A lot of authors like to be interviewed. They enjoy talking about writing and they particularly enjoy talking about their own writing. They like to talk about their process, their characters, their inspiration, their approaches and devices and genres and heroes.
I have been the subject of a few author interviews. I don’t do many anymore. Part of the reason for this is that I genuinely find it incredibly boring to talk about myself.
To be honest, another part of the reason has to do with some of the interview questions. I always feel as if I’m undergoing some sort of cleverly disguised psychiatric evaluation and not doing very well. I don’t know what kind of tree I’d be if I were a tree. There is no group of five authors living or dead with whom I’d like to have lunch (especially the dead ones). If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want a knife, not a book. One of the questions a lot of interviewers ask is, “What is your favorite color?” I do not understand this question. I like black, but not in teeth or bananas. Blue is nice, but it is an ominous color for skin (sorry, Avatar fans). I often say my favorite color is clear. Clear goes with anything, and should you be coughing something up, clear is the best color by far.
The confluence of these factors, in combination with my basic je ne sais quoi, has produced interviews that were what some may call unusual. Before Brooks joined Indies Unlimited as my co-administrator, she invited me to do an interview for her blog WriteWriteWrite. I thought it odd to have to submit to a criminal background check as part of an author interview, but as you can tell by the fact Brooks joined the blog anyway, background checks don’t catch everything.
Ms. Brooks is very highly organized and she solicits these interviews months before she actually schedules them. When she did finally get around to reading my interview, she asked me, “Do you even want to try to sell any books?” That’s right, she italicized the word try. I distinctly remember it.
To understand why she asked that (if you don’t already know) here are the answers I gave to a few of her questions:
What is your favorite part of being a writer?
The fame, adulation and money.
What is your least favorite part?
There has been no fame, adulation or money.
What part of your writing makes you particularly proud?
I think maybe I’m most proud of the nouns.
How do you use the internet for your writing?
Why? What have you heard? Those files were on my computer when I bought it.
If only it stopped there. Ed McNally has a wonderful interview feature at his blog, Sable City. Since I was trying to lure him to Indies Unlimited and wanted a chance to snoop around at his blog, I acquiesced. Here are a few from his interview of me:
How do your characters get their names?
I try to name my characters after people who won’t sue me. As I am dirt poor, the world is my oyster in this regard. I do tend to name villains after people in real life who, for one reason or another have vexed me. Hence, the villain in my next book, the evil Honcho McNally.
Three random things about yourself, please.
1). I am the kind of man whose integrity is not for sale except to the highest bidder. 2). I got the music in me. I’m okay now, though. 3). There are really only two random things about me. This is not one.
The Facebook group Book Junkies also has a quarterly online magazine called the Book Junkies’ Journal. Against all sound advice to the contrary, I was asked as a favor to a friend to do an interview for their very first issue. Here are a few excerpts from that:
What are your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning?
Usually, I’m wondering what time the guards will be round with breakfast.
If you had a time machine, what era would you travel back/forward to?
I think I would have to do something I feel would really make a difference for all humanity, so I would go back in time and stop George Lucas from making episodes I, II, and III of the Star Wars saga.
What is your idea of a good night out?
I’m satisfied with small things these days. If the hail of bullets miss me, that’s enough to make me happy.
The internet is strewn with even more examples of this cavalier nonsense, but I am in danger of exceeding my own rule about the maximum number of links to be included in an article. I don’t want Google to think we are a “Gateway” site.
It is an honor to be asked for an interview. I don’t misbehave because I don’t recognize that. But if the purpose of an interview is to acquaint the reader with the real me—that is the real me. I can (and do) write stuff that is dark, deep, serious, thoughtful, or sexy.
On the whole though, I find life is too absurd to take seriously. I can understand how that could be off-putting to someone who really does want to know what I would choose for my last meal, or in what era other than this one I’d prefer to have lived.
I’ve been on the other end of the interview as well, so I can appreciate the difficulties inherent in dealing with someone who does not take the interview seriously. This is another reason I tend to avoid interviews. Certainly there are far better subjects for a serious interview. Trust me. It’s for the best.
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