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."