Weekend Wonderings

In June, I’ll be participating in the Summer Blog Blast Tour, organized by Colleen Mondor of Chasing Ray.  As I do my research on my assigned authors and prepare their questions, I think a lot about why we’re doing this.  Thus this week’s question:

How do readers benefit from author interviews?

Little Willow is a prolific author interviewer.  I always enjoy reading her interviews.  I also love the interviews at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  But I’m having trouble finding a way to explain exactly what I get out of these interviews.  Insight, of course, into the author’s process, but these interviews are always unique, asking new questions.  Everyone asks “Where do you get your ideas?” or “What advice do you have for aspiring authors?”  Little Willow asks questions like “As a reader, what is your favorite section of the bookstore?” while the ladies of 7-Imp ask “If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?”  These questions show me the author as reader, which makes the author a person to me.

So what do you think?  What do you get out of author interviews?

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  1. As you said, I like getting to know the author as a person and sharing their insights and quirks with readers. I like hearing the stories behind the stories and discovering that their books were inspired by real events and real people – a fifth grade teacher or the neighborhood dog or a younger sister – or that they just struck them out of the blue. I like finding out if their voices and speech patterns match those of their main characters and their narrators, and what made them pursue writing.

  2. interviews

    Well, I am in the middle of being part of a blog tour now for Ruth Mcnally Barshaw, and I also interviewed two other authors the previous two weeks. I am answering questions next week, myself.

    I like these things because I have a bit of the voyeur in me, as I think many of us do. I love seeing what other artists’ studios look like for that very same reason (that is my favorite of these sorts of things); it helps me understand how their minds work and what the creative process is like for them. It’s also why I enojy hearing the speakers at SCBWI New York; I hope I will get a little peek into how they do what they do.

    What is the purpose of this info? Well, maybe we can apply it to our own quests for success in our writing or artwork. When you see how someone else solves an “issue” or carves out a space within which to write or draw, you can have hope that you can, too, despite the odds.

    As for the questions–well, I think it is a fine line between putting too much of the “interviewer” into the questions, as opposed to the interview being about the “interviewee.” Catie Couric is an example of someone who was the absolute worst interviewer; she was always making sure she got her own views in before or during asking questions of guests, so that it was really all about Catie. She used to drive me crazy. So questions can be creative, but not too much so.

    Sometimes complex questions can inspire the more reticent person who is being interviewed. But even short, simple questions can be effective if the person involved is willing to share in an open and creative way. It helps if someone knows the interviewee a little bit, because the questions can coax out back-stories known to the person asking, that are worth knowing to the readers.

    Anyway, they are darn fun.

  3. Re: interviews

    Nice to meet you! I have been on the lookout for ELLIE and have it on my list of books to read. Say hello to your illustrated critters for me, especially the cats — and if you have any lively pets, include them as well! 🙂

  4. Re: interviews

    Whoa! Nice to meet you, too! And I feel like I just hit pay dirt discovering all the great interviews you have done–guess I’m a bit in the dark here in the blog world. But, loving interviews that way I do, now I’ll be having a great time. I especially have to read the Kirsten Buckley interview, being a Jersey Girl myself…

    My critters say Hello right back–especially my in-the-flesh French Bull dog, “Bitty.” She’s dumber than dirt, but I love her anyway.

    b. johansen newman

  5. I, for one, like to find out about the author’s writing process, esp. as someone who is not a fiction-writer and probably never will be one (nor do I necessarily want to be). It’s like marvelling at a painter’s process or anyone else in the arts. It’s fascinating to me; as the spectator in the gallery, insight into how they created what they did intrigues me.

    Thanks for the link!

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