I have 2 questions I always ask authors in interviews: 1. Can you please tell us a little-known fact about yourself? 2. Is there anything else you would like to say?
The first question always yields surprising results and most authors have insightful answers to the second question (although there are some who use it to dump all their promotional links).
I like interviews that are well-researched. Something I absolutely dislike is recycling question, like using the same 8 questions for all authors. My motto is: If you want to do an interview, do it properly. That is why I've not done as many interviews as I could have. When I work on an interview, I try to make my questions unique. I Google for interviews the author has done. That takes time. But there are plenty of benefits, too. :) Like after I conducted my very first interview, I received an email from a friend of the author asking if I might be interested in a part-time job at a missions magazine. That was a huge plus for me. :)
Love the little known fact question! I agree. It shouldnt be canned. I much prefer interviews that are specific to the book or author.
I completely agree! That is a great question also, finding their inspiration.
I have a few I like:
What are the last five websites you visited?
What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?
I love that last question... taps into the creative realm!
Thanks for sharing!
I love when I come across that question in an interview. Often times I have found that the author is reading something completely different from what they wrote!
I think that keeps it fun! I'll have to check out some of your interviews!
Most of the interviews I've conducted in my lifetime have not been with authors (I was a reporter, years ago). However, when I was 17, I attended the World SF Con on a student press pass and got the incredible opportunity to interview about two dozen top SF authors. Some I had read, some I only recognized their names, and some I had never heard of (although they were all famous, award winning authors). My approach was to ask a lot of open-ended questions, listen to the response (note many interviewers do not listen to responses because they are mentally preparing to ask their next question), and form a follow-up question based on their response. With this approach you have no idea where the interview will lead, but you walk away with a unique piece.
A caveat: Always study your subjects before you interview them. Don't go in cold like I did. I was only 17; that's my pathetic excuse. When I look back now and see the authors I interviewed, I kick myself with hindsight, thinking if "I only I had know who this was, I would have asked so many different questions".
In general, I always close each interview by asking "Is there anything I didn't ask, but should have?" You'd be amazed at the replies you receive, including some whoppers that become ledes.