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Distributed for University Press of New England

The Art of the Author Interview

And Interviewing Creative People

Sarah Anne Johnson’s interviews with authors have been praised for her “thoughtful and knowledgeable questions” (Bloomsbury Review) that “provoke thoughtful responses from her subjects” (Publishers Weekly) and provide “an opportunity to participate in intimate and often illuminating dialogue” (Library Journal). Johnson also travels to MFA programs across the country, teaching workshops in how to conduct an author interview. This book, based on that workshop, shows readers how to initiate, research, conduct, and publish interviews with authors and other creative people. Drawing on her own experience, Johnson not only covers the nuts and bolts of conducting the interviews, but she also offers an inspirational explanation of how the process can feed and enhance a writer’s own work and career. More and more MFA programs now recognize the need to equip their students with the tools for building a “writing life”; in this book, Johnson provides a practical, inspiring guide to one of the most popular forms of literary journalism. In addition, students of journalism and broadcasting, and even fans, will find its down-to-earth approach to authors and writing liberating. With examples, exercises, and step-by-step instructions, Johnson covers every step from preparation to publication. Widely praised for her own skillfully conducted interviews, Johnson is the perfect guide to this rewarding activity.

176 pages | 6 x 9

Language and Linguistics: General Language and Linguistics

View all books from University Press of New England

Table of Contents

Building a Literary Life • Who Is This Book For? GETTING STARTED - KNOW YOURSELF - Where Do You Want to Publish Your Interviews? • How and to What Degree Are You Engaged in the Literary Arts? • Why Do You Want to Interview an Author? • What Has Kept You From Interviewing an Author before Now? • CHOOSING THE AUTHOR - Your First Interview • Use Your Connections • Use Your Credentials • MAKING CONTACT WITH THE AUTHOR - Through the Publicist or Agent • The Query Letter • Deconstructing The Query Letter • Developing a Query Letter Template THE REAL WORK BEGINS - CONDUCTING THE RESEARCH - Researching the Author • Ongoing Research • COMPOSING THE QUESTIONS - The Role of the Interview Questions • Remember Your Audience • Types of Questions and Suggestions • GETTING IT ALL ON PAPER - Step One: Brainstorm • Step Two: Flesh Out Your Raw Material • Step Three: Put the Questions in Order • Step Four: Make Sure You’ve Covered Everything • Step Five: Get Feedback • Composing the Questions: Generative Exercise • Composing the Questions: Checklist • Interview Question Dos and Don’ts LET’S LOOK AT THE PROS TIME FOR THE INTERVIEW - CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW - How to Present Yourself • In Person, Phone, Email • Equipment and Other Technical Issues • Your Role as Interviewer • Using Your Road Map - TRANSCRIBING THE INTERVIEW REFINING THE INTERVIEW - EDITING THE INTERVIEW - Staying True to the Author’s Voice • Use of Slang or Curse Words • Including the Author in Revision • Working with the Editor - THE AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE - The Straightforward Author’s Biographical Note • The Narrative Author’s Biographical Note • The Narrative First-Person Bio • Deciding for Yourself - THE INTERVIEWER’S BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE - MULTITASKING: HOW MANY INTERVIEWS IN THE FIRE AT ONCE? PUBLISHING THE INTERVIEW FINDING THE RIGHT PUBLICATION - Create Your Submission Hit List • Where to Find Publications • To Multiply Submit or Not to Multiply Submit • Offer an Exclusive Look • Why Query First? • The Writer’s Guidelines • Getting the Query Right • Deconstructing the Query Letter • Query Letter Dos and Don’ts • The Fine Art of Patience • The Inevitable Rejections • Working with the Editor - COPYRIGHT ISSUES KEEP YOUR INTERVIEW WORKING - FOLLOW-UP - FINDING NEW USES FOR YOUR INTERVIEW - Reprint Rights • The Art of the Author Profile INTERVIEWING OTHER CREATIVE PEOPLE - Putting These Principles to Use with Other Artists • Example: Inside the Actor’s Studio • Example: Writer A. M. Homes Interviews Painter Eric Fischl • Example: Interview with Screenwriter Max Adams THE AUTHOR INTERVIEW IN OTHER MEDIA TELEVISION BROADCASTING - Format • Target Audience • Commercial, Public, and Cable Television • Television is Visual--How Will You Look? • Improving Your Interview Skills by Watching TV Interviews - RADIO BROADCASTING THE ART OF THE AUTHOR INTERVIEW IN THE WRITING PROGRAM - THE M. F. A. PROGRAM Program Models • Program Ideas – THE UNDERGRADUATE WRITING PROGRAM - Beginner Program Ideas FINAL THOUGHTS AND INTERVIEW TIPS - REJECTION AS INFORMATION - COMMON PROBLEMS - Lack of Preparation • Disorganization • Inarticulate Questions • Inappropriate Questions • Interview Is Too Faithful to Spoken Event • Too Much Analysis • Self-Promotion by Interviewer • Too Muc Commitment to the List of Questions - WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF TIME • APPENDIX: THE HISTORY OF THE AUTHOR INTERVIEW • George Plimpton and the Paris Review • The Interview as an Evolving Form • The Future is Now

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