Interviewing authors, and loaning out this space to feature guest posts by other writers, are the great pleasures of publishing this blog. I ran the first Q/A interview in February 2008, about eight months after starting up the blog, and the first guest blog post not long after. Both featured authors of memoirs, although I've also spotlighted novelists, poets, and the occasional screenwriter, playwright, editor, and publisher.
When I interview an author of personal creative nonfiction -- both here and when those interviews appear on another site, or in a book -- I like to think up questions that likely aren't the same ones they've already been asked time and again while promoting their books or other activities. That isn't always easy, but it is always fun and interesting for me. It pushes me to look thoughtfully at their work, to think deeply about it, and to get even more curious about the writer.
Now, I'm finding myself at the other end of that equation as PR activities are starting up for my forthcoming memoir. First there was the author interview that's now part of the publisher's press kit and distributors' mailing.
Recently, I've been fortunate to be asked to answer interview questions for future publication. Never have I so appreciated the value of original, probing interview questions. I'm being asked to think about things I hadn't anticipated being asked. These include well-formulated and outside-the-ordinary questions about the book's content, my writing process, publishing with a small/university press, writing about family members, what my writing life looks like, and my hopes and goals for the book.
You'd think I'd have known these interview questions would invite me to look deeper, think more broadly, enter unexplored territory. You'd think I'd have been ready. I was in a way, but not completely. And frankly, that's what's making it fun. With a podcast and a webcast interview also in the mix, I'll get an opportunity to see what it's like to field those questions--gulp--live.
When I ask someone to contribute a guest post here (or I respond to a request), I emphasize that to best serve blog readers, original content is highly valued. (No cookie-cutter blog posts templates culled from the press kit, please!) And I've been pleased time and time again by writers who always come up with something new and worthwhile to say, and allow me to post it here on their behalf.
Now -- you guessed it -- I'm writing some of those kind of guest posts myself. And hoping they will be equally valuable and fresh.
Overall, as this process unfolds, I've never been so appreciative of the thoroughness and generosity shown by bloggers, editors, freelance writers, and others. Their kindness, intelligence, professionalism, and sincere desire to help are striking.
It's still early days, but already an interview has appeared on the TRUE section of Proximity magazine, and at the Bay Path University MFA Director's blog.
As we get closer to book publication (May 1), I'll post other interviews and guest posts that appear. If you happen to be someone who interviews authors, publishes guest posts, plans author coverage or book reviews, I'd love to hear from you, as the interview and blog post calendar takes shape.
And now, back to answering questions...
This is the sixth in a series following the manuscript-to-published journey for me and Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter's Memoir of Love after Loss (University of Nevada Press, May 1, 2018). Find the others in the series here.