Every month we interview one of our hosts to learn about their backgrounds, projects, and passions. This month, we're saying hello to Alyssa Small, the sole Gryffindor of Secret Weapon Productions and resident bookworm on Wordstruck.
What drew you to podcasts, and what advantage do they have for you over other forms of media?
I never wanted to make podcasts. I didn’t even like listening to them. I blame all the news-heavy podcasts I tried at first. They just hit too close to work for me. The podcast that changed my mind was “Gilmore Guys.” It showed me podcasts can be finite and fun. I loved that I could listen to people enjoy each other and go on a journey with them. And that made me crave a journey of my own. I’m just glad I could talk Clark into it with me! As a busy person with multiple projects in progress, I enjoy podcasts today because I can listen to them on my way to work, while I cook and while I workout. I never imagined I’d be a person who chooses podcasts over music, but it appears I am!
“I loved that I could listen to people enjoy each other and go on a journey with them. And that made me crave a journey of my own.”
What are some things you’ve learned in your first few years of making podcasts?
I get rambly close to midnight, but hot tea helps. When I have no outline, it takes me forever to articulate what I actually think. My poker face (and poker voice) is atrocious. And just like I’ve matured since I first read Harry Potter, my taste and tolerance for simple storylines have changed.
What is your favorite episode from your podcast and why?
I love a lot of our early episodes, even though they are a bit of a mess to go back and listen to. My favorite recording experience remains our sorting hat episode. I just never saw that result coming! I love that we captured it on audio.
What is a non Harry Potter related book you hope to review on Wordstruck?
I would love to hand Clark the reigns and read something he loved (not Animorphs...I’m hoping for something a little more sophisticated than that). Perhaps Redwall, similarly to Clark’s experience with Harry Potter, Redwall was read to me during elementary school, but I remember very little of it. There was a clock scene, I think? I’d love to dive back in with Clark and see what he thinks of it today and rediscover the story with new eyes. I fear my predictions wouldn’t be as entertaining as Clark’s, though.
What are you working on outside of Secret Weapon Productions?
I’m about to start NaNoWriMo in November. I think I’m going to explore a mystery about a missing woman. There may or may not be a ghost, as well. I haven’t decided yet. In the more tangible world, I’m in the process of building a bathroom in my basement. Last week we replaced the old sump pump, and then laid pipe where before there was none and covered it with concrete! It was hard work, but satisfying.
What’s your favorite moment from your podcast?
There was that glorious moment in Season 2 when Clark focused so much on the dwarves dressed as Cupids delivering valentines and missed Ginny’s horrified reaction to her diary being discovered. I thought Clark would remember that moment and see Ginny’s relationship to the diary coming from a mile away. But I kept it together and bluffed him well enough without calling too much attention to it, and Ginny’s Suddenly Voldemort moment was that much more satisfying.
Any new audio projects in the works?
Honestly, audio isn’t my main medium. I’m way more comfortable when I don’t have to speak much. Outside of Wordstruck, I’m focusing on my noveling muscles.
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with another member of Secret Weapon Productions who would it be and why?
This may be obvious, but I pick Clark. He’s got some real foraging skills, loves all creatures great and small, is a similar level of introvert and being quite a bit of sunshine to every interaction. Plus, his love for modern conveniences would keep him motivated to find a way off the island rather than going full Robinson Crusoe when he befriends some lizard.
What is your favorite podcast not on SWP?
Shows I savor whenever there are new episodes include “Hello Internet,” “Lore,” “Dear Hank and John” and “Delete This.” The newest podcast I’m digging is NPR’s “Believed.” It’s horrifying, but so well told.