All writers want to know how to do a great interview and we’re delighted when someone asks us. Most of us love to get a chance to be treated like a writer.
Over the last three years since the first book in my Loyalist trilogy broke onto the vast market, I’ve been part of a lot of interviews, most of them online but a couple on radio and video for television. It’s an awesome ride for someone who found her new and most true life after retirement from a rewarding teaching career.
I’ve learned that interviews can vary all the way from being asked to write my own questions and answers to being given a huge list of questions to choose from. Many of the interviewers have tried to streamline their process in this and other ways because time is always a problem.
If the interviewer takes the writer’s answers and links them together in some way the whole piece can be very rewarding. If, however, the interviewer just strings the answers together with no preamble or linking words, the effect is just a little sterile.
Today I was reading the January 2016 issue of The Writer magazine and came across an article by Elfrieda Abbe complete with her interview of Julianna Baggott. The article began with a longish quote from Baggott’s YA novel, Pure, (“Pressia is lying in the cabinet….”) which absolutely hooked me. Talk about an opening! As I got to the actual interview questions–there are 14–I became more and more impressed with the work the interviewer put into this piece. She knew her subject intimately and linked her subsequent questions to things the author had revealed already. She asked Baggott to expand on such phrases as “undeniable truth” and “efficient creativity” showing that she was thoroughly enmeshed in the author’s work.
“What gave you the idea for Pressia’s disfigured hand?” she asked and my immediate reaction was that I must read this book. What power this interviewer had in her words and I’m convinced any author on the receiving end of such questions would be delighted.
The five-paragraph excerpt at the end of the interview revisits the quotation used in the opening but gives more information this time, expertly drawing the reader into the story. The last thing we are left to contemplate is where we might buy the book. Surely that must make the author smile. So, yes, this is a great writer interview showing both the writer’s absolute skill and the interviewer’s knowledge of just what her job is and her success at it. And I’m rewarded at this stage in my own career by having learned to dissect an article and see the process behind it.
For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!
The Loyalist’s Luck, Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!
John and Lucy escape the Revolutionary War to the unsettled British territory across the Niagara River with almost nothing. In the untamed wilderness they must fight to survive, he, off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she, left behind with their young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy–her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy. With John’s reputation besmirched, she must walk a thin line depending as she does on the British army, and Sergeant Crawford, for her family’s very survival.
The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!
by Elaine Cougler, winner of the WCDR 2014 Pay It Forward Scholarship
Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards
When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.