Emily, has anything surprised you about the interview questions you’ve received? What has this experience been like?
—Kris Swenson, St. Paul, Minnesota
Actually, Kris, this has all been pretty amazing. I started with the idea that if I asked people I know to send or give me questions, it would be a pretty simple and straightforward way for me to answer things general readers might want to ask about my work. I thought people would just bounce me emails back right away with something quick and basic.
I was wrong. People have really put a whole lot of thought and effort into this process. I’ve gotten simple questions that cut straight to the heart of the issues they raise; I’ve gotten more complex ones that reflect the whole thought process behind them. Most of all, I’ve received questions that suggest people feel an ownership about the whole issue of what it is that’s written and what it is that we read. It matters to them.
A number of the people I asked for questions are writers themselves—memoirists, fiction writers, non-fiction writers, poets, journalists. Some are actors or visual artists or work in other arts. All these people obviously have a particular sense of the creative process as it is integral to their work. But other questioners are what I would call interested readers or, more aptly, very interested readers. They come from many walks of life and range in age from ten to one hundred. All have been eager to ask carefully shaped questions that make them part of a larger dialogue about where books come from. Why they exist. How they’re created. And, beyond that, how books are selected for us to read and how necessary important stories are to all of us. I have the sense it’s a conversation that can only grow larger.