Let’s Talk about Author Interviews

You may remember that cranky interviewer who was here a while back. He conducted my first book Imageinterview, and I thought it went well. I was able to get the message out about my newest book with its 101 exclamation points, but I haven’t sought any other interviews. I’ve been torn between my thoughts as a consumer and those as a writer.

When I was a consumer only, here is what I thought about author interviews: I don’t care. It wasn’t personal; I simply didn’t care about the author. I never read the jacket flap information about an author. I skipped over author interviews in magazines, and I didn’t read about the author at Amazon or B&N when I bought books.

Janet Evanovich is a favorite author or mine. As a consumer, I don’t care about her writing process or her personal life. I care about Stephanie Plum, and I’m rooting for Ranger, but I’m thinking it will be Morelli, because he is most likely to offer the happily ever after to the series.

But now that I am an author, my mindset is changing. Here at WordPress, I’ve come to know some really great people, and I’m building personal relationships with other authors. How cool is that! A few have been interviewed by other bloggers, and I loved their interviews.

I kind of still don’t want to read about Janet Evanovich, but I do want to read about my friends and other aspiring authors here at WP. The interviews put an author’s name and their book(s) out there for more people to see. In turn, more followers may be gained, more relationships built, and along the line, some sales of books will be made.

All interviews aren’t created equal, and based on my own feelings, past and present, I think it’s important to appeal to the consumer first, so if the reader doesn’t stick around long enough for the personal information, they at least have the information about the book.


Valerie Clarizio

For an example, I chose fellow WordPress author, Valerie Clarizio to interview. Her book, Cookies for Santa, debuts tomorrow, November 5 at Melange Books (also Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

I already know I like Valerie, but before I decide to buy her book, there are some things I want to know, because no matter how much I like Valerie, I’m not buying gruesome horror and lying awake at night with the lights on for a month. These are basically the same things I want to know before I see a movie, and here are her responses:

Genre / Audience: Romantic Suspense / Adult female. Heroine is 28. Hero is 32.

Content Warning: Cookies for Santa does contain some adult content. There is some minor swearing and a consummated love scene that is both sensual and emotionally satisfying.

Synopsis: Detective Spinelli’s life is tossed sideways when he is reassigned from the Homicide Division to assist in the Child Services Division of the Social Services Department for the holiday season. From the beginning, Spinelli and caseworker Shannon O’Hara generate their own kind of fireworks, causing more than the normal workplace stress. … Shannon moonlights as Santa Claus’ little helper at the mall, and when Santa and an elf turn up dead, Shannon appears to be next on the killer’s list. Spinelli is placed back on homicide and goes undercover as Santa to help capture the killer. He catches a great deal of grief along the way, but will he capture the heart of his little Santa’s helper as well?

Book Length: 38,000 words / 130 pages

The above information is all I need to know to make a decision to buy or not. I don’t need to read a Imagesample, and I don’t need to read anything about Valerie. She has a great cover, and that would draw me in as well, but a cover is never a deal breaker for me. The consumer side of me is now satisfied.

But let’s move on to some questions I would like to have answered from my standpoint as a writer as well as in my effort to continue a personal relationship with Valerie. There could be many questions, but I’ve chosen just a few.

Because of some of my own experiences when writing, I was curious to know Valerie’s answers to the following three questions:

What prompted you to sit down and start writing your book? I had just finished reading the most recent novel of my favorite author and was waiting impatiently for her next one to come out. In the meantime, I had a dream about Spinelli, and I woke up thinking, Wow, my favorite novelist should write this story. After giving it more consideration, I thought to myself, Wow, I should write this story.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences, or is it purely imagination? It’s all purely imagination. Though I wouldn’t mind if a couple of the scenes actually would happen in real life. 🙂

What was your favorite chapter to write? I especially liked writing chapter twelve. The chapter contains another scene of Spinelli playing Santa Claus at the mall. In this scene, Spinelli/Santa is visited by a couple of kids that he and Shannon had previously removed from their home and placed in foster care. The oldest child’s Christmas wish really got to Spinelli, and you can see this tough homicide detective soften before your eyes.

As an author, I wanted to know the answers to the following two questions:

How long did it take to write Cookies for Santa? It took me about five months to write Cookies for Santa, and about eighteen months to finally get it in print.

Why did you choose traditional publishing over self-publishing? How many queries? I was afraid to self-publish. I wanted someone experienced in the business to do things such as edit, design the cover, and help market the book. I’m a newbie, still trying to figure this all out. … I sent out six queries, and of the six, two publishers took a serious look at the MS.

The next three questions are in the fun category and give me a little more insight into Valerie as a person and a friend:

Who would play Shannon and Spinelli in the movie version? Molly Quinn would play Shannon, and Anson Mount would play Spinelli.

What does your family think of your writing? Since I write outside of my day job, I spend many evenings in the home office. That said, my husband has washed more dishes in the past year and a half than he did in our first 20 years of marriage, and he has sole control of the TV remote. J Seriously though, he’s been very supportive. Each of my brothers think they are the hero…they are mistaken, and as for my cat, as long as her food dish is full, she doesn’t care what I do.Image

What is your favorite cookie? White chocolate macadamia nut!

Of course I had to ask her favorite cookie, and if chocolate wasn’t in the answer (even though it’s white chocolate), I would have had to find another person to interview. And look! She used an exclamation point at the end of her answer.

There you have it. A little information to help you get to know Valerie if you would like to follow her here at WP, and enough information about her book to make a decision to buy when it comes out tomorrow. A big thank you to Valerie for being a good sport and allowing me to do a less-than-typical interview.

As for the rest of you, do you read about the author before making a decision to buy a book? Do you read about the author after you know you like their work? Or were you like me and ignored them completely while simply throwing money their way and devouring their books?

If you have any questions or comments for Valerie, feel free to leave them for her in the comments section.

47 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Author Interviews

  1. I never spent much time reading author interviews before I started blogging either. But I loved your style with this one, and the book sounds interesting. And I agree–great cover!

  2. I LOVE reading author interviews. In fact, once I’m hooked on the story (usually just a few pages in), I immediately turn to the “About the Author” page. It goes without saying that I also love books about writers and their memoirs about writing. I’m not sure why this always fascinates me so much. Maybe I’m looking for the secret of their success? If they ever provide it in the tiny blurb about where they live, I’ll have hit the jackpot.

  3. Hi Maddie,   I see the blog is posted, it looks great.  I love your comments.  And just for the record, when I made reference to my favorite author…it happens to be Janet Evanovich.  I’ve read all of her books.  I’m leaning toward Morelli, though I wish they would have cast him differently in the movie. Thank you,  Valerie Clarizio Author:  Cookies for Santa – A romantic suspense novella to be released in November 2012 by Melange Books valclarizio@yahoo.com http://twitter.com/VClarizio http://valclarizio.wordpress.com/



    • Too funny about Janet Evanovich, but I’m not surprised. I think it’s the rebel in me to wish for Ranger. I loved your movie role picks. Molly Quinn is adorable, and I could see her moving into a more grown up role though your book. I wish you much success with Cookies for Santa. I’ve loved your sixes from it on Six Sentence Sunday. Thank you again for allowing me to “use” you this way. 🙂

  4. That’s a nice interview! I’m like you, Maddie, I don’t care much for interviews with authors I like, but if one of my writer friends get interviewed, I do like reading about it! It allows me to learn new things about my friends. 😀

    • Thanks, Zen. I think that’s why I enjoy reading when someone gets a blog award. They always give information about themselves, and I get to know them a little better. But I know what’s going to happen. Now that I’ve written all of these thoughts down, I’m not going to be able to stop myself from reading about the author when I pick up a book.

  5. Best of luck, Valerie, I wish you much success!

    Maddie, this is a great post. Generally speaking I indulge in the literature first, Then, if I gain a real love for the author’s work and pursue more of their texts, that starts to evoke more interest for their personal life/motivation. Some very nice Q+A here. 🙂

  6. Awesome post, Maddie! I like to read about the author when I’m about halfway done the book. It I like it enough, I want to know more about the author. My favorite thing to read first iswho the is dedicated to 🙂

  7. Great interview and post! I am “one of those” that always reads the author info inside the cover. Something about identifying with them makes me think I can understand the angle of their plot. Probably ALL just in my head though!! lol!

    • I’m going to make a point of reading some of these in the future. I’m sure it’s not just in your head. Maybe I’ve been missing something that I would enjoy and would give me another perspective on what I was reading. But I still like the idea of written interviews giving the consumer information first. Just in case. 🙂

  8. I am a read-about-the-author kind of person. Is that going to go away with electronic books? I just finished your first book and didnt see the About wrap up–plugs for your other books (which is a great idea), but no Author info. By the way, the story was well done, I liked it. I’ll have to write up a review on amazon for you.

    • It shouldn’t go away. The guys at Smashwords tell you to put your author information in your book(s), but I always assumed no one would want to know about me personally. What could I say that would matter to anyone? The only thing I can think of is, “Maddie Cochere lives in Ohio approximately four hours from Marcus Matherne who is the author of very funny books on Amazon – please check him out.” Now that’s a good author blurb! … Thanks for reading my book, Marcus. I really appreciate it. I’m not going to republish them again, but maybe I’ll do the author thing in the next one.

  9. I always read the author info but I read it AFTER I have finished the book. I then like to think about how their personal lives may have infiltrated the story, if at all. Recently I read two books set in Sydney, Australia but only found out that the authors were Aussies at the end. I like the suspense of it. I basically read it cover to cover, every single page, in order. Nerd-alert! 😀
    Great interview too. Sounds like a fun book!

    • I love that you read cover to cover, every page. It reminds of the wonderful differences we all have. I can’t get through the front matter fast enough, and if there is anything after “The End,” I never see it. 🙂 The conversation today has been good today. It’s helping to shape my thinking about marketing in the future.

    • Thank you, Maggie. That’s great you’re taking a writing course – in Norwegian no less. I’m going to finish my Susan Hunter books so they are all equally flawed, and then I’m going to seriously look into the craft of writing. I think I’d like to try a stand alone novel, and I can’t go into that with the “light, fluffy” mindset. Good luck with your course.

  10. I’m not looking so much for information about the author’s actual life, but about his or his creative life. How did they initially get hooked by the idea of their story – was it in a dream, like with Valerie? Was it just a mention of a little-known historical fact, like with Philippa Gregory and The Other Boleyn Girl?
    What was it that made them choose a certain setting or viewpoint? I’m reading all of Charles Finch’s books – what interests a young Yale and Oxford graduate about the voice of a middle-aged Victorian Londoner?
    Also, I’m interested in finding out about the author’s authentic knowledge. If the story is about a lion-tamer tattoo artist, I just like to know if the author has real life knowledge of those jobs, or is an accountant by trade. It ‘s just another facet of appreciating the story.

    • These are all really good ideas for what should be in the author bio on a jacket flap. So much of the time there are stock answers of where the person went to school, where they live with their spouse and pets, and how many books they’ve written. Thank you for your comments. They actually help me personally. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s