The Art of Interview

From the vantage point of an Editor, writer, and someone who’d messed up in her very first interview–now, I like to think that I’m doing much better.

We’re talking about the one that I do as an Editor, the interviews that I conduct with professionals who inspire me to no end. I’m talking about interviews for personality features, for quotes for specific subject-matter, for Carpe Bloom’s Heart to Say column.

I have a thing to say about interviews.
A while ago, I decided to join a competition—I found out about it through All In! Writer’s Festival, an event that I’m speaking at next year in March. Come and see! Participants had to submit a personality feature on someone they had interviewed, on any subject-matter.

The beauty of an interview is that it enables both interviewer and interviewee to connect via a series of thought-out questions, and my favourite part of conducting interviews is the energy that builds up as the interview progresses. Sure, the first few question-answer exchanges might be tinged with awkwardness, but soon after, when the interviewer starts to ask those questions that allow for comfortable conversation, the whole atmosphere becomes lighter and zinging with energy.

I went to the library and sat there in the afternoon sunshine, poring over articles that feature an interview with a professional on a specific subject matter X. Now, I say without meaning any disrespect at all, that I do wish that interviewers would ask more questions that enable possible branching-out of the discussion to meaningful topics or messages that an interviewee would like to say.

After reading those interviews in some back-issues of several magazines, I decided that I would strive to make all the interviews I conduct to be filled with energy. This is a challenging task as I conduct several for Carpe Bloom, Heart to Say and other writing projects I’m embarking on next year. And I’m really keen to do those interviews, but now, I’ve made it a goal of mine to be laser-focused on the development of the questions that I choose to present to my interviewee, who’s made time for me and the  publications I represent, for a chat.

One of the most important things that writing—and by extension the places where this writing is published in—can do is convey messages that are meaningful, and useful to progression of society. That’s why there’s constantly so much fiery discourse on social media—because whenever we Tweet or post something, there’s something that we are conveying, by default. The opportunity that we writers are afforded to help bring out a meaningful or valuable message is one that we should take seriously.

So, as I’m prepping the questions for a week of interviews next week with my cosy Carpe Bloom team and our amazing interviewees—listen to one of them here—I’m going to make sure that the questions I’ll be asking are the kind that act like ‘tissue’. You know how when you pull tissue out of a tissue box, the next piece of tissue automatically unfolds? I want my questions to be like ‘tissue’, serving as a trigger for continuous flow of conversation to occur. I think that it’s important that we honour our interviewees and the readers of our publications by creating this special conversation, this better connection, that allows for a fruitful interview in the minutes with our inspiration. #BestMaterialForReaders


Featured Image: Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

Cross-posted on Medium.