Today’s post is an interview with Deborah Kalb, who produces the terrific Book Q&As website, in which she conducts brief but incisive interviews with a wide variety of authors. A short sample of some of the most recent interviewees: novelists Susan Coll and Tracy Chevalier; nonfiction authors A.J. Jacobs and Naomi Schaefer Riley; and poet Peter Fortunato, whom I had not heard of previously and found particularly interesting. (I was really honored to be interviewed last December.) In addition, Deborah is a freelance writer and editor, who spent two decades working as a journalist in Washington, D.C. She is the co-author, with her father, Marvin Kalb, of Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama.
How do you decide which authors to include in Book Q&As, and how do you approach them?
It depends. Sometimes it’s an author I especially admire and I’ve already read all their books. (One of the most exciting things about working on the blog is that I get to talk/correspond with many of my favorite authors!) Sometimes it’s based on a recommendation. Sometimes I read a review of a book and think that I should get in touch with that author.
I usually find an e-mail address for the author—often on their website—and write to him/her. I’ve been pleased and amazed by how many of the authors write back and say they’d like to do an interview, and I’m grateful for their willingness to spend the time answering questions!
What is the thought process behind forming the questions you ask each author?
As I learn more about the author and his/her work, I come up with a series of questions to ask. If the author has a new book out, I usually focus most of the questions on that book. Other times, it’s a series of questions based on the author’s work as a whole. I try to keep in mind that some readers will know a great deal about the author while others will be coming upon him/her for the first time as they look at the Q&A.
Are you working on a new book and are you still actively promoting Haunting Legacy?
Yes, I’m trying to write a children’s book, which is a big departure! And yes, I still update the Haunting Legacy website and Facebook page almost every day. People still are interested in Haunting Legacy, the book itself and the idea of a father-daughter writing team!