#AudioTour “Menopause to Matrimony” by Shelly Hickman

Author: Shelly Hickman

Narrator: Jazmine Ramay

Series: Fortytude, Book Two

Length: 5 hours 30 minutes

Publisher: Shelly Hickman

Released: June 10, 2020

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Although this is a sequel, it may be heard as a stand-alone novel.

The sequel to Vegas to Varanasi catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age?

First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing?

Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry.

Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily-ever-after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change”.

I’m a Las Vegas native who received both my Bachelor’s degree in Art and Masters degree in Elementary Education from UNLV. Pre-pandemic, I spent my days teaching computer science to middle schoolers. When we shifted to remote instruction, it was an adventure I don’t care to revisit. My hope is that it won’t still be necessary when school starts in the Fall. I celebrated my 30-year anniversary with my husband in June and we have two grown children. Though I’ve written five novels, my reading preference is usually nonfiction. Watching anything comedic is one of my favorite pastimes. (Netflix’s new series Space Force is my latest love. Check it out.) Oh, and I love musicals! Early this year, I started a YouTube channel that focuses on life topics for women over forty, but I haven’t decided if I’m any good at it.

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Narrator Bio

Jazmine Ramay is a working actor based out of Los Angeles. She currently spends most of her career in the Voice over world but also loves to sing-starting her own Jazz band and exploring opera and musical theatre. A graduate of PCPA (Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts) and the Cabaret Conference at YALE, her credits include Cory (Barefoot in the Park), Penelope (Penelopiad), Jenny (Distracted), and the 2nd Wyrd Sister (Macbeth). Jazmine has worked in Theatre, Film and Television and has had appearances in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill . She was in the original cast of B Street Theatre’s hit production of Bars and Measures. Her all time favourite role was Gwendolyn in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. As a voiceover actor she works full-time and commits to making more great projects in the years to come.

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Narrator Interview banner

Q & A with Narrator Jazmine Ramay

When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?

As an actress I have always known that Voiceover and Voiceover related

professions were my strength. Although I love, theater, television and film;

Voiceover acting has always been my passion.

How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?

It was never my focus in the VO world but I did put myself out there for auditions and platforms that gave me the opportunity to work with authors.

Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?

Audiobook narration is another platform In the VO world and like all acting positions the opportunities are very scarce and very difficult to obtain because the amount of actors and non-actors taking the positions is vast.

A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?

I do think it is essential to be a proper actor for the position. The technical aspects of producing is essential and voiceover acting is a position that requires inflection and understanding of how to convey story the voiceover actors are trained to do.

What type of training have you undergone?

Extensive training in Voiceover with top voiceover artists across the country in various fields including, technical, narration, looping, promos, animation, video games and the like.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?

I break it down in small chewable segments that my voice can endure and process editing in chunks as well.

Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

When it’s a good voice, it can captivate the story in such a way that will bring the story alive. Some books I like to read, others I like to listen to.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?

My favorite part is discovering the characters and the verbal cues of the narration. My least favorite part is the editing. I think I’m really good at it, but it takes longer than I would like it to.

What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?

I think I can approach the tone of the piece well.

Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?

I think It’s more a matter of what I would like to narrate versus what I think I’m right for. I pick projects to apply for that I would enjoy doing. I am a comedian by nature, so comedy makes me happy, but I’ve dived into the world of Self-Help, dramas and meditation as well.

Who are your “accent inspirations”?

I actually base my modalities on what the Author is looking for. It’s more of producing content that the Author prefers.

What types of things are harmful to your voice?

Overuse

Not warming up

Screaming

Talking too loudly in loud places like clubs and bars.

Things that cause stress

Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?

No, but I get compliments on my voice quality quite a bit.

If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?

Yes, Absolutely yes! There are too many places to list but I would love to go back to Hollywood in the 30’s or 40’s or mid-19th century to try to get one of the salons in Paris to listen to Chopin play. There are too many places I would go!

Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?

This is a hard one. I think it actually depends on the book. There are certain books I would love to record which have probably already been recorded.

If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?

My favorite book from my youth is a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court.

What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

I would say that both options are equally beneficial. The difference between how the information comes to you is the real question. Reading is so vital and I pick my favorites to dive into but if I want information or feel like I wouldn’t really spend the time to read that particular book but want to listen to it, I absolutely will listen to the book on tape. I think it’s why I love podcasts so much. But ultimately, If the voice doesn’t have a good quality or has too many catch breaths during production, I won’t be able to listen to it.

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