Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Author Intereviews

© Marta Stephens 2009 all rights reserved

One of the best ways to reach a new audience is to agree to an interview--online, face-to-face, radio, it doesn't matter. You'll be amazed at how many new readers you'll reach by taking an hour of your time to answer a few questions.

My first face-to-face interview was published in a magazine released by the Department of Journalism from my almamater. I was thrilled to get the call, but it felt a little unnerving to not know what questions the grad student who was going to interview me was going to ask. However, I didn't want to miss out on that great opportunity so I agreed to meet her for coffee at local shop and talk about my debut book.

I'm not sure who was more nervous, but once she started asking me questions, I was amazed at how easily I jumped into the author mode. I mean, what writer doesn't enjoy talking about his or her books, right? It was as if I'd known her for years.

Since then I've agreed to do a number of interviews. If you really want to be tortured, you'll find a few of them here:

A couple of weeks ago, I was at work when I received another e-mail. This time from an intern who works at the alumni office of my almamater. He had heard about the IPPY that "The Devil Can Wait" won earlier this year as well as the Writers Digest recognition that Murder By 4 received this past spring. Would I agree to an interview for the Alumnus Magazine to discuss my writing and awards? Hmmm, let me think about this! Yes!!

The interview I mentioned above will be published around the first of November. I'm looking forward to reading it. In the meantime, (and again if you're interested) author R. L. Taylor posted an interview with me just this week on "This Is No Ordinary ... :

So how should you prepare for an interview?

  • Make a great first impression so look your best and arrive to the interview on time! If you're unavoidably running late, call to let them know.
  • Be yourself--charming and professional!
  • You have a captive audience of one. Be courteous and turn that cell phone off.
  • You know your work, your style better than anyone else. So when it comes to your writing, give them more than they ask for.
  • Keep your answers focused on the question. If you deviate, make sure to tie your point to the original question.
  • Give full explanations, but be sure to give the interviewer time to get all of his/her questions asked.
  • Be sure to give the interviewer a bookmark a flyer, or any other document you may have available that includes your bio and book blurb. The more you can provide, the more they'll have available for their article.
  • Most will want a copy of your author photograph as well as a jpg of your book cover. Be sure yours are a good quality jpg.
  • If you are asked a question that does not relate to your book, or you prefer to not answer it, simply say, “I am not sure.” Be gracious, but change the subject back to the focus of your interview.
  • Is it okay to ask to review a draft before it goes to press? Sure. Some newspapers may not agree to it, but other organizations might so ask away.
  • Always send a "Thank you!" note or e-mail.
  • Above all, have fun!

About the author:

Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. Her books are available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website.THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (2008)
Bronze Medal Finalist, 2009 IPPY AwardsTop Ten, 2008 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

SILENCED CRY (2007) Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book FestivalTop Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

Visit Sam Harper at


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Excellent tips, Marta. To prepare for a newspaper interview I did last week, I was going through all of my print interviews. Shocked, I realized I'd done over 45 interviews in the past four years. Wow! And yes, they are a super way to get your books out there. Lots of fun, too!

Thanks for a great advice piece, I'm sure our readers will benefit from it. ;o)

Cheryl said...

Excellent advice, Marta. You can never be too prepared for an interview. Congrats again on the IPPY and good luck with your latest interview.


s.w. vaughn said...

Good points there! :-) Personally, I don't think I'll ever be prepared for an interview *shudder* ... but I've seen some of yours, Marta. You do a great job!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

SW - you'd better brace yourself. With all the new books you have coming out, you'll be inundated with requests for interviews! You'll do great!

And I agree - Marta does a superb job on her interviews. I especially like the radio interviews - it's wonderful to hear her voice. Very calm, capable, and knowledgeable. ;o)

Kim Smith said...

have only ever had one of these for Avenging Angel but this is great advice and some that i will use for future opps

Marta Stephens said...

I enjoy giving interviews. The more I do them, the more "natural" they become. ;)

Thanks all for stopping by.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Great article, Marta. And so common-sensey. For radio, I drink water, do voice exercises, and make sure I had a snack. Nothing worse than hearing your tummy growl through the entire interview.