Saturday, May 19, 2018
Three Simple Steps for a Great Interview
Quick back story. I have the privilege of interviewing authors here at WOW! Some are authors who have asked me to help organize a book blog tour, others have won a flash fiction contest or essay contest, and others are assignments from my lovely boss and friend Angela. The first time I was asked to do an interview I froze. I sat at my keyboard not quite sure how I was going to pull it off. I agreed and still wasn't sure what to do. I decided the best way to tackle an interview was to treat it like a school assignment (homework first as my mama would say)! I thought about my favorite television interviews and watched a few of them with a notebook and pen in my lap. I read some interviews with my favorite authors and took notes about those as well. Based on that research, here's a helpful process regardless of which side of the interview you are on:
1) Do your homework. If you are being interviewed, find out a bit about the person, publication, or program. If you are interviewing someone, find out as much about them as possible. Style is important. IE: I have a 'coffee chat with Crystal' type of interview style and would be disappointed in an interviewee who gave me short answers with very little depth.
2) Get comfortable. When I am writing questions, I have the authors head shot, bio, and my notes in front of me at me desk, but in my mind, we are sitting in my kitchen sipping tea/coffee/lemonade with some soft music playing and the smell of cinnamon rolls wafting from the oven. I like to think those I interview also set the mood before writing their answers. This is clearly important for television interviews, but also for radio. Some authors have pulled off some great radio interviews while driving down the freeway or tending to children, but for the most part, finding a comfortable space with few distractions is important.
3) Show up. This is a no brainer for a live interview (television or radio), but when an interview is recorded and aired at a later date, or it's a print interview, showing up is optional, but it shouldn't be. Show up and comment on the interview, share it with your friends and family as well as your social media channels. If someone comments with a question, answer it. Engage the audience (whether you are asking the questions or answering them). If you don't show up, it leaves a not so sweet taste in the mouths of those reading, listening to, or watching the interview.
That's it! Three simple steps for a great interview!
Now it's your turn to answer some questions:
Who is your favorite interviewer? (television, radio, print, etc...) Why do you like this person more than others? What sets them apart?
Do you have a favorite author interview? What makes this interview a favorite?
What have you found helpful when interviewing or being interviewed? How do you prepare? What tips do you have?
Thanks as always for your time and your comments!
You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!