Pamela Clare is now officially an audio author and let me tell you, we’re excited about it! Today marks Tantor Audio’s release of Extreme Exposure, the first entry in the I-Team series, with the next four scheduled by year-end. And, of course, we must celebrate such an auspicious event by talking with Pamela and narrator Kaleo Griffith. And, of course, by giving away audiobooks!
Courtesy of Tantor Audio and AudioGals, we’re giving away two sets of the first three books in the I-Team series upon their release. And you have your choice of Audible downloads or MP3 CDs! That’s Extreme Exposure, Hard Evidence, and Unlawful Contact times two.
It’s simple – just enter by midnight (CST) Thursday, November 1st. You will find the easy entry form at the bottom of this page – no comments are necessary. We’ll contact you the following morning so watch your emails as we must have acknowledgement of your win within 24 hours. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll select another winner. Due to audio geographical restrictions, the giveaway is limited to those living in the U.S. or Canada. You may only enter once.
The Audio Clip
If you have been hanging around AudioGals, you know we’ve been enthusiastically talking about Tantor’s selection of narrator Kaleo Griffith since the day of their announcement. We’ve been waiting and waiting to hear a sound sample and were thrilled when we actually heard it late last week. Now it’s time to share with you!
Talking with Pamela Clare
Lea: Welcome to AudioGals Pamela! We’re so pleased to have you with us today.
Pamela: Thanks for having me! It’s a real thrill.
Lea: I recently discovered that you listen to audiobooks. What convinced you to give audiobooks a try and how long have you been listening?
Pamela: Yes! I love audiobooks. I discovered audiobooks when I was trying to find a way to keep my two young sons from fighting in car while on a long road trip to see my parents. I bought the cassette tape version of the first Harry Potter book — and it was absolute magic. The boys listened and were silent the entire trip. It’s the first time I’ve ever made the six-hour drive over the mountains and arrived at my parents’ house without wanting to pull my hair out. In fact, as we drove into my parents’ driveway, the boys asked me if we could keep driving. They were so caught up in the story. After that, we listened to audiobooks regularly — the entire Harry Potter series, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and so on. I bought a few for myself, starting with Nora Roberts’s Carolina Moon, which I love. Cleaning house goes faster when you’re listening to a good book.
Lea: What is your preferred genre for listening? Any favorites you can share with us?
Pamela: All of the ones I just listed. Jim Dale was amazing in the Harry Potter series. I think he does something like 185 different voices. Unbelievable. I had the pleasure of interviewing him when I was still working as a journalist, and he did a little tape of Dobby and Hagrid talking to my kids by name. That was a thrill for them and for me. Carolina Moon, A Christmas Carol by Dickens, and Lord of the Rings are probably my favorites, in addition to good old Harry.
Lea: In the Speaking of Audiobooks Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll in both 2011 and 2012, you were one of the top winners in the Romance Author’s Backlist You Most Want to See in Audio category. While we were wishing away for your books in audio format, can you give us a glimpse into what was going on behind the scenes? Were you even aware of the process?
Pamela: That is so fantastic to hear! I had no idea I’d placed high in the poll until you told me this. I didn’t even know about the poll. I’ve wanted to see the books in audiobook format for ages, and it’s intensely gratifying finally to see this happening. In general, I’m oblivious to what’s going on with my books until I get an email informing me of a sale. There have even been times when I’ve gotten copies of foreign translations of my books in the mail without knowing that the book was published in that language. But in this case, the audiobook company contacted me directly wanting to know who held the copyright to the series. I directed them to Penguin. So I knew something was brewing, and I kept my fingers crossed. A lot of readers were apparently keeping their fingers crossed with me. And see? It worked!
Lea: There was quite a furor among romance audio fans when we heard the news that Tantor planned to release the I-Team series. What was your reaction to the news?
Pamela: I was elated when I learned that Tantor Audio had bought the audio rights to the series — completely over the moon. I think I even squealed and jumped up and down.
Lea: I know you have talked with Kaleo Griffith, narrator of the I-Team series. Can you share with us some highlights of your discussions?
Pamela: Kaleo and I have talked on the phone and exchanged some emails. At first I had some questions. I wanted to make certain he’d be comfortable with the subject matter — narrating the exploits of Mr. Jiggle Stick, for example. He reassured me that he was completely comfortable with that. I was relieved. Right now, we’re going book by book discussing each story as he prepares to record them. He’s interested in my thoughts about the characters and the stories, so we talk about where the stories came from, where the characters came from, what I see as essential aspects of their personalities or their motivations. He is very sincere in his desire to bring these books to life for readers and says it’s helpful to have my voice in his mind when he goes into the studio. And of course, I’m very excited to share with him everything I can, including the personal experiences behind the stories. (I was an investigative reporter for 20 years.)
For me it’s been interesting to hear his observations about the books and the writing and to hear what goes into recording an audiobook. I’m amazed by the talent it takes to do different voices and to act out a love story using only one’s voice. Every time we talk, I hang up feeling so relieved that Kaleo is narrating the series. He brings a great sensitivity to the stories, and that is so important! And, of course, he has an incredible voice.
Lea: Both you and I just heard a sample of Kaleo’s narration of Extreme Exposure. I must ask! What are your thoughts?
Pamela: Well, I squealed like an insane person when I got the clip. I listened to it immediately together with a friend — we’re buddy writing today — and I loved it! I love Kaleo’s voice (and so did my friend). I really love the way he respects the words as he speaks them. My tool is the word; his is his voice and all that goes with it — inflection, tone, timing. I really felt like I was listening to Kara and her thoughts. And it was fun because it felt like the book was more than just my manuscript now. I could listen as a reader, not as the writer, if that makes any sense. So now I’m absolutely dying to get my copy — I pre-ordered — and to hear the whole thing. And I want to give Kaleo a huge hug.
Lea: After hearing that clip, I’m even more enthused!
With Extreme Exposure’s audio release today, let’s talk about its plot and characters. Can you provide us with an overview?
Pamela: Extreme Exposure tells the story of Kara McMillan, a successful investigative reporter and columnist who is struggling to balance her life as a single mother with her job. Although Kara is leery of getting involved with a man, she meets sexy Reece Sheridan, an idealistic, young state senator, and the two of them hit it off, both in and out of bed. When her investigation into a polluting cement plant heats up, it appears that Reece may be involved in a government cover-up. And then things really get dangerous — for both of them.
Lea: Tantor has scheduled the first five in the I-Team series for release over the next two months. The fifth, Breaking Point, will be released on 12/31/12 (that will start off the year’s listening in fine style). I’m sure listeners would love to hear a synopsis of the series. Will you help us out with that?
Pamela: Yes, thanks. I would be delighted! A elite team of investigative reporters fight to stay true to their professional ethics at an embattled independent newspaper while putting their lives on the line to report the facts — and finding love along the way. These are high-passion, high-stakes romantic suspense stories. The characters reappear from book to book so that readers are able to keep up with past couples and their lives. The alpha-male heroes — mostly ex-military or law enforcement — gradually become friends through the series, and their relationships with one another and the shit they give one another are a highlight of the series.
Lea: I see the sixth entry to the I-Team entry, Striking Distance, is scheduled for May 2013. Can you give us a preview? Do you know if it will be released in audio format?
Pamela: Striking Distance will be released in audiobook format at the same time the book is released in print, so there won’t be a wait — or not much of one — when the book comes out on May 7. This is the first story in the series where I introduce a heroine who hasn’t already been part of the I-Team. Laura Nilsson is a former broadcast reporter who joins the I-Team two years after being rescued from 18 months of living hell in an Al Qaeda compound. When Javier Corbray, the Navy SEAL who rescued her, enters her life again, she is forced to face her past so that she can heal and move on. But the deeper she digs into the reasons for her abduction and captivity, the deeper into danger she and Javier fall. But, you know, if I were going to be in mortal danger, there is no one I’d want beside me more than a SEAL with 14 years of combat experience. And if we ended up in bed together…
Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
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.
Lea: Although I’m a fan of both your romantic suspense and historical romance titles, I must say that your MacKinnon’s Rangers series is at the top of my keeper list for historical series. In fact, Iain MacKinnon from Surrender is my number one favorite hero on my bio page over at All About Romance. Needless to say, my hopes are high that your historicals will be released in audio format as well. What are your thoughts on those possibilities?
Pamela: I am thrilled to hear that. Hurray for Iain! I’m so glad you enjoyed the MacKinnon’s Rangers series. It is so very dear to my heart. A lot of readers don’t know this, but I started out writing only historicals. My degree is in archaeology, so the research is something I really enjoy. I love the drama and the danger that surrounded the French & Indian War and find it such a perfect setting for larger-than-life Scottish heroes. Researching and writing those books has been so fascinating for me. I certainly hope the stories will be available in audiobook format one day. We can cross our fingers together, I guess. It worked once, so I’ll be daring and say that it will work again. As the Clan MacKinnon motto says, “Audentes Fortuna Iuvat” — Fortune Assists the Daring.
Lea: Just this week, I sent a formal “wish” to Tantor asking for the MacKinnon’s Rangers series in audio. Who knows?! We’ll definitely be keeping your historicals on our Gal’s Wish List. In the meantime, we’re celebrating the release of the I-Team series big time!
Thanks for joining us today at AudioGals. Now it’s time to listen!
Pamela: Thanks for having me here. It’s been a blast!
Although I have yet to hear Kaleo Griffith narrate an entire romance audio, the Extreme Exposure audio clip I heard late last week and the clips of TV performances, other audio narrations, and even a trailer for his feature film coming in summer of 2013, have me convinced he’ll be a male narrator romance fans can trust to deliver a delectable romance. Kaleo is set to record Pamela’s entire I-Team series so you better believe we’ll be following him closely.
Carrie will pen our official review of Extreme Exposure – expect to see it next week. In the meantime, I’m including a comment Brenda made to me two days ago about Kaleo’s narration, “I am now 7 1/2 hours into the book and all I can say is ‘Holy Shizzie! We have another blow them out of the water winner here!'”
Lea: Welcome to AudioGals Kaleo! As I’m sure you know by now, romance audio fans are excited about Tantor’s choice of you as narrator of the I-Team series. Did all the attention come as a surprise to you? What was your reaction?
Kaleo: Thanks AudioGals, it’s a pleasure to do this with you! Yes, it did come as a surprise and I’m very flattered. My reaction was …wow! Then I thought to myself that Pamela Clare must be pretty good. Then I started reading…now, after having read and recorded Extreme Exposure I understand why readers are so passionate about her material and why I have become such a great fan myself. Clare’s characters are understandable, relatable, and despite their fears and foibles, want desperately what we all covet – love. Having said that, the material is a joy to work with and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
Lea: Can you give us a look into your acting background? How long have you been narrating audiobooks and what influenced your decision to begin audio narration?
Kaleo: Sure, I’ve been acting since I was 15. I was pretty shy as a kid but “with a reassuring nudge from Mom” I seemed to flourish on the stage. Once I played the Indian in Little Mary Sunshine, that was it. It had me at “hello.” Well, in that case “Me Chief Brown Bear!” My love of the arts and outdoors brought me to Franklin Pierce University in NH where I got a lot of stage time, earned an Irene Ryan nomination for Best Actor, and eventually a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Next up was American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, then Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts in NJ where I earned my MFA in Acting. I also studied classically in London for 6 months. I was truly a glutton for study punishment. Ian McKellan once said to me to learn as much as you can, and do. Upon graduation from Rutgers I had a recurring role on One Life To Live and a few other soaps. Then I traveled quite a bit doing lots of theatre around the country. I once appeared fully nude on stage with Richard Chamberlain playing his lover. That was interesting. Some TV work in NYC including Law & Order. A hosting job on HGTV brought me out to L.A. where I currently reside. I’m grateful for all of my experiences and consider myself fortunate to be living my dream life! I’m especially grateful for the steady support my incredible family has given me since I was a boy.
I’ve only been narrating for a year. The brilliant narrator Rosalyn Landor heard me at a commercial voice over audition. We started talking and she said “you should do this.” And, of course, she was right! I owe it all to her. Thanks Rosalyn!
Lea: Our thanks goes out to Rosalyn as well! I checked out one of your HGTV episodes on YouTube today as well as a few of the videos over at your IMBD page. I think many of our listeners will want to do the same.
Can you walk us through your preparation for the series in general and in particular the first in the series, Extreme Exposure?
Kaleo: Sure. For me I get a feel for the whole story so I don’t make snap decisions about characters or their voices until I’m finished reading a book. Then I go back and write down all the characters on a spreadsheet and give notes and thoughts. I’ll reexamine the writing in certain spots, but most of the time I get a good sense of who a character is and what I want him/her to sound like. Sometimes the author gives instructions right there on the page. What I learned right away in Extreme Exposure is that Clare’s style is off the cuff and very real. It was sometimes wry and sardonic, sometimes upbeat, sometime very seductive, and that influences how I do the telling. Kara & Reece, as the two main characters, also had to have a definitive presence.
Lea: I know you have a backlist of audio titles and most look to be related to business. Now that you are recording the I-Team series, what are the differences you see in recording Romantic Suspense compared to your earlier audiobook titles?
Kaleo: Actually, only about 15 % of the titles I’ve done have been non-fiction. Some material, including a couple of big sci-fi series, should be out soon. It’s only been a year but I’m approaching 30 titles. Most of the titles I’ve done have been in the adventure sci-fi genre. The biggest difference has been this – I had to stop a couple of times during the recording of Clare’s material because I was too emotionally involved. My voice was quivering and it didn’t sound quite right. That’s a first.
Lea: Now that paints a picture that will only draw more potential romance listeners to the series.
What are some of your upcoming projects either audiobook narration or other acting project?
Kaleo: I’m playing the lead in a terrific feature film. It’s a western called Six Gun Savior that also features Eric Roberts. I believe it will be coming out in Summer 2013. Forthcoming audiobooks are… more Pamela Clare!! Yes! Then a mystery series “The Gabe Treloar series”. A gritty crime drama series.
Again, thank you for having me!
Lea: We’re expecting many hours of good listening. Our many thanks to you for talking with us today!
To learn more about Kaleo and his work, take a look at his AudioGals Narrator Page.
I-Team Series Release Schedule
Extreme Exposure – 10/29/12
Hard Evidence – 11/19/12
Unlawful Contact – 11/26/12
Naked Edge – 12/17/12
Breaking Point – 12/31/12
Striking Distance – May, 2013
Your Entry for the Giveaway
It’s time to enter for your chance to win one of two sets of the first three I-Team series books in your choice of digital downloads or MP3 CDs.
THE CONTEST HAS ENDED
Happy I-Team listening!