I'll be interviewing a reasonably well-known novelist in a couple of days. I've prepared by reading his book (duh), thinking about it, and reading the big reviews. I think I know what I'd like to come out of the interview having discussed, and assuming I can get that then turning it into an interesting feature will not be difficult.
So it's not the content of the interview that bothers me, but the practicalities of making them comfortable, keeping things moving, and generally getting the best out of a one-shot situation. Ideally, I'd like to come away having had an intelligent, discursive conversation about fiction and writing like. If I had a transcript that read like those Robert Birnbaum has I would consider it a wild success (e.g. Martin Amis
, Will Self
). I don't particularly want to concentrate on his current novel in great detail for the whole interview.
Has anyone got any general advice about how to conduct an interview for the press? Any articles I might read (I don't really have time for books before Friday)? Any advice germane to my specific situation of reasonably high-brow novelists?
I guess interviewing musicians isn't too different, so if you've got any experience or advice for that situation, I'm all ears. In fact, if you've ever interviewed anyone for an article, what do you know now that you wish you knew beforehand?
If it makes any difference, I've only got thirty minutes (and presumably some email/phone follow-up). I already have his basic biographical information, so we won't have to waste time on that. His publicist will be there. English is not his first language, but I believe he is fluent. It will be conducted in a coffee shop. I will be recording it on a dictaphone.