Interviews may seem like a distant dream or only for those who make it big time in the literary world, but that is not the case. In fact with social media becoming increasingly important, interviews are not quite as distant as you may think. I’m not saying that big newspapers, radio stations or famous bloggers are going to suddenly send you requests for interviews, but you may get some requests from smaller, local newspapers and lesser known bloggers. There are many book and writing related blogs, vlogs and podcasts out there who are searching for their next interviewee.
So if you are sent an interview request, whether that be responding with verbal or written answers, you will probably want to be prepared in advance. I have put together a list of possible questions for you based on my interview experiences, however please note that this list is a general guide not a definite one, your questions will be tailored towards you and your work.
General Book Questions
Q1) What is your book (insert title here) about?
Describe what your book is about and try to be informative but brief, listeners or readers tend to get bored easily, and the interviewer will ask more questions later if they want you to elaborate.
Q2) Is you book based on personal experiences?
This is a yes or no question, but if you answer yes be prepared to give more details. If you don’t want people to know that your work is based on personal experiences then you could say something like… ‘No (insert book title) is not based on my personal experiences, however personal experiences can be useful sources for inspiration’.
Q3) Did you self-publish or publish through a publishing house?
You either self-published or you didn’t, this should be easy to answer though you might have to explain how you arrived at this decision.
Q4) How long did it take to write your book?
It usually takes an author (if they’re lucky) about 6 months to write a book and then a further 9 months to get it published. However, it is not uncommon for authors to answer this questions with years.
Q5) Did any authors inspire you to write this book?
A yes or no question, if you answer yes then you’ll probably have to elaborate. If you answer no, you can always say something like… ‘No there weren’t any authors who inspired me to write (insert book title), however my favourite authors are (insert authors’ names)’.
Q6) Can you tell us something interesting about your book that we won’t get from reading the description?
You’ll need to give this one more thought, try and give a piece of information that is interesting and important, but doesn’t give away any major spoilers. You want to intrigue potential readers.
Q7) Did you get to decide the cover for your book?
Sometimes authors have a say in the book cover design, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes the author themselves designed the cover. Answer this question with the appropriate response.
Q8) What are your future plans and what are you working on at the moment?
When an interviewer asks this question they want to know if you’re working on a followup novel or if you’re starting a completely new novel. Best to be informative but brief here.
Specific Questions About You
Q9) Please introduce yourself, where are you from?
This will probably be the first question you are asked. It is there to open up the interview and hopefully calm some nerves. You can answer this question like you’re on a game show; I’m (insert name), I’m (insert age), I’m the author of the recently published/or to be published (insert novel name/series name), and I’m from (insert place). When you’re stating your current location, be vague, do not give out your full address see Q13.
Q10) Do you write full-time or part-time?
Most authors don’t write full-time, so if you answer with part-time, be prepared to state what other job/work you do.
Q11) What do you do in your free time?
If there is such a thing as free time for writers, most authors will say something like… they read a lot of books, walk their pet dog, drink copious amounts of caffeine and write.
Q12) What is your level of education?
A bit personal maybe, but stating that you went to school, college or university is fine. You don’t have to go into massive detail if you don’t want to.
Q13) Where do you live?
Again a bit personal so just give the general area, state or county. Do not give out your full address!
Q14) How can people/readers contact you?
If you have a website with all of your social media links then say so, otherwise you will have to be more specific and list which social media sites you can be found on.
Q15) Why did you decide to self-publish?
This might be a bit of a sore question, especially if you have tried to go through the traditional publishing route but didn’t have any luck. So, to answer this question you could say something like… ‘I decided to self-publish because I wanted to have complete control over my work and all the expenses and profits’.
Q16) What have been the best and worst things about the self-publishing process?
You can answer this question as specifically or vaguely as you want, just keep it brief. One sentence for a good point and one sentence for a bad point.
Q17) Is it difficult to self-publish and do you have any advice for people who are thinking about self-publishing?
Keep it brief, anything you have learnt or wish you had been told before you self-published will be extremely useful for aspiring authors here.
Questions About Writing
Q18) What is your favourite part of the writing process?
You might love creating new characters, or you may have enjoyed writing a specific scene/chapter, or coming up with the story line and fitting it together may have been your favourite part. How you answer this question is entirely up to you and your preferences.
Q19) Why do you write?
The interviewer here is looking for what compels you personally to write. This is an easy question to ask but a difficult question to answer. You could say something like… ‘I’ve always been drawn to writing, even from an early age I was writing stories and reading books in my spare time, it is just part of who I am.’ or ‘Writing has always felt very natural to me, I have an overactive imagination and a lot of stories that I want to tell.’
Q20) When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/author?
Similar to Q19, the interviewer here is looking for the first time you thought ‘hey, I want to be a writer’. Again you can be as vague or specific as you like. If it’s a funny story that you don’t mind sharing then do, everyone likes a good laugh, even if it is at your expense.
Q21) Were any of the characters inspired by real people?
Tricky question if you don’t want people to know that they inspired certain characters in your novel. You can answer yes or no depending on what you want your readers to know.
Q22) In your opinion, what is the hardest part about writing a book?
I guess this is the opposite of Q18, though in my opinion writing isn’t necessarily hard, you just need to be dedicated as it is very time consuming. Answer this question with your own response and how you feel about the writing process.
Q23) What drew you into the (insert relevant genre) genre?
This question can have a lot of different answers depending on how many books you have published previously (if any), and what genres they may have been. My advice is to stick with the one book you’re talking about and explain how it ended up being the genre it is. It may be that you were looking for a change in genre, or it’s your favourite genre due to some favourite author, or it could be it’s a genre you’re already confident writing in.
Q24) How do you deal with writer’s block?
If you have a good method for dealing with writer’s block then do share, otherwise you could say something like.. ‘If I find I can’t write I pick up another book to read’ or ‘I listen to music’ or ‘I look at artwork’ or ‘I watch television/movies’ or ‘I try out some writing exercises’. Maybe you go outside for a walk to clear your head, or maybe you just have to wait for your writer’s block to pass. However you deal with writer’s block is unique to you, but I feel like this question has been around since the dawn of time and it’s not about to go away anytime soon.
Thank you for reading my blog, I hope this list has been useful. Have you, as an author, been interviewed by anybody? What questions were you asked? Do you agree with my list? Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!