Be Creative When Interviewing Authors

Updated on January 25, 2018
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

When interviewing an author, you want to be creative. Do you really want to ask the same questions that other interviewers are asking? That gets boring after a while and will not prompt readers to check in on any interview you conduct. You need to be creative in interviewing them.

Think of why you are interviewing them. That can help direct your questions. Think of your audience. Get creative.

Know the Standard Questions

You have to start off knowing what the standard interview questions are. There are questions that most interviewers ask across the board. What do most interviewers ask, and which questions do readers expect you to ask the author? Get to know them.

- What is your book about?

- Where did the idea for your book come from?

- Who is your favorite character?

- What are you working on now?

These are questions that a lot of interviewers ask and a lot of readers expect to read when they encounter the interview of a new author. Asking these questions is practically expected. But you don’t want to just stay with these standard questions. You want to get creative and move beyond them.

How? You start by pulling from the information provided.

Dangers of Standard Questions

What is wrong with standard questions? They can be a crutch for many interviewers. They can be limiting.

Don't just rely on the standard questions. Use them as a springboard for more interesting questions. Readers expect these questions, but they will get bored quickly. If they see you only focusing on the standard questions or only using them, they will quickly leave your website and move on. That defeats the purpose of why you were conducting the interview.

Don't push readers away with the standard. Get creative and keep them around.

Pull from Information

Always ask an author for links to websites, profiles, and other places they are active in. It is here you’ll be able to learn so much about them. But don’t just read what is before you and ask questions that can easily be answered simply by reading ones profile. You want to pull from the provided information.

What questions can you ask about where they are from?

What about their hobbies?

Pets? Kids? Education?

Don’t read that I’m from Kentucky and then ask in an interview where I’m from. Ask me questions about Kentucky and my life there. Don’t ask the obvious. Dig into the obvious.

This is where you can be creative and have fun.

Examples of Creativity

When asking questions to an author in an interview, get creative. Here are some examples to help inspire you.

- Describe the room you are sitting in at this moment as though it was a scene in one of your books.

- Since you’re from the South, do you find yourself writing more about that area?

- You love to rock climb. As you are reaching for the next place to grip, do you find yourself thinking about the current story you are writing on?

- How does (name of the main character) feel about all the attention he/she has been getting now that the book has been published?

- What is it about the theme you use in your book that can be found in your life or others around you?

- With mostly words of color, describe your book.

- Answer this question as one of your characters…..

- Using the title of your book as an acrostic, describe the writing process.

See what you can do with a few creative questions. The reader can’t help but read the answers. The questions are intriguing and new. Have fun with the interview so the author and the reader will also have fun.

Video Interview

Consider doing a video interview. This is creative and can get more viewers since people love to watch instead of read. Why not use that to your advantage? Try video interviews. They are fun to watch and can be more attention-getting than a written interview.

Have fun with these types of interviews. They can give you a great laugh and bring about memorable interviews. Keep in mind the visual dynamics of a video interview and how your followers will love them.

Remember Why You Are Interviewing the Author

It can be easy to forget the reasons for what we are doing. If you are interviewing an author to help promote their new book, then talk about that book more than anything else. If you are doing it to learn more about a new author, ask the right questions.

Focus on your purpose and guide your interview down that path.

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