The Interview


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The job interview.  It sucks.  Most of the time it seems like a formality.  Being interviewed for any job was ridiculously stressful at first.  Then I realized the questions really never changed, and my experience got better, so they were easier to get through.

Giving interviews was pretty much the same.  They sucked.  They were a formality (the company would give me a list of questions to ask; I always went off script though).  I found acting as normal, yet formal, as possible was a way to get people to relax and be honest (even if they didn't realize it).

When writers do interviews, we love it.  I love it.  Who doesn't like talking about themselves when the questions aren't at all critical, and entirely self-serving.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  What is your process?

Rarely are the answers interesting.  What is your greatest strength?  Your greatest weakness?  Yawn.

An interview for a writer should be just as rigorous, be under just as much scrutiny, if not more, than any other job.  Why?

Because we are asserting that we can entertain (and arouse) you in the time it takes to read 50,000 or more words. (Personally, my first novel makes this claim with over 100,000 words).  

It takes real arrogance and ego to do this and believe you can do this.  

So why should you believe that I can do this?

This is my job interview.  


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1. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

I think I was raised to be a gatherer.  I was definitely raised to be Emily Bronte or Jane Austen---the highly creative and neurotic daughter/sister who didn't marry and wrote books secretly in her room.  The one who fantasized about romance and men and sex and wasn't quite sure how, as a virgin, I could have extremely explicit and accurate dreams about banging men (and women).  

I learned gatherer tasks: knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross stitch, Swedish weave, drawing and painting, cooking, etiquette.  I've always quite surprised I never learned macrame.  I even learned some music and French and had poems memorized I could recite upon command.  I would've been the perfect nineteenth century bride, ready to gather berries and moss and rocks---I'm not sure what gatherers gather.

Then the Hunter appeared.  Cue the porno music and proposal.  Then cue my explosions of mania.  I seized his spear and shoved the pointy end in his eye.

This was more than me rejecting conventional married and family life.  It wasn't just because I didn't love him enough or didn't see myself being happy with him.  

I didn't want it.  I had too much energy and crazy ideas and impatience.  I was mentally unwell.  I still wanted the gatherer hearth, but it just didn't fit.  I have a fierce hunger that at times is unhealthy.  Maybe I'm neither.  Maybe the hearth is actually for both hunters and gatherers.

Maybe I'm more of a free range nomad.

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2. What was the last book you read?

Interviewer:  What was the last book you read?

Me:  Oh god, please, no, not that question.  I'd rather talk about religion or abortion.

INT: We'll get to that.  Why don't you want to talk about books?  Do you read at all?  Can you read?

ME:  Of course I can read.  Okay, this is the deal.  I start a lot of books.  Like a whole lot lot lot.  I started...uh, three last week.  But I don't finish them.  I've started a dozen books in the past year and haven't finished them.

INT:  Procrastinator?

ME:  Well, I guess, but it's mostly just boredom.  My mind wanders.  Not because of a biochemical imbalance or bad manners.  Perhaps it's too much exposure to the instant gratification of technology?  Maybe I'm becoming too impatient.

INT:  So what was the last book that you finished, then?

ME:  That's even difficult to remember.  No, I know, it was one of Isabel Arden's books.  Laid to Ruin.  Gay Arthurian erotica.

INT: Is that your kind of thing?

ME:  My 'kind of thing'?

INT: Gay erotica?  As a heterosexual woman---

ME: Bisexual.

INT:  Bisexual?  But you're in a heterosexual relationship.

ME:  My orientation didn't change with my relationship status.

INT:  So is that why you're interested in gay erotica?  Because you yourself are gay, at least half of you?

ME:  Wow, I'm not sure how to untangle that mess you just asked me.  I read her book because it was interesting to me.  I didn't get off by it.  I thought it was hot and well written, but you don't have to get off in order to enjoy erotica.  Maybe that's a good way to distinguish it from porn.  You can't enjoy porn without getting off: it's just stupid without an orgasm.

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3. Describe all the Jennifers you have known.

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4. Are you a gossip?

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5. If you were a pizza, what kind would you be?

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6. When you have thirty minutes, how do you spend it?

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