Conducting an Interview

interview 2Recently, I had the opportunity to interview author/illustrator Wendy Martin about her work on The Story Circle.  I used to do a lot more interviews than I do now but, for a variety of reasons, interviewing is an important skill for a writer.

First of all, you might need to interview an expert source for an article or book. Editors want primary sources.  You’ve heard them say it.  You’ve heard me say it. One of the best primary sources you can have is an interview.  Why is it the best?  If you interview someone who is an expert in whatever you are writing about, you have access to the latest and greatest information.  An interview can also help you understand information that you’ve already gathered.

That was the case when I was working on the Zika virus book.  As I was conducting my research, I found two classes of information.  Material written for the general public.  Unfortunately, this material tended to be inaccurate.  Then there was the stuff written for medical and public health experts.  Let’s just say that a certain amount of what I read went over my head.  Fortunately, I have a friend who is a nurse active in public health and I interviewed him.  He helped me understand what I had already gathered and then found a few more sources that would help make it all clear for me and my editors.

You might want to interview someone for your blog.  I interviewed Wendy is part of a blog tour.  A blog tour makes is a bit trickier because you can’t ask the same old questions.  The fact is that Wendy wants people to visit as many of the blog stops as possible.  That means that each set of questions needs to be unique.  If you want, under these circumstances, answers to four questions, ask five or six so that the person you are talking to can eliminate the duplicates.  Also be sure to ask open-ended questions so that they really have an opportunity to share.

Interviews are a great way to gather information to share with your readers.  If you haven’t given it a try, I hope you will one day soon.