Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interview: Suzanne Gardner co-author of Don't Stop Believin' The Unofficial Guide to Glee

To celebration the season premiere of Glee Season 2 tonight I have one of the co-authors of Don't Stop Believin' The Unofficial Guide to Glee, Suzanne Gardner here today to talk a bit about what else but Glee! You can also get all the latest Glee info on her blog Gleeks United!

1. What attracted you to the tv show Glee? And the idea of blogging about it and eventually turning it into a book?

For me, the show had the perfect mix of comedy and drama and the most uncanny ability to pick the most perfect song, nine times out of ten. Glee really speaks to the underdog in everyone, and I found that even though I'm several years out of high school by now (let's not count how many exactly...!), I could still really relate to these characters, even if I was never actually in a glee club myself. I really fell for the show immediately, and since I've always been a writer, it was natural for me to decide to start a blog since I had free time on my hands and thought I might as well combine my love for the show with my love for writing. The book came along as a progression from there – a friend of mine was writing a book about True Blood for my future publisher, ECW Press, and one day she point blank asked me when I was planned on pitching my book! It didn't take much to convince me, and fairly soon after I made my pitch, I had a book contract in my hands! Trust me, this was not anywhere near to a typical experience for a first-time author!

2. What is it about Glee that get people SO excited?

I think it's the kind of show that people really do relate to – like I said above, it speaks to the underdog in everyone. I mean, even the jocks and cheerleaders like Finn and Quinn have a vulnerable underdog side to them! And I think because fans so easily connect with the show, it in turn becomes very influential and inspiring to them. I've read so many articles about glee clubs that have started in high schools because of Glee. This show truly encourages kids to be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do, to the extent that these kids have gone and applied these lessons to their real lives, and that blows my mind. Glee gets people excited because they relate to it, they understand it, and, on top of all that, it has the most catchy soundtrack ever. How can you not get excited about that?

3. You wrote Don't Stop Believin' with Erin Balser, the author of gleedork.com. What was it like to write with another person?

Writing with another person is both strange and awesome, all at the same time. For someone like me who has been writing for many years, for newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc., it was very weird at first to divvy up work and write only half of it yourself. On the other hand, it was also fantastic to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to, well, share the crazy huge workload. We wrote this book in a very short timeline (all of the writing was done in about 5 months), so having someone to share that with was extremely helpful.

4. Don't Stop Believin' is extremely comprehensive – how on earth did you compile all of this information?

Thank you! We both read one HELL of a lot of interviews with the cast and crew, I can tell you that! Seriously, we both know too many random facts now. But its comments like yours that make us know it was all worthwhile. In our very first review, from a diehard gleek, he said that there were some facts in our book that even he didn't know! That's a sign that we've earned our Rachel Berry-gold stars, I think!

5. What was the hardest part of the book to write, your favorite part?

I think for me the hardest part was also my favourite! I wrote all of the analysis/commentary that kicks off each episode, and although I sometimes found it very challenging to remain analytical and to not recap the episode too heavily, it was incredibly rewarding when I got to get into some great character commentary, because I find all of these characters so interesting and love talking about the finer, subtler points of the show, rather than focusing too heavily on the very strong themes Ryan Murphy and co. often like to shove down our throats.

6. You interview a lot of the actors and actresses from the show and also fans of the show, how difficult was it to get in contact with everyone?

Getting in contact with cast members was a tough gig, as you can probably tell since we weren't able to score very many regular cast members (the biggest name we got was Heather Morris, which was a pretty sweet score, but she was only able to talk to us via email). Several times we received an initial positive reply from an actor's publicist, only to have the interview fall through later because FOX put the brakes on. It was a bit frustrating at times, but we're happy with the interviews we did get to do, because we chatted with several guest stars who we think still played a big part in shaping their particular episodes! We also really enjoyed interviewing fans of the show, because that's a perspective that I don't think we hear from enough. Glee's fans and their hardcore dedication to the show have been hugely instrumental into making the show the success that it is, and I think having their perspectives, both positive and sometimes a little bit critical, adds a really interesting element to the book that I haven't seen in other Glee-related books.

7. What are your predictions for Season 2 of Glee?

Ah, I'm not a big prediction girl, to be honest! Never been that good at that. I'm really interested to see Quinn post-pregnancy though. I've heard that she's going to be fighting Santana to be queen bee again, and that's something I'm looking forward to. I hope that Quinn's last year at the bottom of the heap really changes things for her, and maybe makes it hard for her to be the tough bitch she needs to be to reclaim her crown. Quinn's definitely not the same girl she was at the beginning of the show. I'm also looking forward to seeing Rachel and Finn's relationship play out and if they can really sustain a relationship for an extended period of time – especially when the bomb inevitably drops that they both lied about the sex they did or didn't have in "The Power of Madonna." Other than that, I'm just predicting another awesome year full of great songs, great laughs, and great drama!


  1. I can't wait for Glee tonight! Great interview. I have to get my hands on this book. I love anything Glee!

  2. Wow I can't believe they wrote this on five months! I can't wait to read this or watch Glee tonight!


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