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An Interview with Barbara Barnett: The Journey From House Blogger to Published Author

In October of 2007, Blogcritics published a review of an episode of FOX's popular and critically acclaimed show House, M.D. by a new writer to the site named Barbara Barnett. The piece was insightful and articulate, clearly the work of a true fan who "got" the show and whose writing went way beyond recap. That review kicked off what quickly became one of BC's most popular features, "Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: House, M.D." In addition to an in-depth analysis of every episode, the feature has grown to include news stories, fun polls and quizzes to keep fans occupied during hiatus, and exclusive interviews with many of the movers and shakers behind the show.

Fast-forward a couple of years and Barbara's hard work and enthusiasm have been rewarded with a prize that is the realization of nearly every blogger's dream. In September 2010, ECW Press will publish Barbara's first book, a fan's guide to the show entitled Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. While we at BC are always happy when a blogger makes the leap to the printed page, we are especially thrilled when the blogger in question is one of our own (in addition to being a writer here, Barbara is also an editor in our TV/Film section). Since we've been fans of Barbara's right from the get-go and are proud to host "Welcome to the End of the Thought Process" at BC, we wanted to get the inside scoop on just how Barbara navigated the road from successful blogger to published author.

When asked how her obsession with House began, Barbara admitted that she's generally not much of a series watcher. "I usually get hooked on one show at a time (like once a decade)," she replied. "But when I get hooked, I'm pretty obsessed. Last decade it was The X-Files. I read a short write-up in EW early in 2005 about House. It looked interesting and I'm a sucker for English actors. So I tuned in. It was the episode 'Cursed' [from season one]. It was in the grand scheme of things only a mediocre episode, but something about the character of House immediately hooked me. I think it was that I saw something not articulated in House's overt demeanor, but nonetheless there."

Barbara watched the next episode and immediately became addicted to the show ("as House is to Vicodin," as she puts it). She got caught up with the episodes she missed, and ventured online to see if there was an active fan community (something she was familiar with from her days as an X-Files fan) and began to take part in lengthy discussions on fan forums. As her forum comments became lengthier and more involved, she eventually put up her own site on Livejournal where she posted in-depth reviews and developed a following. Several readers encouraged her to approach Blogcritics when writer Diane Kristine gave up her regular House feature, and that brings us to where we are today. Barbara says she's "completely stunned that the blog took off and that readers around the world read me. It's surreal."

Barbara has been writing pretty much her whole life and was first published at the age of nine in a Sunday school magazine called World Over. After studying microbiology and "languishing in a lab" for three years out of college, she says, "I realized that I really didn't want to be a microbiologist after all and landed a job as an associate editor on a food industry magazine. I had an amazing editor-in-chief who taught me how to write quickly and get it right (more or less) on the first draft. No computers back then: Selectric typewriters and five-layer copy paper packs. Since then, writing has always been a part of my professional profile."

About Lisa McKay

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/josh-hathaway Josh Hathaway

    Congratulations, Barbara. This really is an amazing journey and an inspiring one. You’ve worked hard to move your way through and I wish you nothing but the greatest of successes with it.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barmett

    Thanks Lisa for this wonderful piece. This adventure (for it truly is an adventure) would not even be possible without the nurturing home and support Blogcritics has given me these past couple of years.

    Josh–thanks so much!

  • tigerfeet

    Thanks for this! It was great to read some more about your background and journey Barbara. And I can safely say, even before I read Chasing Zebras, that I sincerely hope that your future plans include a book covering the remaining House seasons as well.

    Best of luck to you!

  • Jacquelyn

    Great interview, and it was wonderful reading about Barbara’s own long and varied journey that has led her to this point. I look forward to her reviews every week almost as much as I look forward to House itself, and I also look forward to the book. Congratulations!

  • andree

    Barbara, I read the entire article about you and was thrilled how things have turned out. Can’t wait to read “Chasing Zebras.” Keep up the great work.

  • Orange450

    Ha! What fun to see the roles reversed :) A great interview of a great subject. Barbara, you give every bit as good an interview as you get, and that’s saying something, indeed!

    Kudos on your momentous accomplishment. Enjoy all the well-deserved fame, recognition and respect that’s coming your way as a result of it.

  • Donna

    Lisa,

    I want to thank you for this enjoyable and fascinating article about Barbara. Her House blog is always the ‘must-read’ perfect compliment to each episode, never failing to enrich my viewing experience.

    My copy of Chasing Zebras has been long-ordered and can’t wait to read it. Congratulations Barbara!

  • http://blogcritics.org Lisa McKay

    I’m glad you’re all enjoying the piece, and thanks for the kind words. This was really fun to put together (and really, I think Barbara did all the hard work by answering the questions!) and we at BC are just so pleased at her success.

    Barbara’s a great example of how passion, hard work, and tenacity can sometimes come together in a perfect storm of opportunity.

  • sdemar

    Bravo, Barbara. I remember when I first started reading your posts over at a site that no longer exists. Look at how far you have come. Your success has been every bit earned by your hard work and dedication to a show that we all love so much. Congrats. I pre-ordered your book sometime ago and can’t wait to read it from cover to cover.

  • barbara barnett

    I am blushing and beaming all at the same time (no smilies on BC to show it). This endeavor has been surreal for most of the last nearly two years, and only in the last week or so has begun to feel even a little bit like a reality. Writing has been one of most constant things in my life ever since I can remember and it always creeps into every job I’ve ever had no matter how far afield I venture. That I can produce a book about my favorite television show is something that my wildest dreams could not have foretold. Thank you to all for your lovely comments and well wishes.

  • Sera G

    Thank you, Lisa!
    Barbara’s blog is a heavenly place for the House obsessed. She is a wonderful writer with keen insights into the show and characters. She also makes it a welcoming place for fans to share their ideas.
    Can’t wait for September; Season 7 and this great book.
    Kudos, Barbara!

  • DebbieJ

    Kudos to you Barbara! I can’t wait to read your book! Great article, Lisa. You had a wonderful subject :)

  • simona

    Thanks for interviewing my favorite House’s blogger :-)
    And congrats to Barbara. I can imagine that the publication of this book, that I’m sure you wrote with all the passion that usually you dedicate to [H]ouse, is a dream come true. I hope that it will be printed soon also here in Italy because I can’t wait.
    Good luck!

  • http://www.storytellingmovie.com George Rann

    Woo Hoo. What a phenomenal season finale. Gorgeous. Heartbreaking. And what an ending! Questions for the writers of tonight’s episode? I’ll be interviewing them tomorrow afternoon, so feel free to post your questions here.

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com/ Mary K. Williams

    Good stuff from both Lisa and Barbara – I’m real happy for your latest ventures Barbara