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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Be Interviewed, and Be an Excellent Interviewee.

by Louise Wise

I've been asked why I have stopped interviewing authors. I haven't, I just charge now. The reason being is because my time was being taken up by a few authors who refused to play ball!

Basically, interviewing them was like sieving water from rock, and when I realised my time could be better spent writing I thought they could either pay me or go and have their egos fluffed up by some other sucker.

The amount of interviews that haven't been published to my blog is amazing, all because an author thought they were too grand to answer interview questions. The interviewees already on my blog, I must add, have been mostly fantastic. Some are now friends. 

One author (who shall remain anonymous) was short to the point of rude in her answers. I'm not a professional interviewer, neither are we on Piers Morgan Life Stories and the research I do for an author isn't, I admit, huge. I write an introduction for them and make a selection of questions based on their books, in return I expect the answers to be more than two syllable words and not as if they're being interviewed under sufferance!

ME: Tell us a little about your book *Too Good to be Interviewed?
Author: It's fiction.
Me (in a private email): Er, yes. But this is chance for you to give your personal slant on the book.
Me (interview question): Tell us a little about your book Too Good to be Interviewed?
Author: It's a fiction book.
Me: And your main character Troy, is he someone you'd like to meet?
Author: No, I'd not like to meet him because he is a figment of my imagination.
Me: Can we have a snippet of the book?
Author: All information can be found on my blog www.snootyauthor.com

Needless to say I didn't proceed with that interview. Another time I managed to bag, in my eyes, a successful author. Excitedly I made a list of questions I wanted to ask him; starting with a few conversation starters (or so I thought).

Me: *Am So Up Myself was written in the first person, wasn't it? How did you find that after writing so many books in the third person?
Author: I never wrote a book by that title. Get your facts right!

(I researched more and found out that the book was called "I" Am So Up Myself. My mistake. But researching my error cost me time, which obviously the bruised ego of the bristling author flourished beneath. I apologised by email, and then re-asked the question. The reply? If you'd researched me properly you'd know the answer! Aghhh! 
*Not real titles

I carried on with the interview, but it was never published because the answers were short to the point of rude, and I'm not that desperate to have authors on my blog if they all have that attitude!

Anyone remember Meg Ryan on Parky? Lord knows what she expected... red carpet? Fanfare? Now we all remember her for being snooty and abrupt instead of a fine actress.

Interviews are two-way. Be kind to your host, and they will respond in kind.

Author Justine Larbalestier blogged about interview etiquette, which tells the side of the interviewee and makes for interesting reading. link to How to Interview An Author is also informative.

My favourite interviewees on Wise Words were Dr Rod Griffiths because he didn't mind me asking questions that weren't relevant to his book, Lloyd Kaneko because we  went totally off topic to discuss politics; it's sometimes nice to just chat and get to know the person, rather than the author, behind the book. Laura Vosika and Ann Swinfen because I became fascinated with their books and bought them. And friends I have made include Allan Mayer, Patti Hultstrand,Lynn North and Marc Nash to name just a few. Glyn Pope's interview brought some odd comments, Mary Tabor the most traffic - think it was the title, which proves that sex sells! And Leela Soma for not being shy in revealing all her writing tactics in her interview. 


  1. I am absolutely gobsmacked that some authors behave like this. I suppose an established author who probably 'made it' pre-blogosphere days could just not grasp the increasing importance of this info-sphere, but authors still trying to get a foothold on the ladder? Barmy. makes no sense whatsoever to me.

    Thank you for all your efforts done for no reward other than the mutuality between you and interviewee.

    Marc Nash

  2. I was shocked the first time it happened too. But a few stroppy authors later I thought, I really don't need this!

    You live and learn.

  3. I'd have just published them and make them look cretins...!


  4. I didn't know authors behaved like this. I've been lucky then with the few I've interviewed, though some are better than others.

  5. James, I've felt like it believe me! What stopped me was that it might look bad for the blog.

    Myne, Maybe I've been unlucky. Mind you, in more ways than one, I've been lucky because I've met some wonderful people through my interviews.

  6. This seems strange to me. As a fledgling author trying to use any medium available, I can't see why a writer wouldn't be glad to answer your questions fully. You're right when you say that they aren't worth your time! :o)

  7. Hi Louise. That comment from one of your authors saying they wouldn't want to meet one of their characters because the character was fictional is bl***y hilarious!

    Oh dear. All I can say is that, as one of your interviewees, I really enjoyed the experience, the publicity and the chance to talk about my book. As I'm sure most people do. I suppose you get idiots in any profession!

  8. Entertaining post, Louise. I'm amazed these people agreed to be interviewed at all. But there's nowt as queer as folk, as they say.

  9. How lovely to be mentioned again on your terrific blog. I want you to know that I thought your interview of me was terrific. And I think "love" sells! You are a love.

  10. How lovely to be mentioned again on your terrific blog. I think your interview of me was fab. And I think "love" sells. You are a love.

  11. How lovely to be mentioned again on your terrific blog. I think your interview of me was fab. And I think "love" sells. You are a love.

  12. @The Staff Wielder - there are *very* arrogant people in the world. They write a book and think they are a cut above the rest.

    @Rosalie - thanks. Idiots yes, in all walks of life unfortunately.

    @Sandra - too true. Well done on getting an agent btw. Only found out the other day. Good on you!

    @Henry - aw thanks. You're so sweet.

  13. Bummer! That's just insane. Glad that you've run across some fun, non-obnoxious authors, though.

  14. Howdy! I've just stumbled across this blog for the first time and this post has ensured that I will become a follower! Hilarious!

    I wish you'd named and shamed though. It'd serve them right and maybe it would have taught them a thing or two!

  15. Hi Su and Scattered, thanks for your comments.
    I did think about naming and shaming but didn't want the agro that'd surely follow. I think by *not* publishing their interview is enough.