If you are a writer or self-publisher that are times when an interview will be required to add an extra dimension, insight or more depth to a project you are working on.
In offline interviewing there are generally three ways to conduct an interview:
1) In person (face-to-face interview) 2) By telephone 3) By mail
In this article I will be focusing on "In person" (face to face) interview.
Many beginner writers find interviewing a daunting experience and avoid doing interviews even when it would benefit what they are working on and make project more complete.
Beginners Tip: To overcome your nervousness practice, and then practice some more, on your family and friends before ever requesting your first "live person" interview.
Below you will find a few tips for when day arrives and you need to conduct THE INTERVIEW ...
Tools you will need:
=> Cassette Recorder
=> Notebook and Pen
=> Press Pass
(I carry my press pass with me to interviews, however, this is not a necessity for carrying out interviews. If you do have a press pass remember to take it along with you though as it is a sign of your professionalism when you introduce yourself)
=> Background Research:
Do your homework on person before going to interview.
This could involve a search of persons online press kit page, through media press clippings, at library, who's who directory etc.
Having some background knowledge will give you greater self-confidence and will help give a stronger line as to questions you may want to ask.
Interviews can be 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour or over course of a month or more e.g. if you are doing an autobiography.
When you make a time for interview propose to take at least 30 minutes.
Suggest you go to persons, home, office or place of business - being in their own environment will put them at ease and may provide right background to your interview.
Dress appropriately for where you are going, and who you are meeting. As a rule wear clothes that will not cause offence as many people you meet will be very conservative.
=> Preparing Questions:
Rule #1 Don't ask stupid questions... and don't ask questions you can find out through research unless it's to confirm a point.
Prepare your list of questions in advance jotting down questions and points you want to ask in brief heading form (they should be used only as a point of reference during interview).
Maintain eye contact with person you are interviewing as much as possible.
Listen carefully and establish a relaxed style of questioning.
Allow questions to flow according to context, glancing at your list only to refresh your memory or fill a long pause in conversation.
Be open to new questions and new points raised during interview. Flexibility in your interviewing will allow you to pursue interesting or relevant sidelines as they come up. These may be areas of activity that you are unaware of despite your research.
Don't worry about ending up with more information than you require. Use what you need and put rest in your files to be used at another time.
=> Cassette recorder and notebook:
Check cassette recorder batteries, cassette tape and volume BEFORE you arrive for interview.
Your cassette recorder should be compact, light and discreet in appearance. I find it best to use a recorder that uses standard size cassettes as they are easier to obtain than micro cassettes if you find yourself in an out of way place.
After introductory formalities always ask permission if you can use a recorder BEFORE interview starts, then produce it and get started on interview. Few people object to a cassette recorder but if they do, just use your notebook.
Using a cassette recorder helps establish an easy-going communication between you and person you are interviewing as you are not constantly looking down take write notes.