Author interview sample questions can be found at the bottom of this article. But first, let’s consider what why an interview can be useful. It’s one of the best ways for readers to get to know you and your work. So, take a proactive approach and prepare your own author interview to submit to book blogging sites.

Crafting your own author interview will help ensure it’s high quality, presents the persona you are cultivating, and also carries a theme or story that will hook readers into you and your work. But it can be difficult to create an author interview yourself, and even harder to create one that really gets readers hooked. Without doing that, readers are likely to move on and not pick up any of your books.

Key considerations

Author Interview Sample QuestionsIf you really want to engage people and turn them into readers of your own, follow these steps in crafting the perfect author interview.

  • Consider your objective and be clear in your mind about what you want to achieve.
  • Consider your audience.
  • Consider length – if you just want an interview to promote your latest book then keep it short and on point. If you have depth to what you’re saying then it can be longer and still keep people engaged. But no one wants to read one hundred and one questions that are fairly superficial. You need a few but then delve into some of the deep stuff.
  • If you’re including details about you/your personal life then consider the theme. This provides a unifying feature to your interview and people will naturally relate better to you. A couple of examples are
    • Have you been on a ‘journey’?
    • Have you experienced a major event in your life?
    • Have you battled adversity ?
  • If focusing more on your book, consider the context of the book in its genre, current events, and try to construct an overarching theme or message for it too.
  • What will the tone of the interview be? Upbeat, serious, intellectual, casual…
  • Adapt the way you write so it matches the spoken word. If you find this hard then read it outloud and consider whether that’s how you normally sound.
  • Review a bank of generic questions for ideas, like the ones below, but adapt, adapt, adapt! Split the multi part questions out into normal dialogue. Remember, unadapted stock questions will only produce a stock interview – boring!
  • Write your own questions.
  • Structure the questions so they flow and rewrite the questions so they fit, both in terms of the flow but also in the way they would be asked in the current context.
  • Be creative. Be original. Be fresh. Too many interviews sound the same.
  • Avoid being cliché – read ten interviews in your own genre, making notes on what’s good, bad, and repeated too much, before writing your own.
  • Remember, there’s so much more about you than the usual story you tell yourself in your head.
  • Have a third party go over and edit the whole thing.

Other things to include

  • Images, of you (at least three different ones) and the cover art for all your books, or the most recent four. They won’t all be used but it provides options.
  • Social media links (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc)
  • Personal website address
  • Sales links and author profiles (Amazon, Google Play, Goodreads, Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc).

Author interview sample questions

About you
  1. Where are you from?
  2. How has your environment, upbringing, where you live, influenced your writing?
  3. What do you do in your free time when you aren’t writing?
  4. How do you relax?
  5. Are you married? Do you have children? And how do you balance family life and writing?
  6. What does your family think of your writing?
  7. What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?
  8. What’s your favorite movie and why?
  9. What’s your favorite quote?
  10. What’s the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
How you got into writing
  1. What was your job, or what were you doing, before you started writing full time?
  2. What started you on the path to writing?
  3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
  4. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
  5. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
  6. How did you break into the publishing world?
  7. What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
  8. How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
  9. What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?
  10. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Your own interest in books
  1. What do you like to read in your free time?
  2. Who are some of your favorite authors?
  3. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
  4. What are some great books you’ve read recently?
  5. What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?
  6. What was the first book/story you read that had an impact on you? What was the impact?
  7. What are your top three favorite books of all time?
  8. Can you recommend any new or upcoming authors to us?
  9. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?
  10. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Being an author
  1. How long have you been writing?
  2. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
  3. Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?
  4. What are some day jobs that you have held?  Did any impact your writing, if so, how?
  5. What kind(s) of writing do you do?
  6. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
  7. What do you think most characterizes your writing?
  8. What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
  9. What’s the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?
  10. What’s the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
  11. What’s the most important thing people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?
  12. What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?
  13. Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
  14. What does a typical workday look like for you?
  15. As a new author, what’s your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite? (For debut authors.)
  16. What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
  17. What’s the biggest surprise you experienced after becoming a writer?
  18. Is there anything about the writing life you think is misunderstood by the public?
  19. Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring authors?
  20. What’s your role in the writing community?
  21. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
The writing process
  1. What inspires you?
  2. What do you love most about the writing process?
  3. How do you deal with writer’s block?
  4. What does your writing space look like? (You might want to provide a photo.) And is it your ideal space? If not, what is?
  5. Pen or typewriter or computer?
  6. Why do you write? What keeps you motivated during creative slumps?
  7. Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
  8. Do you set yourself word count targets?
  9. Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?
  10. Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
  11. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
  12. How do you find or make time to write?
  13. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
  14. Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
  15. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
  16. When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
  17. How long does it take you to write a book?
  18. Do you format your own books? If so then how do you approach that?
  19. What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
The industry
  1. How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books?
  2. How do you feel about traditional publishing vs. the independent route?
  3. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
  4. What process did you go through to get your book published?
  5. What marketing strategies do you find most helpful?
  6. Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
  7. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
  8. Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors?
  9. Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?
  10. Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
  11. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
  12. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Previous books
  1. How many books have you written?
  2. Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
  3. If someone is brand new to your work, what book do you think they should start with?
  4. Out of the protagonists you’ve written about so far, if you had to date one or have a beer with one, who would it be and why?
  5. What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
  6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
  7. Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
  8. Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?
  9. Have you written any other books that are not published?
Your most recent book
  1. What’s the title of your most recent book?
  2. How did you come up with the title of your book?
  3. What’s the back of the book summary?
  4. If the book is part of a series, can you explain a bit about that?
  5. Tell me about the main character(s).
  6. What would the main character in your book have to say about you?
  7. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
  8. How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
  9. What sort of research did you do to write it?
  10. What’s the strangest thing you have had to research for your book?
  11. Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
  12. What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
  13. What’s the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
  14. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
  15. For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
  16. If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
  17. How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?
  18. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
  19. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
  20. Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers?  Define some of those.
  21. Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them.
  22. Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?  If so, explain.
  23. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
  24. What got left out in the final draft?
  25. Where there alternate endings you considered?
  26. Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
  27. If you could end your book any other way what would it be?
  28. What’s the story behind your cover? Who produced it? What was the process like?
Current or future projects
  1. What are you working on now?
  2. What do your plans for future projects include?
  3. How do you decide what the next thing is that you’re working on?
  4. Any chance of a sequel?
  5. Where do you see yourself and your work in 5 years?
Your readers
  1. What do your fans mean to you?
  2. Do you hear from your readers much?
  3. Where do you interact with them the most?
  4. What kinds of things do they say?
  5. What’s something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
  6. What has been the best compliment?
  7. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Other
  1. If you were deserted on an island, which three people would you want to have with you? Why? One fictional character from your book, one fictional character from any other book, one famous person that is not a family member or friend.
  2. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
  3. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
  4. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  5. What advice would you give to your younger self?
  6. If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction who would you write about?
If you have any more sample questions you think we should include, please list them in the comments section below.

 

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Sam Hunter
Author

Founder of UrbanFiction.org and supporter of all urban fiction authors. Author of the Makaveli’s Prince books. His first novel, Book One, was described by Street Literature as a “true tribute to hip-hop” and weaves a thrilling ride through some of hip-hop’s darkest secrets. You won’t be able to put his books down. They’re packed with conspiracy, drama and often centered on strong female characters. You’re in for a ride.


All his books are on Amazon Kindle and Google Play Books.