Guests

You’re going to be on the show! Now what?

Here is the info about what the process will look like, what questions I’ll ask, tips on telling your story, and how to join the recording. 

First, let’s talk about what to expect. 

  • PLEASE use headphones or earbuds. We cannot guarantee your audio will record correctly if you do not use them. 
  • Please do not use Apple Airpods. They don’t sync correctly for some reason.
  • Find a comfortable chair to sit in. Not a squeaky chair! 
  • Your interview will be no longer than one hour
  • We will record online through Riverside.FM
  • You don’t need to create an account
  • You will not need to download any software
  • You just need Google Chrome AND headphones/earbuds
  • Also, some headphones/earbuds have a microphone on its cord. If you’re using this type of microphone, please pin the mic to your shirt so there aren’t any rustling sounds
  • The microphone on your laptop/computer is fine. If you have a fancier mic that’s great, but don’t worry about it.
  • Please have your camera turned on. I like to see you!
  • I only record audio, not video
  • We will send you a guest release form. Please sign it and send it back prior to your interview
  • Please also send us two photos/headshots of yourself that you love so we can use it on our website and social media!

But wait! What are you going to ask me?

I don’t have gotcha questions. I want to make sure you feel comfortable and ready to share your story. Tips on that in the next section! The following are general questions to help you prep. I think of them as prompts to get us going. Once we get started with some of these questions then I let the conversation go where it needs to (instead of rigidly asking questions).
 

Questions for Guests (remember to read the tips below!)

  • We start with basic questions. How do you identify? Pronouns? What do you do for a living? Where do you live? Have something to promote? Let’s talk about it!
  • After that, questions you can expect will generally be: describing the book and how you feel it saved you (the “saving” features). I may ask questions like: how did you find the book? What it felt like reading it the first time? What were those “life-saving” features of the book? Why were they so important to you? What do you feel was possible for you to do because of reading the book? How many times have you re-read it? What was possible, or new, for you to do in life after reading this book? What would have happened if you hadn’t read this book?
  • I’ll save time at the end for you to talk about any upcoming work you’d like to publicize.
  • Please have one or two questions you’d like to ask the author.

Questions for authors

  • We start with basic questions. How do you identify? Pronouns? What do you do for a living? Where do you live? Have something to promote? Let’s talk about it!
  • After that, I’ll ask you questions about writing the book. Who was your original target audience? Who did you hope would read it? Why did you choose the genre/form that you did? After you got started what kept you writing it, what kept you going? How do you feel you changed as you wrote the book? Looking back on it, if you could re-write it what would you change? What has been the reaction to your book? Is there a follow-up to your book? What advice would you have for folks writing the same themes as you?
  • Please have one or two questions for the guest.

Conversation

The episode concludes with a conversation between the guest, author, and myself. It organically grows out of the Q&A. So, if you have questions for anyone, jump in! If you want to respond to a point made, jump in!

Be ready to tell your story!

Again, the questions above are merely that. Questions. They are prompts to help you tell your story. The story of how you read this book that saved your life and how it changed you. Or, for authors, the story of how you wrote this book that has had saving features for its readers.

Tips on how to tell your story! What is the beginning, middle, and end? 

Think about the part of your life that this book saved for you. Or the part of your life driving you to write your book. Was it a bad relationship? Was it being in the closet? Was it navigating conflicting identities? Start your story there. Then think about what is a memory  or experience that really evokes or sums up that part of your life? Think about a conversation, or sexual encounter, or childhood experience, or flashback, or new relationship, or break-up, or favorite place (home school, club, bar), or a moment that had a lightning bolt of realization for you. 

Then, fast-forward to the book. When did you get it? How did you get it? Why did you read it? How did you read it? What came up for you while reading it? What saving features was the book giving you? What was new for you? What could you say or do because you read the book? What has your relationship been to the book since first reading it? For authors, what was that first spark that made you realize there was a book here? What was “working” that made you feel confident it was worth pursuing to the end? What got in the way of writing it? Themes? Form? Editors? How did you overcome it? What did you think about in terms of making this story public? Was it exciting? Nerve-wracking? Confidence? Why? Did you have reservations about family/friends reading it?  
 

What are the stakes? 

What is the main conflict in your story? For guests: a part of your life needed some saving or healing. Maybe the book you read saved you, or maybe it was part of a larger story that was saving you. What would have happened if you hadn’t read this book? What doors would have stayed closed? What things wouldn’t you have been able to say or do? What would have happened if you read the book five years, or ten years, later than you did?

For authors: your book needed to be written. What would have happened for/to you if you hadn’t written this book?
 

Stakes doesn’t mean having to be dramatic or “epic”

Don’t feel you have to embellish or be dramatic or that you need to have an epic story. I want to hear your story! YOUR story. Don’t try to compare yourself to others. Don’t think you have to have gone on a wild journey. 
 
I want to hear your particular story, because someone like you will be listening. They need to hear themselves represented too.
 
Please don’t rehearse your answers before we sit down to record. It’s ok to have some notes, but don’t write down specific answers and memorize them. We want it to be organic.
 
Also, I don’t like to interrupt guests, but if you start monologuing, I’ll probably jump in to keep the conversation going. On the flip side, if you’re giving short and brief answers, I’ll start probing and poking to get you to share more of your story.
 

Is this edited?

Yes. With our new “Season Infinity” starting September 2023, each episode will be a structured narrative like This American Life, or like a documentary. I will add in a soundtrack, outside audio clips that reinforce our conversation, and I will provide narration. As much as I can, I will edit out “ums.”

How to login to the interview?

 

  1. Open Chrome. If you don’t have it, please follow this link
  2. Click the Riverside.FM link that we emailed you. Or, paste that link into Chrome.
  3. If you see the following click Allow. Sometimes you may not see this and it is ok if you don’t.
Chrome: Allow microphone and camera

4. Scroll down. Type in your name.

5. Confirm and select that you are using headphones.

 

 

 

 

6. Confirm your camera is working in the preview window and that your microphone is selected. 

Riverside Login Example camera options

 

6. Click Join Studio. That’s it!