As most of you know, I have a book coming out at the end of February. Keep the Ends Loose is a coming of age story about a girl and her average family that go haywire one summer before she enters high school. You might want to pre-order one right this minute!
Anyway, I am very hopeful that this book will be a success. Having a successful book means that there is a “buzz” created around your book, and as a result, other people want to talk to you about your writing, your book, and your brilliant insights on life and the world. I am not that brilliant or insightful. I have also not been interviewed much in the past. So I have been doing some research on what actually constitutes a good interview, so I can practice up for when somebody actually contacts me for one. So far this hasn’t happened, but I tell myself that it is early days.
Here is what I have found out. To be good in an interview, you have to lead the person questioning you away from the usual interview fare (“when did you discover that you wanted to be a writer?” BORING) to more interesting questions. This is a real skill involving the segue. So I would say this, “I honestly never wanted to become a writer. But I always got A’s on my term papers, so I guess it sank in that I had a little talent with words. But guess what happened to me last week when I went into the basement to put the laundry into the dryer?” Now this would turn the course of the interview into a lively discussion about spiders, and both the interviewer and I could have a meaningful exchange about our worst fears.
Interviewers always ask the person they are interviewing for “tips.” This is unnerving, as I imagine readers or listeners pulling out notebooks and pencils, waiting for something really useful. All I can think of that might help would-be writers out there is to limit the use of the words “like” and “very.” So I need to bone up on this: maybe I should talk about how important “show, don’t tell” is. The fact that I am lousy about showing and perfectly comfortable telling is probably not important, right? I can develop some sort of take on this (note to self: find out what “show, don’t tell” actually means).
Good interviews always seem to have a great story. The person interviewed overcame a huge obstacle, walked across the desert all alone in uncomfortable boots, kicked a huge drug habit, or nearly committed suicide. Tough one. I guess I can tell the story about the time I spit on my collar during a job interview to see if the sweat I felt rolling down my armpits into my brassiere actually showed on the outside of my blazer. Then I had to figure out how to cover the dark spit spot on my lapel, or at least have a logical explanation for how it got there while the interviewer briefly left me alone in the room. Ok, check.
I like that Lipton man. You know, the guy with the index cards who asks all the celebs he interviews what their favorite swear words are, what sounds they like the best, and what jobs they would do if they could choose any profession? I am ready for him.
Shitballs, cat purr, and the person who gets to name all the nail polish colors for OPI.
Ok. I think I am ready for my interview. What? You want to know if I always knew that I wanted to be a writer? Guess what I found in the basement this morning?