I Sit Down for a Conversation with Stephen King…

…and Neil Gaiman, and Christopher Moore, and Alexander McCall Smith, and Stephanie Meyer, and…

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!

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3 thoughts on “I Sit Down for a Conversation with Stephen King…

  1. I don't know about the educated company, but I've always liked King. Before that I vaguely recall a brief passion for R.L. Stine. My taste is obviously untrustworthy. :-)In all honesty, I think King will be one of the best-remembered best writers of his generation. People may scoff at the subject matter, but no one can deny that man can spin a story!

  2. I am 188 pages into Duma Key, and finding that it's so far my favorite novel ever. Yes, part of it is because the protagonist is a successful man who becomes disabled with brain problems, whose wife leaves him and starts sleeping around, turning from the woman he knew into a crater hellion, while he takes up an artistic pursuit at which he doesn't think he's very good but that people love. There's that. But it is also because of how mature, lyrical, patient, and entrancing the prose is. To think this is the man who wrote Desperation boggles the mind.You read On Writing, I expect? I wish he didn't pretend it was partially a craft-instruction manual and admit that it's simply a great memoir (stopping from his fascinating life story to contend that if the reader can remember baseball statistics he can remember the difference between an adverb and an adjective is at best forced), but I think it was there that he described the difference between what critics consider a "popular novelist" and a "literary novelist" with such subtle biting wit that I think it may have gone over the heads of the very critics that dismiss him. Or maybe it was in one of the great author's forwards for the reissue of one of his older novels. Or both. No one can accuse King of not revisiting the same ground, after all. 🙂

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