Friday, January 30, 2009

One Way to Do an Interview

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist interviews Glen Cook, and they fail to communicate nearly the entire way through. The interesting thing to me is how utterly different Pat's and Glen's views of the literary world are.

Pat's questions also at times seem to be exceptionally generic, though he obviously has read some of Cook's work -- which is better than many interviewers.

(I've never done interviews myself in large part because I'm afraid they'd end up like this.)


Jeff C said...

I partially wonder if Glen decided to put the same amount of effort into his answers, as he felt Pat put into the questions. I thought the interview was hilarious, and put up an edited version on my blog to showcase the funny bits. The interview would rate pretty high on Bill Simmon's Unintentional Comedy Scale.

Adele said...

It may be that Pat has had to do this interview via email. I have to do mine that way partly because of time zones and also to allow for authors schedules. I agonise over whether the questions will be interesting to readers, interesting to interviewees (no one wants to answer the same question 300 times right) and also flow well enough that it doesn't scream EMAIL to everyone reading.
The questions here are pretty standard, to be honest the author just doesn't seem that interested, or maybe he really didn't get them.

Anonymous said...

Some of them are standard questions that Pat asks. Pat is working from the myth of the 1980's fantasy, which claims no one or no one important ever wrote anything dark back then, and seems unaware that a number of the Black Company books have been paperback bestsellers and Soldiers Live also hit major spots on the hardcover NYTimes list. Cook is not simply a cult author. And he certainly doesn't seem to want to be seen as a revolutionary either. To be fair to Pat, he's not the first interviewer to get these kinds of responses from Cook. But boy, isn't it fun?

Larry said...


All the interviews I've done (around two dozen, I think) over the years have been email ones, but there is a way of getting them to feel more like a personal one - start with a couple of questions, then go in rounds until it feels as though the interview is complete. Also, I believe in listening to the interviewee when conducting an interview - if an author has something to say, let him/her say it!

I'm in the beginning stages of an interview and I think so far, it's promising to be one of the more intriguing ones. Certainly seems as though I at least will learn how to ask deeper questions of an author's work before reviewing it ;)

RobB said...

What Larry said.

start with a couple of questions, then go in rounds until it feels as though the interview is complete

All of the interviews I conducted for SFFWorld were e-mail with the exception of a phone interview with Greg Keyes.

Adele said...

Larry -
I agree that email interviews can flow, i'm just saying it can be hard. I do research before putting my questions together and don't use standard questions for this reason. I've not done them in rounds so far but it would be fun to do. I just don't feel like it was all Pat's doing that this interview didn't flow.

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