This interview was originally published on Emma's Detail Shop https://www.emmasdetailshop.com/interview-with-donna-barrow-green
Thank you, Donna for taking some time out of your busy schedule to interview with us. We really appreciate it! First, I know you have quite a few books under your alias, Rose Gluck. Are you still writing under Rose, or have you decided to start writing under your real name of Donna?
I still write under the pen name Rose Gluck. I maintain my wattpad page. https://www.wattpad.com/user/rosegluckwriter and my medium account https://medium.com/invisible-illness/its-not-biopolar-it-s-something-else-45aba9a83016. I frequently publish as Rose Gluck on several medium publications including Invisible Illness. I tend to use Rose Gluck accounts for draft versions and more personal essays – things I’m not ready to put out into the world under my real name for one reason or another. I will likely keep using the pen name but will migrate most of my work to Donna Barrow-Green as it becomes more polished and finalized.
I’ve read your bio and I’m quite impressed! You hold a doctorate in education and you are a researcher and teach college courses in psychology, special education, and infant mental health. Would you say this path has helped you in your writing?
Yes definitely. I am very interested in under-represented populations. My academic research focuses on the ways people are viewed by society and how it impacts their life experiences. I am a strong believer in the social construction of mental illness and disability. I have done quite a lot of research into the history women and the mental health system. Many of my books deals with women and injustice played out under the guise of psychiatric “care.” Really the old institutions, theories on mental illness, and social mores were oppressive mechanisms that destroyed so many women’s lives. At one time it was entirely possible to lock a woman away and throw away the key. So I study the same dynamics that oppress people today for disabilities, mental health, substance abuse, etc. It is equally unbelievable how these power dynamics repeat themselves.
I’ve read Exuberance is Beauty and left a 5-star review on Amazon way back in 2015 (time flies!). I wrote that it was “Hauntingly Beautiful” and I remember it was a great psychological thriller. Is this your favorite genre to write?
For some reason for the last 10 years I have been “stuck” in the 40s and 50s! I was laughing the other day because I have been thinking about a new novel in the magical realism genre set in the 1970s. Without realizing it I said, “I need to get out of the past!” I forget sometimes that the 1970s was 50 years ago! Overall, I like historical contexts though because social issues can be explored with enough distance to have impact without preaching. It lends itself to psychological thriller because it truly is terrifying to imagine being in certain historical scenarios. I have spent so much time reading old case studies, police reports, newspaper articles, and the like. It’s like discovering a buried artifact. Telling these stories makes me feel as if I’m doing a little something to settle the score for a poor forgotten soul. All of my novels, short stories, and memoirs are available free on wattled.
Now, on to the fun stuff – your podcast! How in the world does an author decide to turn to trying a podcast?
I can honestly say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into! I felt as if The Diarist would make a compelling fiction podcast and for a year worked with my co-producers Beth Ricketson and Ryan Bowen. We started out with a cheap microphone and snuck into meeting rooms in a church next door to my house and began recording. However, most of our sessions ended up being long conversations where we became good friends. We joked that we should just record making the podcast as the podcast. However, both Beth and Ryan are talented actors and as we began recording I realized that I needed to take the script from half audiobook to an entirely scripted podcast. So that meant taking each chapter of the book and turning it into monologues and dialogues. I tend to be an ambitious and impulsive person and jump into creative ideas without fully thinking it through. Unusually it works out and in the case of The Diarist it did. We now have 7 professional actors, good recording equipment, a 400 page script, a social media campaign, and a sound engineer. I have considered writing my experience down in a series of essays to help others navigate the process. I love the collaborative process. I’ve never written anything while simultaneously producing it. The actors help me see the direction of the plot and I think in a lot of ways influence it. It’s been amazing!!! I have two other scripts ready to go and have considered if this one takes off to turn my series of novels into a longer multi-season podcast.
How did you come up with the story, The Diarist?
The Diarist started out as an idea from a great writer/ wattpad friend Chad Thumann. He is a novelist and screenwriter and has been a huge supporter of my writing. He read my series of 5 novels and when he finished the last one Intentional Fallacy I told him I was thinking of turning it into a script. He suggested I take it further, more a noir psychological thriller. I started adapting the original novel Intentional Fallacy and then from that The Diarist emerged as a separate story. It is very different from Intentional Fallacy and has become unique from the original plot. I originally wrote it as a novel but as I mentioned earlier it morphed into a script that is now the podcast! As my co-director and I met last week I looked down at the 400 page script and said “what have we gotten ourselves into?”
Tell us what it’s about. And how you hired the actors, etc. How does it feel to be a co-director of a podcast? It sounds so exciting!
I knew actors here in Portland from local staged readings from my plays. I contacted Beth and told her about the story. She was very interested and came on board as co-director / lead actor. She is a member of a theater group called Playback Theater and she recruited some of their members for various roles. I also found actors through local networks. I was SO lucky to get such talented, naturalistic actors. As for directing, I play a minimal role. Mostly I talk to the actors about the story and the back story. At first I hadn’t finished the book and so my co-producer/ lead male actor Ryan didn’t know if he had actually killed his wife or faked it!!! It is really exciting and fun.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to try doing their own podcast?
Listen to podcasts and take advantage of the many online resources to help you get started. As I conveyed, there is a steep learning curve but it’s a fun and exciting project and the rewards are pretty immediate. Unlike breaking into book publishing or having a fully staged production of a script, podcasting is cheap and easy to get into. There are some things to know though. One resource I’ve used is The Podcast Host. The site offers a series of chapters on podcasting, with all the information you need to get started. https://www.thepodcasthost.com/planning/how-to-start-a-podcast/
**Please check out our fundraising Patreon page. We really need support to keep The Diarist going and to bring more new fiction to the podcast world!!! Subscriptions and memberships to our patreon campaign allow patrons access to early releases, scripts, book chapters, and more! Even a chance to cameo on one of the upcoming podcasts. If you love great fiction and podcast please help us fund this amazing project: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=9302225
Here are Donna’s Social Links: Website | Facebook | Wattpad | Medium | Wordpress
Thank you again Donna for spending some time with us. We wish you well in your future endeavors!