The author interview: what is it for?

Do you read author interviews? And if so why? Is it partly to get to “know” the author? If so, then Writer’s Rooms does a good job with its photographs of writers studies (like that of Russell Hoban, above). Or do you hope for some insight you’d never get by reading their work? I was thinking about this when I did an author interview this week. I asked Bernardine Evaristo about her life and her novel Blonde Roots. Then I thought, isn’t all this “about the author” stuff just extra? If it was you, what would you hope to be asked? Or would you just want people to focus on the book?

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2 thoughts on “The author interview: what is it for?

  1. I read them because they add more to the book then just the story. This is especially true after I read a book and want to know more about the author, their work, their psychology, etc. It gives me a greater appreciation for the process of writing as well.

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  2. I usually like to read interviews with authors after I’ve read some of their work; it’s just curiosity. With some of my favourite writers it’s also about trying to glean info on their working methods – seemingly inane questions like, where do you write, do you have a daily word limit like Somerset Maugham and Anthony Burgess had, and stick to it religiously no matter what? Or, what’s your favourite avoidance tactic when you should be writing? Having said all that I also like questions about the story itself. For instance, with my own debut novel I like the questions that wreak of ill-disguised disapproval like, ‘what purpose does the violence serve?’ or ‘why is she so angry?’ And the directly biographical questions whose purpose is to check to what extent the story has come from the author’s background.

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