How do you as a writer read author interviews?

In the course of my career as a journalist, I have interviewed a number of authors and comic book artists. My audience are people who love books. (Duh.) I’d assume most of us here fall into this category.

But how do you as writers read interviews with authors (if you do)? What do you want to know about authors? Are there questions you find insanely interesting that no one ever seems to ask? Which questions turn you off an interview? And if someone interviewed you about your literary work tomorrow – which questions would you like to answer?

That really depends on whether I like a specific author’s work very much or if it’s “just” somebody whose work is generally very successful. In general, I’ll probably be more interested in the first case, and then I’d probably like to know about any snippet of information they’re willing to share about their process :slight_smile:

Many author interviews I find too generic. ‘How and where do you get your ideas?’ - ‘Over my first coffee while I walk my dog…’ That may be interesting for new writers or readers, less so for writers who’ve been at it for a few years. We know how that works.

I’m more interested in specifics like if they plan beforehand what techniques do they use? Do they involve other persons in their process, like beta-readers or writing groups? At what time in the process? Do they keep in contact with other writers in the same genre? If so, how did they meet those in the first place? Do they exchange writing ideas or is it more of a loose business relationship?

To me, an interview is more of a starting point to find information. I am always on the look-out for video channels by professional authors. There are many channels from photographers, artists, musicians who share all kinds of detailed knowledge. Strangely, it is much harder to find writers who do the same, and I wonder why that is. I would really love this kind of in-depth information.


You have a lot of great questions!

I am always interested in an author’s research process. And I wish people would talk more about the phase between “having an idea” and “finishing your first draft” which is insanely different between authors. Editing is another topic that I find gets neglected in interviews for popular magazines – I suppose the whole process is rather tedious for non-writers to read about.

The questions that make me stop reading are “You’re a writer and a parent – how do you do it all?” or “How much of you is there inside your protagonist?”

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Well, I guess most of us writers are first and foremost also readers. So if it’s an interview with an author I enjoy reading, yes, of course. And I also love hearing about other writers process and when they share little anecdotes about how they sold their first book or whatnot.

I have noticed that I read author interviews slightly differently when I view them from a writer’s perspective. Like you, I’m much more interested in the process. “How did they do that? No, how exactly did they do that?” As a reader, my most immediate questions tend to be more like: “What’s the background of this or that character? When’s the author’s next book coming out?” Most author interviews are made with readers in mind.