Monday, April 21, 2014

Kame Interviews Kaleo Griffith (Narrator of the I-Team Series)!

Today's post is a little different. Kaleo Griffith is not an author, but he is the narrator for Pamela Clare's I-Team series, which Kame loves. I hope you enjoy this interview!


Griffith-- born in Lubbock, Texas and raised in the Hawaiian Islands--has been been performing since the age of 15. Griffith graduated cum laude from Franklin Pierce University with a B.A. in Theatre, holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He has also lived, and trained classically in the United Kingdom through Roger Williams University.

Griffith's voice work encompasses many TV/ Radio commercial campaigns and audiobooks. Griffith was just honored by The Library Journal and AudioFile Magazine for BEST AUDIO OF 2013
in Karen Russel's (Pulitzer Prize finalist) Vampire's In The Lemon Grove (for which Griffith  also won an "EARPHONE")

Where to Find Kaleo:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | IMDB
Find all of Kaleo's Audiobooks HERE

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Kame: Hi Everyone!
One of the fantastic things about being a Guest Reviewer is I read great books and I get to talk about them.  As you all know I am a HUGE Pamela Clare I-Team fan, read them all and anxiously awaiting the ones yet to be written; but the I-Team opened me up to the world of Audio books.  (Thank you Pat and Colleen!) I have learned not all audio books are equal and to me it all comes down to the narrator – and I must say Pamela Clare has the best narrator in the business; Kaleo Griffith, and today he is here at TBQ's Book Palace!

Hi Kaleo – thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule.

Kaleo: It’s my pleasure Kame. Thank you for having me at TBQ and what an introduction! Wow, Thank you!

Kame: Not everyone here at TBQ may be acquainted with your entire body of work – you do so much more than narrate audio books – can you share with us some past and future projects?

Kaleo: Sure-On TV you may have seen me in Law & Order , SVU,  As The  World Turns, One Life To Live, & a couple of other daytime dramas; I was a host on HGTV for a couple of seasons;  and I’ve performed in quite a few plays across the country in places like Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Repertory Theatre, and California Shakespeare Theatre. And of course I love voicework and do various commercial, narration, and video-game projects. We recently wrapped the feature film &  Sci-fi/Western  Six Gun Savior with Eric Roberts.  Had a terrific time on that one-- Upcoming is a History Channel project called Bible Rules where I play Emperor Constantine The Great --and another Audiobook series? Stay tuned!

K: I haven’t “watched” any of your work; it’s on my To Do list though. Do you prepare differently for a narration than you do a character in a movie or stage production?

Kaleo: Well, there are subtle differences in the way the mediums translate to an audience and so I adjust to that. However, by and large I prepare a character in a book, on TV, on screen, or on the stage exactly the same.  Because they are all still people - and that never changes. Character work is the best part of doing what I do. It’s where discovery happens and that’s exciting, especially when it surprises you.

K: Narrating audio books was not your first career, how did you come to narrate books and what was your first book?

Kaleo: I met Audie winner Rosalyn Landor at a commercial voice-over audition and we just hit it off. At the time audiobooks was not on my radar. She told me how fantastic the industry was and put me in touch with the world class team of  Deyan Audio  with Debra & Bob Deyan. From there, they recommended me to the fantastic folks at Random House Audio .  
My first audiobook was a big one:  Arrows of the Night.   Written by five-time Emmy Award Winner & producer of 60 Minutes, Richard Bonin. “The definitive account of what Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi did to manipulate the U.S. government into invading Iraq with his ultimate hope of being placed in power.”  It was a bit intimidating for a first book, however, very exciting.  Getting to know our government up close and personal, the inner workings of how relationships work and don’t work in Washington was fascinating. Bringing to life real people like former President George Bush and Colin Powell was quite a thrill! Not to mention the story itself was incendiary.

K: I have to say you have ruined me for other audio book narrators. I have XM Radio and when they had the book channel I would listen to books as I drove around town and most narrators could not keep my attention. Your voice and your continuity with characters sucks me in. I can’t listen while I am driving anymore – I get too involved and once almost drove through a red light at a busy intersection.

Kaleo: Oh jeez!  Sorry about that!  --- Yeah, I think there should be a disclaimer on audiobooks... Listen With Caution!   Yes, they can be very distracting.  

K: Lucky for me I didn’t cause an accident. Has narrating books changed your reading habits? Are you a reader?  

Kaleo: Yeah, love that reading thing. Some sort of literary fiction has consumed me since I was a boy. And narration hasn’t changed my reading habits that much. I’d say I probably read more now. Whether it’s an audiobook I’m working on, The NY Times, or the next adventure novel, I seem to have some sort of narrative running...

K: Do you like narrating any genre more than another?  

Kaleo: I love working on great stories! To me, the genre makes no difference. One day it might be in fiction, another day in non-fiction. In fiction I get to play with characters, which I love. But in non-fiction there is a world of learning that can take place and fundamentally change the way I think (this happened in a terrific book  I worked on called Why Do They Act That Way? )

K: Is there a genre you would not agree to narrate?

Kaleo: I would not do Erotica. Also, I try to avoid material with certain kinds of violence.

K: Do you have a book you would LOVE to narrate (already made into audio or not)?

Kaleo: I would love to tell the story of George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman. I’ve done the play on stage and know it well. That would be extraordinary.

K: I know she is young, but after you read a story book to your daughter she will be disappointed when someone who can’t portray all characters differently reads to her.  I personally think you should tackle the children’s market. The list of books in my head I would love to hear you read is huge!

Kaleo: Ha! Thank you!  Oh yeah?! Which ones? Name them and I’ll tell my publishers!  I would love to do more children’s work. Having a child has changed how I see EVERYTHING!

K: I think you would be incredible with the Sandra Boynton books (which I think are already on audio – but I think your daughter would love Pajama Time read by Daddy); Doreen Cronin’s “Click Clack Moo” series; Hollie Hobbie’s “Toot & Puddle” series, and I have a special place in my heart for Tomie de Paola (writer and illustrator) - I think you would love his artistry and his wonderful stories. There are more but these were some of my twin’s favorites.

Kaleo: Those sound fantastic. I don’t know all of them. Now I have to go and listen!

K: I know some people were very envious of me when I got my review copy of Striking Distance; it just about killed me to keep my mouth shut about the book before it was released.  That book’s audio book was released the same day – which means you read it before it was released too!  I for one was sitting on pins and needles that day waiting for my friends to finish – were you anxious about the release?

Kaleo: Sure. It’s a book in the latter part of a series and people have expectations so you just hope that people enjoy it as much as they have the others. And the listeners have been terrific.  Fortunately, Pamela’s writing was so good that I had a lot to work with.

K: I must admit I do own the audio to Striking Distance but I haven’t been able to listen to it, as the book left me emotionally spent and I am not sure I am ready to listen to your narration.

Kaleo: I agree. Striking Distance is a powerful story. Listening will happen when you’re ready for it. 

Now Pamela Clare also writes historicals and I have read Surrender and listened to the audio book. I love the I-Team but I am floored by your work for the MacKinnon’s Ranger Series. All those voices and accents, did the MacKinnon’s take longer than the I-Team?

Kaleo: Thank you- Yes it did. Though accents come fairly easy for me there was a lot more research in MacKinnon’s Rangers that I had to do and all around that series took longer. But it was quite enjoyable!

K: I have always wondered – how do you keep all the voices straight and how do you keep them consistent between books – because Julian in Book 2 – Hard Evidence is the same Julian in Book 5 Breaking Point.

Kaleo: Well, first of all, I’m glad I got it right!  Yes, it can get tricky. I have an audio sample of every new character that I do so I can bring him/her up for a listen when required. Even still, when you are doing a scene with many people in a room… hmm, maybe it’s like rubbing your belly , patting your head, and juggling with bowling pins.

K: I myself would LOVE to see Naked Edge made into a movie. If you could pick any of the I-Team books to make into a movie which would it be?

Kaleo: Funny, you mention Naked Edge. That would be my choice too. The scenery would be brilliant. And I am a lover of the outdoors.

K: Gabe is one of my favorite I-Team heroes even before I listen to the audiobook but you brought so much to his character I fell in love with him more when I listened. 

I would even be happy with an I-Team television series; do you have an I-Team hero you would want to portray?  

Kaleo: So glad you liked it. I love Gabe. --That would be fun. Probably Marc, Gabe, or Julian.

K: Okay many of us I-Team fans have secondary characters we would love to see a book or novella written about, who do you hope Pamela writes a novella or full length book about?

Kaleo: Javier and/or Holly.

Kame: Kaleo, this has been beyond fun!  Before we close TBQ has questions she likes to ask all our guests in closing – so here are some speed round questions for you…


A day at the beach OR a day hiking/biking?
Even though I grew up on the beach in Hawaii I have to say hiking & biking in the mountains!

Hot summer days OR cold winter nights?
Cold winter nights.

LOL! Somehow I don’t think you mean the cold TBQ and I are used to in our regions – cold in CA is a nice fall day to us!
Ok, COOL winter nights.  Like those!

Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness?

If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be?
Here. Now. With my family.

Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?

Quick—name the one food that you cannot live without?

And finally, tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself:

I’m right handed & wear my watch on my right hand.
I eat peanut butter almost every night before bed.
I dream of flying often/flying an ultralight trike.

Kame: Thank you so much Kaleo – I know you are so busy with all your projects and your adorable baby daughter!  We enjoyed having you here at TBQ's Book Palace!

Kaleo: It’s such a pleasure Kame.  Thank you for having me here!  

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Striking Distance by Pamela Clare [Narrated by Kaleo Griffith]
Publisher: Berkley (November 5, 2013) 

Series: I-Team, 6

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Her past is a secret—even to her.
Discovering it will be the most dangerous move of her life.

TV reporter Laura Nilsson, known as the "Baghdad Babe," spent eighteen months in an Al Qaeda compound after being kidnapped live on the air. Two years later, she's still wondering why.

No rescue mission in Javier Corbray's fourteen years as a Navy SEAL affected him the way Laura's rescue did. No woman has stirred his protective instincts the way she has. And he wants her more than he's ever wanted anyone.

As Laura and Javier's passion ignites, so does Laura's need to discover the mystery of her past. Especially when she learns that her abduction was not random—and that she's still a target for a killer with an impenetrable motive. Now Javier will have to rely on his skills to keep the woman he loves from being struck down before she dares uncover the truth.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Clare's Previous Novels:

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Thanks for the great interview today, Kame, and thank you so much Kaleo for stopping by today! I've only recently started buying audiobooks, for listening to while working out, so I'll definitely have to start the I-Team series soon. :D

Have you listened to Kaleo's audiobooks, or have seen him acting? Do you listen to audiobooks and if so do you have a favorite narrator? 

Remember, Kame interviewed Pamela Clare last year -- you can revisit that interview HERE.


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Pat Egan Fordyce said...

Great interview Kame!! Love the I-Team audio books!

Colleen Isolde said...

Awesome interview Kame! OMG, Kaleo, I am also right handed and wear my watch on my right wrist. I did it because I was trying to teach myself to be ambidextrous as a child (didn't work) and just could not get used to the watch on my left wrist.

And Kaleo, I could totally see you as Zach (Go TEAM ZACH!!!!). Kame and TBQ, you know I couldn't comment without my team Zach cheer. LOL!

Great interview and insight into the narration process. :)

Kame said...

Thank you Pat

Kame said...

Thanks Colleen!

Ann Lorz said...

Nice interview!

Isabelle Werneck said...

Great interview. I love the series, but have never got any of the books on audio. Maybe I will try one of them out. :)

The_Book_Queen said...

You'll have to let us know what you think! :)