By Natasha Anderson
Christy Alexander Hallberg, Leicester resident and author of the award-winning novel Searching for Jimmy Page (Livingston Press, 2021), now hosts Rock is Lit, the first and only podcast devoted to the rock novel. After appearing as a guest on several podcasts in promotion of her novel, Hallberg was approached by Pantheon Podcasts co-founder Peter Ferioli about launching her own in 2021.
“At first the idea was daunting, but then I thought, why not try it,” says Hallberg. “If it doesn’t work out, at the very least I’ll come away with some new skills and new contacts, so I jumped into the deep end of the pool and started dog paddling.”
The first episode, featuring Jeff Jackson, dropped on September 15, 2022, and since then, Hallberg has earned a reputation as a meticulous researcher and creative producer. Her format for each episode begins with an author interview about craft and the musical inspiration behind the work. Hallberg then brings in music experts to add real-world context to the bands or musical periods featured in the novels.
“I love researching authors and their novels for an episode, looking for that nugget of information about them and their work that most interviewers haven’t explored in their conversations with them,” says Hallberg.
The podcast’s growing roster of rock novels includes Dana Spiotta’s National Book Award-nominated Eat the Document; BIPOC author Chris L. Terry’s Black Card; John Wray’s metal-centric Gone to the Wolves; Jessamyn Violet’s YA LGBTQ debut Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar; Sarah Pinsker’s sci-fi Nebula Award-winning A Song For A New Day; Garth Risk Hallberg’s rock novel adapted to film City on Fire; Suzi Quatro’s celebrity rock The Hurricane and Lance Olsen’s fictionalized account of the life of David Bowie Always Crashing in the Same Car: A Novel After David Bowie.
“Christy had read the novel meticulously, thought about it deeply, and knew as much, cared as much, about Bowie’s music and complicated, conflicted personality as I did,” says Olsen.
Now in its third season, Rock is Lit has gained thousands of subscribers and earned accolades from listeners and guests. As fictional works with a rock theme, including the hit television show Daisy Jones & the Six, gain popularity, Rock is Lit is poised to gain an even larger subscribership.
“Until recently, the public tended to reject fictional rock ‘n’ roll stories, probably because the real ones were larger than life,” says Christian Swain, co-founder and CEO of Pantheon Media. “But that time is fading into industry myth, and myths tend to spark greater creative freedom to creators like Christy and other fictional rock ‘n’ roll authors.”
A member of Pantheon Podcasts, Rock is Lit is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple, Spotify, Pandora, Audible and Google. Learn more at ChristyAlexanderHallberg.com and on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube: @ChristyHallberg.