I for Interviews

No, I am talking of job interviews but interviews that we as authors are expected to participate in from time to time. My first interview was with Sravasti Datta  of The Hindu. It took place just after Subroto Bagchi launched my debut novel “It Can’t Be You” at The Crosswords in Bangalore on November 29, 2010. She called it  “Thrills And Chills”

I answered the questions as honestly as I could. I had read somewhere that the essence of the interview is that people want to know about the author as a person. They don’t want to know too much about the book because they would read it and form their own impressions anyway! But the author, and the first time one at that, is altogether an unknown specimen. What you say about yourself, in a sense, sets the tone for much of the conversation.

Another good interview was with Bharath Joshi of The Indian Express. These interviews resulted in creating a certain presence in the media. One interview that will stay in my mind for long since I enjoyed it very much was with RJ Shweta of Radio Indigo 91.4 FM, a very popular radio show in Bangalore. She invites people for a chat in her show called Planet Indigo. I had never set foot in a studio before and I joked that I was probably the oldest man to have taken part in her show.

I have participated in other interviews too and would like to share my suggestions:-

  1. Be yourself: You are at your best when you are yourself! This includes being authentic in the way you speak and what you say. Don’t ape someone else. It’s just not worth it!
  2. Be honest: The idea is to give people a glimpse of you as an individual. If this is your first book and you are still learning about the trade, say so. Don’t put on airs and act as if everyone should have heard of you by now!
  3. Be consistent: You can’t say in one interview that the book was written by fluke and in the next interview say that it was part of a well thought out strategy. If you plan to write books of only one genre, don’t contradict yourself and say that you are comfortable writing in half a dozen of them.
  4. Be creative: I don’t mean by this that you should lie! Answer questions by telling people more of what you would like to say rather than restricting yourself to monosyllables or one word answers. Use the opportunity to put your best foot forward and share more pertinent information with the interviewer.

Over a period of time I found myself answering a fairly similar set of questions from different people. I found my answers were pretty much the same. At first, I wondered if there was anything wrong in that until I realized it was perfectly alright . You want to know why? It’s because all of  them were speaking to the same person about the same book!

Do keep in mind though that as an author you will plan to, hopefully,  write more books in the future. It becomes imperative then to describe more about your self as an author than stay with just one book. People want to know you as a person. They want to know your motivations, your schedules, your ups and your downs.

If you are able to do some of these things well,  I believe half the battle is won. After all the days of the author writing a book and hoping for the best were over long ago! You need to work hard to create positive image of yourself.

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