor: We were thrilled to be able to support “The Classics” Romance Audio infographic from Audiogals last year, and we’re looking forward to seeing the second in the series during “June Is Audiobook Month.” We have a whole host of great releases planned, including two new Nalini Singh titles, more from Jill Shalvis, and a new Jennifer Ashley. The best way to stay informed is to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for our HotList enewsletter on, and check out our companion sampler site

I encourage our listeners to take a look at Tantor’s large backlist of romance titles. From their paranormal and urban fantasy series such as Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels, Thea Harrison’s Elder Races, and Christine Warren’s Other to their contemporary and romantic suspense series such as Julie James FBI/US Attorney, Pamela Clare’s I-Team, Erin McCarthy Fast Track, and Jill Shalvis’ Animal Attraction to just a few of their historical romance series including Jennifer Ashley’s Highland Pleasure (Mackenzie), Pamela Clare’s MacKinnon’s Rangers, Anne Stuart’s House of Rohan, and Loretta Chase’s Dressmaker series, I imagine you will find a listen to fit your tastes.


A Sound Clip from The Forbidden Rose

Proof that the Kirsten Potter we recall from The Spymaster’s Lady is back as strong as ever with The Forbidden Rose.



Our thanks to Tantor Audio for joining us today and sponsoring our giveaway.


Lea Hensley


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