If you’re a blogger or a blog reader, like me you might occasionally wonder about the person behind the words. If that person is especially prolific you might also wonder – where do they find the time? At the rate I post blogs, write short stories, and finish novels it would be a fair guess to think I’m unemployed with time on my hands. It might surprise you to learn that I’m a senior vice president in charge of my company’s strategic initiatives. That’s a sixty hour a week job, writing, overseeing projects, divisions, marketing, branding and remotely managing a team…blah, blah, blah. I’m fortunate for two reasons. The first is I’m “prolific” so I never have a shortage of things to write whether it is business related, one of my twenty or so planned short stories or work on my 3rd, 4th and 5th novel. Honestly it has less to do with any talent than just a natural ability to type really fast.
The second is that I’m naturally curious – especially about people. My interest in people, what motivates them, why they make the decision they make, can be traced to a very specific event that occurred when I was seven. Traumatic or “loss of innocence”occurrences fall into two categories – repression or defining. In the first case, we try to forget the experience and spend a lifetime not understanding “why” we are the way we are. When the event is “defining” it is so deeply etched in our memory that it is as if a movie is playing in our head. For me the event was defining. It could have made me a cynical person, unwilling to trust, certain that the world was more ugly than beautiful. Instead it made me curious. Curious to understand people, the way they think, the behaviors they choose, and the rationalization they employ to navigate the world.
That curiosity made the decision to earn a degree in psychology an obvious one. I used that degree and knowledge to pursue a career as an investigator and during my years of field service my specialty was interviewing. I’ve interviewed people (suspects/witnesses/victims) on a range of events from embezzlement to sexual harassment. I’ve studied body language, speech patterns and word choices, and how to find lies of omission and commission in written statements. I love the topic, but I can’t watch real life police dramas -the terrible interviewing skills of some detectives makes me scream at the television.
I never stopped being curious. Bloggers make me curious. There are so many interesting thoughts, ideas and people behind the keyboards. You can so often sense they have more to say, but are staying within the confines of a 1,000 words or minimizing the potential controvery. It’s why I began the Indie Author Interview segment. I wanted to learn more about the authors and his or her thoughts. Which got me to thinking – what about bloggers? Sure, many bloggers are also authors, but our blog work is more than just about our latest book (at least I hope so). And, I thought, what if someone could review a blogger’s stuff and find that something beneath the post, the hint of something they had more to say about…and ask the right questions? Why – that would make for interesting reading – at least to me.
So being curious and possessing a modest degree of interview ability, I decided to begin a companion series to Indie Author Interviews -the series Blogger Insights. I wanted the “interviews” to be like the author interviews in the sense of having a set of unique questions based on the person being interviewed. I don’t like the trend towards – here, answer the same 10 questions I asked the last 30 authors I “interviewed.” It’s supposed to be an interview, not an FAQ document.
I’ve got two interviews in the cue. The first is titled, The Perils of Honesty and the second is Wholesome YA Writing in a Sometimes Ugly Culture. What’s my criteria for selection? Well first is I look for people with something interesting to say and something they have a passionate opinion on. Admittedly I’m doing a little stalking and looking for the one or two little clues in a post or forum that makes me think “hmmm I believe this writer has an interesting opinion on this topic.” My preferred stalking grounds is Goodreads. There are a ton of things going on in the forums and these people tend to be both interactive and passionate about being interactive. The primary reason for the discussion isn’t to promote the blogger or serve as AD space for his or her writing project – the goal is an interesting and insightful discussion that lends some value to the reader. And no I don’t actually have a list of topics I’m looking to explore. In fact, I go into stalking mode without any topics at all, just looking for someone interesting, talking about something interesting, who doesn’t mind if my questions are a little “devil’s advocate” or a little challenging.
Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not open to suggestions aka volunteers. It just means that if you want to do a piece and I’m not seeking you out…then you have to have the topic that you want to discuss and that topic needs to be at least marginally interesting to someone beyond your adoring spouse, best friend or parent. Good topics for discussion would be “why most Indie authors are terrible” or “are some reviewers just in it for the power trip?” A bad topic would be “why I love to write.” A love for writing is a great blog post and works well in the About section of your own blog, but in terms of discussion material it won’t be interesting until you are either famous or get convicted of some terrible crime.
So I hope you’ll join me for the Blogger Insight piece starting this Saturday. I hope you chose to interact and comment on the discussion – and if you have a topic you are dying to discuss – email me at Raymond@nightmirrors.com. And be prepared if you do because I am dying to do some of these discussions on skype so they can be an audio series…and it might just be you. And feel free to suggest reversing the roles – you can ask the questions and I’ll answer.
Categories: Blogger Insights