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Bookmark: How to Interview a Woman Writer

This is the drinking game from which we shall all perish.

"How to Interview a Woman Writer" by Beulah Maud Devaney

If she is attractive; tell your readers exactly how attractive, within the first paragraph. Speculate on whether she is attracted to you.

If she has become successful and not moved to a Western country; ask why, speculate on if she realizes how attractive she is: could this be the reason why she hasn’t moved?

If she writes about a non-Western country; see if you can find a dead white guy to quote. It will help orientate any readers who are feeling panicked. Here’s a helpful guide:

- India: Walt Whitman or Rudyard Kipling

- China: W. Somerset Maugham

- The Caribbean: Graham Greene

- Africa the country: Joseph Conrad or Winston Churchill

If a character in her book has had an abortion; speculate on whether she has had an abortion. Make sure your readers know that the answer doesn’t affect how attractive you find her.

If she is a writer of colour; compare her skin to food; chocolate, caramel, coffee, raisins, tater tots, brown bread. If she is white don’t worry about it; your readers know what that looks like.

If she is a writer of colour; ask how her race has impacted upon her writing. Try to make it both your first and last question, after the attractiveness and skin thing.

If she is blonde; mention it.

If she is slim; mention it.

If she is a woman; mention it.

If her book mentions her character’s health; ask if she lost weight while writing it.

If she says she has lost/gained weight; inform your readers of whether this has improved her appearance.

If she doesn’t want to talk about her weight; ask her again. She will respect your tenacity and your readers deserve to know.

If there has been no obvious change in her weight and she doesn’t mention her character’s health; content yourself with describing her figure. Inform your readers of whether her figure makes her more or less attractive to you.

If she has made literary history at a young age; mention her youthful appearance, contrast the level of her success with the level of your own boner.

If you are surprised that a pretty young thing like her has written a serious book; share that surprise with your readers.

If her books focus on a specific historical era; ask if she would have liked to have been married during that time. Maybe to a dashing bard?

If her protagonist is attractive; tell her and your readers whether you would like to bone her (the protagonist, you should have already established whether you want to bone the author in your first paragraph).

If you imagine her protagonist is not attractive; ask the author whether she would be friends with her protagonist in real life. What kind of friends? Frenemies or gal pals?

If she has written a biography; ask if she did it so people would like her.

If she has written a crime novel; ask if she is aware of how many prostitutes are murdered each year. Does she ever wonder what it must be like to be a prostitute?

If she has written a prize-winning novel; tell your readers why this is A Very Good Thing and also Highly Unusual and whether it has been nominated because She Is Attractive.

If she has written a sci-fi novel; wait until she’s dead before you interview her.

Comments

( 2 comments — Add your .02 )
(Deleted comment)
caitri
Jan. 13th, 2015 08:44 pm (UTC)
I think the sci-fi quip speaks much more to how respectable/mainstream/establishment/whatever views genre in addition to genre.

As for the rest--well, it still sounds like about half of author interviews on NPR and in The Guardian (guess which half) and all of the author interviews in Vanity Fair and the NYT.
( 2 comments — Add your .02 )

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