Westport author Jane Green pivots from books to podcasts with ‘Rainbow Girl’

In 27 years of writing novels, 18-time New York Times best-selling author Jane Green understands many readers today find making time to commit to a novel difficult.

“We are all so busy but I think that story is imperative. We have to have story in our lives,” she said. “That’s how we learn compassion, other people’s experiences, and how we learn to deal with other people and I am finding it so worrying how much less people are reading.” 

The Westport author is excited about the potential that fully acted and produced audio dramas have to deliver stories.

Westport author Jane Green said her podcast "Rainbow Girl" is set in the same world as her latest book  "Sister Stardust."

Westport author Jane Green said her podcast "Rainbow Girl" is set in the same world as her latest book  "Sister Stardust."

Courtesy of Jane Green

A non-fiction podcast devotee, Green has long lamented the lack of serial fiction podcasts so when an opportunity to write one came, she jumped at the chance. The result was “Rainbow Girl,” a six-episode scripted drama podcast, which recently dropped on podcast hosts like Apple, Spotify and Amazon.

She realized she could create stories that are fully immersive with a cast of actors and soundscaped. “You really drop into another world for the 25 minutes when you are driving to the grocery store and that’s what I have created with ‘Rainbow Girl,’” she said.

“We are all so busy, it’s really hard to find the time to even read a book or watch a television show but so many people, myself included, are listening to podcasts all the time,” she said. “We can listen to stories while we are multitasking.”

“Rainbow Girl” grew out of the world of her most recent novel, “Sister Stardust”, and similarly is inspired by true events. While researching “Sister Stardust,” she became fascinated reading the many crazy stories associated with the Rolling Stones. The two main characters of “Rainbow Girl” were inspired by Keith Richards and his wife, Anita Pallenberg.

The podcast tells the story of a super couple and their hedonistic lifestyle in the late 1970s: rocker Eddie Albright and his model wife, Lissy Ellery. It mixes rock and roll and glamor with too many affairs and drugs, leading up to one fateful night.

“Rainbow Girl” is set a decade later than “Sister Stardust,” but was a similarly crazy-fun time in American history, she explained. “It was still a time of experimentation and I had enormous fun researching this one as well,” she said. “With ‘Rainbow Girl,’ I decided that there were unfinished stories from ‘Sister Stardust.’”

Green said writing a podcast instead of a novel was challenging, pushing her to learn the art of script writing, which involved paying heed to audio cues and things novelists or short story writers don’t typically need to consider.

“Every episode has a script, which is performed. It’s a very different skill set because you have no access to thought or the interior voices,” she said. “Writing an audio script is even different from film and TV because you have no visual cues. The cast tends to be smaller so people don’t get confused and also you have to always bear in mind it’s set in a situation where there is natural sound so you always have sound attached.”

While Green is currently taking a hiatus from writing novels, she likely is not done with books. “Who knows what the future holds?” she quipped. For now, she is busy running Emerald Audio, which produced Rainbow Girl will release its next podcast, “The Key of Love”, in December by author Jenna Blum. The firm, which she and audio industry expert Spencer Brown founded together, has a mission of “telling exclusive scripted stories by combining two of the most intimate mediums: the written word and the power of audio.​” Their goal is to create connection and community through female-led storytelling with original content to be created by best-selling and renowned storytellers.

“I’m having a blast, I’m being more creative than I’ve been in years and having huge fun. I’ve been writing books for 27 years and it’s really lovely to be experimenting with something new,” she said. “It’s just so exciting getting to build something new at a stage in my life where I should probably be winding down but actually am gearing up.”