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One of the great things about writing YA is that there is a ravenous blog community, eager to pepper the Internet with reviews and giveaways and interviews on top of interviews.

Since HATE LIST was released, I don't know if I could even count how many interviews I've given, especially with YA bloggers. And almost every single one of them has asked the same question:

"What inspired you to write this book?"

It's a great question, and a pretty basic one, really. Of course readers want to know how a writer came up with the idea behind her book. And at first I was really eager to answer it. I love to talk about my process, including my inspiration. But after a while I wasn't sure what to do with this question. Copy and paste from interview to interview? Well, that seemed like cheating. But how many different ways can I explain the same thing? Not to mention I sort of give a 45-minute speech about the inspiration behind my book when I'm visiting schools. It's kind of a long story -- how do I condense 45 minutes into a blog-short answer?

Plus, I really began to crave different questions. And I've gotten a few really different ones:

"Who would win a war between zombies and pirates?"

"What was your favorite flavor Koolaid?"

"What do you think about hot dogs?"

"Do you have a question for my magic 8-ball?"

Those are fun to answer! They wake me up, make me think, let me show a little of my personality in the interview.

So recently I've been answering queries for interviews with a plea to receive unique questions. And so far I've been really pleasantly surprised. I've been asked about the names of my characters, how I personally relate to my characters, what role social networking plays in my writing life, what kind of response I've gotten from readers so far, how I feel about school visits, and how music influenced my book. All questions, by the way, that in answering, I reveal bits and pieces of the inspiration behind the novel, without having to re-create the same answer over and over again.

As a YA author, of course I interview other YA authors for my own blog. And until I began answering interviews I never would've thought to mix it up a little, to stay away from the questions that everyone asks. But now I'm keenly aware of the Unique Interview and how it can feel like a breath of fresh air to the author I'm interviewing. I, personally, like to "have lunch" with the main character of the novel in my interviews. But there are other techniques that are intriguing. For example:

Sarah Ockler threw my main character a debut party, complete with decorations, other literary guests, and food.

Lauren Bjorkman's main character answered a Dear Abby-style question for one of my main characters.

Megan Frazer
entered my main character in a pageant, where she had to show off a talent, pageant-style.

So don't be afraid, interviewers, to get a little creative with your interview questions. You would be surprised just how much you learn about the author, the characters, the storyline, and, yes, the inspiration of a book when you go for a unique interview.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Points well taken. Thanks for making them!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )