No, I don’t have some secret “in” with all my favorite writers–oh how I wish I did!–my conversations with these authors (and many others) are all compliments of Borders media “Borders Presents“; a collection of short interviews with authors you love, authors you like, and some authors you don’t even know.
So, thanks to Borders online I got to spend a lazy Sunday drinking coffee and watching interviews with some of my favorite authors; it was sheer delight! I always love hearing or reading interviews with authors because the topics of conversation are the subjects that are closest to my heart, and which I rarely get to discuss: writing techniques, where ideas come from, whether or not it’s possible to write fiction that is not at least in some way autobiographical, truth in fiction, the elusive muse, etc., etc., etc.
But I think perhaps my favorite subject to hear discussed in author interviews is literary influences. It is always thought-provoking and revealing to hear an author talk about which books have inspired them; which authors they considered mentors or heroes; what literature, music, or events had the biggest impact on their lives and writing careers. Jane O’Connor (author of the Fancy Nancy books) admits that dressing up as a child and being “proper” for visits from her great aunt was the eventual inspiration for her delightfully over-the-top title character. Stephen King talks with such great feeling and admiration about the book The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen that I am inspired to read the book myself.
A few years ago I found a jewel of a book about this very subject called The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them. I’m telling you, this book changed my life! It gave me a fascinating insight into the minds of writers, and gave me more ideas for my TBR (To Be Read) list than I can list here.
If you’re interested in watching the interviews but don’t want to wade through the entire page of them, I can tell you that my favorites so far are the interviews with Stephen King, who is always a delight in my opinion, and one of the few people I would love to sit down and have lunch with; Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser; and Alexander McCall Smith, especially his second interview about his addiction to writing serial novels. My least favorites were Neil Gaiman, who was either asked all the wrong questions or is quite the egomaniac because all he could do was talk about how much everybody likes him (and yet his books are always imaginative and mind-bending); and nine-year-old Alec Greven, author of How To Talk To Girls, who was actually very eloquent and possessed, but I have a nine year old, and I don’t yet want her to know (or even have a desire to know) how to talk to boys or get a boyfriend. Sorry Alec!
And I think that’s enough run on sentences for one blog post. So I’ll finish up by saying…
Thank you Borders, and thank you to all the writers who gave these wonderful interviews. It has been such a delight to watch them! To all my readers, go watch them now!