Monday, November 12, 2012

Publishing A Novel: The Thrill Of Doing Promotional Interviews

The latest stop on my Virtual Book Tour is my interview with Lisa Haselton on her blog Reviews And Interviews.

I've done a few interviews for this book tour and did a couple back when I was promoting my CD, but the process still feels a little surreal to me. I don't mind being asked questions; in fact, it's kind of fun and flattering to have such an interest taken in me, but for most of my life as a writer, I've een the one who's asked the questions! It's weird to be on the other side of things and to be the subject for a change.

I don't mind talking about myself, but I am grateful that so far, the questions haven't been too personal. I loved interviewing actors, but had to ask some very personal things at times, and for me, that was always awkward. I always felt uncomfortable when I questioned a star about his or her love life, his or her recent arrest or drug problem, or whether said actor ever planned to have children. These are questions that I'd never ask a mere acquaintance in my non-work life and I often had to push against a lot of personal fears to get the job done.

The good news is that most of the actors with whom I spoke were quite open about their lives -- sometimes to the point where they'd overshare and tell me stuff about their love life or bodily functions that I just didn't want to hear about. I always tried to be respectful and steer them back to the topic at hand; I also always made sure that everything said was on the record. I was never the type of journalist who was out to "get" a subject. I just wanted to share their story. Perhaps I would've moved through the ranks more quickly had I had that hunger, but I had no interest in humiliating a person just to get a scoop.

As for how I conducted my interviews, I tried to make them feel like regular conversations. I never fired off a list of questions for the actor to answer; we'd make small talk, chat about their kids, politics... and while we were talking, we'd eventually get to the topic at hand. I found that this method worked well and got good results because I made the actor feel comfortable. One actress once told me that talking to me felt as if she were chatting with an old friend, which I took as a huge compliment.

Sometimes actors would note that certain questions were hard, especially when I'd ask them something random, i.e. "If you could be any animal, what would you be?" for one of our fun columns. I'd laugh about this, but you know what? A lot of those questions were difficult to answer -- and answering interview questions so that you come out sounding good in print or on radio is a skill! It took me a long time to answer those questions for Lisa's blog; a lot of thought was put into them.

I've always respected the actors whom I dealt with, but now I have a much better understanding of what it was like to be questioned about your work. And if anyone asks me what kind of tree I'd want to be, I'll have my response ready!

Please read and review my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

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