In Stephen King’s fantastic book on writing, On Writing, which I read in one sitting I was enjoying it so much, he said one thing that has always irked me. He said that he said in an interview that he writes every day, except Christmas, Easter, and his birthday. Then he said that was a lie. He writes every day. He made that up because if you agree to an interview you have to make sure to say something interesting.
I agree wholeheartedly that you have to make sure to say something interesting in an interview. Everyone involved is giving up their time, for you. The interviewer and anyone reading. Their time is to be respected. That goes for any time any writing is published. Whether someone is reading or not, someone might, and as a writer your job is to value that gift of time. That doesn’t mean they have to like it, that part is out of your control, but it should be the best work you can present.
I wouldn’t agree to the lying part. Readers are deserving of your time and also the truth. Stephen King has plenty of characters in plenty of books he can give interesting character quirks to. He doesn’t need to make them up to pretend to be interesting for an interview. He also said in On Writing that he doesn’t remember writing Pet Sematary, which was told to demonstrate how severe his abuse of drugs and alcohol was prior to getting sober. So maybe he exaggerated (lied) about how little of the writing of that book he recalls. Now, how do we know?
I know people are likely thinking, Talk to us when you’re Stephen King, which will be never. That’s fine. I’m not bashing him. I just think there’s a better approach. You disclose the truth. You turn off that part of your brain that worries what negative things people might think and not say or think and say about what you disclosed and get to the truth. You uncover that truth and reveal it. And hopefully it will be interesting. Whether it is or not, to readers, is out of your control. And here is a character quirk that is true. Since Robin and I completed our Q and A exchange, some weeks before the post went live, I’ve been too shy to return and read my answers. So, how did I do?
The interview Robin Stratton did with me can be found at the link above. Check out Robin’s website, at the link below:
She has links to excerpts from her novels and links to resources for writers. Lots of great stuff!