Janine Granda gives love its true voice
When my friend, professor Frank Chindamo, prompted me to create the audiobook version of I Choose Love: A Journey from Fear to Love, I hoped I’d capture the interest of a wonderful lady narrator, but I didn’t quite dream that I’d get so lucky to have the voice of love itself narrating my book. Janine Granda’s reading of the epilogue, “The Purifying Water,” literally gave me the goosebumps. Loving, optimistic, talented beyond measure, playful and feminine, a pet lover and a huge Star Wars fan, Janine Granda pours her beautiful heart and warm soul into everything she does.
A.G. Billig: What prompted you to become an audiobooks narrator and what do you like most about it?
Janine Granda: Growing up and going to school, I was always that child that when a teacher asked the class as to who would like to read a passage aloud, would shoot up my arm as quickly as I possibly could. I loved reading and loved reading to my classmates. I should have probably figured out back then that there might be something to that, but it never really occurred to me that you could make a living doing it.
As I grew older, I graduated with a degree in Theatre and had become interested in voice-over due to my love of animation and video games. I had researched how to get started and began to follow actors who had been successful in the voice over industry and happened to listen in on an audiobook workshop that was being held online. I thought I’d give some of the tidbits I learned from the workshop a try to get my foot in the door and actually booked my very first audition. It wasn’t for just any book though, it was for a four-part series! I guess that’s when I realized that being an audiobook narrator really could be in the cards for me. I just love going on the journey, growing with the characters and learning from them. It helps me escape just as reading does and as an actor, really fuels my creativity and expression.
A.G. Billig: What kind of books speaks to you as an artist and narrator?
Janine Granda: I love self-help books. I am always looking for inspiration and techniques on how to better myself and my craft. Acting can be a very disheartening and unforgiving profession at times and books that share knowledge on how I can be easier, kinder, and more forgiving to myself are incredibly appreciated. I truly believe with all my heart that by being kinder and more loving to ourselves, the more we can share that kindness and love with others as well. I also really love science fiction and fantasy. I am definitely a huge fan of the Songs of Ice and Fireseries – while, yes it can be particularly violent, the world George R. R. Martin built is so meticulous and carefully crafted. It sucks me right in.
A.G. Billig: You’ve completed more than ten audiobooks so far. Which are your favorite three?
Janine Granda: I believe at the time of this interview I’ve completed nearly 15 audiobooks (woot woot!) and it is incredibly difficult for me to choose because I really have enjoyed my experience with each of them. If I absolutely had to make a choice then it may be “I Choose Love” (and I promise on my dog’s life that I am not just saying that – I adore my dog so I really mean it), “Polly: The Mystery of Bonney’s Canyon”, and “Colorblind”. “Polly” was a Western Action-Adventure that was based on the story of the author’s great grandmother and her experience on the move west via the Oregon Trail. She was one amazing and strong woman! The hardship she went through would have been a lot for any one to handle but she never lost her hope, determination, and grace. “Colorblind” is also a favorite of mine as I really enjoyed the science-fiction/paranormal aspect of it but at the root of it, it was a young love story.
A.G. Billig: What made you decide to narrate I Choose Love?
Janine Granda: I chose “I Choose Love” for a few different reasons. Yes, the number of sales and reviews were strong and I definitely got a sense of passion for the work based on the comments and notes however, I think it was the script that sold me. The passage was from the chapter “The Purifying Water” and I felt as though the imagery was so strong and beautiful – this image of a woman who literally and figuratively stripped away what was no longer needed in that moment and just bathed in the ocean. I am Cuban-American and we have a very strong connection to the ocean. It is in our blood we would say. We can’t be too far from it because it nourishes us so, in reading that passage, I really saw myself and what (ideally) I would always want to feel – that sense of freedom and hope and love. Reading it aloud before pressing record also came so naturally to me. The script was easy which is a great indication for me that there was definitely a strong personal connection.
A.G. Billig: What did like most about the book and narrating it?
Janine Granda: I really enjoyed how relatable the stories were. You could tell that A.G. really wrote the book with so much love. I also especially enjoyed the exercises and voicing those. There a few which were essentially meditations so, I wanted to give the listener a sense of calm and safety to explore the exercise by slowing my pace. I imagined A.G. just holding the reader’s hand and guiding them and that is what I wanted to accomplish with my voice.
Oh, and A.G. loves Yoda which is super awesome as I’m a huge Star Wars fan myself.
A.G. Billig: Any particular message or idea that stayed with you?
Janine Granda: Goodness, where to start… there were so many exercises that I had tried for myself and so much knowledge that will stay with me. In fact, soon after I finished “I Choose Love” I signed up for my first Reiki session as A.G. had discussed it several times in the book. The experience was incredibly loving and at one point I even got teary-eyed as the Reiki practitioner worked on some of my energy blocks. Food. I think of food differently now as well after having read the chapter, Step Four: Connect with Nature. I had wanted to eat healthier but reading about Ayurveda and how we should do our best to get the six taste groups into our meals each day was a whole ‘nother level. I could probably go on and on.
A.G. Billig: What’s your next big project?
Janine Granda: The big projects I want to really focus on are me: finishing up my voice over website, JanineGrandaVO.com, and finally start my podcast. I’ve had an idea for a podcast for a few years now and it’s high-time to get the ball rolling on it.
If enjoyed the excerpt from the audio book version of my book, I Choose Love: A Journey from Fear to Love, you can get your copy here.
If you are an author, you may be interested in finding more about audiobooks production from Janine Granda herself.