Author Interviews – a transactional process

I’ve recently been interviewed twice. The first was by Oaky for her ‘tell me about your book‘ podcast. The second was for Write On!

For written interviews such as the one I did for Write On! I was given the questions in written form. Write On! Magazine, first published in June 2019, is a quarterly magazine published by Pen to Print, encouraging writers to contribute and share skills so it should be no surprise that the questions were well thought out with a mix allowing for promotion of my work, something about inspiration and, space for discussion of process (isn’t it funny how as writers are all interested in each other’s writing process!).

For the telephone interview with Oaky (which you can hear at the highlighted link). I was just given a general invitation to ‘chat about’ my most recent novel Everyday Wendy. Oaky is in Texas and I am in the UK, so our first challenge was finding a good time to talk and I am afraid Oaky got the poor end of the bargain, having to start the interview very early in her day. She was so friendly and fortunately gave no indication that she minded her early start. I think we could have talked for hours. I am really happy with the interview.

A lot to think about….

It is a funny thing being interviewed and there is a lot to think about: Privacy for example—are we comfortable with personal disclosures relating to content, story drivers, or our even our location etc. Authenticity—are we presenting ourselves or some image of our authorly-self our friends would not recognise? Personally, I am finely tuned to spot inauthenticity, and it is guaranteed to put me off, so aiming for presenting authentically is important to me. What is the message or point—do I want to just sell my book or say something about why I think the story will have resonance for the reader? Of course, ‘making a great impression’ is important too. I guess most of us have pondered on these things for job interviews but author interviews are not so much about selling oneself as a great fit for a job role, as in selling a product—specifically ones’ book or books but it is critical to remember that is not all it is. Bear in mind the interviewer’s ‘job’ too—they might generously present the opportunity for authors to promote our work, but they have their own reasons to be interviewing in the first place — selling their product. Being interviewed is mutually transactional. If they are giving their time to help us, preparation to facilitate their interview process is just as important.

I’ve reflected on all these points since each interview—did I sufficiently think each through enough? Did I get the balance right? I think I probably wasn’t as concise as I could have been in the recorded interview. I might have given more attention to ‘sound bites’—short pithy potential headline take-aways to hook both reader or listener. Mostly though, what I learned is that interviews are fun. I hope enjoyment of the process came across in both these interviews and by the way, Write on! and ‘Tell me about your book’—thanks so much for the opportunity to be interviewed. I am grateful.