CHICAGO — Camille Paglia is the most recent addition to the roster of big-name authors willingly subjecting themselves to Booklist Books for Youth senior editor Dan Kraus’ weekly Hostile Questions interviews. Kraus wondered if authors are sick of politeness and launched the series in spring 2012 on the Booklist Online “Likely Stories” blog to find out. The sometimes surprising results offer a lively Monday read.
It was a gamble to see whether this aggressive approach might chase interviewees away fast, but “Strangely enough, the promise of being roughhoused by my insensitive questions seems to appeal to all kinds of writers,” Kraus says. “They’re practically lining up for the honor of being interrogated—and, probably, the chance to do something besides your usual cookie-cutter interview.” Authors of all types—best-selling , high-profile, first-timers, midlist, youth, adult, romance, mystery, you-name-it—have been clamoring for the abuse. In addition to Paglia, the abused have so far included Libba Bray, Chelsea Cain, Roger Ebert, Chuck Hogan, Naomi Wolf, Neal Stephenson, Mary Roach, Gregg Hurwitz, Erin Morgenstern, James Dasher and, in October, a weekly horror author--Joe Hill, Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Maberry, Carrie Ryan and Marcus Dunstan/Patrick Melton (authors of the Saw movies).
Each interview is built around five questions—Just who do you think you are? Where do you get off? What’s the big idea? What is your problem, man? and Haven’t you done enough? Interview subjects are invited to interpret the questions however they’d like, though in case the authors get stuck, Kraus offers suggestions for each, along the lines of: “Introduce yourself;” “Tell us where you’re from;” “Tell us about your books;” and “What’s up next for you?”
You can find the Hostile Questions counter-cookie-cutter interviews on Booklist’s “Likely Stories” blog.
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