I was recently interviewed for the local paper. I ended up being interviewed by phone, and the interviewer did not have opportunity prep by visiting the blog and reading up on what the book was about. I tried to explain succinctly, but her questions led to complicated places. Had I been writing the responses for her, I could have been quite clear on the facts. As it was, paraphrases were just off enough to twist the meaning. The resulting interview was basically accurate, but had a section that was significantly off what I thought I’d told her.
I learned something from this experience. The journalist will miss something critical in your longish story! Typing and listening simultaneously is difficult. I must remember the Keep It Simple principle!
Aside from actually getting my website address incorrect, the biggest problem was that she missed that I was actually quoting from the poem for a bit there, and she wrote a quote as if I was speaking.
Specifically, the article says,
Based on a poem she wrote the year she turned 12, Bird says the book started as a story about the power of her first crush on a musician
That part is fine but then this
“I think in another life we were lovers and belonged together,” she says.
is a paraphrase of the quote from the poem that I recited for her which included, “I think we were loves once. In another life you and and I belonged.” Since it is not in the context of the poem, it gets a completely different slant.
“When you have one of these strong stories, you have to imagine it has been around in the universe before.”
must be a paraphrase of “I think a lot of people have the feeling when they fall in love that it’s so profound that it must have been in the universe forever.”
Regular readers of the blog who’ve read about the development of the story, the poetry, etc, will spot these issues right away. Other people will just raise their eyebrows. I was rather alarmed.
Yeah. Like I said. A learning experience. Keep it Simple. Simple. Simple. Phone interviews are apparently dangerous!
Live and learn.
PS. If you’re curious, the interview is here.