Author interviews are super interesting – authors are very intelligent and artistic. There is so much to learn from them, but only if you ask the right questions. Here’s a list of what topics you can touch on, and tips on how you can craft questions for interviews?

Ask about their craft and process

The way you can get the most out of an author is through their craft and writing process. Avoid getting too personal or off-track, and focus on their literary merit. Ask them, for instance, how they write, whether they take breaks between two books, how they come up with ideas and how they materialize their ideas. You can delve deep into this and ask skillful, intricate questions as well.

Think like a writer

The key to asking good questions to writers is to think like a writer. This way, you will ask questions that intrigue and interest the author, and he or she will respond with more vigour, and with better articulation. Thinking like a writer will prove your credibility to the author.

Interviews With Authors: How You Can Craft Questions For Interviews?
Interviews With Authors: How You Can Craft Questions For Interviews?

Talk about the genre, style and structure of their novels

Authors are always eager to talk about their work – so ask them about that. Talk about literary theory – about the genre of their novel. Why do they write that specific genre? Do they blend genres? Why do they introduce magical realism in realistic fiction? How is their writing style – lyrical and poetic or matter-of-fact and blunt? Do they make ample use of metaphors, allegories, symbolisms and if they do, why so? And the structure – the breaking up of chapters (Anthony Doerr writes very short chapters, but Khaled Hosseini writes long ones), or parts (like Milan Kundera’s trademark if seven parts)? Are the novels linear or non linear in their narrative?

Discuss any specific settings and their relevance to the author

The time and space novels are set in is often a crucial key to understanding not only the characters but also the author. If an author repeatedly uses the same settings, it perhaps means that the setting is an important part of the author’s identity. Maybe he or she lives there, or spent his or her childhood there. Even in fantasy books, setting assumes extra importance. Was this world purely a work of the author’s imagination  or did he or she take inspiration from a real place? What’s the story behind the story?

Interviews With Authors: How You Can Craft Questions For Interviews?
Interviews With Authors: How You Can Craft Questions For Interviews?

Ask about how their personal ties into their professional

The fact is, no one can separate the author from his work. As it is a product of the author’s creativity, it is also a lens into him or her. And exceptionally good writers always draw on their own experiences to create fiction (or non fiction) that in some way reflects those experiences. So questions about how the personal and professional are related is a key to understanding the artist as well as his craft in their entirety.

Ask them what prompted them to become a writer

To talk about the writing career of an author, it’s but obvious that there must be an enquiry into the impetus that bid them to write. How did they realize this was their calling? Was it a knowing decision, or did it unfold naturally? How did they become who they are?

Interviews With Authors: How You Can Craft Questions For Interviews?
Interviews With Authors: How You Can Craft Questions For Interviews?

Discuss what they like reading themselves

The best authors are almost always voracious readers, and that’s where you’ll get the best book recommendations from. So talk about their reading preferences – do they read the same genre they write in? How much do they read, and what? And what do they look for in a book? Do they read books critically or as a work of art that impresses upon them lightly and unknowingly?

Ask about their latest book that is being published or they are working on

Finally, talk about what’s going on in their literary lives now. How have they reached this point in their lives? What made them embark on this specific literary odyssey? How are they preparing for the journey and how has the journey been so far. If a book publishing is on the horizon, ask about how they’re feeling right now and what made them tell this story.

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