Authors are tired of getting the same questions at every interview. They’ve answered them a hundred times and will not be excited to answer them yet again. I can tell you exactly the questions writers get time and time again at every book reading and interview:
Where do you get your ideas?
What is your writing process like?
What advice do you have for writers?
And if you look for other lists of interview questions for authors, they are remarkable uninspired. Everyone basically lists the same 20 questions that writers always receive.
My list below of interview questions are fantastic, but if those 50 aren’t enough, I would suggest you go here to see examples of fantastic interviews, and maybe pick up a few more good questions:
Interview with Jeanne Leiby from Sam Armstrong on Vimeo.
I talked with Jeanne Leiby, editor of the Southern Review, about a weak-kneed and shaky-voiced solicitation of Philip Levine, Bret Lott’s aesthetic changes to the journal, a special issue about the circus, and cultivating the emerging writers of this generation.
Interviewer: John Matthew Fox
Videographer: Joel Champagne
Video Editor: James Roland
Glimmer Train offers a wonderful essay by Allison Amend in which she details the many hurdles she had to leap to publish her short story collection, “Things That Pass for Love,” now slated for publication by OV Books in October 2008. (It has a great cover image) It’s also a testament to the difficulty of publishing short story collections — Amend has an MFA from Iowa and has published in venues like Atlantic Monthly, One Story, StoryQuarterly, and Prairie Schooner. (via EWN)
One of the last interviews we conducted at the LA Times Festival of Books was with Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King and an accomplished horror writer in his own right. Joe Hill and I talked about the difference between conceptual horror and horror of the act, as well as how the Vietnam and Iraq war have affected the horror genre.
Jess Row, recently named one of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists, has written one collection of stories – The Train to Lo Wu – and is working on another, tentatively titled The Answer, that deals with religious fundamentalism in the aftermath of 9/11. We talked about how his fiction builds models of karmic processes, how cities can enlarge our sense of what it means to be human, and the literary and political state of Hong Kong.
Rattawut Lapcharoensap, born in Chicago but raised in Bangkok, was just named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. Sightseeing, his collection of short stories, won the Asian American Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. In our recent conversation, we discussed the best Thai writers, how tourism is a form of imperialism, and his novel in progress.
I recently interviewed author Tara Ison, who just published her second novel, The List. We talked about the experience of writing The List in comparison to A Child Out of Alcatraz (her first novel), her relationship to Los Angeles, and partying on the roof of the Holiday Inn.