Monday, January 14, 2013

The Interview


Nothing so animates writing as someone telling what he thinks or what he does-in his own words.”

William Zinsser

Need ideas for an article or blog post? 

How about an interview? Interviews offer treasures galore. It's like getting information from a primary source, which is always a good thing. Readers want solid, interesting info to broaden their horizons, and an interview can help do this.

Everyone has a story to tell. As the interviewer, our job is to draw that story to the surface. Consider what information the interviewee has to offer your readers.

      Consider these tips:

      An interview can be conducted in person, by phone or live chat, or via email. Be clear of your intent, whether the interview will appear on a blog, online, or in print. Gain appropriate permission for quotes and pictures.

            Assemble thought provoking questions and comments. “Tell us about your book” is great, but aim for questions that generate sparkling content, and those that get more than a yes or no answer. What would you like to know about this person? What would your readers like to know? Go with the flow too; interesting tidbits might surface that could be worth pursuing. Ask if the interviewee minds a follow up question or two by email.

      Don’t forget, lively quotes and anecdotes add personality, so sprinkle them in where appropriate. In addition to questions about their work, books, or current projects, ask fun and random ones, like about favorite foods or quirky hobbies or habits, or ask them to share little known and surprising facts about themselves. 

      Put an interesting spin on the interview. For example, author Susan J. Reinhardt featured a blog interview series with two writers. She took answers to their questions and incorporated them into a virtual lunch date for them and herself. It’s a clever angle combining facts and an imaginary scenario for an entertaining feature.   

      Don’t forget to include the person’s contact information or links and picture.

I believe Mr. Zinsser is right; an interview can give life to facts or events. What do you think?

In other news... 

Congratulations to Susan J. Reinhardt, who gained an agent and book contract all in one week! Her novel will be released in ebook form late February or early March. She will, of course, be stopping by to see us here.

Effective today, I will be posting once a week instead of twice. This was a tough decision, but I need to adjust my schedule to accommodate projects and more writing time. I will occasionally post more frequently (reviews, special announcements, etc.) and may return to posting twice weekly in the future. Will keep you posted. :)
Have you ever featured an interview on your blog? What tips do you have to share? What questions would you ask fellow writers? 

Happy writing,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange


  1. Karen as long as you don't disappear for good, we'll be happy. Great news about Susan.

  2. In the past few months, I've been hosting more writers. I love finding out little tidbits of their life that we don't normally know. I love to ask about their characters...

    Great news about Susan! I saw it on FB!

  3. Linda,
    Thanks - not planning on disappearing! Just need to ease my schedule somewhere and this just had to be it for now. I know, so excited for Susan! :)

    I know it - me too! :)

    It's fun to host writers, isn't it? Have plans to interview several so far this year. Susan's news is encouraging, isn't it? :)

    Happy writing,

  4. Yes, I've hosted writers, but I tend to prefer that they provide the questions about their books - then they are then able to draw the reader's attention to what is important.

  5. Actually I've done interviews but never featured one on my blog. I always ask for guest posts.
    And if once a week is best for you, go for it.

  6. Interviews are fun, I agree.

    Happy Dancing with Susan, too.

    I've thought about once a week; I'd have to get over my guilt first.

    Love you!

  7. Carole,
    That's a good point, and I need to remember this as I prepare for some upcoming interviews. Thanks a bunch! :)

    Guest posts are great too, you know? They're all a good way to get to know other writers. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

    I know, still smiling over her exciting news! Working through the guilt about the blog as we speak. Have to trust that it'll work out. And I may go back to the way it was. We'll see, :)


  8. I have not done interviews on my blog, but I did several for my church newsletter. They were human interest stories. I enjoyed it.

  9. Great news about Susan! And thanks for the interview tips!

  10. Good luck with your interviews and joining my followers.


  11. Nancy,
    I like hearing stories like that too. Also hearing how writers get from point A to B can be encouraging. :)

    I know! A hearty congrats to Susan is the topic for the day! :)

    Thanks so much. Good to see you back in the blogging world! Missed seeing you. :)


  12. In response to your questions at the end: I've actually conducted interviews of myself so that the readers can get to know me outside of just my writing. We keep the questions simple and allow commenters to ask questions as well. My advice is to ask the unexpected. It's more fun that way. :-)

  13. I did interviews every week for a few months last year, but in the end, I decided to let the reviews happen more organically. It's worked out okay that way. :)

  14. Thanks for sharing this Karen. I actually decided to have more interviews on my blog, so I have one scheduled for the end of this month. I will be interviewing Cecelia Lester (Following my King blog)
    I always enjoy interviews.

  15. Hi Karen .. interviews suit some blogs - and Susan's idea seems a great thought ...

    That's great she's represented etc ..

    Have a fun year - and once a week can definitely be enough posting .. I'll stick to my twice or so - but erratic I expect I'll remain!!

    Cheers Hilary

  16. Hi Karen,

    Great tips! I love doing interviews with authors. One author had so much to say, we turned it into a mini-seminar.

    Thanks for the links and the congrats. I'm looking forwarding to sharing more with you and your readers.

    Susan :)

  17. Congratulations, Susan!

    I like reading interviews too, especially when the questions seem original and fresh. The sad thing about blogging interviews that I've found is only other authors/writers read my posts. I don't think I have one regular reader. Even my family is selective on which ones they read.

  18. what a great idea on what to write about, i like it alot! :)

  19. Lady M,
    I think that's a good idea! I know writers who do that with their characters too, to get to know them better. Great to meet you, and thanks for jumping in and sharing your thoughts. :)

    Glad you found something that worked for you. Always something good going on at your blog. :)

    Looking forward to that one with Cecelia. It'll be good to get to know her better!

    Yes, I thought Susan's idea a good one! Wishing you a great year as well. Erratic posting is better than no posting, I'm thinking. :)

    So happy for her too! :)

    You are the woman of the hour, I'm thinking! :) Looking forward to having you visit too.

    Well perhaps we should campaign for readers to jump into the mix? You make a good point, will have to give it some thought. :)

    Thanks for coming over and weighing in! Appreciate your thoughts. :)

    Happy writing,

  20. I have yet to do any interviews for my blog yet but these are great tips for when I do!

  21. I recently posted an interview with a 92 year old woman on my blog. It generated some great comments. Thanks for the tips, Karen. Love Susan's idea, too.

  22. I've done a few interviews, and I think the toughest part is coming up with good questions. I've been trying to keep good questions from other interviews I read in a file so I can find them the next time I do one.

    I'll miss your more frequent posts, but I understand the reason. I've been feeling a bit swamped lately, but I don't think I'll slow down on blogging until summer or late spring.

    Best wishes on your writing!!!


  23. Great tips for conducting an interview, Karen. I love reading interviews with authors, but I've found that I'm not a very good journalist when it comes to doing the interviewing!

    I wish you the best with your writing!

  24. Optimistic,
    I encourage you to give it a try. It can be great fun! Good to meet you. :)

    Now that sounds like an interesting interview! I'll have to check it out! :)

    Questions can be hard sometimes, I know, but I always bring it back to what I'd like to know. Cause I'm guessing there are a few people out there that think like me. LOL :)

    Interviews can be very inspiring, you know? Thanks so much! :)

    Happy writing,

  25. I did get to interview some people long time back as part of my job. And I appreciate your suggestions. An interview on a blog is a good idea.
    All the best with your writing!

  26. Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
    Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
    Yours. Have a nice day. !

    Follow me on facebook fanpage and blog
    I'm very concerned about this, please. :)

  27. I don't blame you for only posting 1x a week. That's all I do, and I barely manage that!! As for interviews, I've hosted some, and I just try to keep it uplifting and funny. People need to laugh more:-)

  28. You have given me something to think about. I understand your schedule change. I have some new activities coming into my life I may have to do likewise.

  29. Happy for Susan and thanks for the tips, Karen!

  30. Joy,
    It can be so interesting learning about a person's life, you know? Thanks so much! :)

    It's nice to meet you! Glad you stopped to comment. Wish you the best with your photography!

    I am excited for her! :)

    Uplifting and funny - now there are two good guidelines to follow! Good to meet you! :)

    It's been a help so far. Been extra busy around here. :) Wish you the best with your decision.

    Thank you! It's nice to meet you! :)

    You are welcome! You have great interviews at your blog! :)


  31. Congratulations to Susan! I'm sure big things are on the horizon for her, and I stopped by her blog to tell her so directly. :-) So happy for her.

    As for interviews as blog posts, I've done two. Actually, my very second blog post was an interview of a high school friend of mine turned writer and actress. In prepping for that interview, I saw her play--which she wrote. It was a poignant play and had me bawling with empathy. My other interview was of a childhood friend of mine turned author. I prepped for that interview over the phone and over email. Two great experiences! Interviews tend to make interesting blog posts, and I look forward to conducting more of them.

  32. Janette,
    I agree, I see big things for Susan too! :) Your interviews sound interesting! Look forward to reading when you host more on your blog.
    Karen :)


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