Friday, February 3, 2017

Interview Tips and Tricks

Have you ever been in a play? One that had an actual run - you know - you had to show up and perform every day for a week or more and twice on Sunday? Did you learn how to approach the show and your character as something new each time for the sake of each new audience? Maybe your director or stage manager gave the cast The Pep Talk: "You've done this show a hundred times now between rehearsals and performance, but for this audience, it's the first time. Invest."

Interviews are the same thing. No matter how many you do, no matter how many times you answer the same question over and over again, it may be old hat for you, but it is new to the people reading about you. It helps to approach interviews as a privilege - something you get to do rather than something you have to do. Well. It helps me. Because I still haven't gotten over being tickled to death about someone else actually wanting to talk to the socially awkward geek girl. So yeah. I do have a list of suggestions for anyone undertaking interviews:

1. It's about the honesty of your story telling.
2. Be willing to tell your truth.
3. Be willing to be vulnerable and even a little bit afraid.
4. Your life and your process are only uninteresting to you because they're yours.
5. When all else fails, channel your characters and answer from their voices.

By now, everyone who reads this blog knows the story about my first ever writing project - the princess who was an expert swordswoman and horsewoman who could take down an entire ship full of pirates. Oh. And who had a black panther named Scott for a pet. (Yeah, I dunno. I was twelve.) Let's be honest, that's a pretty embarrassing story, but it's a rich story because most of us have these kinds of stories from when we were kids. Even if the particulars of my story are totally laughable (some of them are and I'm fine with that) everyone can relate.

Relating to people is the whole reason for interviews. It really is a question of being willing to open a vein and invite readers to come swim in the blood of your story (and possibly your life). If you're thinking about it from that perspective, I doubt you'll ever be bored. Terrified, maybe, but bored? Probably not.

PS. If you haven't read James' amazing post about his mother and what she taught him, you should. Because James went on such an eloquent and well considered political bender, I kick my soap box back under the table and sit back nodding in agreement with him. Fight for what you want, people. Not against what you don't. Where your focus goes, so too does your energy. And there are some bastages who do not deserve the tiniest mote of your energy.

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