Scenario 1: You’re a writer whose first book is about to be published, and you’ve been inundated with requests for interviews. In the dim and distant days before blogs and online magazines, that meant someone calling you, or goodness, even coming to visit you in person and recording the interview on a little machine. These days, though, the approach is usually made through email, and unless it’s a piece for your local paper (and even then perhaps!) the interview will most likely be conducted in the same medium, and published online. It’s likely you will never meet the interviewer and so you have to impress and interest them purely through the written word. Well, that’s easy, isn’t it? You are a writer after all! And then you get that first interview-and you freeze. Talking too much—or not enough—revealing too much—or revealing too little—striking the right tone—treading a fine line between spontaneity and reflection—showing confidence but not being too pushy: so many things to think about, so much to get right (or wrong).
Scenario 2: You’re a writer, published or unpublished, and you have a blog. You’d love to find out more about the work of fellow writers, and what makes them tick. You come up with a great idea: interviews for your blog. You’ve got quite a few writing contacts already, so you can start with them. Compiling author interviews will be easy. You’re a writer, and a reader. You know just how it should go. Then you start compiling your first set of interview questions, and you panic. What if the author thinks the questions are too bland? Too pushy? Too gushing? Or too impersonal? Should you ask about their life outside of their work or leave that strictly alone? So many things to get right (or wrong)
Author interviews are a fact of the writing life. Whether as interviewee or as interviewer, every author will inevitably have to gain some experience of the art and craft of author interviews. So how do you go about getting that experience?